Board Leadership Message
2015 ~ Leadership Message
I hope you are enjoying a beautiful springtime. SJCAA inaugurated the season with another spectacular reunion, celebrating our “5” and “0” classes. Everyone enjoyed the events, despite the snow on Friday! And many trooped down to Emmitsburg to walk our former campus and share memories.
A Living Legacy
Our college has been closed for 42 years, but the SJCAA is still celebrating our time together in Emmitsburg through annual reunions, our website, other communications from your Board of Trustees, and the unbreakable bonds among classmates. Truly, the SJCAA spirit is alive and strong!
Thanks to your ongoing support, the Alumnae Association continues its legacy in the Valley via donations to local charities, including Mother Seton School and the Seton Center outreach program.
We have also expanded our philanthropy by awarding scholarships to two Mount Saint Mary’s University upperclassmen. They are Bridgette Wisnieski, a nursing major, (new to MSMU after SJC closed), and communications major, Rosalyn Smaldone, whose grandmother’s cousin, Mary McIntyre, is from the SJC Class of 1954.
Two things are essential to sustaining our momentum and the legacy of women learners in St. Joseph’s Valley – maintaining payment of dues and volunteering with the association. During the past several years, we have been on target with dues and not tapped into savings. This allows us to maintain current operations without making significant changes and to continue with philanthropy. To date, 2015 dues are $10,000 below budget, but many of you pay dues at this time of year, so we expect to hear from you and to meet our target.
Please review our levels of membership and select one you can afford. Or simply send what you can. No dues payment or donation is too small, and each contribution is a step to ensuring our viability. An envelope is included with this letter for any alumna who is not current on dues. Check the label on the mailing envelope for your status, and thank you so much for your support!
Preparing for Change
As strong as we are today, we know that things will change in the future. Anticipating a decline in membership as our constituency ages, the Board, as good stewards, carefully monitors and reduces expenses. This year, we began mailing the reunion brochure to only the milestone classes. In 2016, only classes ending in “1” and “6” will receive a brochure. All alumnae will be notified of reunion plans via e-mail in early January, and most do register on line. We are happy to send a brochure to anyone who requests it. However, confining the reunion mailing to milestone classes is a significant savings.
In addition to a steady income stream, we also need more volunteers. We have scaled back the number of volunteer Board members and refocused on reunions, our website and The Valley Echo. Many SJCAA alumnae devote thousands of collective volunteer hours each year to SJCAA activities, but recruiting is a challenge. So, some modifications are planned.
The first affects our reunions. We anticipate that the number of attendees will continue to decline, although one would not think that at Reunion 2015, when 166 alumnae and guests came together for the Saturday evening banquet! The Board is committed to keeping reunions going until 2025, when all classes will have had an opportunity to celebrate their 50th anniversary of graduation from SJC. In revising reunion planning, we are involving milestone class members more. At Reunion 2015, members of the classes of 1966 and 1971 were present to “learn the ropes” and launch plans for Reunion 2016.
Our Reunion Venue
The Wyndham Hotel offers amenities, such as meeting rooms, “The Pines,” and a reduced rate for the 50th class suite. These are based on our commitment to spend a set amount of dollars on guest rooms and food services. Since we anticipate an ongoing decline in reunion attendance, we have lowered our commitment to the Wyndham and reduced our space needs. We will no longer offer a basket raffle, and “The Pines” area will be shared with our dinner space. The 45th anniversary class will be able to reserve a suite at the room rate for their social area.
We welcome all of you to reunion! Reunion 2015 drew more people from non-milestone classes than ever before. We do ask, however, if a non-milestone class is making a concerted effort to attend, that representatives contact our office and let us know. We may need to revise space needs. The Wyndham will review our reservations and space requirement two weeks before reunion, and revamp if they have available rooms. So, it’s vital that you register as early as possible when the brochure is distributed or reunion information is posted on our website.
So far, access to our former college campus has not been an issue, even though the federal government is tightening accessibility to its sites. We have a great advocate on campus, who is working with us on your behalf. This year, she met the challenge of a snowy Friday, communicating with us regularly on Thursday and Friday so we could advise reunion participants about access.
Our Financials and Communications
We continue to assess The Valley Echo, our website and mailings, which are income-dependent. Should we determine a need to scale back or curtail these items, we will poll class agents for input.
We have a solid team in Claire Maurer ’64 and Kathy McNaney Younkin ’70, who are overseeing our financials and monitoring our year-over-year projections. Class agents are pivotal in assembling news for The Valley Echo, and Maureen McPartland Smith ’65 and Mary Lou Ullrich Jones ’64 are now managing the magazine’s lengthy production process, with assistance from volunteer editors. At this point, The Valley Echo is set for 2015.
We also plan enhancements to our website. Chris Wiberley Goglia ’73 has agreed to take on the challenge of managing the site. She will work with a team to give updates on SJCAA activities.
At this point, we have enough volunteers to work at upcoming reunions. We are assessing our website volunteer base, and at some point, we may ask for others to take over management and production of The Valley Echo. As needs arise, we will notify you through your class agents, who are playing an even more essential role in the association.
For the Future
When the time arrives that the association can no longer sustain itself, we will need an alternative to keep in touch and help with reunions. We are in discussions with the MSMU Alumnae Association to take over that function for us. Our strategy is to keep things as they are for as long as possible, but to plan for the future. The longer we have volunteers, the longer we meet our dues’ budget, the longer we can keep our association going. We want to be here to celebrate everyone’s 50th reunion!
Unlike the closing of SJC, the viability of SJCAA is in our control. You will determine how long we sustain ourselves by continuing to submit dues and volunteering where you can. Please think about how you can help. Thank you for all you have done in the past, and thank you for your support -- now and in the future.
Karen Mattscheck ’72
St. Joseph College Alumnae Association