Very few students really take the alumni association into account when they’re researching where they want to go to college. Why should you bother? Isn’t the alumni association just a stuck-up old boys’ club? It’s such a long way into the future, and how does it really impact you anyway? How can alumni help students when they’re just trying to get into college? Well, the alumni association might have some old boys in it, but it will also have some of the most important people in your college career, if you’re looking at one of the colleges and universities with the best alumni networks.
What Makes a Great Alumni Association
Researching the alumni association of your top choice colleges should be part of any prospective student’s college search. Why? For one thing, alumni are often heavily involved in recruitment – you may even have an alumnus interviewing you when you apply. Once you’re in, the alumni are a major force in sponsoring scholarships, and they’re often the ones deciding who gets paid and who doesn’t. At the other end of the college journey, alumni are key to conquering the job market; high-powered alumni offer internships, put in a good word with their colleagues, write recommendation letters, and do everything they can to grease the wheels for their fellow alums.
And, of course, it’s worth researching the alumni association because if all goes well you’ll be one of them in the future. You’ll be the one sending annoying letter asking for donations out to other alumni. You’ll be responsible for passing on the good vibes, writing the recommendations, offering up a spot for interns at your company. If you make the right choice and make good on your opportunity, you’ll be able to carry on the tradition that makes the best alumni networks a crucial part of college life.
Ranking the Best Alumni Networks
It’s hard to judge what makes a great college alumni association, but College Consensus is all about doing the hard work so you don’t have to. To rank the best alumni networks, we had to start somewhere. Our initial list was drawn from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence Awards, which recognizes a part of colleges and universities that doesn’t generally get the attention they deserve – the staff.
The CASE awards provide a baseline for colleges and universities that are doing great things with their alumni associations, but Consensus is concerned with getting the whole picture. That’s why the institutions in the Best Alumni ranking are placed in order of their Consensus Score, which brings together published reviews from experts and real student reviews.
Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ
Princeton University has been in operation for the past 273 years – that means a lot of high-powered alumni. Presently, Princeton’s alumni exceed 93,000 graduates who can be found across the globe in 155 different nations. In fact, two alumni have served as Presidents of the United States and three alumni served as honorable justices on the United States Supreme Court. Princeton’s 160 regional alumni communities offer yearly reunions and networking events are regularly attended by more than 26,000 alumni. The alumni of Princeton University donate their time and efforts to the many school-sponsored volunteer programs.
Princeton University was established in 1746 as the College of New Jersey. The school holds the distinction of being one of the original nine colonial colleges that were chartered prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Princeton University is noted for having the nation’s biggest endowment amount per each student enrolled.
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA
Stanford University’s alumni association membership exceeds 95,000 and benefits from one of the best alumni networks imaginable. Benefits include the career services division that opens employment options from alum to alum. Stanford’s alumni receive perks and events to attend. Stanford’s alumni center is open to all alumni in need of a business center, the Bing Library, the alumni café, or even a place to borrow a bicycle. Additionally, the Alumni Center is a great place to enjoy the renowned gardens with fifty indigenous species of plants. The Stanford Alumni association also publishes the award-winning Stanford Magazine, which facilitates all alumni’s connection to the school and other Stanford alumni.
An ex-US senator established Stanford University in 1891. The school’s 8,000+-acre campus is home to more than 16,000 students and situated less than 45 minutes from the city by the bay, San Francisco. Stanford tops many academic lists for schools of excellence and has even been referred to by Slate as the Harvard of the modern era.
Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA
Harvard University’s Alumni Association includes graduates from Harvard’s Business School and Harvard’s Law School, among other graduates. The HAA’s constitution details the association’s purpose – to promote the school and create a mutually beneficial relationship. Its mission is to be among the best alumni associations in the country. Harvard University’s Alumni Association dispenses two HAA awards — the Harvard Medal (which recognizes exceptional service to the school) and the Harvard Alumni Association Award (which is given to the HAA member who has shown true dedication and commitment to the HAA). The HAA offers its members events around the world, reunions, club activities and continuing education.
Harvard University was established in 1636 and holds the distinction of being the oldest university in the country. Harvard’s innovation and excellence have influenced the world for centuries. The school’s 200+-acre campus in the heart of Cambridge is home to more than 22,000 students. Harvard University generally ranks as the #1 institution of higher learning among the top college ranking services.
Amherst CollegeAmherst, MA
Amherst College’s alumni membership exceeds 23,000 members. One of Amherst College’s fundamental objectives is to ensure that the Amherst education experience does not end at commencement ceremonies. The alumni association offers several ways to connect with other alumni members and with the school’s library resources. The association offers Amherst merchandise, career resources, academic journals, publications, and yearly updates of Amherst College’s alumni activities and events.
Amherst College is a private institution of higher learning that was established 1821 as a men’s school. Amherst College, a nonprofit school, is a part of the five-school consortium in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. These include Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, UMass Amherst and Hampshire College. The school is home to the Bassett Planetarium, a free-of-charge planetarium that is available by appointment. The Wall Street Journal has ranked Amherst College the top liberal arts school in the nation.
Brown UniversityProvidence, RI
Brown University’s alumni association, Brunonia, operates online providing easy access to old friends and colleagues. Brunonia is designed to foster an alumni community of lifelong connections. To this purpose, they have created alumni directories, activities, clubs, events, and welcome-kits for alumni moving to alumni association areas. Brown University’s alumni association offers something for everyone — The Brown Travelers Program, the Campus Dance and Reunion Weekends. Brown alumni can even pick up some perks like reduced insurance rates and free access to Rosetta Stone. The Maddock Alumni Center is open year round.
