From the Executive Director
It was just two years after the first University of Idaho graduates completed their degrees when they sought out reconnection with each other and their alma mater. They gathered in Moscow in the spring of 1898 for a nice dinner. They surely shared memories of their time on campus and stories of their lives since graduation. They also must have agreed they wanted to stay connected and, as a result, created the University of Idaho Alumni Association (UIAA).
Since those long-ago days, more than 120,000 students have become alumni of our great institution. Today, there are about 107,000 Vandals on the planet, making a positive difference wherever they live. The UIAA — membership in which requires no dues or anything other than successful completion of 90 credits — and the Office of Alumni Relations continue working to serve every Vandal.
The benefits of being a U of I alum are many and important. We all received a rich and rigorous education that continues to serve us well. We had the opportunity to forge strong relationships with faculty members, many of whom have become life mentors as well. We have a built-in network for social connection and career advice. We made lifelong friends. For these reasons, we consider ourselves the Vandal Family.
While connection to each other and to the university has always been a driving force for the UIAA, the ways we foster that connection have evolved over time. Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, we are reinvigorating alumni chapters in Idaho and throughout the United States. Members of the UIAA Board of Directors — dedicated volunteers from around the country — are building ties with chapter leadership to make both groups as strong and relevant as possible.
The Office of Alumni Relations’ work is evolving as well. Events like Vandal Rafting Day in Riggins and Vandal Ski Day in McCall leverage the beauty of our state for the enjoyment of alumni. Vandalopoly, the Vandals Uncorked wine club and the Vandal Book Club provide alumni with new, fun ways to celebrate being a Vandal. Our social media channels are more vibrant than ever, and I look forward to using whatever future tools become available to help foster connection and community.
Today, there are about 107,000 Vandals on the planet, making a positive difference wherever they live. Kathy Barnard
As part of our recent All Alumni Survey, 97 percent of those who responded rated their decision to attend U of I as “good” to “great.” Nearly 80 percent described their experience as an alum as “good” to “excellent.” That is strong testimony to the quality of our institution and the loyalty we feel toward it and each other. You can find more survey results in this issue, and thank you to everyone who participated.
So, here’s to the next 100 years of the University of Idaho Alumni Association! May you always know your Vandal Family is there for you today — and in the future.
Kathy Barnard ‘81
Executive Director, U of I Alumni Association
Published in the spring 2019 issue of Here We Have Idaho.