Board Leadership Message

2016 ~ Leadership Message

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May, 2016

The Saint Joseph College Alumnae Association kicked off another year of memories with an extremely successful reunion the weekend of March 31-April 3.  Members of the classes ending in ‘6’ and ‘1’ spent hours together reminiscing about college days, catching up on family and making new memories.  What a wonderful way to start the year!

This is the third letter I have sent as SJCAA President.  As I wind down my term, I have reflected on where we have been and where we are going.  During reunion, we were reminded how the organization, from 1999 thru 2007, received new life under the guidance of our Executive Administrator, Betty Daly McFann ’60.  The annual Legacy Award was posthumously awarded to Betty for her contributions to position the organization as a standalone entity outside the umbrella of the Daughters of Charity.  Her husband Joseph travelled from Florida to accept the award on Betty’s behalf.  In accepting the award, he shared many details about Betty and her work for and dedication to the Association. His moving reminisces touched all alumnae in attendance at our Sunday breakfast meeting.

Following the years of Betty’s service, the Board, under the leadership of many, but particularly the guidance of Maureen McPartland Smith ‘65, then developed and implemented a strategic plan to allow the association to exist as long as possible.  We identified our target as the year 2025, to give each class the opportunity to celebrate their 50th reunion.

Then I became President – to be honest, I was scared.  I didn’t know if we could make it work.  I was filled with hope, but it all depended AND STILL DOES on two things.  First we need volunteers to work into their 70s and 80s to manage finances, compose and edit both online and paper communications and plan and manage reunions.  Our office does a great deal; however, our work would not be possible without the great team of volunteers on the board and supporting the board.  Our current board has agreed to continue their various duties until 2025, as long as they are physically able to do so.  Our class agents also play a key role as well by communicating with their classes, writing their Valley Echo articles and encouraging their classmates to come to reunions.  I cannot say enough how critical the volunteer work is to the organization and how deeply I appreciate all these volunteers do day in and day out for our Alumnae Association.

The second element is you, the members of the association.  We need your support of paying dues to continue to fund our organization. Our membership is not growing so we need the support of those who are present.  We realize at some point we will have to dip into our savings, but are trying to delay that as long as possible.  We have cut expenses as much as we can and have challenged our alumnae to financially support us as our association grows smaller each year.  And I must say you, our members, have stepped up in a HUGE way to maintain our dues level.  In my wildest dreams, I never thought we would have the outstanding response we have had from the alumnae.  Some alumnae who have never joined are now doing so, others contribute yearly instead of just during their reunion year, and others have increased their level of membership to make up for the inevitable decline in dues.  All of this will help us continue to 2025.  And I want to say a special thank you to the classes of 1966-1974.  Our level of membership from the later classes has always lagged classes 1965 and earlier.  Last year I challenged you to increase your membership to sustain the organization so we all reach our 50th reunion – and this year, your membership increased significantly --- THANK YOU and keep it up!!!  If you received a dues envelope with this letter, I would ask that you renew your dues this year.  We are close to our dues target, but have not reached it yet.  And any income over and above our budget is set aside to help us through the coming lean years.

At this point, we are now starting our countdown.  We have 9 more reunions to celebrate our years together.  The classes now celebrating their 50th would love to see anyone come who can to share in their celebrations.  This will be particularly true when we reach 2020 – at that point, there is no ‘class behind’ to help in the celebration.  The class of 1974 came to their 40th reunion, loved what they saw, and has been coming every year since then to celebrate the classes at reunion.  Their question to me this year – who will come to our 50th reunion?  Start thinking about coming more often.  Our reunions under the SJCAA umbrella have a finite life.

Again, thank you to all of you who have done so much during the past years to help me run the organization.  Serving on the board has been a particular joy for me.  I have made friendships outside my class which I will cherish for the rest of my life.  Reunions have been a wonderful experience as I have met so many of you who love the Valley as much as I do.

Finally, thanks to all of you who have paid your dues for this year – and thank you to those of you who will renew them with the dues envelope you received with this mailing.

I have asked the question during the past three years: Do we want to be around to celebrate everyone’s 50th reunion?  Do we want to keep the association alive until 2025?  That is 9 years from now – THIS IS DOABLE.  I have asked the question many times and the answer has always been YES!!!  This is NOT like the closing of the college – the life of the association is in OUR hands.

Thank you for all your help in the past and thank you for the help you will provide the association in the future.  I am so honored to have served as your president.  

Thanks to all of you for everything you have done to make the past three years such a success!


Karen Mattscheck '72
Saint Joseph College Alumnae Association

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