Brown University was established in 1764 as the Rhode Island College. Brown University holds the distinction of being a colonial college and an Ivy League university. Brown University holds the distinction of being the first institution of higher education that accepted applicants regardless of their religious affiliation. University historians denote that Brown University was used as a hospital and barracks for American troops from 1776-1780.
Dartmouth CollegeHanover, NH
Dartmouth College celebrated its 250 anniversary this year. Dartmouth’s alumni association sponsors many reunions each year. Other events sponsored by Dartmouth’s Alumni association include Camp Dartmouth weekends and organized events around existing sports rivalries like the Princeton v. Dartmouth classic, played in the famous Yankee Stadium. Dartmouth Alumni Travel sets up – and manages all the plans and details – for more than 35 international trips for alumni and their families. The alumni travel program offers a series of unique explorations to destinations across the globe, and another series dedicated to exploring the world’s tallest mountains.
Dartmouth College was established in 1769. Dartmouth is recognized as the 9th oldest school that is also a member of the original colonial colleges established before the revolution. Dartmouth College holds the honor of being one of nation’s Ivy League institutions of higher learning. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Dartmouth College as among the elite research and teaching schools in the country.
Rice UniversityHouston, TX
Rice University’s alumni association has been created to ensure all alumni have easy access to Rice’s resources, and to one another. The Association of Rice Alumni (ARA) provides an innovative access point called the Rice Portal — an online portal with a user-friendly alumni directory, and enhanced alumni services. The Association of Rice Alumni offers several awards: The Laureates Awards (for distinguished contributions), The Builders Awards (enhancing Rice’s reputation through leadership), and the Sallyport Award (to the bachelor’s and master’s degree graduate that reveals a commitment to ARA).
Rice University was established in 1912. Rice University’s 200-acre urban campus is home to more than 7,000 students and situated alongside the world-famous Texas Medical Center and the eclectic Museum District in the city of Houston. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Rice University as one of the top 20 institutions of higher education in the country.
Duke UniversityDurham, NC
Duke University is about to open its brand-new Karsh Alumni & Visitor’s Center – a cutting-edge facility dedicated the school’s alumni events and services. Duke’s Karsh Alumni Center includes an office building, a meeting facility, and pavilion to manage the larger Duke alumni events. Duke alumni center is likely to be considered one of the best alumni networks in the nation. The Karsh Alumni Center also includes a central grass-filled land for the events larger than several guests. The Duke Alumni Association (DAA) is on a mission to continue the Duke tradition that follows graduates wherever they may go.
Duke University was established as a private institution of higher learning in 1838. Duke University’s 8,500+-acre campus is home to nearly 16,000 students. Duke University is deemed a highly selective university having received over 40,000 applications for the 2023 class, and accepting only seven percent. Duke University is placed within the top ten institutions of higher learning on relevant national school rankings.
Smith CollegeNorthampton, MA
Smith College’s Alumnae Association began with an idea of a Smith College graduate in 1880. The Alumnae Association is therefore considered one of the oldest and best alumni associations in the nation. The Alumnae Association was legally incorporated in the early 1930s and currently boasts a worldwide membership of over 40,000 Smith College alumni. The alumni association offers discounts on the school’s infamous scarves, insurance, Smith Athletic membership and credit/debit cards, and the opportunity to join the Princeton Club.
Smith College was founded in 1871. The school is an exclusive women’s private institution of higher education that is a member of the Seven Sisters. The school’s campus is located in the small town of Northampton in Western Massachusetts, a short drive from the New York State border. U.S. News & World Report recognizes Smith College as a top liberal arts college in the nation.
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York, NY
Columbia University’s Alumni Center is located in the Morningside Heights area of New York, NY. The school’s alumni membership exceeds 350,000 graduates. Columbia’s alumni can take advantage of lodging, insurance, and credit card discounts. Additionally, they can partake in lifelong learning projects, travel study programs, and the alumni’s virtual wine cellar. Columbia’s easy access online database of alumni allows graduates to search on a variety of variables. Columbia’s alumni local associations are located throughout the United States and in more than 60 locations throughout the world.
Columbia University was established in 1754 as the King’s College. Columbia University is considered one of the esteemed Ivy League universities and the oldest school in the Empire State. The school’s 300-acre urban campus is home to more than 33,000 students. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Columbia University as the eighth finest university in the world.
University of ChicagoChicago, IL
The University of Chicago’s Alumni Association (AA) welcomes both alumni and their families to the many resources available through the Alumni Association. The awesome benefits available from the school make its AA one of the best alumni networks in the country. Many of UChicago alumni benefits can be found online through AlumniU. These include an alumni directory, Alumni Events, Discounts for Graham School Courses, Monthly Webinars Regarding Career Guidance, and Campus Privileges regarding the school’s athletic facilities, library resources.
The University of Chicago was established in 1890 in Chicago’s Hyde Park area, close to Lake Michigan. The school’s 200-acre urban campus is home to more than 16,000 students from its many elite schools that offer degrees in Medicine, Business, Low, Public Policy, Divinity and Social Services, among others. The University of Chicago operates satellite campuses in Delhi, London, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Paris, so alumni are truly global.
