Graduates' goodbyes to Dartmouth are temporary
As they head out into the "real world," seniors may be happy to learn they need not say goodbye to Dartmouth.
In fact, the College might be hard to escape, according to Director of Alumni Relations Nelson Armstrong '71.The Alumni Magazine, class newsletters, class officers, Dartmouth clubs around the world, fraternities, sororities, reunions and, of course, students soliciting donations are some of the ways the College and the Class of 1996 will interact for the rest of their lives.
"You are a student for a short time; you are an alum for a lifetime," Armstrong said.
The College's efforts to maintain contact have resulted in an alumni body that is among the world's most faithful.
"We probably have the most passionate alumni in the world," Armstrong said. "A good 4,000 alumni come back each year for Commencement and reunions."
Armstrong said it is a myth that the College maintains a relationship with alumni merely for fundraising.
"Some folks can give a lot of money, some folks can't," he said. "But everyone should be welcomed home."
Nelson said he wants alumni to enjoy their tie with the College more than he wants them to donate money. The first three letters of the word "fund" spell "fun," he added.
Alumni can keep the homefires burning by interviewing prospective students in their hometowns, serving as a contact for career services or working for a local Dartmouth club, Armstrong said.
Some recent alumni said Dartmouth is almost as much a part of their lives as ever.
Alex Kugajevsky '92, who lives with three other Dartmouth alumni in Washington D.C., said many of his Dartmouth friends will return to Hanover later this year for the weddings of four of his Dartmouth classmates.
But for those unable to visit campus, an international network of 91 Dartmouth clubs keeps alumni in touch at cocktail parties and other functions, Armstrong said.
Members of the Class of 1996 can also expect a lifetime subscription to Dartmouth's award-winning Alumni Magazine, which reaches 96 percent of Dartmouth graduates.
Nine times a year, the College mails the magazine to 47, 000 people, Editor in Chief Jay Heinrichs said.
"The main purpose of the magazine is to make alumni feel close to Dartmouth," he said.
Heinrichs said although most readers probably open directly to the class notes section to find out about their classmates, the staff tries to cover a variety of topics alumni want to read about.
Some of the articles are even written by alums.
"We serve as a vehicle for alumni to voice their opinions," he said. "We are one of the very few ways alumni can talk to Dartmouth."
Graduates will also receive an array of other publications the College distributes.
Departmental newsletters, class newsletters and Dartmouth Life newspaper are sent to anyone who ever enrolled at the College.
Norman Ellman '69 said he will return to Hanover this summer to introduce his daughter, a prospective student, to Dartmouth.
Ellman said he may return to Hanover again to take part in one of the brief academic seminars the College offers alumni during the summer.
Members of the Class of 1996 say they plan to keep in touch.
"I definitely plan on coming back as often as I can," Josh Wilson '96 said. "Most of my friends plan on coming back."
Many recent alums will return to Hanover in the near future, coming back for weddings and big weekends.
Seniors in Greek organizations may stay in contact with their houses through newsletters, world wide web pages, reunions and meetings.
Tabard Coed Fraternity President Brian Dolan '97 wrote in an e-mail message, "We publish a newsletter twice a year that is sent to all Tabard" alumni.
Dolan also said The Tabard "maintains a web page, hosts an annual alumni pong tournament and holds a reception during reunions for its alums."
Psi Upsilon Alumni Relations Chair Eric Dorre '96 wrote in an e-mail message, "Every term we host an informal luncheon for local alumni, where we simply provide an opportunity for them to come to the house and meet the present undergraduates."
Psi U also sends an annual newsletter to alumni with pictures of the year's activities and house officers' reports, he said.
The most consistent contact with an alumnus is through the house's advisor, Bob Kaiser '39, Dorre said.
"The Kaisers extend a weekly open invitation to visit them at their house for appetizers and drinks," he said. "Mr. and Mrs. Kaiser have been doing this for decades; every Psi U knows them, and they know all Dartmouth Psi U brothers."
Many seniors will hear from the College via non-greek student organizations on campus.
Former Afro-American Association President John Barros '96 wrote in an e-mail message that "the AAm keeps in touch with it's alumni through the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association."
"The AAm has a BADA liason, who tries to keep direct contact with the organization," Barros added. "BADA and the AAm are continually thinking of ways to strengthen our relationship and communication ... and are presently looking into the internet."
Director of the Native American Program Michael Hanitchak said Native American alumni receive a newsletter put out periodically by the Native American Alumni Association.
"My office keeps in touch with alumni in a variety of ways as the need arises, but, there is no formally organized process of keeping in touch," Hanitchak said.
"There are many recent alums who visit (at Pow-wow, for instance)," he said, adding that there is a Native American Visiting Committee composed mainly of alumni which convenes annually.
For Asian-American students at the College, there will soon be an Asian American Alumni Association, Former Dartmouth Asian Organization President Sarah Cho '97 said.
"We're compiling the names and addresses of the 95s and 96s" because they are the easiest to get in touch with, she explained.