Efforts to keep alumni informed stretches to early ’40s
The UWL Alumni Association turns 50 this year, but efforts to reach out to alumni date back much farther than that.
In April 1941 — eight months before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entering World War II — then La Crosse State Teachers College published its first “Alumni Bulletin.”
With a headline of “Help! Help!” the Alumni Relations Committee sought to improve on getting and maintaining alumni addresses. It then went on to read:
This may seem to you to be not too big a job. However, when you consider that there are some three or four thousand alumni of La Crosse and that they are scattered pretty much all over the United States and its possessions and alumni sometimes forget to let us know when they have made a change of address or a change of name, you can begin to see what a task it is.
After years of an Alumni Relations Committee led by alums and faculty, the process of keeping in touch with alumni formalized with the Alumni Association’s founding in 1969. The first executive director, Eleanor Kennedy, ’64 & ’76, took a box of 3 x 5 cards with about 5,000 names and eventually turned it into a more formal database.
The main source of corresponding with alums over the years has been a printed publication. The early black-and-white newsprint Alumni Bulletin transformed into the four-color digest today called the “Lantern.”
Depending on funding available, the printed publication has ranged from quarterly to biannual, says Brad Quarberg, ’85, editor of the piece since 1988. “Our goal remains to keep alumni connected to our beautiful campus,” explains Quarberg. “We know many alums are unable to return as often as they would like, so we try to capture snapshots of nostalgic spots on campus, along with showing them what’s new.”
With the advent of the Internet and social media, the Alumni Association eventually added a monthly online newsletter, along with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
“There are many ways to keep our alumni and friends in touch today,” notes Quarberg. “We strive to reach them in the way they like getting their information.”
Social media platforms also allow alumni to find and stay connected with each other.
Be sure to keep your address information current — and encourage fellow alums to do that as well. Update at:https://www.uwlax.edu/alumni/contact/whats-new-with-you/
It all started with this simple welcome
To the Alumni:
I am glad to greet you in this, our first alumni bulletin. Hereafter we shall try to publish one number every year. We hope that you will like the bulletin and that it will help keep you informed concerning your classmates and friends and what is happening at the Alma Mater.
I am anxious to become personally acquainted with all of you and hope that you will call at the office whenever you are in the city.
Rexford S. Mitchell, President
La Crosse State Teachers College Alumni Bulletin, April 1941
Alumni publication names
Alumni Bulletin 1941-1949
Alumni Briefs 1950-1966
Alumnus 1967-1978; 1981-2011
View all the issues of alumni publications, dating back to April 1941.