Washington University in St LouisSaint Louis, MO
The Washington University in St. Louis Alumni Association (AA) sets up a global community of WashU’s alumni and families. The Washington University in St. Louis proudly boasts 130,000+ graduates across the globe representing pretty much every profession. The Alumni Association offers more than 50 WashU alumni networks across the country and even more internationally. As one of the best alumni associations, WashU’s Alumni Association also provides arrangements for reunions, social media, and the school’s travel programs,
Washington University in St. Louis is a private institution of higher learning that was established in 1853 and named for the first president of the US. The school’s 340+-acre urban campus is home to a student enrollment that exceeds 15,000 students studying from seven colleges/schools. Washington University in St. Louis holds the honor of hosting more presidential/vice-presidential debates than any other university.
University of Notre DameNotre Dame, IN
The University of Notre Dame’s alumni association is called Alumni & Friends. Notre Dame’s alumni association began 150 +years ago during the school’s humble beginnings. One of the primary benefits of the alumni association is IrishCompass – an online community that offers job postings, networking opportunities, and mentoring programs. Alumni keep in touch with one another through online directories or by meeting up at Notre Dame’s alumni events. Notre Dame’s alumni association is considered one of the best alumni networks in the nation.
The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1842 and is affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross. The University of Notre Dame’s 12,000+ students earn their degrees on the school’s 1,250+-acre campus in Notre Dame, IN. The University of Notre Dame is a well-respected, and recognized institution of higher learning that ranks among the top universities in the country in the realm of undergraduate studies.
Carleton CollegeNorthfield, MN
Carleton College’s Alumni Network offers its members many remarkable benefits. Graduates have advanced search options throughout its alumni directory. Carleton College’s Alumni Network provides a plethora of affinity groups. These include groups dedicated to Athletics, the LGBTQA, and micro reunions for each of the programs. The best alumni networks, like Carleton College’s, create integrated networks that help alumni stay connected to the school, even when living far away.
Carleton College was established in 1866 as a private institution of higher education offering a liberal arts education in the southeastern portion of Minnesota. Carleton College is located on a 1,00+-acre campus in the small town of Northfield, MN. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Carleton College and the best undergraduate teaching school in the country, and the fifth best overall. Carleton College holds the distinction of graduating the largest amount of undergraduate degree graduates (per 100 students) who ultimately pursue their doctoral degrees.
Cornell UniversityIthaca, NY
Cornell University’s Alumni Affairs & Development (AAD) is considered one of the best alumni networks among universities across the nation. Cornell’s AAD is dedicated to supporting lifelong learners who wish to stay connected to the friends and colleagues from their Cornell days. Cornell University’s AAD is a lively global community where over 90% of the Big Red Events offered occur away from the Ithaca region.
Cornell University was established in 1865 as the result of the Morrill Land Grant Act, as a private research institution of higher education. It operates from campuses located in Ithaca (upstate NY), and medical campuses in New York City, and Doha, Qatar. There are more than 15,000 students studying from fourteen undergraduate and graduate schools that are organized under Cornell University. The primary principle of the school is to provide education to any person who wishes to learn.
Bates CollegeLewiston, ME
Bates College alumni, colloquially known as Batesies, find memorable alumni events that provide opportunities to stay connected to one another and to continue to show Bates pride and a commitment to support the Bates community. The alumni association of Bates College offers many groups to connect to that are dedicated to many the interests and the affinities of the Bates College alumni community. Bates alumni are committed to volunteering their time, their personal resources and skills to the school and its community.
Bates College was founded as a private institution of higher education in 1855. Bates College maintains a large nature preserve — Bates-Morse Mountain — that is more than 600 acres. Bates College operates an 80-acre center along Maine’s coast that includes a fresh-water environment along the coast of Maine. Bates College is the 3rd oldest school in the state of Maine, behind Colby College and Bowdoin.
Northwestern UniversityEvanston, IL
Northwestern University’s alumni association is a worldwide community that invites alumni — and their friends and families — to the many events offered. The Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) offers global networking events in Switzerland, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, among others. The NAA’s travel program opens the door to experiences in Italy, Ireland, and an Arctic Expedition to the Midnight Sun. Alumni follow a century of traditions at homecoming games and reunions.
Northwestern University was established in 1851 and was formerly affiliated with the United Methodist Church; however, the school currently operates as nonsectarian. Northwestern University’s main campus covers more than 225+-acres and is home to more than 21,000 students. The school operates a Chicago campus with an additional 15 acres. Northwestern University holds the distinction of maintaining the 9th biggest endowment across the United States (>$11 Billion).
Middlebury CollegeMiddlebury, VT
Middlebury College alumni enjoy the many benefits and resources offered by the Middlebury College alumni association. This includes a family weekend among the brilliant colors of the foliage in Vermont during the fall. Alumni also have the opportunity to return to Middlebury’s campus in late August to take a four-day course on the Bread Loaf Campus. These include Protest Music, The Ancient Maya, and Socratic Legacies, among others. The school’s alumni have access to the athletic and pool facilities, as well as the library.
Middlebury College is a liberal arts institution of higher education that was established in 1800, at the beginning of the 19th century. Middlebury College’s 300+-acre rural campus is home to more than 2,500 students studying from the more than 40-degree programs offered by Middlebury College. Middlebury College holds the claim of being the first university to graduate an African American student in 1823.
