• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024
A picture of sinclair campus

In 1954 at Sinclair Community College there was an organization called the Alumni Association. Besides that basic information, the history of the organization remains somewhat mysterious. Just who created the Alumni Association, and what was the reason for its founding?

“We know that the Alumni Association began in 1954 and the Foundation in 1969. It’s unclear exactly when the two offices came together. According to the college Board of Trustee Minutes, Building 15 (now demolished) housed both the Sinclair Foundation and the Alumni Association starting in 1994,” said Shelby Beatty from the Sinclair Archives by email. There are not a lot of details to know who started the Alumni Association.

A tunnel displaying the history of Sinclair

“We have looked through and ask folks in the college, none seem to have any hard copy paperwork on who established the Association” said Catherine Peterson, Chief of Public Information. The Alumni Association was known for their activities and events, including Breakfast with Santa and the A Vintage Affair, which was remembered as the most popular by alumni.

The association had 500 lifetime members, and there were also membership cards that were paid annually. Primary benefits of the card included access to the Physical Activities Center, computer labs and the Learning Resources Center.

By year of 2008 the Alumni Association disbanded, due to the mounting issues arising from the unemployment crisis that Dayton faced during that time. More than 10,000 jobs were ended due to the General Motors plants and the loss of NCR.

However, there is another reason the organization was ended. “The Alumni Association lack sufficient resources, specifically database capabilities and insufficient Alumni data”  said Catherine Peterson Chief of Public information by email.

Despite the Alumni Association disbanding they continued to offer services to the alumni. These services included career search resources, professional development services through Sinclair’s workforce development and access to Sinclair library. They still offer these services to the alumni now in 2022.

In 2018 the Foundation established priorities for the alumni engagement that includes expanding the alumni database, utilizing electronic communication and building a library of alumni profiles. There are many success stories from the alumni that have gotten careers with the help of Sinclair.

“Over time the need for the alumni have change from decade to decade to year to year those needs has change,” said Senior Vice President for Advancement and Regional Strategy Madeline Iseli. In early 2021, Michael Orr was hired as the alumni and donor Relations Officer for the Alumni Connect.

 “The large part of my work has been analyzing resources and working to create plans and how to better engage with the alumni and maintaining that contact,” said Orr

Madeline Iseil, Catherine Peterson and Michael Orr have been working together and releasing surveys for the alumni to bring the students together. With the pandemic, the alumni have agreed to be more connected by email.

They also have other ways to engage the students that have graduated through E-newsletters, commencement materials, and social media. Alumni Connects allows any students to be part of the group, whether they have completed a degree or not.

“Some of the challenges were not having a strong database of alumni. Now we have an expert here to stay connected to the alumni to become involved in other activities.” Said Catherine Peterson

Would there ever be a need to bring back the Alumni Association? “Everything has a season,” said Madeline Iseil. Change happens all the time all around us, colleges change and hire new staff to help create and refine new ways of teaching. For all those students who have left Sinclair, Alumni Connects continues the spirit that the old Alumni Association had, carrying the torch for a new generation of Alumni.

Valencia Bruno

Guest Contributor