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Archive for Sunday, August 15, 1999

CHANGE IN THE AIR AT ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

August 15, 1999

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The KU Alumni Association may undergo some major changes in the next year, its president said.

Kansas University Alumni Association President Fred Williams recently gazed out his third-story office window in the K.S. "Boots" Adams Alumni Center, 1266 Oread Ave.

"Change, change, change," he said.

That was evident as Williams looked down on where a parking garage will be built across the street. He then looked west to the renovation of Memorial Stadium before focusing on Joseph R. Pearson residence hall, which is undergoing expansion and renovation before the KU education school moves in.

"Change is happening all over this campus," Williams said. "And it's happening here, too."

Williams, who is starting his 17th year as president of the KU Alumni Association, said the organization may undergo more changes this year than in the past 16. He said plans call for a revamping of the association's Internet web site, including publication of the biannual "Kansas Alumni" magazine, and a possible search capability for some KU alumni by web-users.

Plans also call for a push for more association members, and a restructuring of the organization in meeting that goal. When Williams started at the association in 1983, there were about 31,000 members.

"Membership was kind of static when I first got here," he said. "We dropped a little bit probably to just above 30,000 members. But then we started some new programs and we started growing steadily."

As of last month, there were 46,638 alumni association members, he said.

That's 758 more members than in 1998, he said.

Williams said various programs, including dropping an alumni tabloid publication in favor of the magazine and publication of an annual KU calendar for members, help boost the numbers.

"We didn't publish the calendar one year and we got over 1,000 letters and telephone calls," he said.

The alumni association, founded in 1883, administers about 40 programs a year for its members, including the Kansas Honors Program for high school seniors, class reunions and the Student Alumni Assn.

A 25-member board oversees the association, which maintains a connection between KU graduates and the university.

Williams said association officials will be seeking additional new members through a new student-membership program and additional marketing of alumni memberships.

Currently, graduates can become Jayhawk Society members for a fee of $100 per year. People who are Jayhawk Society members receive a lapel pin and other benefits. Regular memberships are $40 a year.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is mdekker@ljworld.com.

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