Hamilton CollegeClinton, NY
Hamilton College alumni stay connected to the school and their fellow alum through Hamilton’s alumni association. Hamilton College alumni reach out through Hamilton’s Hub, the school’s online directory and social media. Hamilton College alumni events and activities are available throughout the United States and internationally — wherever Hamilton alumni live. For alumni far from Hamilton’s hilltop campus, check out the webcam where the Chapel is visible.
Hamilton College was established as a private institution of higher learning that was established in 1793. The school was originally named the Hamilton-Oneida Academy until its name was changed to honor Alexander Hamilton in 1812. Hamilton College offers an undergraduate degree program exclusively to the nearly 1,900 students attending the school, which is located smack-dab in the middle of upstate NY. Hamilton College is well-known for its flexible curriculum style which offers degree graduates of selecting classes outside their major from any field of study.
California Institute of TechnologyPasadena, CA
The California Institute of Technology Alumni Association (CAA) offers CalTech alumni the opportunity to stay informed and connected to both school and fellow alumni. CalTech’s Alumni Association unparalleled network is considered among the best alumni associations. The CAA offers access to an impressive professional network that offers unique job opportunities and development programs to CalTech’s lifelong learners. CAA’s network of tech advisors is available to all CalTech graduates.
The California Institute of Technology was established in 1891 as a private research institution of higher education. Student life at CalTech follows a strict honor code, although degree graduates often are responsible for the school’s innovative pranks. The campus, located about 10 miles from Los Angeles, is home to more than 2,200 students and 300 faculty and administrative staff members. Caltech is often recognized as one of the top ten institutions of higher education in the world!
University of California-Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
One of the largest and most well-known universities on the Western Coast is University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA). At UCLA, the Alumni Program features perks for the members that have reached national accreditation and the CASE award for Advocacy Campaigns. With alumni dating back as far as 100 years, those who obtain this membership has the ability to access career support and alumni travel opportunities that allow networking across the nation.
UCLA is known for its leading programs in Biology, Business Economics, and the Health Science options that take in vast enrollment annually. Since its founding in 1919, UCLA has graduated alumni that have gone to win Nobel Prizes in Chemistry and the Fields Medal, among others who have made medical discoveries from their initial undergraduate studies at UCLA. UCLA is defined by these glowing achievements, as their alumni and faculty are leading academics of the past, present, and future generations.
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA
One of the leading universities in California is the University of Southern California (USC). The USC Alumni Association was presented with the CASE award for their General Cultivation Publications which have enhanced their alumni network as one of the best alumni associations within the nation. The association’s mission is designed to enforce an updated network for alumni across the globe, and offer career services as a benefit.
USC had its beginnings in the 1870s and has transformed into a private university that has specializations in business, engineering, and the performing arts. During its years as one of the leading universities, USC has graduated many alumni that have gone on to be A-list actors and household names. Many of these USC Trojans had early beginnings with USC and still invest in the USC School of Cinematic Arts, delivering scholars that are professionals in their field.
Swarthmore CollegeSwarthmore, PA
With welcome receptions and growing numbers, the Alumni Association at Swarthmore College is on the rise with recognition for media presence. This has proven to be essential in the networking of the association. Reaching out to alumni is something that Swarthmore College looks forward to annually, as Alumni Weekend brings graduates back to the classroom, no matter how many years they have been away. Connecting through the campus “Guidebook” gives alumni the information they need for connecting with those they have missed.
One of the smaller institutions in Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College has a Quaker founding. Since the beginning, the success of graduates has continued on a constant incline, that one in three graduates are either currently enrolled or have obtained a doctoral degree of some discipline. Their academics keep them a step above and provide a curriculum that gives graduates the tools they need for leading in the future.
University of California-BerkeleyBerkeley, CA
The alumni network at the University of California – Berkeley is gaining ground with their recent Public Relations and Community Relations Projects and General News Writing. These CASE awards winners have demonstrated that they offer one of the best alumni networks in the country. Their network offers communication through social media, email, and a variety of events that are discounted for UC Berkeley alumni.
UC Berkeley is one of the most popular universities due to its focus on the tradition of the Blue and Gold, big game rally, and the Stanford Axe. However, they are also known for student voices and empowering their students to have their own voice and questions regarding topics around the world.
University of Michigan-Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI
At the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, one of the best alumni associations can be found making waves in networks and connections. Recent CASE awards send praise to their Design: Invitations and Writing for the Web, as they take on the task of bringing in more alumni for their institution. Membership with their association not only offers premium gifts but a leading network that cannot be rivaled after graduation.
Since its founding in 1817 and a short drive from Detroit, the university has both graduate and undergraduate programs in the field of Law, Business, and Engineering. They are also associated with the University of Michigan hospitals, which is leading to research in the United States. These hospitals are well recognized for their research achievements worldwide. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor location prides itself on providing an atmosphere and a curriculum that will promote substantial programs for alumni and future students.
Colby CollegeWaterville, ME
In regards to special events, the alumni association at Colby College is taking on events as a way to market and infiltrate Colby College Alumni. As they compete with some of the best alumni networks in the country, this smaller institution is finding its methods to be on the right path. Colby College contributes its continued success to its strong line of alumni that support the college regularly. With events such as reunion weekend and benefits for members, their participation percentage of graduated alumni is exceptional.
