The St. Louis Advisory Council of Rockhurst University Meeting

The St. Louis Advisory Council of Rockhurst University
Meeting Minutes from September 13th, 2012
The Rockhurst University St. Louis Advisory Council began its fiscal 2013 slate of meetings on
Thursday, September 13th at the offices of Frontenac Bank, hosted by Rick Heinrichs, President of
the St. Louis Advisory Council for fiscal 2013. Returning members of the SLAC in attendance,
(along with their current committee positions) were as follows:
Rick Heinrichs, President
Cis Thum, Social Chairwoman
Juliette Losapio, Spirituality Co-Chair
Megan Hoffman (formerly Tietjens) Spirituality Co-Chair
Dan Holmes, Service Chair
Keith Goltschman, Membership/Recruitment Chair
Elizabeth Connelly
Mary Carnoali
Bill Newbold, Secretary
Returning Members of the Council not in attendance were:
Dave Herdlick
Maureen Hermann (because of a work conflict, Maureen will be Inactive in Fiscal 2013)
New Members of the SLAC included the following members, along with our parent
Patrick Feagan
Ryan Kelly
Ted Toczylowski
Garrett Fischer
Lauren Caldwell
Martin Lenihan, Parent Representative
Rockhurst University Executive Staff included:
Mary Landers, Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations
Sue Wallace, Development Officer
The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the Council’s objectives, recap key
objectives that were met in fiscal 2012, and outline our key objectives for fiscal 2013 and beyond,
as determined by the Council’s Strategic Plan. In addition, the Council will need to discuss and
approve the Strategic Plan.
Rick Heinrichs began the meeting by welcoming everyone to the SLAC and opened with a prayer,
with special recognition to the new SLAC members, as noted above. Rick then suggested that
each member of the Council introduce themselves and give a little background information as to
their graduation year and place of employment, and previous involvement with the university.
Rick outlined the plans and agenda for the meeting and asked Mary Landers from RU to present
her Directors Report to the Council.
DIRECTOR’S REPORT by MARY LANDERS, Rockhurst University:
Mary began her report by enthusiastically reporting that Rockhurst University is enjoying its
largest freshman class ever, with a freshman enrollment of 449 for the Fall Semester. This was
up significantly from the 326 freshmen the previous year, and eclipsing the previous enrollment
record of 417 students in 2009. The increase in enrollments was largely attributed to the
university spending more time communicating with potential students and their parents,
insuring that families knew the opportunities for attendance at Rockhurst University. In addition,
the university worked hard to make a Rockhurst education attainable by increasing academic
Following the enrollment update, Mary mentioned that the campus looks great and the beginning
of the academic school year was exciting and vibrant with the increased enrollment and
mentioned several events that should drive awareness and attendance to the university, namely
the following:
The Leadership Series, featuring Mr. George Will on September 27th
Family and Alumni Weekend on September 28th and 29th
The Family and Alumni weekend will be packed with sporting events and various alumni events,
including an Alumni Awards banquet. Mary encouraged members to attend the Family and
Alumni weekend.
Mary then mentioned the work that she and the Executive Members of the Council (Rick
Heinrichs, Cis Thum, and Bill Newbold) undertook to recap the previous fiscal year and to outline
the Councils goals and objectives. She mentioned that those items would be discussed at this
meeting by the respective Council members and that the full Council would have time to discuss
those items as part of our meeting objectives.
Before concluding her presentation, Mary reminded the SLAC that her team had developed a
central location for the SLAC to access meeting documents and other items of importance. Mary
said that Council members can visit the St. Louis Advisory Council Electronic Handbook that her
team has posted online. If the above link does not work, you can access the sited at Mary emphasized that this will be a great tool for
Council members and asked that members save this important resource to their “favorites” list.
In addition, Mary reminded Council members that we need to formally approve the Strategic Plan
for fiscal 2013 and that we need to fill the following committees with Chairs:
Admission and Recruitment
Development Chairman
Young Alumni
Rick thanked Mary Landers for her great work with Alumni Relations. She is very committed and
offers the Council a great resource for building the St. Louis area outreach. The Electronic
Handbook mentioned above is just one of the many resources that Mary and her team have built
for us. In addition, she has worked very hard to help Alumni Councils around the country become
more effective and to help build the brand of Rockhurst University.
REGIONAL REPORT by SUE WALLACE, Rockhurst University
Sue began her report by highlighting alumni events and plans to continue to build awareness
throughout the St. Louis Alumni base and how her outreach efforts were developing. Sue
mentioned that the university’s outreach continues to build through a number of channels,
including social media and special events designed to bring alumni together and build
relationships with the entire RU community in St. Louis. The new Facebook page for St. Louis
alumni opened in July and highlights upcoming alumni events. Other notable ideas included
Continuing Education events, where Rockhurst Alumni can gather to earn professional education
credits for their profession (largely legal, accounting, and financial professionals) and business
networking events among RU alumni. Sue mentioned that she will continue to expand the social
media channels as part of her objectives and she encourage the Council for feedback and
participation in developing these channels.
