Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Guest Blog: Engaging Retired Alumni

I'd like to thank Tom Braddock his devout interest and participation as a board member in San Diego's alumni chapter and for sharing his thoughts on engaging alumni. 

~Sara Quarterman '04

This year I was presented with some statistics about Trinity alumni that didn't surprise me so much as baffle me because it seems contrary to what I might have expected. Did you know that the class representation of Trinity alumni who graduated prior to 1970 drops significantly by each preceding decade? See the statistics below:

Tom Braddock, '57 and '66
COL, US Army, Retired
2010-2011 ranking of class representation at alumni events
              ·         ’10-’19: 5%
              ·         ’00-’09: 28% ( up 9% from previous year)
              ·         ’90-’99: 13% (up 3% from PY)
              ·         ’80-‘89: 8% (up 1% from PY)
              ·         ’70-’79: 7% (no change from PY)
              ·         ’60-’69: 3% (no change from PY)
              ·         ’50-’59: 1% (no change from PY)
              ·         ’40-’49: less than 1% (no change from PY)

What does this mean? First of all, there is an incredible turnout of newly graduated alumni—the alumni office must be working hard on campus to encourage soon-to-be alumni to seek out and get involved in their local chapters. I suspect that as a result of the increasingly competitive job market, new graduates are turning to the vast networks of Trinity alumni through local chapters and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn* in search of job leads. Another highly active demographic-those who graduated in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s-are likely mid-career and in the midst of family rearing with highly complex schedules. As the demographics age, you discover that retired alumni, with more potential for free time then the younger demographics, are participating in fewer numbers. 

Hopefully you can you see the conundrum this causes the rational mind. The question then is: Why do alumni with full schedules choose to be active in an ancillary activity while those with free time elect not to participate? With the addendum: How do we engage older alumni? 

As an aside, I recently had the privilege of spending a couple of hours with a 1970 TU graduate who was among the last of the full football scholarship players who after graduation went on to local notoriety in San Francisco and San Diego as a TV news anchor for CBS and NBC. We thoroughly enjoyed discussing anything and everything about our respective time at Trinity and I believe we could have gone on for another two hours if I hadn’t needed to leave. Subsequent emails to me attested to his profound interest in our local chapter in particular and Trinity in general. Go figure when set side by side with my previous comments!

Tom Braddock, '57 and '66
COL, US Army, Retired

* ‘Trinity University Alumni’ is a members only group on LinkedIn. If you wish to utilize this platform to network with fellow alumni simply search for the group and request to become a member.

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