Located in the beautiful state of Maine, Colby College is a smaller institution that averages two thousand students during enrollment but has distinguished academic programs that make students leaders in their fields of study. Real-world research and hands-on exploration of these disciplines are found within this campus.
Georgetown UniversityWashington, DC
Centrally located in the Nation’s Capital, the Georgetown University Alumni Association is one of the best alumni associations available. The Hoyas of Georgetown University have gone on to be Presidents, celebrities, and public servants for communities across the nation. From the political offices around the nation, to film makers and bestselling authors, Georgetown University Alumni are networking and finding success in a variety of endeavors. Even alumni who are not household names are making strides in leadership across the nation due to access to one of the best alumni associations.
Leading in both academics and research Georgetown University’s history spans two centuries, with its beginning in 1789 as the first and oldest Jesuit institution. No matter which program completed at this institution, they all have a foundation in service to others in the community. With programs in the liberal arts, law, and public policies, many of the nation’s leaders find their beginnings with Georgetown University.
Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
Taking lead in Alumni Relation awards such as specialty pieces, media relations programs and projects, one of the best alumni networks can be found on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. Their alumni network works diligently to stay connected with those who have graduated for updates and resources for their personal benefits in their careers. In attempts to expand networks, their program offers fun events that bring together alumni from all programs and across the nation.
Johns Hopkins University is an institution that has endless alumni that have been successful in research and discoveries, as it is America’s first research institution. Immediately upon hearing their name, most associate the institution with discoveries, research, and the hope to continue making strides in the medical industry for the future. Their focus is that the teaching students receive should be as successful as the knowledge and discoveries they make. Not only does this institution pride itself on the continued accomplishments of its alumni, but the faculty employed are also equally successful.
College of the Holy CrossWorcester, MA
The alumni association at College of the Holy Cross has been working diligently and earning acknowledgement for their flash campaigns, where they are increasing the network and campaigning for their institution. AS a member of this alumni association, graduates engage in special events where they can network across the New England states, and bring their success back into the classrooms at the college. Their largest event, reunion, brings together alumni from numerous states ranging from recent graduates to those over half a century.
Known for its Jesuit identity and renowned programs, the College of the Holy Cross was founded in 1843, with the mission of the institution founded in teaching, learning, and research by the Jesuit community. Their alumni have graduated from the institution to become leaders in all industries of the business world and public service.
University of RichmondUniversity of Richmond, VA
The University of Richmond alumni association is gaining awards and recognition in stewardship. With a significant increase in alumni participation, their association is becoming one of the best alumni associations across the nation. With events that bring together alumni and a social media presence that encourages networking, alumni are connecting at the University of Richmond unlike ever before.
The University of Richmond is an institution known for its liberal arts programs that are nationally accredited and recognized. Their Law program at the T.C. Williams School of Law is admired for its local outreach to the Richmond community. As a top-ranked university, this institution is leading in both academics with a hefty percentage of those graduates enrolling in graduate school. Their mascot is unique, as they have the only spider mascot in the nation, which is reflective of the institutions’ ability to stand out and brighter than the rest.
University of Virginia-Main CampusCharlottesville, VA
The University of Virginia’s alumni network is intended to assist college graduates with furthering their professional endeavors. The college sponsors LinkedIn pages for graduates from a variety of industries including real estate, technology, media, and sustainability. The University of Virginia’s Alumni Association also holds events all over the world throughout the year. These events feature meet and greets as well as seminars featuring professional development topics.
Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1813, earning the college the nickname Mr. Jefferson’s University, a moniker still used today. Greek Life is a significant part of the college campus with 35 percent of students belonging to fraternities and sororities. The college is well known for being home to many notable alumni including Katie Couric, Senator Edward Kennedy, and Edgar Allan Poe. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Virginia consistently every year within the Top 25 National Universities.
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC
The University of North Carolina’s General Alumni Association offers numerous benefits and perks to past alumni. Through the school’s alumni network, past graduates attend special events such as homecoming, reunions, regional gatherings, and faculty reception nights. Alumni are also given special pricing at local hotels, restaurants, and shops. Members also gain access to the UNC mobile application, college library lending, special rate credit cards, and discounts on insurance coverage. As one of the best alumni networks in the nation, the University of North Carolina is dedicated to extending lifelong learning opportunities to former students.
Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a reputation for excellence in both academics and athletics. The North Carolina Tar Heels is one of the most recognized names in college basketball around the world. The college has taught many of the most famed politicians in the country including President James Polk and Senator John Edwards. The University of North Carolina is considered a best value college with highly-rated business, education, and engineering departments.
Trinity UniversitySan Antonio, TX
Trinity University has one of the largest and best alumni associations in all of Texas with close to 30,000 members. Local alumni chapters are available throughout the world with events scheduled to encourage networking amongst peers. Each chapter also stays connected via social media pages. Alumni publications like the Trinity Magazine informs members of upcoming events and prints graduate spotlights. Alumni weekends at the college are very popular with fun and informative events scheduled throughout Saturday and Sunday.
Trinity University’s sprawling 125-acre urban campus looks directly down upon the famed Alamo. The San Antonio campus is nearby four professional sports team stadiums and dozens of state recreational areas. The private college relies on a common curriculum for all students with a strong foundation in the liberal arts. U.S. News & World Report named the university #1 Best Value College in the West in 2018.
