Officials at the Kansas University Alumni Association hope to increase programs and services in upcoming years.
Do you know the difference between Kansas University's Alumni Association and its Endowment Association?
Donna Neuner, director of membership services for the alumni association, described it this way:
"We call ourselves the friend-raisers and they are the fund-raisers," she said.
The alumni association, founded in 1883, now boasts 45,000 members in all 50 states and in countries throughout the world.
Its current leadership includes Gil Reich, who took over as president of the association's board of directors on July 1.
A 1954 graduate of KU, Reich earned All-America football honors as a quarterback and defensive halfback in 1952 and was a starting guard on the 1953 KU basketball team. He is one of 11 KU football All-Americans.
As chairman, Reich said, "I want to continue to improve our alumni programs. I'd like to see more alums participate in the activities that we have."
Before retiring in 1988, the Savannah, Ga., resident rose to an executive position with Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, where he worked for 35 years.
Neuner said the KUAA staff in Lawrence shares the same goals as Reich.
"While we are going online eventually, there are probably other opportunities for communicating with computers that we would like to have," she said.
"Staffing in general would be a big plus," she said.
"We'd like to have more class reunions and we could do more with sending stuff to various communities across the United States.
"We do quite a bit of that as it is, but there's always more that you can do," she said.
KUAA strives to keep graduates in contact with their alma mater through its magazine that is sent to all members, and through several activities that bring alumni together.
Those activities include alumni reunions, homecoming events, pep rallies before football and basketball games and travel activities.
"Our mission is to be the main link between alumni and their alma mater," Neuner said. "We do that in various ways through programing. Our programs, of course, are quite varied."
Graduates, she said, join the association for various reasons.
Some who now live far away like to keep in touch with what's going on at KU while others like the association's Adams Alumni Center at 13th and Oread.
The center, built in 1983, has about 3,800 people that are members of the Learned Club.
One major change at the center that went into effect last month is that KUAA members no longer have to pay an additional fee to dine at the Learned Club.
There will, of course, still be a charge for drinks and meals at the center.
The center also serves as a storehouse for alumni records.
"As members lose track of their KU friends, they can call and get their addresses through us," Neuner said. The information also includes electronic mail addresses of some people, she said.
The association also offers Jayhawk credit cards, long distance calling cards, an insurance program, a Kansas Union Bookstore catalog and an annual calender.
The organization also helps coordinate alumni groups in major cities throughout the country.
Neuner said that if organizers "had a magic wand that could do anything, we would build additional parking for the center."
For more information about the association and its programs, call (913) 864-4760.