What is the General Alumni Association?

From the University Report (published by the GAA 1970-94)

Q. Is the Alumni Association funded by the University?

A. No. While the University is most supportive of the Association and relies upon the Association’s programs, publications and activities to foster understanding and maintain continuing contact between the University and its alumni, funding for the Association comes almost totally from dues paid by Carolina alumni.

Q. Does the University govern the Alumni Association?

A. No. While the Association works very closely with the University, the policies of the Association are set by the officers and Board of Directors of the Association, all of whom are elected annually by the dues-paying members of the Association. They are guided by the 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. Not at all. While we are hopeful that alumni will support the University financially, the Association feels strongly that there are other equally important ways that alumni can support the University. The Association’s purpose as stated in its constitution is: “the continuing service of the University and its alumni. Through its programs, the Association shall promote the spirit of fellowship and loyalty among the alumni, shall provide a continuous flow of information on the progress and needs of the University and shall encourage united alumni support for its advancement .” (See Chancellor Fordham’s remarks on page 11.)

Q. How can I become more active in the Alumni Association?

A. If you are not a member, please join. If you are a member of GAA already, encourage other alumni and friends of the University to join. Become active with your local chapter. (See page 30 for the location of a chapter near you.) Local chapters sponsor many projects which benefit alumni and are of great service to the University. Members help identify outstanding students in junior high and high school and encourage them to apply to Carolina. They assist new graduates in their communities with the sometimes difficult transition from Chapel Hill to New Hometown, USA. They are informed advocates for the University and help others in their community know more about Chapel Hill’s public service to the state, region and nation.

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 dance, and more. In addition, the Association maintains current mailing addresses and biographic information on nearly 160,000 living Carolina alumni.

Q. Do all alumni chapter programs promote Carolina athletics?

A. No, not at all. Obviously, many Carolina alumni are strong supporters of Carolina’s outstanding athletic program, and athletics help bond alumni together. However, most alumni also wish to be informed about academic programs at Carolina, about student life, changes on campus, about the faculty, etc. These topics are also addressed at chapter meetings.

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 (see page 11), 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 does not solicit private gifts but does finance its many publications, programs and activities from dues paid by alumni. Presently we have 33,000 members, over 13,000 of whom are lifetime members.

Q. What is the difference between an annual member and a life member?

A. Life members make a one-time-only payment of $250 for a single membership, or $300 for a joint membership. Payments can also be made in installments over a five-year period. Because their payments are treated as a gift to·the Association’s life endowment, these monies are tax deductible and eligible for employer matching gifts. Life members are protected against any future dues increases, receive full benefits, for life, including alumni publications. They receive a handsome 11″x 14″ personalized certificate suitable for framing, and a membership card. They also receive preference for Association sponsored activities. Annual membership dues are not tax deductible and are subject to change. The Association is grateful to all alumni who support the Association, either by annual or life memberships.

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 give gift memberships to family and friends who have become strong boosters of the First State University.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature




Douglas S. Dibbert ’70



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