Sue also mentioned the continued success of the Arch Angels Scholarship program, whereby
groups of alumni commit to 4 years of donations to fund a scholarship for a student that
otherwise cannot afford an education at RU. Given its success, the program has been rolled out to
other cities, and Sue mentioned the opportunity to start new Arch Angel groups and she would be
happy to offer her assistance for any member who would like to participate.
Sue also highlighted upcoming marquee events, namely the first recipient of the school’s Magis
Award, Tony Tocco (PhD in Accounting and the long-time Men’s Soccer Coach) to be held on
Saturday, January 13th at the The Heart of St. Charles Banquet Center. The entire RU community
is excited for this event because of Tony’s reach throughout the school among its numerous
accounting and business majors, along with a sizeable number of soccer alumni in the St. Louis
area (including Keith Goltschman and Bill Newbold from our Council). Sue encouraged all
members to attend and mentioned there are sponsorship opportunities at the Award Dinner.
Sue then mentioned how the work of the university and committed alumni is building awareness
in St. Louis and other Rockhurst communities. Giving participation rates are up and recent
campaigns have been very successful, namely the Project 700 campaign, which encouraged
participation of 700 new alumni donors to the University. Participation rates increased from
11.3% to 19.3%, placing RU among the leaders in participation rates among universities. Both
Sue and Mary Landers emphasized in various segments of their presentations that the key to
growing donors is to increase attendance at events. This sense of belonging fosters giving among
alumni and broadens the reach of alumni donors for the university. Sue and Mary reported that
initial correlation levels of attendance to alumni giving were 44% but that the correlation levels
grew to 60%. So the emphasis is clear, alumni that attend events tend to give to the university
and that we should be focused on driving attendance to our events.
The Council commended Sue for her great work and highlighted that the awareness level within
the St. Louis community of RU alumni is much higher given her presence in the community and
her work in meeting with various alumni over the years. Sue then concluded her remarks and
mentioned that she is always open for ideas as she continues to build the university’s reach
among alumni. There being no questions for Sue, the Council moved on Rick Heinrichs
presentation, providing a recap for Fiscal 2012.
Rick began his presentation by stating the fiscal 2012 was a good year. We continue to build
awareness among the St. Louis Alumni community as evidenced by our participation rates with
respect to Alumni giving. As mentioned in presentations by Mary Landers and Sue Wallace,
alumni participation was up from 11% last year to 19% this year, largely driven by Project 700.
Rick emphasized that our objective is meant, not solely to drive alumni giving, but to advance the
awareness and effectiveness of the SLAC within the alumni community. And Rick believes that
our efforts have reached new alumni, as evidenced by the new faces at our major events. Rick
mentioned that 60% of the attendees at our Christmas Party were new attendees, thereby
showing that our outreach is effective. In addition, with 43% of the incoming freshman class
coming from St. Louis, Rick mentioned that we have a unique opportunity to cultivate and build
the presence of the SLAC to a broadening audience of current and future alumni. There being no
questions or comments, Rick moved into the discussion of the Strategic Plan for fiscal 2013.
Rick Heinrichs and Mary Landers laid the foundation for the discussion by mentioning that
members of the Executive Team (Cis Thum, Keith Goltschman, Rick Heinrichs, and Bill Newbold)
met August 16th, 2012 to revisit the key objectives for the 1-3 year strategic plan for the SLAC. As
part of our structural duties, this plan would need to be approved by the SLAC tonight so we can
enact the plan for fiscal 2013. Rather than re-type the document, SLAC members can access the
Strategic Vision Plan on the St. Louis Advisory Council Electronic Handbook site, but the crux of
the report and the primary objectives of the plan were centered on the following:
Council Structure
Admission and Recruiting
Advancement and Fundraising
Alumni Events and Programming
Discussion on each metric above, followed by the primary objective of each concentration, along
with some notable discussion items, were as follows:
Council Structure: Objective: In order to successfully advance the efforts for the St.
Louis Alumni Chapter it was determined that the following development practices
should be integrated into the current council structure.
It is recommended that the following committees be established
which will adequately represent the strategic efforts of the council:
1. Spirituality
2. Service
3. Social
4. Advancement/Fundraising
5. Admission/Recruiting
6. Membership
7. Young Alumni
8. Continuing Education
The St. Louis Advisory Council will integrate measurable goals for
each council member. This includes specific committee assignments
for each council member and/or active chairman role. Council
members will be responsible for forming active, vibrant committees
as deemed necessary by the council structure. Council members will
be responsible for reporting committee progress at quarterly council
As mentioned previously, there are three chair positions open that needed to be filled.
After some discussion among the Council, the following committee’s were filled as follows:
Admission and Recruitment – Mary Carnoali
Development Chairman – Lauren Cardwell
Young Alumni – Ted Toczylowski
The St. Louis Advisory Council will seek to increase event
participation by 10%. This goal will be based on individual
events and will use attendance numbers from FY11 as the
baseline for measuring success.
Objective: The St. Louis Advisory Council is committed to increasing the percentage of
alumni giving in the St. Louis area. In order to successfully reach this goal the
following initiatives are suggested.
