The history of alumni relations mostly likely dates back to the turn of the 19th century when Yale organized an annual giving campaign inviting alumni to support their alma mater. Since then, it has evolved into a much more comprehensive role. Although every institution organizes their alumni initiatives a bit differently, alumni relations can encompass fundraising, advocacy, recruitment, student mentoring and more.
But it all starts with engagement. Engaged alumni are more likely to give back to their college or university – whether that be by donating resources, volunteering or sharing their experiences. Engaged alumni are also your institution’s best form of advocacy and marketing.
And according to the London School of Economics ‘events play a hugely important part in maintaining a vibrant, active and engaged alumni community.’ Events also are much more than just reminiscing about old times – alumni events are great ways to network or learn more about topics of interest.
LSE also shares that it is important to keep alumni events diverse to gain the attention of all types of alumni. So in the spirit of alumni event planning, we have come up with a list of unique and thoughtful events that could inspire your school’s event calendar in the upcoming year.
Alumni Art Curator Shares his Passion with Fellow Alumni
The University of Chicago’s Alumni Club of Colorado has organized a private tour of a new Degas exhibit for its alumni and alumni friends and family. The curator, a University of Chicago alumni himself, shares his insights and research on this much-anticipated exhibit.
This event reminds us that alumni can give back in more ways than one – in this case, an alumnus was able to share his career and passion with other alumni through this art event.
Alumni Who Love Wine
When LiveAlumni first heard of a client’s wine event we loved the idea so much we shared it on our blog.
Oakland University in Michigan is taking advantage of local vineyards to offer its young alumni wine tours. St. Ambrose University ‘cheers to fine wine and scholarships’ with their alumni wine festival that raises funds for students. And best yet – University of California Davis has an alumni wine program with ties to ’80 percent of winemakers’ worldwide! This includes various events year-round and an alumni wine collection with a label designed especially for the program by a UC Davis Art Professor.
This Gannon University alumni event brings together various scholarship beneficiaries with their donors. It is a great way for the institution to give thanks to its donors, but also a wonderful way for the students to meet and thank their scholarship funders face-to-face.
Gardening for Alumni
Spring is upon us, and at McMaster University in Canada, they are looking forward to some spring gardening. They are hosting a unique, free event that invites their alumni to the local botanical garden for some year-long tips on how to achieve their gardening goals.
An Anniversary Dinner for 12
University campuses can feel overwhelmingly large at times, but this creative new school event brings various individuals together to connect on a ‘small level’. The University of New Mexico celebrates their school’s anniversary with a dinner party hosted by a school member that introduces a mix of 12 alumni, students or faculty.
This event offers those involved the chance to meet new faces, hear distinct school stories and connect on a different level with the institution.
A Guide to Home Buying for Alumni
This event at Illinois State University, aimed towards young alumni buying their first homes as well as alumni in need of a home-buying refresher, shares the current real-estate trends that one should know before buying a new home.
This event is lead by three alumni who’ve graduated in last decade and are now working in the real-estate industry. Again – a great way that alumni can give back to their university.
Golf Tournament to Raise Funds
This tournament at Carroll University invites its alumni and alumni family and friends to compete in a friendly game of golf to raise money for student-athletes. Those who participate can additionally choose to sponsor an athlete with their sign-up fee.
This fun activity is great for alumni interested in sports, not only are they getting involved but they can also support their passion.
Having a number of diverse events to attract alumni is a great way to increase alumni engagement. The aforementioned events take advantage of local attractions and specific alumni interests. Many of these events leverage connections with alumni who have a skill or career that can be shared with others. Hopefully, these events will serve as fresh new ideas for the future.
If your school has hosted unique alumni event where LiveAlumni was able to help, we would love to hear about it! Share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources & Additional Reading
 Explore the History of Alumni Relations, Case.org
 MARTS & LUNDY SPECIAL REPORT; The Evolving Role of Alumni Relations, Martsandlundy.com
 The importance of the alumni network, Redbrickresearch.com
 A Quick Guide to Alumni Events, Lse.ac.uk
 PRIVATE TOUR OF THE DEGAS EXHIBITION AT THE DENVER ART MUSEUM, Colorado.uchicagoalumni.org
 Event Planning: The Wine World Meets Higher Education, Livealumni.com
 Young Alumni Wine Tour, Oualumni.com
 Alumni Wine Program, Alumni.ucdavis.edu
 SCHOLARSHIP DINNER, Gannonalumni.org
 LAGER LECTURE – FALL POLLINATOR GARDENS, Alumni.mcmaster.ca
 Advance Work, Case.org
 Learn ins and outs of home buying at alumni program, News.illinoisstate.edu
 PIONEER GOLF CLASSIC, carrollu.edu