Time to connect, inspire, celebrate

Loren R. Taylor (center), president and CEO of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, interacts with (from left): Evan Williamson, Paige Costelloe, Markos Sinclair and Claudia Menanteau on the Illinois campus. (Photo by Stephanie Swift)

This is an exciting time for alumni relations at the University of Illinois. After the University of Illinois Alumni Association Board of Directors unanimously approved the vision, mission and strategic themes for the 2015-18 Strategic Plan back in January, we began developing the details of a tactical plan to help realize that vision and mission.

It was an ideal time for us to look inward and re-evaluate the UI Alumni Association. After all, the term of our 2006 strategic plan has concluded, the economy has changed for the better, and new ways of engaging with alumni have emerged.

The results will be exciting for you, as well, because many of the changes you will see are in direct response to months of gathering feedback and insights, and listening to what alumni and the University want—and expect—from an alumni association.

So here’s a sample of what’s in store for the future.

Alumni communities
We’re going to broaden and strengthen your relationship, and that of all alumni, with the University of Illinois. We’re going to pair your interests with the myriad opportunities that abound at Illinois, and build alumni communities to establish professional networking connections and mentoring programs for Illinois graduates.

It’s also vital that we bolster our efforts to expand productive interactions between alumni and legislators who impact state and federal support of the University mission. Our Illinois Connection grass-roots advocacy network—at 15,000 members strong—has had some key successes. Imagine if that number were tenfold. When legislators are poised to cast a vote that affects the University, we want them to remember you, think of your story, and hear the collective voice of alumni across the globe. Support is critical for the University to maintain its campuses, recruit pre-eminent faculty, invest in new technologies and provide scholarships to bright, deserving students.

The benefits of affiliating with Illinois—and its worldwide network of hundreds of thousands of alumni—don’t end with graduation. That means we also will be checking in with you periodically about what’s important to you, what you think about certain events and programs, and how you want to connect with the rest of the Illinois community that will provide value for you in every stage of your life.

Multimedia experience
We’ll be celebrating Illinois alumni in all their glory via a revamped and expanded multimedia platform. In July, we will debut a new website—your inside source for the latest news, photos, videos and other content about your fellow classmates and Alma Mater. We’re also launching a digital version of Illinois Alumni that will allow you to read the magazine on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. In addition, we’re creating a searchable digital library of back issues, so you can easily share your favorite articles and class notes with family and friends alike. Increasingly, communications will be with—not from—the UI Alumni Association and your fellow alumni. Consequently, you’ll see a more robust social media environment on our Illinois-branded Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, with content that better reflects your interests and needs.

Pride in who we are
The stories of Illinois students, faculty and alumni are vast sources of inspiration and pride for everyone, and we’re going to recognize and honor the history and traditions that make us uniquely Illini. Even though each generation’s particular experiences on campus may be different, the life-changing impact they have is equally transformational and memorable. The stories of Illinois’ contributions to a better society deserve to be shared with the world. Together, we’ll highlight and remember those times, and call you back to campus on occasion to help pay it forward for future generations.

There’s more to come, of course, and you’ll continue to have opportunities to help shape what the future—your Illinois future—looks like. The UI Alumni Association is ready to reach for it with you. Through this strategic transformation, we’ll work as never before to cement meaningful, valuable, long-term relationships with all alumni and inspire you to actively work on the University’s behalf to ensure a bright future.

Loren R. Taylor
President and CEO
University of Illinois Alumni Association