Minutes, October 25, 2008

New Mexico Tech Alumni Association Annual General Meeting

The meeting opened with introductions by each of the alumni present.

The assembled alumni unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Tom Dillon, seconded by Brett Wendt, thanking Alumni Association President Geza Keller for his dedicated and outstanding work on behalf of the association over the two years of his presidency. A formal letter of thanks will be sent to Geza, along with thank you gifts.

Dr. Ricardo Maestas, vice president for Student and University Relations, reported the following regarding New Mexico Tech:

  • Dr. Lopez has focused on facilities upgrades, including the $18 million Joseph A. Fidel Student Services Center, which includes new food service facilities, a bookstore, and all student-focused departments. This has enabled raising the quality of food served to students, resulting in a 92% student participation rate at Tech as compared to a national average in the 70s.
  • Other facility upgrades include the $14 million Cramer Hall addition, and additions and upgrades to Jones Hall and Kelly Petroleum Resource and Recovery Center currently underway.
  • Tech is anticipating a tight budget this year based on expectations of a state budget shortfall. Staff and faculty hiring has been frozen.
  • The strategic plan calls for New Mexico Tech to grow from its current 1900 students to between 2300-2500 students and to become a Hispanic Serving Institution. The later requires that at least 25% of the student body be Hispanic, and opens new federal funding opportunities. This semester’s unofficial figures put Hispanic enrollment at 25.1%.
  • This fall the Admissions staff did training for the Colorado chapter on student recruitment. The university wants to do more with alumni on student recruitment, moving into working with “targets of opportunity” or “blue chipper” recruits.

Bill Hawes and Bob Winn commented on confusion that results over use of both New Mexico Tech and the university’s legal name, New Mexico School of Mining and Technology. Bob mentioned the out-of-state perception that New Mexico Tech is “just a technical school.” Dr. Maestas will raise this issue with President Lopez.

Tom Dillon raised a question regarding university fundraising, to which Dr. Maestas responded that Tech is a $180 million operation, about half of which is research. Dr. Lopez focuses largely on state funding, Dr. Van Romero on federal funding, and Dr. Maestas on grants, individual and corporate donors. The university has received two multi-million dollar grants this year, plus funding for the $1.2-$1.5-million Children’s Center. In the last three years the Office for Advancement has helped move the university for an annual average of $600,000 in giving to $6 million plus. But, Dr. Maestas said, “we need to move toward $40 million and beyond in annual gifts.

Assistant Director for Advancement Carol Lynn Tiegs then announced the election of the following slate of Alumni Association officers for 2008-2009:
    Brett Wendt
Vice President
    Russ Erbes
    Steve Dixon

Brett outlined accomplishments of the last two years, including the re-establishment of a national Alumni Association board of directors and the creation of a network of alumni chapters. He announced the goal of a new staff position of Director of the Alumni Association.

Encouraging board and association participation, Brett explained that the board interfaces with the New Mexico Tech offices of Advancement, Admissions, and Finance. It includes stand committees for 49ers, strategic planning, distinguished alumni, and information services. This last committee is working on electronic means for alumni communication.

Alumni surveys say that alumni want social networking, he said. Our goal is for everyone to have an email address on our alumni site. To achieve this we need private funding.

Brett outlined the Strategic Planning Committee’s research into the operations of other successful alumni associations, including those at Colorado State University, CalTech, and New Mexico Military Institute. As a result, the board is proposing creation of a new alumni association endowment to make the association more self-sustaining over the long term and enable it to better support the university.

In the past, alumni lifetime dues have funded the Alumni Lifetime Scholarship, he said. This is now well endowed with a current balance of $358,000, and the board has directed lifetime dues back to the alumni association. Dues and funding from New Mexico Tech are the association’s only current funding sources, Brett said.

Discussing long-range strategic planning for the Alumni Association, Brett cited the following statistics regarding the number of New Mexico Tech graduates and donors:
Total graduates 1950 to date
Total graduates 1970 to date
Total graduates 1990 to date

Total donors 2005/2006
Total donors 2006//2007
Total donors 2007/2008

We need to address the needs of our younger graduates, and we need to increase our level of giving, he said.

Russ Erbes provided information on how the Colorado Chapter functioned, with emphasis on its service goal of student recruitment.