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Alumni Council takes shape

Volume 7 Number 11 November 14 - December 11 2011

A new era in relations between the University of Melbourne’s 270,000 strong alumni community and the University will begin in the next month, with the first meeting of the newly appointed University of Melbourne Alumni Council. Chris Weaver reports.

The Council was formed to enable University alumni to have a direct impact on strategic areas of University activity, and to strengthen communications across the alumni community.

Over the next two years, the inaugural Alumni Council will identify a set of priority projects relating to areas including supporting institutional excellence, enabling greater communication between the University and alumni, developing and implementing outreach activities that support students, and encouraging a culture of giving to the University.

The 16-member Council will comprise six elected candidates, eight Vice-Chancellor appointed nominees and two non-voting staff representatives.

Elections in August saw 42 nominees from around the world vie for six positions. Diversity is an important indicator of the Council’s value to the University, as is the tally of nearly 6000 votes cast by alumni. All nominees expressed their commitment to serve the Council for two years.

Ms Leonie Boxtel, Director of Alumni Relations, notes that the alumni community responded well to the invitation for greater involvement in the University’s operations.

“It has been fantastic to see so many alumni keen to contribute to the Council,” Ms Boxtel says.

“What the election demonstrates is that we have an engaged and committed alumni community who want to have their say in University governance. It has been particularly pleasing to see the spread of age and professional backgrounds of those vying for a position on the Alumni Council.”

The inaugural Council members are: President Dr Ros Otzen (BA(Hons) 1967, GDipEd 1969, PhD 1987), Mr James Brooks (BE 2005), Professor David Hill (BA 1964, MA 1975, PhD 1985), Ms Clare Cummins (BCom 1985), Dr Joseph Doyle (MBBS(Hons), BA(Hons) 2002), Dr Jennifer Stillman (BVSc(Hons) 1984, MVSc 1992), Mr Michael Symons (BCom, LLB(Hons), DipArts(Hist) 2006, LLM 2011) Ms Misty Jenkins (BSc(Hons) 2000, PhD 2007), Mr David Laidlaw (LLB 1975), Ms Niki Calastas (MA(Gen&Dev) 2004), Ms Rachel Teo (BCom 1991, PGDipEco 1992) and Mr Mike Yang (BCom 2005).

Respectively based in California and Singapore, Ms Calastas and Ms Teo give the Alumni Council a firm international presence. Their membership will encourage and stimulate further engagement with alumni outside Australia.

The Council President, Dr Ros Otzen, describes the six newly elected Council members as “extraordinarily talented” individuals.

Dr Otzen will lead a Council that aims to further extend opportunities for alumni around the world, reaffirming relationships with students, and between former students and staff of the University.

As President, Dr Otzen will be tasked with crafting “a modern body that responds and contributes to a modern university”.

Mr James Brooks, Manager – Operational Transaction Services at Ernst & Young, believes the Council will extend opportunities for both alumni and current students.

“The University of Melbourne offers an amazing experience for students and we need to ensure this experience does not end at graduation, but rather is fostered through authentic relationships between all alumni and the University,” he says.

The Alumni Council will report annually to the University Council. Decisions and minutes of meetings will be posted to the Alumni Council webpage

http://alumni.unimelb.edu.au/get-involved/alumni-council).