OUS creates local alumni chapter

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

South Point resident Bob Vinson graduated from Ohio University Southern this year but that does not mean he is ready to forget about his alma mater.

Vinson was one of about 25 alumni and university supporters who attended an informational meeting on the campus Thursday to discuss forming a local chapter of the Ohio University Alumni Association.

"It would keep us together as far as networking. In any business, it is probably the most important thing you can do," Vinson said. "I do believe with the caliber of people who went to school here it is very important we keep abreast of one another."

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Bob Smith, the assistant dean of development for OUS, said that this is long overdue and that it is time that the regional campuses take an active role.

"It is all about bringing people back to the school that meant so much to them," he said. "In the long run, it will mean good things for OUS and allow the alumni to give something back."

Ralph Amos, assistant vice president and executive director of alumni relations for OU, talked to the group about how to proceed and how important the alumni can be to the university.

"Alumni is really what differentiates a strong university from an exceptional university," he said. "Alumni, friends and graduates are integral in advancing the institution."

Approximately 175,000 people have graduated from OU including Today Show host Matt Lauer and Pulitzer Prize winner Clarence Page.

The goals of the alumni associations include building community, assisting with recruitment of students and staff, life-long education for alumni, advocating to the Legislature and developing and supporting scholarships, Amos said.

Now that the group has met the chapter basically exists. After developing a strategic plan and implementing some of the goals over the next one to two years, the Alumni Association's Board of Directors will then vote on approving an official charter.

Amos emphasized that alumni groups are about far more than just financial contributions.

"The scope is much broader than money," he said. "Their time is more important than the money."

The attendees were divided into groups to discuss the goals that they were most interested in - community, scholarship and communication.

"The value of doing this here is that it is local," Amos said. "The immediacy, impact and outreach is very specific. It can do what other alumni groups can't do - speak to issues of concern to this community."

Smith said the group will meet again in the next few months to outline the next steps and settle on a formal name.

This goal was attempted a few years ago but did not work out, but Smith said he does not think it will be a problem this time.

"I think with this group of people we have here today we will be able to get the enthusiasm and spark to get this off the ground."