From the University Report (published by the GAA 1970-94)
Q. Is the Alumni Association the same as the Educational Foundation, the Ram’s Club, Alumni Annual Giving, Carolina Annual Giving or the Carolina Fund?
A. No, although we are convinced that many alumni think this is the case. Alumni Annual Giving, later Carolina Annual Giving and now the Carolina Fund, is the University’s development office which solicits much needed private gifts from alumni, foundations and corporations. The Educational Foundation, better known as the Ram’s Club, solicits private gifts to provide scholarships for student athletes. The General Alumni Association finances its many publications, programs and activities from dues paid by alumni. Presently we have 44,000 members, over 16,700 of whom are lifetime members.
Q. Is the Alumni Association funded by the University?
A. No. While the University supports our Association and relies upon our programs, publications and activities to foster understanding and to maintain continuing contact between the University and our alumni, funding for the Association comes almost totally from dues paid by Carolina alumni. The Association does maintain alumni records and now receives University funding for this service.
Q. Does the University govern the Alumni Association?
A. No. The Alumni Association is a 501 (C.3) non-profit organization. While we work very closely with the University, the policies of the Association are set by our officers and Board of Directors, most of whom are elected annually by the dues-paying members of the Association. They.are guided by our Constitution and By-Laws.
Q. Does the University exercise editorial control over alumni publications, such as the Carolina Alumni Review magazine and The University Report newspaper?
A. No. Alumni Publications, which go to members of the Association, are intended to reflect the achievements and challenges facing the University as well as news about alumni, and University faculty and staff. They are published by the Association. We invite University administrators to share their thoughts with our alumni, through our publications, and we welcome thoughtful expressions of concern and even “loving criticism” regarding University matters.
Q. Isn’t the Alumni Association’s real purpose to generate financial support from alumni to the University?
A. No. Not at all. While we are hopeful that alumni will support the University financially, the Association feels strongly that there are many other equally important ways that alumni can support the University.
Q. How can I become more active in the Alumni Association?
A. If you are not a member, please join. If you are a GAA member already, encourage other alumni and friends of the University to join. Become active with your local chapter (See page 15 for the location of a chapter near you.) Local chapters sponsor many projects.
Q. Besides publications and chapter meetings, what else does the Alumni Association do?
A. Much more. We have a series of alumni programs — seminars, tours abroad, an alumni family camp, class reunions, a homecoming barbecue, student alumni association awards, and more. In addition, the Association maintains current mailing addresses and biographic information on more than 165,000 living Carolina alumni.
Q. Must I be a Carolina alumnus to join the Association?
A. No. Many of the University’s strongest supporters are friends who never attended Carolina. Many alumni provide gift memberships to family and friends who have become strong boosters of the First State University.
Q. After five years as Executive Director of the GAA, what significant accomplishments have you achieved?
A. As anyone who has led an organization knows, the organization’s success is the result of teamwork. I have been fortunate these five years to have received the full support of Chancellor Fordham and his administrative colleagues. The Association has selected outstanding and hard-working officers and directors to set Association policies. My predecessor, Clarence Whitefield, provided me with a strong, talented and conscientious staff upon which to build. Working together, much has been accomplished. Let me just highlight a few of our more significant achievements.
1) Membership Growth — Membership has grown by 16,000; from 28,000 to 44,000, a 57% increase. Life members have grown by 6,000; from 10,700 to 16,700, a 56% increase.
2) Alumni Center Progress — A site and architects’ plans have been approved for a much-needed and long overdue Alumni Center. Nearly $5.5 million toward a $8.5 million goal has been raised.
3) Publications Enhanced — Both the Carolina Alumni Review magazine and the University Report newspaper have benefitted from re-design and expanded and improved content.
4) Programs Expanded — We’ve produced an award-winning Charles Kuralt-narrated slide show entitled “On the Road in Chapel Hill,” added faculty to many of our alumni tours, conducted on-and off-campus seminars in cooperation with University departments, including the Program in the Humanities, the Marine Sciences Institute, and the Botanical Gardens, and expanded our alumni reunion programming by adding “Saturday Morning in Chapel HilI.”
5) Strengthened Alumni Chapters — We have added an Assistant Director for Chapter Development and are devoting more Association resources to increase alumni involvement at the local chapter level. The first alumni chapter-sponsored scholarship has been funded, and local chapters are beginning to assist the University with admissions.
6) Publication of Alumni Directory — The most extensive directory ever has been published, and nearly 20,000 copies are in circulation. The Association’s records staff, during these five years, has processed over 150,000 address changes and 250,000 other records changes.
7) Strengthened Relationships With General Assembly — Relationships with members of the General Assembly have been established and strengthened to the benefit of the University.
8) Long-Range Planning Process Established — Our Association has developed two Long-Range Plans which chart an ambitious future course for the Association.
P.S. Do you have a question about the Alumni Association or the University? I’d be delighted to try to provide an answer. Just write me at P.O. Box 660, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
Yours at Carolina,
Douglas S. Dibbert ’70