COLUMBUS--The Ohio State University Board of Trustees today approved an affiliation agreement that will more closely align the Ohio State University Alumni Association with the university. The Alumni Association will remain a member-based organization but, by working in new ways with the university, it will expand its reach beyond dues-paying members.
Unanimously approved by the Alumni Association Board of Directors in January, the agreement resulted from a year-long study of best practices in alumni engagement among leading public and private universities. The Alumni Association’s 120,000 active members will be asked to vote this spring on changes to the association’s constitution to reflect the new relationship.
“I have led enough universities to say with all certainty that Ohio State has the most spirited and proud alumni in the country,” said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. “This strengthened partnership will enable us to collaborate more readily and to engage alumni and friends much more deeply. The result will be innovative, robust programming that fully leverages the vast talents of all of our constituents.”
Programs and initiatives being explored include career services, enhanced alumni networking, regional engagement, lifelong learning opportunities, volunteer recruitment and coordination.
Archie Griffin will remain president and CEO of the Alumni Association and will assume the additional role as senior vice president for alumni relations of the university as well as become a member of Gee’s senior leadership team. The Alumni Association’s 57 full-time employees will become university employees but remain dedicated to their alumni relations work. Under the affiliation agreement, the Alumni Association will continue to operate as a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation with its own 17-member board of directors, to which two university appointees will be added.
The Ohio State University Alumni Association has a proud 130-year history, with a potential audience that now numbers more than 470,000 living alumni around the country and throughout the world. Griffin praised the loyalty of alumni and their unwavering support of all things Ohio State. “Our vision is to be the biggest and best member-centered alumni association in the world,” Griffin said. “And by this very deliberate partnership with the university, I believe we will bring even greater value to alumni, friends and fans everywhere.”
Under the new arrangement, promoting the work of the university and engaging Ohio State alumni will be a coordinated effort of the offices of University Communications, University Development, and the Alumni Association. It also will better align alumni relations activities in Ohio State’s 18 colleges and five regional campuses with overall university goals. The Board of Trustees also affirmed the significance of this organized effort by beginning the process of re-organizing its committee structure to accommodate the new arrangement.
An 11-member Alignment Task Force, co-chaired by Tami Longaberger and William Lhota, responded to the challenge of creating an advancement model to better harness the power of alumni and friends in support of Ohio State. Longaberger and Lhota are both former chairs of The Ohio State University Alumni Association Board of Directors and Longaberger also served as chair of the university’s Board of Trustees.
Trustee Alex Shumate, a member of the Alignment Task Force, said “This marks a coming-of-age moment for Ohio State and its vast network of alumni and friends. What we will be able to accomplish together through this very purposeful partnership with our outstanding Alumni Association will be the envy of our peers and a further step on the path from excellence to eminence.”