At our May 2012 meeting, we were pleased to welcome two new members – Adele McLean (BSBA and MAC 1991) of Chapel Hill and San Jose, CA and Render Dahiya (BSBA 1987) of Chicago. Our current Council membership is one of our strongest collections of alumni ever. They are diverse in their talents, experiences and backgrounds, and all are dedicated to our mission of serving as a key advisors to Dean Jim Dean and as ambassadors for UNC Kenan-Flagler.
In addition to welcoming new members, we received reports on the progress of the MBA@UNC program. The Alumni Council, in the November 2010 meeting, gave its unanimous endorsement of the program. We also received a report from Council member Mackie Horton (MBA 1976). Mackie and the Kenan-Flagler Atlanta Alumni Club is working with Amy Wittmayer, director of the MBA Career Management Center on a special project. This project will develop a special alumni team in Atlanta that will work with students who have accepted internships or permanent positions in the area, or students who have an interest in Atlanta. We hope this model will be extended to other cities. This effort was a result of a recommendation that surfaced in our November 2011 Council meeting.
Associate Dean for Advancement, Brad Shafer then provided the Council with an update on this year’s fundraising. I am happy to report that for the third consecutive year, our Alumni Council has achieved 100% participation, with over $59,000 donated. I encourage everyone to make your gift to UNC Kenan-Flagler. Any amount makes a difference and provides us the margin of excellence we need when support from the state of North Carolina continues to decline.
Andrew Peterson, Assistant Professor of Marketing at UNC Kenan-Flagler, then spoke to the Council on his recent research – “Analytics and Annual Giving.” Andrew’s presentation gave us important insights as we addressing our meeting topic – increasing the giving percentage among all alumni. Currently, that percentage is around 15%, and many our peer institutions perform much better. The Council then had an extended discussion on ways to increase this percentage, which led to a set of recommendations forwarded to Dean Jim Dean and the Advancement staff.
Some of the recommendations include:
- Institute a culture of giving from the first contact students have with the School, and reinforce and nurture this culture throughout their time at UNC Kenan-Flagler.
- Expand resources to work with students of all degree programs to create awareness of the importance of giving.
- Communicate the impact of gifts. All gifts really do make a difference.
- Create giving appeals that are more personal yet informative.
In closing, it has been my pleasure to serve as Alumni Council Chair in the past year. My fellow Council member Steve Wolf (MBA 2000) will serve as Chair for our next two meetings. Steve is one of the founding members of the Council and is passionate about UNC Kenan-Flagler. You can look for his report after our next meeting in November of this year.
Chris Keber (Exec. MBA 2002)
Alumni Council Chair 2011-2012