Colgate Alumni Council Skip Navigation
Fresh buds on the tree branches frame the Colgate chapel on a beautiful spring morning.

Alumni Council Election

Nominees, announced in the winter 2016 edition of the Colgate Scene and listed here, will be officially voted into office during the annual meeting on June 4, 2016.

Colgate University Alumni Corporation

Portrait of Joseph P. McGrath '85, P'15Dear fellow alumni,

I am pleased to serve as the President of the Alumni Council, the Board of Directors for the Colgate University Alumni Corporation. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, or ideas you have for the university and our role as advisers.

Since 1919, the Alumni Council has represented the interests of Colgate alumni. The 55 voting members of the Council represent each ERA, region, and demographics of the alumni body. If you are ever interested in serving in this role, please submit your own recommendation (or for someone you believe is worthy) to the Office of Alumni Relations by September 1 every year. I pledge that the Nominations Committee will fairly review all nominees for this important position.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Colgate and I hope to meet you personally during my term as President.

Yours truly,
Joseph P. McGrath '85, P'15

To the Colgate community

The Alumni Council would like to express our excitement and congratulations at the selection of Brian Casey as Colgate’s 17th president. We also extend our thanks to council members Kathleen Dill ’89 and Jim Smith ’70 for their service on the Presidential Search Committee.

Kathleen and Jim are two of six Alumni Council members who also serve on the Board of Trustees. Their efforts and perspectives — actively representing the alumni body during the interview process — were invaluable.

We would also like to thank Mike Herling ’79, P’08,’10,’12, search committee chair and Board of Trustees vice chair. Mike is an Alumni Council member emeritus, and he spent time with us during our spring meeting to explain the search process. The entire 56-member council was able to give input and feedback on the important characteristics that the alumni community would like to see in Colgate’s next president.

The council is an independent nonprofit corporation, founded more than 90 years ago. Representing all eras and geographies, we meet three times a year on campus to discuss issues with university administrators, staff, faculty, and undergraduates — voicing the views of our fellow alumni in an advisory capacity even as we promote engagement between Colgate, current students, and graduates.

In conscientiously pursuing their duties, Jim, Kathleen, Mike (and, indeed, each of the 11 alumni on the 20-member committee) exemplified the determination with which all Alumni Council members fulfill the organization’s mission.

The Alumni Council

  • A group of 55 alumni leaders who reflect the diversity of the alumni body and its opinions, spanning graduate eras and geographic regions. Read more about the council structure and bylaws.

  • Elected in recognition of exemplary volunteerism, devotion, and consistent financial support to Colgate. Find out more about the nominations and elections process

  • Charged with leading the university’s alumni association, formerly known as the Alumni Corporation.

  • This council is separate from the Board of Trustees, which is entrusted with overseeing the governance of the university. 

  • Six members of the Alumni Council also serve as alumni trustees on the Board of Trustees to provide council perspective and facilitate communication between the two groups. 
Building on a recently completed strategic planning process, the Alumni Council will focus this year on:
  • Expanding communications with alumni 
  • Connecting more effectively with volunteers 
  • Implementing strategic initiatives in collaboration with University programs 
  • Developing an assessment tool to evaluate the Council’s impact
Learn how you can get involved at Colgate!
The mission of the Alumni Council is to: 
  • Support the university and its strategic plan, helping to advance and secure Colgate’s position as a leading liberal arts university, while preserving Colgate’s core values and traditions.
  • Promote dialogue among alumni, students, faculty, administration, and the Board of Trustees on issues of importance to the welfare of the university.
  • Actively support programs, on and off campus, to increase alumni engagement in the life of the university.

Meeting Summaries

September 2016

Fall 2016 Meeting Summary

The Colgate Alumni Council consists of 55 alumni nominated for their exemplary volunteer service to Colgate. Its members represent the approximately 34,000 alumni in the Colgate Alumni Corporation, and each member strives to be a "Colgate ambassador": enhancing the experience of all Colgate alumni by becoming deeply familiar with the state of the college; promoting robust communications, interesting and useful programming, and other modes of connection and engagement; and providing venues for alumni to discuss Colgate issues.

