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Stanford Report, May 20, 1998

Alumni board votes to merge with univ: 5/20/98

Alumni Association board supports merger with the university

The Board of Directors of the Alumni Association voted unanimously May 16 to merge the association with the university.

Under the agreement, which must be ratified by the association's 72,000 members, the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) would become a division of the university with responsibility for serving alumni and representing their interests in university affairs.


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Among the key elements of the agreement are expanded resources for alumni programming and the construction of a dedicated new facility to welcome alumni to campus and serve as a headquarters during their visits and a center for their meetings, events and other activities.

"By these actions, the university and the alumni association are placing alumni relations front and center among the priorities of the university," said Rich Jaroslovsky, chair of the SAA Board of Directors. "This vote signifies the belief that the university and the alumni association can accomplish far more working together than they can as two legally separate entities."

Added President Gerhard Casper: "I am delighted by the alumni association board's vote, which reflects our common desire to do a more effective job in alumni relations. The discussions by and between the trustees and the alumni association board have laid the groundwork for strengthening the bonds between Stanford and its alumni."

Members of the Stanford Board of Trustees and the Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors have been discussing a possible merger for several months. In April, the trustees approved the plan. At its May meeting this weekend, the 33-member alumni board took similar action. The final step is for the dues-paying members of the association to ratify the agreement. The association expects to mail ballots to its members in June and will tally votes during the summer. If ratified, the merger could take effect Sept. 1.

The alumni association was founded in 1892 by graduates of the first class at Stanford. For more than a century, it has operated as an entity that is legally independent of the university.

Under the proposed merger, the university would commit additional resources to strengthen the links between Stanford and its alumni. New programs would include increased opportunities for alumni volunteers, expanded online services, enhanced alumni education offerings and events such as a farewell dinner on the Quad for graduating seniors. Stanford magazine, which since 1996 has been produced jointly by the alumni association and the Stanford News Service, would become the responsibility of the new alumni division.

The association's board of directors would serve as a voice for alumni interests in dealing with the Board of Trustees and the Stanford administration. The president of the alumni association would report to the university president and would be a Stanford officer equivalent to a university vice president. SR