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Baylor Network, Alumni Association offer separate alumni services

Oct. 28, 2005

by SCARLETT STEAKLEY, reporter

Inevitably, Baylor sudents become alumni of Baylor. Continuing connections with Baylor and fellow alumni is a service the Baylor Network and the Baylor Alumni Association both offer but in different ways.

"There's still a lot of confusion within the Baylor family between the two associations," Executive Vice President Jeff Kilgore said.

Todd Copeland, director of communications and editor of the Baylor Line, said the Baylor Alumni Association is basically a general alumni organization and outreach program to keep alumni connected to Baylor.

"The Alumni Association has been the official alumni organization and all of its academics adopted by the board of regents in 1994," Kilgore said.

Randy Lofgren, associate vice president of the Baylor Network, said the Baylor Network began because the university felt the responsibility to provide networking to degree holders.

"The university needed to have (its) own program to be certain there is meaningful activity for the alumni to be engaged with," Lofgren said.

The Baylor Network began in 2002 to provide specific outreach programs for all Baylor alumni around the world.

"We are a department of the university, funded by the university so we are not competitive," said Lofgren. "We are programs complementing each other."

The Baylor Network is a program where students are automatically enrolled after graduation.

"I applaud the services the Baylor Network provides because that has been the goal for the Alumni Association. They have a high focus in career services," Kilgore said.

The Baylor Alumni Association requires membership enrollment, with yearly dues, and provides a variety of services to keep alumni connected to Baylor.

"What the network is doing now was originally the long- range plan of the Alumni Association before the network was established," Kilgore said.

The Alumni Association provides several services and awards to members honoring the alumni and keeping them connected with Baylor. The Baylor Line magazine is one way to serve alumni.

"We feel the Baylor Line magazine is important because we need to communicate to all alumni the message of the university," Kilgore said.

The magazine began in 1946 and is distributed quarterly to all members of the Alumni Association.

The Alumni Association also offers several awards to alumni, such as the Outstanding Young Alumni awards honored at Pigskin.

"There is no greater testimony than what impacts our alumni have made and what they do in the world today, and we try to acknowledge that," Kilgore said.

The Alumni Association provides several programs to alumni, such as the Legacy program which gives children of alumni the opportunity to feel that Baylor is their school as well their parents'.

Kilgore and Lofgren said they want their organizations to continue to work together by providing superior services for alumni without contradicting each other.

"We are trying to work through and overlapping to create the best circle of services between the university and the association without there being an intersection of services," Kilgore said.

Kilgore said when the Alumni Association went through several changes and the Baylor Network began, there was a significant drop in membership. But he said the 2004 to 2005 numbers for membership have increased to a record high.

"Last year was our strongest membership year in six years with almost 16,000 members," Kilgore said. "This year our first four months have started out 52 percent above last year."

Kilgore said the Alumni Association is looking to begin new programs such as a weekly e-mail newsletter to members informing them of the latest news at Baylor.

The Alumni Association is also looking to inform current students of their programs before graduation.

"We want to say to students we're here, we want to be familiar with you so that when you graduate you realize that this is your house and you can resource through the Alumni Association and stay connected to Baylor."

Kilgore said one of the goals of the Alumni Association is to educate the students before graduation so they are familiar with how alumni stay engaged with the university, whether it's through the Alumni Association or the Baylor Network.

"The Baylor experience should transcend the graduation stage," said Kilgore.