Wake Forest UniversityWinston-Salem, NC
Wake Forest University encourages past students to become part of their growing alumni network. Each month, Wake Forest University’s Alumni Association hosts local meet-ups, reunions, seminars, and much, much more. To stay current and be considered one of the best alumni associations, Wake Forest University has an easy online system to locate and connect with other alumni. The search feature allows users to filter by job title, city, and major. Wake Forest University has dedicated social media pages, magazines, and newsletter for its alumni.
Wake Forest University is a private college with a storied history of educating the top names in business, sports, and the humanities around the world. Famous alumni include athletic greats Arnold Palmer and Muggsy Bogues. Wake Forest University is renowned for creating a close-knit community with more than half of students involved in Greek Life. Although the undergraduate departments are highly ranked, the graduate School of Medicine, School of Law, and School of Business are considered some of the best programs in the country.
Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, PA
Carnegie Mellon University has one of the best alumni networks on the east coast. Membership is open to any graduate of the college and resources include networking events, alumni email server, alumni insurance programs, and access to the college’s comprehensive alumni directory. The alumni association at the university enlists volunteers to organize reunions and homecoming events. The organization also has a mentorship program for alumni who wish to give back and advise current Carnegie Mellon students.
The Carnegie Mellon University campus is in the heart of industrial Pittsburgh and was founded in 1900 by famed philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1900. Although many top names in business and humanities are alumni of the school, the college does have a reputation for educating famous celebrities such as Ted Danson, Zachary Quinto, and Josh Groban. Carnegie Mellon University is considered one of the best private colleges in the east coast with a global research facility that has contributed to advances in the field of technology.
Bentley UniversityWaltham, MA
Every single graduate will gain access to the unique benefits of Bentley University’s alumni network. Bentley University has one of the best alumni associations for job seekers. Career services include weekly alumni job search meetings on campus, alumni job posting boards, and free career webinars. Key event highlights include Bentley Reunions and Falcon Weekends. An alumni directory is always accessible and updated regularly via the Bentley University website.
Located in Waltham, Bentley University has a suburban-like campus with a modest student body of approximately 4,200 undergraduate students. Bentley University is dedicated to helping all graduates find success in their chosen fields and boasts a 95 percent post-graduation rate of employment or graduate school enrollment. The campus recently went through a major renovation to offer seven cutting-edge laboratory spaces to students.
The University of Texas at AustinAustin, TX
The University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Exes is considered the largest and best alumni associations in the world. Texas Exes has a number of membership options available with benefits that include alumni connections, career coaching, continuing education courses, alumni credit card offers, special business discounts, and free alumni publications.
The public University of Texas at Austin encompasses over 400 acres with a student body of more than 40,000 undergraduates. As one of the largest schools in the U.S., the college has a staggering 18 schools and colleges. The university has a number of Division I sports teams that compete in the Big 12 Conference. To accommodate the large size of the campus, the University of Texas at Austin has more than 1,300 club options available.
Oberlin CollegeOberlin, OH
The Office of Alumni Relations is a dedicated space on the Oberlin College campus, used as a resource center for past graduates. The office works with the college’s alumni network to develop key events and services for the 40,000 plus members. Event highlight for alumni include reunions, workshops, homecoming, and local meet-ups. Each year, the largest alumni gathering takes place at the Alumni Luncheon, scheduled the day before commencement ceremonies and Reunion Weekend.
Oberlin College aims to build a strong sense of community among its students and this is why all undergraduates are required to live on campus or in one of the college’s co-op properties. Oberlin Colleges is composed of two central schools: the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music. Oberlin endorses alternative learning endeavors and offers the Experimental College—a program that gives college credit on non-traditional courses such as rock climbing and community fundraising.
Santa Clara UniversitySanta Clara, CA
Santa Clara University has one of the best alumni networks in California and supports the 100,000+ graduates of the college. The Santa Clara University Alumni Association has a strong online presence with active social media pages and an updated alumni directory. Alumni events are held both locally in Santa Clara or organized by chapter members around the country. Events range from fun (5K runs and wine nights) to educational (ethics workshops and volunteer service opportunities).
With a Silicon Valley location, it is no surprise that Santa Clara University is home to a highly ranked science and technology department. The private college has also been recognized for being a leader in innovation. Most notably, the college has made numerous sustainability efforts and was ranked as #19 on Princeton Review’s list of Top 50 Green Colleges.
Gettysburg CollegeGettysburg, PA
Despite only attending Gettysburg College for an average of four years, one of the country’s best alumni associations insists all graduates are “G-burgs” for life. The alumni network from Gettysburg College has 30,000 members with the numbers growing consistently every year. A few highlighted benefits extended to Gettysburg University’s alum include insurance discounts, alumni directory access, personal college email address, career services, test prep discounts, and monthly newsletters. Gettysburg College holds numerous popular alumni events each year including Reunion Weekend, Homecoming Weekend, and travel enrichment opportunities.
Gettysburg College is found directly adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park—the most famous Civil War battle site. The college’s liberal arts majors are very popular among students and the private university has been ranked #49 National Liberal Arts Colleges from U.S. News & World Report. The college emphasizes the importance of real-world experiences and has a three- to five-day weekend long immersive travel opportunities with prominent alumni.
