New mission statement on agenda of Alumnal Boardıs Annual Meeting
On Oct. 14, participants at the Annual Meeting of the Yale Divinity School Alumnal Board will be invited to vote on an update of the school’s mission statement, in addition to deciding on a new slate of Board members for 2008-09. In a letter addressed to alumni, Board President George Noonan and Vice President Mary Ellen O’Driscoll predicted that the new mission statement, if adopted, “will serve as a strong foundation for the years ahead.” The statement says the Board’s tasks are “to connect, energize, and engage alumni in support of YDS and its mission; to nurture and sustain relationships among alumni and with the faculty, administration, and students of the School; and to recognize alumni for their achievement and contribution to society.”
The letter from Noonan and O’Driscoll follows:
Dear YDS alumni,
As the annual week of Convocation and Reunions draws near, we are writing YDS alumni to report on a year of significant work by the Alumnal Board. In 2007-2008, we set aside much of our usual business to work in four task force groups—Mission; Alumni Programs; Convocation and Reunions; Funds Development—to assess our alumni relations program and to consider how best to nurture and support a “lifelong relationship between the Divinity School and its graduates.” Our interest in assessing and improving the alumni program parallels similar work by the AYA (Association of Yale Alumni) that for the first time seeks to seriously engage the professional school graduates of the university.
A few of the practical questions included how best to improve the program of class reunions; possibilities for offering regional and continuing education opportunities; looking at the growing appeal of special interest networks that might augment our class connections; and how to improve communications, especially in this age of e-mail and Facebook. We suspect that many of you already may have noticed the expanded program of Class Notes that now appears both in the annual publication of Spectrum magazine and also online at: http://www.yale.edu/divinity/alum/classnotes.shtml Those of you attending Convocation and Reunions will experience some modest innovations to the program this year. Also, we hope that all of you are aware that each of the major lectures and conferences at the Divinity School are now webcast. These are but a few of the practical innovations and attempts to gradually improve program and outreach that are under way.
Each year at Convocation, an Annual Meeting of YDS alumni is held at which time nominations of new Board members are voted and any other matters of business considered. Separately in this issue of NOTES FROM THE QUAD you will find an article presenting the slate of nominees being presented to serve terms on the Board. We are grateful that so many alumni have expressed willingness to serve in this volunteer capacity, and we are excited by the gifts offered by our nominees. Also, at this year’s meeting the Alumnal Board is bringing to alumni two items of business for your approval. First, we are recommending an update of our mission statement. The new statement is an outgrowth of our work over the last year. We believe it will serve as a strong foundation for the years ahead:
The YDS Alumni Board, elected as a representative body, has as its mission to represent alumni to the School and the School to them: to connect, energize, and engage alumni in support of YDS and its mission; to nurture and sustain relationships among alumni and with the faculty, administration, and students of the School; and to recognize alumni for their achievement and contribution to society.
Secondly, we are recommending a change in the name of the Board to “Alumni Board” to be consistent with the other schools in the University. The current term “Alumnal” was originally proposed in the 1990s, intending to communicate inclusiveness. Our experience has been that it is an awkward term and no longer serves its original purpose. Therefore, we are recommending that the name of the board be amended to use the term most commonly accepted.
We want to take this opportunity to say a word of thanks to the current members of the Board for their generosity of time, and their committed service. We are most grateful!
The proposed new mission statement is a foundation upon which we will build for the years ahead. There is great energy and enthusiasm that accompanies this statement, and we look forward to a renewed and vital program of alumni relations. We eagerly anticipate your input and suggestions about how we might serve you better. We will keep you posted on new developments in the months and years ahead. Our thanks to all of you for your commitment and generous support of YDS!
George Noonan, President
Mary Ellen O’Driscoll, Vice President and President-Elect