Service with the Alumni Society is an Opportunity to Support the College
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Patricia Best '89 D.Ed. CN ED, immediate past-president of the College of Education Alumni Society Board, describes the activity of the alumni society as nurturing and supporting the culture of excellence in the College of Education: "As a wise Navajo educator said, 'If we do not water the seeds of our culture, they will wither and die.' He was describing educational efforts to preserve customs, traditions, and knowledge for the benefit of current and future generations."
"The future focus of our strategic plan is in supporting the values of the College of Education and Penn State, in nurturing those precious seeds through our service, recognitions of excellence, and philanthropy," said Best. "We understand that that which is not valued, supported, and preserved through the active, intentional efforts of the leaders of the group rarely survives and seldom thrives."
The College of Education Alumni Society is comprised of more than 19,000 members and provides a means for alumni to come together and to help to improve the College and the University. According to Best, the society contributes by nurturing the continuing interest of graduates in the future of the College, serving as an informal source of feedback and advice to the leadership of the College, and engaging in efforts that result in improvement of the quality of the programs of professional preparation.
Any College alumni who are members of the University Alumni Association are also members of the College Alumni Society. Getting involved with the Alumni Society is as easy as visiting the College of Education's website, contacting Phil Hoy, the assistant director of alumni relations, or talking to anyone who serves on the Alumni Society Board.
Alumni involvement can take many forms. Alumni can run for a position on the College Alumni Society Board, which oversees the activities of the Alumni Society. However, alumni can get involved in a variety of ways with varying levels of commitment.
For instance, the Alumni Student Teacher Network is an exciting program for alumni. The College has three regional student-teaching sites. Alumni in these areas interact with student teachers through networking, training sessions, and a culminating celebration at the end of the school year.
Alumni can also join any of the six Affiliate Program Groups. These groups have a common interest in a specific program area in the College, namely, higher education, educational leadership, multicultural advancement, workforce education, American Indian Leadership Program, and the Professional Development School.
The Alumni Mentors Program is the newest opportunity for alumni to serve as mentors to College of Education students. "Engaging with students is often mentioned as one of the favorite parts of being involved in the Alumni Society. Those connections remind us of why our efforts on behalf of the College are so important," Best said.
The Alumni Society is not only beneficial for the alumni themselves, but for the future and quality of the College of Education. For Best, the two major areas in which the Society positively affects the College of Education are recognizing excellence and generous philanthropy. Annually the Alumni Society recognizes distinguished alumni through various awards. The board and society members also contribute to scholarships and special initiatives, to endowments for programs, improvements for facilities, and other areas.
"It is invigorating and rewarding to be part of a board that shares a common commitment to contribute to a culture of learning and excellence. That is why I became, and remain involved with the Alumni Society Board," said Best.
Best completed her two-year term as president on July 11, 2014. On the date, Bill Vitori became the current president. He will serve for two years.
--by Amanda Dash (June 2014)