The Penn State Alumni Association reported to the Penn State Board of Trustees on July 12 that among its major accomplishments of the past year was a surge in membership that has made it the first dues-paying alumni association to top the 160,000-member threshold.
In addition to announcing this membership news, Alumni Association President David C. Han, a 1988 and 2005 Penn State graduate, outlined the Alumni Association’s strategic goals and highlighted achievements during the 2007-08 academic year. Topping the list was the announcement of the new membership numbers. As of July 1, total membership in the Alumni Association is 160,742, an all-time high, with 93,243 life members, also an all-time high.
“This is an enormous accomplishment that reflects the pride and loyalty Penn State alumni have for our alma mater,” said Han.
Another major achievement was the seven-year, $2.1 million gift commitment to the University’s new campaign “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students,” which was announced in April. The gift establishes 35 Penn State Alumni Association Trustee Scholarships at 20 campuses, 12 colleges and three additional units, as well as provides funds for graduate and professional education at Penn State.
“The Alumni Association sought to lead by example in providing increased financial support for Penn State students—our future alumni,” said Han. “We believe this $2.1 million gift will help to keep open the doors of opportunity and ease the financial burden for generations of students to come.”
Among other Alumni Association initiatives and accomplishments highlighted by Han were:
- Alumni Walk at the Hintz Family Alumni Center sold out the more than 4,000 available bricks, pavers and centerpieces, raising more than $1 million to create an endowment fund to support student groups such as the Lion Ambassadors, Blue & White Society, and the FastStart mentoring program. The walk will be dedicated on Oct. 17.
- The Alumni Association rolled out a significantly improved member benefit in its online alumni directory, Penn State’s Pride. In four weeks since the launch, more than 8,000 alumni have logged on to update their own profile, upload their photo or search for fellow alumni. Alumni have logged on nearly 30,000 times and viewed more than 180,000 pages.
- Blue & White Society chapters expanded in the past year to 17 campuses beyond University Park, reflecting the growth in this student contingent of the Alumni Association. Blue & White Societies were established on four additional Penn State campuses—Harrisburg, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, and York.
- The series of intellectual, cultural, and networking events called “City Lights” continued its popularity. This year, five “City Lights” events were held in the key metro areas of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, and Harrisburg, Pa.—four of the five U.S. cities with the most Penn State alumni. These events drew 600 alumni and friends to network and interact with Penn State faculty.
- The Alumni Association was instrumental in organizing and supporting the Black Alumni Reunion during Blue-White Weekend, attended by nearly 500 African American alumni. One highlight of the weekend was that more than $60,000 was raised to establish a new scholarship endowment.
- In support of affiliate group leaders, the Alumni Association held an Alumni Leadership Conference in May on the University Park campus to train more than 125 alumni volunteers. These leaders of alumni groups around the country learned about such topics as communications, board succession, involving younger alumni, and more.
- The Alumni Association increased its financial support to Penn State campuses, providing an additional five percent increase in support for alumni relations programs and networking events.
Han, a vascular surgeon at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, associate professor of surgery and radiology, and program director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship at the Penn State College of Medicine, is now in his second year as Alumni Association president.