Please read what the Council is working on, follow the links to additional information, and feel free to contact us: we're eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

From September 29 – October 1, 2016, the Alumni Council met in Hamilton for its first meeting of the 2016–2017 academic year. As part of Inauguration and Homecoming activities, the Council conducted its work through its committees and meetings. Below is a summary of the Council's work.

A Special Weekend
The Alumni Council was pleased to participate in a variety of events surrounding the Inauguration of President Brian W. Casey, including a special dinner on Thursday night with trustees, faculty, and guests. Members also processed in the formal ceremony in the Chapel on Friday, September 30.

Homecoming Weekend also included the dedication of the Class of 1965 Arena and the Alumni Council was included at the formal ceremony and reception.

Welcome to New Members
New members to the Alumni Council include: Patricia Spindel '79, William Baker '70, Chad Cooley '00, Robert Burke '85, Ed Witz '89, Stephen Rock '85, Richard Burke '92, Andrew Sweet '93, Betsy Levine-Brown '01, Priit Vesilind '64, and Robert Sobelman '08.

Nominations Committee
The Nominations Committee met on Monday, September 26 in New York City to consider its recommendations for nine nominees for election as directors of the Alumni Council (one candidate from each of the seven Eras and two At-Large candidates), and one Regional Vice President to be appointed by the Council. The Committee considered the qualifications of hundreds of nominees for each director and Regional Vice President position. At the end of the meeting, the Committee had a slate of final nominees for all ten Council positions, along with two alternates for each position in the event one of the final nominees declines. The chair of the committee, Carmine DiSibio ’85 presented the nominees at the General Session on Saturday, October 1 where a vote was taken to approve the slate.

Once candidates accept their nomination, their names will be listed in the winter edition of the Colgate Scene.

Awards Committee
Led by Anne Huntington ‘’07 (Chair), the committee began its annual review of nominees for alumni awards. During the fall meeting, the nominees for Maroon Citation, William Brian Little ‘64 Award, and Ann Yao ’80 Young Alumni Award were discussed

District Clubs Committee
Kaela Mueller ’09, chair, led the committee in a discussion about institutional support for district club volunteers and their programs. Tim Mansfield, Associate Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Relations, provided an overview of Colgate’s Signature Programs and collected feedback from the committee on how to communicate with club volunteers.

We then voted on the three annual awards given by the committee, the Carlton O. Miller '14 Memorial Cup for Outstanding District Club Achievement, the Harold S. Merrell '42 Memorial Award for Most Improved District Club Achievement, and the RuthAnn Spear Loveless Award for Distinguished Individual and Special Recognition.

The Colgate Clubs of Boston, Philadelphia, Albany, the Chenango Valley, and Louisville won the Miller Award; Atlanta and St. Louis won the Merrell, and Paul Lobo '89 (DC) and Karl Fries '10 (Boston) won the Loveless award. The Colgate Club of New York won a Special Recognition for Sustained Excellence, The Club of the Rockies won a Special Recognition for Creative Programming, the Club of Maine won a Special Recognition for Creative Outreach, the Club of Pittsburgh won a Special Recognition for Revitalization, and the Club of Richmond won a Special Recognition for Innovative Excellence.

Advancement Committee
At the Advancement Committee meeting, Jennifer Stone, Director of Annual Giving and Professional Networks, gave a presentation on the alumni giving rate. The alumni giving rate is important as it impacts our rankings in US News and World Report. Thanks in part to the work of the Alumni Council, Colgate was able to increase its alumni giving rate by 3% (to 43%) from FY15 to FY16. Our goal is to reach a 50% alumni giving rate by FY19. The Alumni Council will be called upon to play a role in reaching this goal in the months ahead.

Career Initiatives Committee
Susie Becker Gould ’03 reports that the committee changed its name to describe all aspects of career initiatives at Colgate - Career Services, Thought Into Action, the Fox Management and Leadership Skills Program, the Investment Studies Program and the Colgate Professional Networks. She invited Mike Sciola, Associate Vice President of Advancement and Career Initiatives to provide an update on the growth in companies that hire our students - a huge jump in the last few years. Sciola also provided images of the new Benton Hall - breaking ground soon and due to be complete in the beginning of 2018.

Finally, Mr. Sciola gave an update on Colgate’s financial literacy programs and focus for the committee this upcoming year.

Athletics Committee
Joe McGrath ’85 introduced two guests to the Athletics Committee meeting: Christina Turner from Physical Education and Recreation Sports, and Taurian Houston from Athletics. Ms. Turner presented an overview of the various physical education, intramural, and outdoor programs at Colgate. Mr. Houston provided an overview of recruitment and scholarship practices that Colgate follows for its student athletes.

State of the ‘Gate
Joe McGrath ’85 welcomed guests to the State of ‘Gate luncheon, which invited members of the Admissions Committee and University Relations Committee. They were joined by Dean of Admission Gary Ross ’77 and Dr. Mark Thompson, Interim VP and Dean of the College. Dr. Thompson has served at Colgate for nineteen years as Director of the Counseling Center until he was asked to serve in this capacity for one year.

Thompson discussed a variety of topics including his new responsibilities and about the campus climate for students. He was asked about the Residential Commons, which he expressed as a work in progress but mostly successful. There was a vigorous discussion about the Alumni Council experience at the April meeting at the commons and members expressed their opinion that their experience was far from satisfactory. He spoke briefly about the SGA proposal to the Board of Trustees about Greek Life and clarified that this was a board decision and not within his purview. Finally, the discussion also touched on the sexual assault prevention programs on campus and agreed that this needed further discussion.

Dean Ross reviewed enrollment statistics from the Class of 2020, the current first year class. Ross shared data about their average high school GPA, standardized test scores, and home origin. This class has a slight decrease in Latino/a students but an increase in Chinese students. 9% of the Class of 2020 is from a non-U.S. country. Ross also discussed financial aid resources and emerging regions for new U.S. applicants (Denver, Seattle, Texas, and Illinois).

General Session
On Saturday morning, the Alumni Council held its General Session for all Directors. During that meeting, Co Bertsche ’63 (Legal Counsel) noted several bylaw changes that were under consideration and requested comments prior to the Winter meeting and in advance of formal proposals. The proposals under consideration and explained by Bertsche include: eliminating Life Member voting rights in those instances where approval of a majority of the full Council, including all 13 of the current Life Members, is required, while retaining their right to fully participate and vote in committee and other Council endeavors; advancing the deadline for online elections by one week; assuring the ability to provide for solely electronic voting for directors; moving the date for approval of director nominees from the Winter to the Fall meeting; and changing the name of the Career Services Committee to Career Initiatives Committee. It was requested that comments on these and thoughts regarding any other bylaw changes

be submitted to Mr. Bertsche directly or through Tim Mansfield well in advance of the Winter meeting so that they may be considered and voted upon at that meeting.

Sean Devlin ’05 proposed a resolution for the Alumni Council to support the recent action by the Student Government Association, to request the Board of Trustees explore the expansion of Greek life at Colgate. Since the SGA resolution has not been seen by the Council, it was agreed to table its consideration until the January meeting

Two new director appointments were proposed by President McGrath and approved by the Board as follows: As ERA II director, Jane Porter ’74 replaces Amr Nosseir ’76 who regretfully submitted his resignation due to the demands of his job. As Era IV director, Robert Burke ’85 replaces John Hayes ’88, who has been elected in his own right to the University Board of Trustees.

