and Retaining the Best People
Western’s 170,000 alumni are vital partners in helping fulfill the University’s mission. Alumni serve in important governance roles at the Board of Governors, Senate, Foundation Western, within the Alumni Association, and as volunteers for many Faculties. They participate actively in all manner of University events and activities. Many return as mature students, their children attend as students, and more than 1,000 alumni are employees of the University. Alumni also play an increasingly important part in the University’s private giving: indeed, fully two-thirds of all donations in Western’s current $270 million fundraising effort, Campaign Western, will come from alumni contributions.
Western’s alumni are represented by The University of Western Ontario Alumni Association, an organization that continues to serve as a catalyst for building a vigorous alumni network and lifelong relationships among Western, its graduates and the wider community. In recent years, alumni organizations have also been developed at several Faculties, Schools and Departments. The increase in the number of alumni groups provides opportunities for enhanced contact with University graduates while also requiring effective coordination with the umbrella Alumni Association.
Looking to the future, there is tremendous opportunity for the Alumni Association and the University to collaborate even more closely to utilize alumni assistance and support in many different areas, including:
Over the coming decade, it is anticipated that the number of Western alumni will grow by 60,000 to 230,000. On the one hand, this provides a much larger resource base for the University to draw upon; on the other hand, it presents a challenge to the University and the Alumni Association on how, given the current budgetary climate, to invest effectively in continued alumni activities.
Three areas in particular may offer opportunities in this respect – technology, life-long learning programs and access to University services. The Alumni Association has made major strides in recent years to use technology to communicate with alumni. These efforts must continue, be expanded upon, and be coordinated with other technology-based outreach initiatives of the University. Life-long learning programs, whether offered on campus or on a distance basis, also present a wonderful opportunity for alumni to continue their participation in the academic life of the University. There is an opportunity for the Alumni Association and Western’s Centre for Continuing Studies to be partners in mounting targeted programs. Finally, many alumni continue to come to campus to take advantage of the wide array of services and resources that can be found here. In some cases, alumni are provided with privileged access or discounted services. While ensuring obligations to faculty, staff, and students are fully met, it is also important that Western alumni continue to be treated as and feel part of the University community. Developing a distinctive campus program for Western graduates would assist in this regard.
8. Western will work with the Alumni Association and similar groups within the Faculties to broaden opportunities for interaction between the University and its alumni. Our University community will: