In April, 2014, Dr. Carolida Steiner was invited to serve as Chairperson of our alumni organization. Doctoral students had, of course, stayed in touch for years and even decades without the help of their own organization.
In April, 2014, I was invited to serve as Chairperson of our alumni organization. Doctoral students had, of course, stayed in touch for years and even decades without the help of their own organization. They had also felt, again without the help of their own organization, a special connection to their particular class. The key was their friendships with one another as well as with faculty members.
Of course, the annual Lindemann Lecture has, for as long as I can remember, given alumni a chance to re-connect and to learn from prominent psychologists. It was, until recently, held on campus. It’s now been moved to Manhattan.
Then there’s the very rare Big Event. The most recent was the November 13, 2015, Celebration of Gordon Derner’s Life and Legacy. I could easily devote an entire column to how great a day it was.
In view of the foregoing, do we need still need our very own alumni organization? I think the answer is “yes.”
It can strengthen relationships that have always existed and help us develop new ones. It can also support our very challenging work lives and allow us to support the next generation of those who, like us, choose to enter “the impossible profession.”
What has our fledgling alumni organization accomplished? We have accomplished a lot in spite of the absence of funding. Thanks to our enthusiastic and caring volunteers, we have had an Envisioning Dinner, 10th Year Parties, Class Reunions, and a brunch at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto.
We also launched the Derner Alumni Collection. One of Adelphi’s more than 40 Special Collections, the Derner Alumni Collection—which showcases the scholarly work of Derner’s doctoral alumni—was the subject of a 2017 exhibit at Swirbul Library.
These early successes confirm my belief that having our own alumni organization is a good idea. That said, we are at a crossroads. The questions that need to be asked and answered now are “What’s next?” and “Where do we go from here?”
There are two ideas regarding which I would like your feedback. The first is “Something-on-Sunday.” It’s a flexible, relaxing, back-to-campus event. The second is “Ask-an-Alum.” It’s a career mentoring program.
“Something-on-Sunday” might work as follows: A campus tour would kick things off. Lunch at the Student Union would follow. Finally, a concert or a play at Adelphi’s Performing Arts Center would complete the day. Alumni could come on their own or bring family and friends. They could join in for one or all three offerings. Besides socializing with one another, Some-thing-on-Sunday would also provide an opportunity for alumni and interested faculty to spend time together.
“Ask-an-Alum” would match a mentor with a mentee for one or more consults on a particular topic. The mentor and mentee could meet in person or speak on the phone. Obvious topics include the following: How to publish a book, how to win over referral sources, how to start a practice, and how to lead a professional organization. However, given the challenges of a long career, the list of potential topics is endless.
Besides helping alumni themselves, every self-respecting alumni organization encourages its members to support their alma mater. Donations are used for scholarships and other good purposes.
In deciding if and how much to give, two points deserve consideration. First, ours is a dues-free organization. If you completed the program and received a doctoral diploma, you are automatically a member. (Yes, it’s kind of like family.)
Second, the number of donors is used as a measure of alumni satisfaction and can help with rankings. In other words, even a modest donation helps.
Can you see your way to giving $100, $1,000, or something more? Whatever the amount, your donation will make a difference.
There are two ways to give. You can send a check, made payable to the “Derner School of Psychology”, to the following address:
Office of University Advancement
Nexus Building, 2nd Floor
1 South Avenue
P.O. Box 701
Garden City, NY 11530
Alternately, you can use Adelphi’s secure website by following this hyperlink (https://auconnect.adelphi.edu/sslpage.aspx?pid+878). There’s a photo of students with the panther statue. Go to the drop down menu labelled “Designation” and select “Derner.” The rest is easy.
A good alumni organization needs to do more than tap into our nostalgia for “the glory days.” It needs to be meaningful to our lives today.
Looking to connect? Here are some ways to do that:
1. If you haven’t heard from Adelphi in a while, you may need to update your contact information. Kathy Bacon-Greenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) will see that this gets done.
2. If you started the program in 2009 or 2010, can you volunteer to organize a 10th Year Party—either in 2019 or in 2020—for your class?
3. If you started the program more than 10 years ago, can you volunteer to organize a Class Party? Class Parties celebrating 25 years and other anniversaries are especially nice.
4. If you know someone who has written or co-written a book, a book chapter, or an article in a peer-reviewed journal, encourage them to donate their work to the Derner Alumni Collection.
5. Would you like to help out, just once, at a Lindemann Lecture or another specific event?
6. Do you have six free hours—in either 2019 or 2020—to help where needed? These gal Friday/guy Friday assignments can be done long distance. They’re a good way to connect if you live out-of-State or abroad.
My e-mail address is email@example.com (Put “Derner Alumni Organization” in the subject line). Whatever your interest or availability, I’d love to hear from you!
All the best,
Carolida Steiner (Ph.D., ’77)
For further information, please contact:
Strategic Communications Director
p – 516.237.8634
e – firstname.lastname@example.org