University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison, WI
The University of Wisconsin Madison Alumni Association (WAA) provides Badger alumni any discounted services from their alumni partners. These Alumni Affinity Partners include UW Credit Union, American Family Insurance and WPS Health Insurance, among many others. UW Madison’s also provides career resources that include networking events and job boards. Alumni gather together on the 50 international tours offered by the travel division of the WAA — like Alaska, Greece, Edinburgh, and an Adriatic Awakening.
The University of Wisconsin Madison was established in 1848. The school is a flagship, sea grant and land grant institution of higher education. The school’s main urban campus covers nearly 1,000 acres and is home to more than 44,000 students. UW Madison is considered one of the ‘public Ivy League’ universities in the nation. The University of Wisconsin Madison operates a 1,100+-acre arboretum near Lake Mendota.
Butler UniversityIndianapolis, IN
Butler University’s Alumni Relations & Engagement department supports Butler’s 50,000 alumni members. Butler’s Alumni association offers reunions, homecoming events, and discounts. The benefits include discounted hotels in and around the Indianapolis metropolitan area, and vacation packages to Tuscany, Italy, Normandy (on D-Day’s 75th Anniversary), Athens Greece and the Canadian Rockies, among others. Butler University’s alumni have the option of using the Internship & Career Services, which offers Butler alumni webinars of job resources.
Butler University was established in 1855. The school’s 290+-acre campus is about five miles from downtown Indianapolis and home to more than 5,000 students studying from Butler University’s six schools/colleges. Degrees are awarded in the areas of Business, Liberal Arts, Communications, Arts, and Health Sciences. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Butler University as the top Midwest regional institution of higher education.
University of California-DavisDavis, CA
The University of California, Davis offers its alumni a variety of ways to join networks of interest, participate in Aggie traditions, volunteer, or travel with old and new alumni friends and families. UC Davis’ alumni association travel program is ready to venture to Kenya, Portugal, the Grand Canyon, Iceland, and Tibet, among many others. UC Davis’s Aggie Alumni association provides impressive career resources. These include Internship and Career Events, Resume Writing Services (for no fee), and even career counseling services, among others.
The University of California, Davis was established in 1905 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. The school holds the distinction of having the 3rd largest student enrollment in the entire University of California system. UC Davis’ suburban campus covers over 7,300 acres of land and is home to nearly 40,000 students. UC Davis’ Veterinary College is the biggest in the country and has been recognized as the finest across the globe for the past several years.
Purdue University-Main CampusWest Lafayette, IN
The Purdue University Alumni Association is an integral part of the distinguished university’s history. The alumni association was chartered only nine years after Purdue University was established. The Alumni association at Purdue University seeks to support all alumni in their personal and professional development as they reach for their lifelong learning objectives. Job seekers can take advantage of the many counseling, resume, clubs, and networks across the globe. Professional development and career networking opportunities are offered online.
Purdue University was established in 1869 under the Morrill Land Grant Act. The school is the flagship campus within the Purdue system. U.S. News and World Report recognizes Purdue University as the 17th finest public institution of higher education in the country. Purdue University has been recognized among the best in the world. Purdue University holds the distinction of having almost 25 astronauts among its elite alumni.
University of FloridaGainesville, FL
The University of Florida’s Alumni Association, founded in 1906, is a vibrant organization that sponsors events across the Sunshine State and across the country. UF’s Alumni Association is more than 440,000 members strong, represented in every state and more than 145 nations worldwide. UF’s Alumni Association manages the approximately 100 Gator Clubs across the state, country and the globe that held about 1,500 events during 2018.
The University of Florida was established in 1853 as the result of the Morrill Land Act. In addition to being a Land Grant school, the University of Florida is a space grant, sea grant, and flagship university. The school’s suburban campus covers two thousand acres and is home to more than 56,000 students. U.S. News & World Report recognizes UF among the top ten public institutions of higher education in the nation.
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main CampusAtlanta, GA
In true Tech spirit, Georgia Institute of Technology has recently implemented the Georgia Tech Alumni App to help all alumni to stay connected despite where in the world they may be. Georgia Tech, often considered among the best alumni networks, offers its alumni discounts from many partners in the field of Insurance, Car Rental, Legal Services, Restaurants, and Hotels, among many others. Additionally, the Alumni Association offers several scholarships in support of currently alumni degree candidates. The Georgia Tech alumni association offers impressive career guidance and support of professional developments and job search boards and partners.
Georgia Institute of Technology was established in 1885 and is a public, space grant institution of higher learning. The school’s 370+-acre urban campus is home to nearly 33,000 students studying for degrees offered by Georgia Tech’s 6 schools/colleges. Georgia Institute of Technology is regularly recognized among the most elite institutions of higher education in the United States and the world.
Northeastern UniversityBoston, MA
Northeastern University’s Office of Alumni Relations is an on campus and online hub to facilitate the ways in which alumni stay in touch with fellow alumni and the school’s heritage and future plans. Some ways in which the Office of Alumni Relations is available to Northeastern University alumni is to enhance each alumnus’s professional network or to support an alumni’s next brainstorming idea. NU’s Office of Alumni Relations encourages alumni to participate in the school’s Co-op Mentoring platform.
Northeastern University was established in 1898. Northeastern University offers a unique cooperative education experience, which offers all NU students a paid-work experience available on every continent. NU is primarily a residential school with a student enrollment that exceeds 25,000. The school is organized into nine schools/colleges. The Princeton Review recognizes NU as the university that offers the best internships to its students.