The St. Louis Advisory Council will recommend in the bylaws that each
council member be responsible for a minimum $500 annual (FY)
contribution to the Rockhurst Fund. Exception will be made for council
members who classify as Young Alumni (graduated 10 years or less and/or
are under the age of 35) who will be asked for a $100 minimum annual (FY)
contribution to the Rockhurst Fund.
The goal of the St. Louis Advisory Council is to continually develop initiatives to
increase the alumni participation giving rate each fiscal year.
The St. Louis Advisory Council is committed to being a 100% giving
Objective: The council recognizes the great history and tradition of St. Louis students
that attend Rockhurst University. In an effort to cultivate future students and aid in
the recruitment efforts the following initiatives are suggested.
The St. Louis Advisory Council will assist in suggesting, selecting and inviting
St. Louis alumni to host “in home” receptions for admitted students in the St.
Louis area. These receptions will be coordinated through the Rockhurst
Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations and the Office of Admission.
The St. Louis Advisory Council will serve as a resource to the Rockhurst
Office of Admission by providing alumni resources for college fairs, high
school visits and other recruiting initiatives as needed and coordinated
through the Office of Admission.
The St. Louis Advisory Council is committed to increasing the alumni
participation rate at the annual St. Louis Send- off Picnic held each summer.
As a reminder, the entire Strategic Plan can be found on the Council website as
previously mentioned throughout these minutes.
After several minutes of general group discussion, a motion was presented by Elizabeth
Connelly to the Council that the Strategic Vision for Fiscal 2013 be approved for the
Council’s activities. The motion received a “second” and was unanimously approved.
There being no further comments, the final presentation was that of the Social Chair, Cis Thum.
Cis mentioned that our social activities will continue to focus on four primary events within the
RU alumni base and these events tend to well-liked and well-attended. In addition, we will layer
in special events, like the Magis Award dinner and smaller events to supplement our activities.
The events, along with the scheduled dates and times, are:
Palm Sunday Mass – Sunday, March 24th at 10:00 AM
Christmas Party at the Kirkwood Train Station – November 30th (Friday)
SLU versus RU in basketball – Scheduled for November 3rd at 2:00 PM (Saturday)
St. Louis Cardinals Baseball - TBD
Magis Award Dinner Special Event – Saturday, January 12th from 6-10 PM at the Heart of St.
Charles Banquet Center (1410 South Fifth Street)
Cis then mentioned that her goals will continue to center on increasing attendance and building
diversity among attendees. Cis mentioned to the group that in order to achieve these goals, we
would need to increase our exposure to parents, younger alumni, and those groups from the
“missing decades”, which Cis mentioned as the 60’s, the 70’s, and the 90’s. In order to reach these
“missing decades” we will begin utilizing “class captains”, which will focus on reaching those
specific decades. In addition, we will try to incorporate “service” into our events in an effort to
reach broader groups and fulfill the “service to others” aspect of our alumni community.
As part of the discussion, Cis mentioned that we will change some events up this year in an effort
to reach more people. Here are some of the changes that will occur as to our events:
With respect to the Christmas Party at the Kirkwood Train Station, we will schedule the event on
a Friday night in an attempt to avoid office Christmas parties that can hamper our attendance.
We obviously can’t avoid all schedule conflicts, but Cis felt that we should try this in an attempt to
drive more attendance. The Council agreed and the Christmas Party is scheduled for Friday,
November 30th at the Kirkwood Train Station.
As to the Cardinals game, there was active discussion about potentially moving the format to
“every other year”, as attendance continues to decline for this event. The Cardinals-Cubs baseball
weekend in Chicago continues to draw very well and that may be hampering attendance at the St.
Louis baseball event (alumni may just be picking one baseball game per year to attend as an
alumni and the Cardinals-Cubs weekend may be the more attractive draw). In addition, extreme
heat and location of the venue versus the original location (when RU alumnus Mark Lamping was
president of the Cardinals) may also be impacting attendance. The council will continue to
consider how we package the venue in order to maximize our participation and we will explore
other ways to restore the event’s luster with the St. Louis Alumni community, but we have
decided to skip the summer of 2013 until we can get a better feel for the event.
With respect to the Palm Sunday Mass, it was agreed that this was our strongest event. It draws
over 200 attendees and draws rave reviews from the families that attend. The Mass and our
gathering is at the core of all that the university stands for and represents a wonderful way in
which alumni, parents, and new enrollees can come together. It was decided that an Easter Egg
Hunt was not needed to enhance the program.
Mary Landers then asked the group to discuss the best way to communicate with alumni and that
the group should consider the merits between e-mail and “save-the-date” postcards. The SLAC
encouraged that the Alumni office moves away from postcards and rely more on electronic
communication, when possible. There may be times and events when a postcard makes sense
but in an effort to reduce costs, the Council recommended prudence when using traditional mail.
There being no further discussion on the Social area, President Rick reminded the SLAC of the
upcoming meeting dates for the Council. They are as follows:
November 15th, 2012
January 10th, 2013
March 14th, 2013
May 9th, 2013
Respectfully submitted,
Bill Newbold