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For more information, contact: Rich Jaroslovsky, Chair, SAA Board of Directors (212) 416-4950; Bill Stone, SAA President (650) 723-1334

Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors votes to merge association with Stanford University

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

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 Stanford 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 September 1, 1998.

"It's always been our goal to be the preeminent alumni organization anywhere in education," said SAA President Bill Stone. "This initiative importantly strengthens our claim to that distinction."

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.

The mission of the association is to reach, serve and engage Stanford alumni by nurturing strong intellectual and emotional connections between the university and its graduates. The association stages the annual Reunion Homecoming celebration and hundreds of other programs and services each year for students and alumni on campus and around the world. It publishes an award-winning magazine, Stanford, and maintains a website for alumni. It also operates a professional education division, a travel/study program and both a summer camp and ski lodge for alumni families near Lake Tahoe, Calif.

In recent years, staff at the association and the university have enjoyed close cooperation on a number of ventures, including the Stanford Centennial, Reunion Homecoming, Stanford magazine and alumni involvement in undergraduate admissions.

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.


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