You may be aware of the discussions regarding the current financial situation and potential dissolution of the UT Arlington Alumni Association. With the utmost respect for our alumni and the Association and keeping in mind that the UT Arlington Alumni Association is an independent 501(c)(3) organization, I did not want to intercede in the recent discussions until Association members had the opportunity to discuss matters themselves.
I do, however, want to make sure that all of our alumni and the greater UT Arlington community are assured of the highest level of commitment and interest that both I personally, and the University, have in ensuring that we strengthen our engagement with, and support of, our alumni. We are extremely proud of each alumnus and alumna and want to ensure that we as a University community always look to doing all we can to continue enhancing the excellence that defines our wonderful institution and alma mater.
The University and the UT Arlington Alumni Association have enjoyed a wonderful relationship over the years that has helped fuel the University’s growth and success. Many of you have taken part in events and programs that have celebrated our progress, built pride in your alma mater and supported this amazing institution. In recent weeks, leaders of the Association advised the University that their membership levels and revenues were not sufficient to sustain the organization’s independent business model, and we have worked to support the Association as its leaders continue to discuss ongoing operations. (View FAQs here.)
There is still much that needs to be done as we unify all our alumni, engage supporters in activities at the University, seek their guidance, and continue their active participation in our journey to pre-eminence.
Toward that goal, the University already has begun a search for a new vice president to lead efforts related to development and alumni engagement. In order to emphasize the importance of both aspects to the University, the position has been renamed Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. This position will not only elevate the vital nature of alumni relations for the University but also reflects the important linkages between alumni relations and philanthropy.
Dr. Ronald Elsenbaumer, provost and vice president for academic affairs is chairing the search committee, and Patti Diou, president of the Alumni Association is a member of the search committee. The search is being conducted with the assistance of Witt/Kieffer, a respected and high profile executive search firm. Simultaneously, the University will be enhancing its efforts at engagement and outreach and will be establishing an office of alumni relations to better position, and emphasize, the importance of alumni engagement.
The Alumni Association has requested that the University take on a range of responsibilities related to alumni engagement, including managing events and traditions such as the Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala, Oozeball, and the Maverick Marauders. We have committed to not only continue these valued traditions but to strengthen them, and will do so with active engagement of numerous alumni.
While I recognize that the Alumni Association is still discussing steps internally, please be assured that the University will honor all benefits previously extended to those who have paid for memberships in the association, including Life members, regardless of the status of the organization, including parking privileges, access to the UT Arlington Library and University Club, and discounts on campus activities and events, among other items.
All of us at UT Arlington are committed to working diligently to engage all alumni and alumni groups in the life of the University. Your support, engagement and active partnership are crucial to the future success of the institution. Should you have any questions about any of these activities or events, or any suggestions for how we might strengthen engagement, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have never been more proud of our 180,000 alumni. We look forward to pursuing new and exciting ways to help keep all alumni, and the community, connected with UT Arlington.
Vistasp Karbhari, President
The University of Texas at Arlington