President McGrath also announced his appointment of Debra Duarte ’81 to replace Vaughn Crowe ’02 as the Chair of University Relations Committee. Vaughn had requested to step down as chair due to the demands of his job; he remains a director.

Mr. McGrath also announced the Executive Committee recommendations for Alumni Trustee, namely Terry Egler ’77 and Robert Johnson ’94 to succeed Gus Coldebella ’91 and Ron Joyce ’73 whose terms expire in June. The Council will officially vote on their selection at the Winter meeting, whereupon the selections will be referred to the Nominating Committee of the University Board of Trustees for its consideration.

Carmine DiSibio ’85, Nominations Committee Chair, announced the Committee’s nominations for ERA and At Large director positions (plus 1st and 2nd alternates) to stand for election at Reunion weekend 2017. The slate was unanimously approved. He also announced the Committee’s nominee (plus 1st and 2nd alternates) for RVP-Upstate New York, Executive Secretary (Tim Mansfield), and Council President (Melissa Coley, current VP) to be voted upon at the Council’s Winter meeting.

Melissa Coley ’79, acting as interim chair of the Nominations Committee (Mr. DiSibio having excused himself), announced the Nominations Committee recommendation of Carmine DiSibio ’85 as the next Vice President of the Alumni Council. The official vote will be held at the Winter meeting.
Past Meetings and Summaries
Winter 2016 meeting of the Alumni Council
Meeting Summary

Fall 2015 meeting of the Alumni Council
Meeting Summary

Spring 2015 meeting of the Alumni Council
Meeting Summary

Winter Meeting of the Alumni Council, January 15 - 17, 2015
January 2015 Meeting Summary
January 2015 Meeting Minutes

Fall Meeting of the Alumni Council, October 9 - 11, 2014
October 2014 Meeting Summary
October 2014 Meeting Minutes

Annual Meeting of the Alumni Council - At Reunion 2014
2014 Annual Meeting Minutes

Spring Meeting of the Alumni Council, April 11 - 13, 2014
April 2014 Meeting Summary
April 2014 Meeting Minutes

Winter Meeting of the Alumni Council, January 17 - 18, 2014
January 2014 Meeting Summary
January 2014 Meeting Minutes

Fall Meeting of the Alumni Council, September 6 - 8, 2013
September 2013 Meeting Summary
September 2013 Meeting Minutes

Annual Meeting of the Alumni Council - At Reunion 2013
2013 Annual Meeting Minutes

Spring Meeting of the Alumni Council, April 13 - 14, 2013
April 2013 Meeting Summary
April 2013 Meeting Minutes

Winter Meeting of the Alumni Council, January 18 - 19, 2013
January 2013 Meeting Summary
January 2013 Meeting Minutes

Fall Meeting of the Alumni Council, September 14 - 15, 2012
September 2012 Meeting Summary
September 2012 Meeting Minutes

Annual Meeting of the Alumni Council 2012 - At Reunion 2012
2012 Annual Meeting Minutes

Spring Meeting of the Alumni Council, April 14-15, 2012
April 2012 Meeting Summary
April 2012 Meeting Minutes

Winter Meeting of the Alumni Council, January 20-21, 2012
January 2012 Meeting Summary

Minutes for meetings held prior to January, 2012 may be obtained by contacting the Office of Alumni Relations at 315-228-7433

Upcoming Meetings

Date Location
January 20–21, 2017 Hamilton, NY
April 7–9, 2017
(also Board of Trustees)
Hamilton, NY
June 3, 2017
Annual meeting*
Hamilton, NY
October 12–14, 2017 Hamilton, NY
January 19-20, 2018 Hamilton, NY
April 6–8, 2018 Hamilton, NY
May 31–June3, 2018
(also Reunion)
Hamilton, NY
September 22, 2018
(also Board of Trustees; Homecoming TBD)
Hamilton, NY
May 30–June 2
Annual meeting*
Hamilton, NY
*Council members are not required to attend the annual meeting. Those on campus for Reunion are encouraged to attend.