Chapters Push the Boundaries
During the cold (outside) and hot (inside the Huntsman Center) months of January, February, and March and throughout an incredible basketball season for the U, many chapter members rallied around big-screen televisions in local pubs and cozy family rooms as the Utes made their way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tourney.
And after basketball season passed, many chapter members maintained the enthusiasm that had piqued, stretched the boundaries of their involvement, and searched for ways beyond sports to support the University of Utah. Highlights of some new and proven ways Utah alumni are taking part in outreach around the country follow.
DALLAS: A LITTLE OF BOTH
The Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter, under the leadership of Davis Tubre MBA'73 and John Petricca BS'81, gathered for the Utah/Southern Methodist University basketball game Jan. 16, 1997. The Utes trounced the Mustangs 74 to 57 as the Big D gang cheered on the team. An excited Douglas "Duke" A. Tubbs BS'84 gushed, "After 13 years watching the Utes by myself, it was absolutely great seeing all that red around me [at the game]. It felt like being back in college and having the old gang over to my place in the Knickerbocker [Apartment Building on 1300 East in Salt Lake City]."
These Texas chapter members had more than sports on their minds however, and in March the Dallas/Ft.Worth chapter invited alumni relations director Bill Coen BS'83 to speak about other activities in which the chapter could become involved. The focus of Coen's talk was the Alumni/Bennion Center Fellowship Program, which enables selected students to work in non-profit agencies in chapter cities.
The program gives alumni, students, and the University the opportunity to expand the concept of community. Students involve local chapter members by educating them about the agencies to which they are assigned, and by encouraging them to volunteer on particular projects. Alumni hosts also help students personally, socially, and financially.
The D/FW members are enthusiastic about hosting fellows in their area. "We are looking for more ways to help the University give back to the community, and really want to be more active at a student level. The Alumni/Bennion Fellowship Program sounds like just what we need to accomplish some of our goals over the next year or so," said chapter coordinator Tubre. Reese Wilde ex'72 added, "Bill certainly made me feel good about our chapter goals to support the Alumni Association and the Bennion Center and the community service it organizes."
WELCOMES AND WHISTLES
In February, the Atlanta chapter hosted a "kick off the new year" reception at the home of its secretary/treasurer, Walt Bolic BS'68 MS'76. The gathering served as a welcoming party for new members in the chapter, and an opportunity to promote chapter activities to alumni interested in joining.
Also in that month, the Denver chapter celebrated when the Utah men's basketball team came to town to play the Colorado State Rams. The chapter hosted a pre-game party at C.B. & Potts Sports Grill in Ft. Collins, Colo. and welcomed special guest speaker Tommy Connor BS'90, assistant basketball coach for the Utes. Much to the delight of the 80 attendees, Connor spoke for 45 minutes about the season, the team, the Maji, and the upcoming NCAA tournament. The festivities were subsidized by IKON Office Solutions and its president, Paul Archer BS'80 MBA'83, who also donated 70 game tickets to the party-goers. Ute fans at the get together included chapter coordinator Rob Hill BS'91, and other chapter officers Tom McNamara BS'79, Tony Campman BS'69 BS'79, and Kevin Derfler BA'86 MBA'87. "We would really like to thank Paul and IKON. His contributions made this a great night for everyone. Of course, the Utes won, and that helped too," said Hill.
In April, the Alumni Association invited Pam Devine BS'77, president of the Minnesota alumni chapteróor the Minnesota Connection as it is officially namedóto speak at a special Utah Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting honoring Utah legislators. Devine recalled her first encounter with the future Connection during a Jazz/Timberwolves game. "It was at that event I decided it was my time to give something back to the U for all that it had given and meant to me over the years," she said.
From the outset, Minnesota Connection members established a mission and supporting goals for their group; one that would help the chapter expand its focus beyond athletic-related events. The chapter is currently working to improve and promote high school student recruiting for the U. "In traveling to colleges and universities with my husband, a national fraternity advisor, I've had the opportunity to talk with many students. I continually ask them what the No. 1 reason was for choosing a particular college or university. It doesn't matter if I'm at N.C. State, Duke, Cal-Berkeley, MIT, or ASU, the answer is invariably that they chose it for the people," Devine said. "This is a great recruiting tool for U alumni, because it's the people and the positive atmosphere that make the U so special," she added.
To assist in Midwest recruiting, Devine reported that the Connection targets suburban schools with high rates of college-bound seniors. Chapter members work to establish relationships with high school career counselors, and offer to speak with students, families, or other community members about the University of Utah and the benefits of a college degree.
Alumni have also volunteered at career fairs and offered support and encouragement to area families who have sons or daughters already attending the U. "We try to send the message that the U of U is a strong academic, teaching, and research university filled with opportunities; that Utah is a fun place filled with wonderful people," she said. Devine notes that the connection between Utah and Minnesota is a natural one. "The personal lifestyles of people in the Midwest are closely related to those of Utahns. From the outdoor activities, to the strong emphasis on family, I like to point out that students from Minnesota who choose the U will not feel too far from home, while at the same time they will get the life experience and adventure of going to school out-of-state. It is our goal as alumni to recruit the kind of students who will have the same positive experiences that we all had and remember; hopefully, they too will want to continue to support the alumni and the University after graduation."
WORKING ON THE WORKSHOP
The Alumni Association will sponsors its annual workshop for chapter officers Sept. 19-20, 1997. In addition to many on-campus activities and guest speakers, Maria Contratto, chapter coordinator, is assembling a program rich with information about the whos, whats, and whys of chapter membership.
This year the workshop will provide out-of-state alumni examples of fresh ways to provide outreach for the University of Utah. In other words, chapters can participate in supporting events outside of athletics. Those interested in finding out more about this year's seminar should call Maria at (801)581-3709.
Pam Devine BS'77
h (612) 949-9100 (h)
w (612) 333-4455
Rob Hill BS'91
h/w (303) 347-9731
Davis Tubre MBA'73
h (972) 255-3243
w (214) 255-3243
h (770) 992-7514
w (404) 305-4625