Alumni volunteers from all over the world gathered on campus in October for two days of celebration, education, and perhaps most importantly, appreciation.
It was the School’s first Alumni Leadership Conference, and its goal was to draw together the best of Wharton’s alumni leadership, from students to club presidents to advisory board members, among others. More than 150 participants, including some from Norway, Australia, France and England, attended the event.
Part of the conference agenda was “to give [alumni leaders] an inside view of Wharton’s progress and prospects, and to provide support for their activities on behalf of the School,” notes Wharton Dean Thomas P. Gerrity.
According to Jordan Tannenbaum, Associate Dean for External Affairs, the timing of the conference was especially good “because of our recent No. 1 rankings in Business Week and U.S. News & World Report. People are feeling very positive about the School.”
The conference kicked off on Friday, Oct. 27, with remarks from Michael Tarnopol, W’58, managing director of Bear Stearns, on the importance of leadership among alumni. A reception in the Tarnopol Room, to which the whole Wharton community was invited, was followed by a dinner at the University Museum.
During that event, Frank Fountain, Jr., WG’73, vice president, government affairs, at Chrysler Corp., offered his personal reflections on volunteer leadership and its impact on the School.
On Saturday, Oct. 28, alumni participated in executive education seminars on persuasion and brand equity, followed by a presentation on the School’s accomplishments and goals by the dean and senior administrators.
Afternoon workshops were held on reunion planning, club management, fundraising, career recruiting and admissions interviewing.
“Alumni participate in these activities throughout the year in their own cities,” says Marti Harrington, WG’76, director of alumni affairs. “It is exciting to have so many leaders together exchanging ideas and generating even more enthusiasm.”
According to Tannenbaum, the initial idea had been to have the conference once every two years. The success of the October event, however, has led to a proposal to hold the event annually.
“I never cease to be impressed by the strength and leadership demonstrated by the Wharton community,” notes Gerrity. “This leadership has built enterprises, carried forward organizations and shaped the future of business. This leadership has also been the driving force of Wharton’s progress.”