Dear Fellow Alumni:
I agreed to serve as president of our Medical Alumni Association Board (MAAB) because the medical school and MAAB leadership shared a vision for what our alumni association could become: a proactive organization that engages alumni in a way that’s both enjoyable for alumni and beneficial to our school. As I look back on my term as MAAB president — and welcome Jim Kelly, ’73 MD, who will succeed me this spring — I’d like to reflect on the progress we’ve made over the past two years.
MISSION: In its mission statement, the MAAB declares its purpose “… to foster, among its members, a spirit of loyalty, professional interaction, mentoring and philanthropy, with a particular emphasis on scholarship support, so as to help attract top talent and ensure the continued growth and success of the medical school as a leader in education, patient care and research.”
CONTINUITY: The MAAB has developed a pipeline of leaders and new members, including new student members, to provide our association with institutional memory and position us to explore new approaches to engage alumni. In addition to our standing Engagement, Mentoring and Philanthropy Committees, we have created a Strategic Initiatives Committee specifically charged with piloting new approaches.
ALIGNMENT: We alumni represent a volunteer army with day jobs. To be maximally effective, our activities need to closely align with the priorities of the medical school, alumni and our full-time staff support. To ensure continuity, the MAAB president and president-elect meet at least annually with our dean. We work closely with a highly effective Alumni Affairs staff, including Babette Nyka, Dan Schwarzlose and Jillian Kurtz-Brubaker. Close communication and coordination of our mentoring program with Diane Wayne, ’91 MD, vice dean of Education, helps ensure that our mentoring activities complement those of the full-time faculty. The MAAB Philanthropy Committee works closely with Larry Kuhn, assistant dean for Development.
TALENT: The Engagement Committee has undertaken a strategic analysis of the MAAB to recruit talented and energetic alumni who will enhance diversity in geography and professional background and effectively complement the extremely talented faculty and student body with whom we work.
STUDENTS: The MAAB has increased student representation and given its student members important roles in mentoring and engagement. It has made scholarships a top priority, with the goal of reducing indebtedness, which averaged approximately $175,000 among our 2016 graduates. There has been 100 percent participation among MAAB members in annual giving, with most at the Nathan Smith Davis level. In collaboration with Development, we plan to expand our activities to all alumni.
We also look continuously for ways to support our students. Last fall we launched the HOST (Help Our Students Travel) program, through which alumni provide lodging to fourth-year students interviewing for post-graduate training. The HOST program is completing its pilot year, and we plan to make it available to all fourth-year students next fall.
Finally, we’ve made it a point to engage our students so that we all have fun. For instance, the student-MAAB contingent have joined MAAB members at recent Northwestern football games.
It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as your president. To those who don’t get to Chicago often, or have lost touch and are interested in finding out more about what your alumni organization does or how you can get involved, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
Bruce Scharschmidt, ’70 MD (HPME)
Medical Alumni Association Board President