Brigham Young University-ProvoProvo, UT
Brigham Young University’s Alumni Association offers its alumni significant services, resources, and discounts. It is for this reason, BYU’s alumni association is recognized among the best alumni associations in the country. Financial savings are available though the Alumni Insurance Program, and Liberty Mutual, among others. BYU alumni continue to receive academic pricing on Apple products. BYU’s alumni association provides professional services for the member alumni, which includes a networking tool, cutting edge job board postings, and the valuable alumni mentor members. Each BYU chapter is offered a hub-like support system known as ChapterPedia.
Brigham Young University was established in 1875 and is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU 550+-acre suburban campus is home to nearly 34,000 students studying from eleven schools/colleges offering degrees in Business, Education, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, Fine Arts, Law, Humanities, Religious Education, Nursing, and Life Sciences. Brigham Young University is regularly recognized among the top twenty institutions of higher learning in the country.
Lehigh UniversityBethlehem, PA
Lehigh University’s alumni association offers numerous ways for its alumni to stay connected each other and to traditions that define Lehigh University. To check what is going on, sign on to read the Lehigh alumni blog entitled The Goblet, or join an affinity group that is dedicated to a specific interest. Lehigh University alumni who wish to be an active alumni member can participate in upcoming events, join the Lehigh University Alumni Book Club, or as a volunteer.
Lehigh University was established in 1865. Lehigh University is a private institution of higher learning that is organized into four schools/colleges. These colleges offer degree programs in Business, Engineering, Education and the Arts & Sciences. Lehigh University has been recognized as a top undergraduate college for entrepreneurs, according to Princeton Review. Lehigh University is situated approximately equidistant to Philadelphia and to the Big Apple — New York City.
Connecticut CollegeNew London, CT
Connecticut College’s alumni association is 25,000 strong and includes alumni from across the country and the world. Connecticut College’s alumni association offers a user-friendly alumni directory online and an impressive career resource center that offers employment guidance and job boards through the office of Career & Professionals Development. Many Connecticut College alumni often choose to mentor students by providing an internship that extends through each semester. Connecticut College graduates include Olympians, Oscar winners, global leaders, judges, filmmakers, and world-renowned artists and writers.
Connecticut College was established in 1911 as the result of the closing of Wesleyan. Connecticut College’s suburban campus is home to approximately 1,800 students who take advantage of the impressive student to faculty ratio of 9:1. Students attending Connecticut College must follow the school’s student-enforced honor code. Connecticut College is a member school of the NE Small College Conference, colloquially known as Little Ivies.
The Purpose Of Alumni Association Membership
The vast majority of colleges and universities, especially prestigious institutions, have an alumni association. But many graduates only think of the alumni association when they get a letter requesting a donation; those more cynical alums may ask why alumni association membership is important. However, when they learn the purpose of alumni association activities, it’s clear to see how these organizations benefit both the school and its students. More schools are starting and partnering with alumni associations because of their undeniable benefits.
First and foremost, alumni associations serve to raise the reputation of the school. The main way that these associations do this is by highlighting the accomplishments of various alumni. Many alumni associations publish magazines in which they mention the recent accomplishments of prominent alumni. Secondly, alumni associations often help students. Many distinguished alumni will contribute to or even create scholarships to accomplish these important alumni association objectives. Possibly the most vital of the alumni association objectives, from the school’s point of view, is raising money for the institution itself.
What Do Alumni Associations Do?
While this article has already laid out alumni association goals and objectives, how do alumni association activities actually accomplish these objectives? In other words, what do alumni associations do? Alumni association activities include fundraising, organizing reunions, and sponsoring events. They’re also a big part of visitation days, when prospective students make their campus visits. One of the benefits of joining alumni association is taking part in these events.
Fundraising is possibly the best-known of the many alumni association activities. It is also among the most important of the alumni association goals and objectives. Soliciting donations for the school is considered by many alumni to be one of the main benefits of joining alumni association, as these alums want to help out their alma mater. Of course, fundraising is vital for the school as well. Alumni association activities also include organizing reunions, which can be a great way to get more alumni involved. Alumni associations will also sponsor various events, such as community outreach events. Many alumni associations will also visit local high schools to try and entice students to apply to the university.
How Can Alumni Help Students?
As previously mentioned, alumni associations often help out the current students of the institution. Those asking “How can alumni help students?” can learn about the various scholarships that these associations provide. However, many alumni aim to help students in more ways than this when they start developing an alumni association. Alumni can also provide mentorship to current students.
When it comes to student impact, the value of alumni networks cannot be overstated. Many college applicants these days actually do research into the best schools for networking when they are figuring out which colleges they want to apply to. It is not always the schools with the largest college alumni population, surprisingly.
How To Start an Alumni Association
So by this point, you may be rethinking the alumni association. In fact, if your college doesn’t have one, you may be wondering how to start an alumni association. Well, developing an alumni association is easier than you might think. Many people are aware of the value of alumni networks and will want to get involved. Even if you went to a relatively small school that doesn’t have the largest college alumni population, you can still make your school one of the best schools for networking with an effective alumni association.
The first step is to contact the school. As they stand to benefit a great deal from an alumni association, they will likely be eager to get involved with any former students who want to form an alumni association. It is also important to contact prominent alumni and get them onboard. People with money and connections can ensure that your alumni association succeeds. Stop asking about how to start an alumni association and get going today.
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