An open letter to our Chatham alumni community,

During the past month, additional information has become available to the alumni community on the resolution of the Chatham University Board of Trustees: "Further study and consider proposals to make all undergraduate education at Chatham University coeducational on or before its June 2014 meeting."

The Alumni Association Board wants to share with you what we have been working on since this announcement occurred on February 18, 2014.

Letter to the Board of Trustees – In late February the Alumni Association Board sent a letter to the University Trustees requesting a delay in the vote along with a list of questions/requests for additional data. Our request for a delay was denied by the Trustees and the vote is scheduled to occur on or before the June 2014 Trustee meeting.

Please also note that while several of the questions detailed in the Alumni Association letter to the Board of Trustees have been answered, many questions still remain unanswered. We will continue to work on your behalf to seek answers to these questions and obtain requested data.

Town Hall Forums – Several Town Hall forums were held at which President Barazzone and representatives of the Board of Trustees, including several alumni trustees, were able to address those in attendance and also answer a few questions sent from online viewers. Representatives of our Alumni Association Board also attended each town hall forum (including those scheduled outside of the greater Pittsburgh region). The videos of the Pittsburgh Town Halls are not yet available on the blog for viewing if you were unable to attend or watch as they were occurring. We have requested that these videos are posted online so that everyone will have an opportunity to view them. President Barrazzone’s PowerPoint presentation is available on the blog, and the Alumni Association Board encourages all alumni to take the time to review the information that has been made available. (The blog address is: http://blogs.chatham.edu/ChathamFeedback).

Strategic Plan – After the March 11th Town Hall, an alumna requested the minutes from the Chatham University Alumni Association Board Meeting held in November 2013. This request was made to clarify what the Alumni Association Board knew prior to the February 18, 2014 announcement. These minutes had not yet been reviewed or approved by the Alumni Association Board but they were provided as requested. This request brought to our attention that the Alumni Association should be providing more frequent updates to our members. To this end, the Alumni Association Board will be releasing our Strategic Plan on the University website. This document is an updated version that the Board has been working on over the past year or so. If you take a few minutes to review the document, you will see the priorities of the Alumni Association Board as well as the areas which this Board has an opportunity to impact.

Alumni Association Communication – The Alumni Association Board meets twice each year in Pittsburgh in the fall and spring. Additionally we have several scheduled conference calls during the year. Our Strategic Plan identifies better communication as an important goal and we will be communicating more frequently with all alumni in the future. The ways that we will do this are: (1) a summary after each Pittsburgh meeting (generally fall and spring) released onto the website; and (2) production of an annual report. Note that our 2013 annual report was provided to the Board of Trustees and was also distributed at Reunion this past June. See: http://www.chatham.edu/alumni/alumnibenefits/documents/AnnualReport2013.pdf.

April Meeting – Our upcoming spring meeting in Pittsburgh is scheduled for Friday, April 4th and Saturday, April 5th. While a final agenda is not yet available, we can share with you a few areas of priority that include:

  • Business Meeting which will include an approval of the Alumni Association slate (representatives to serve the July 1, 2014 thru June 30, 2016 term and election of new officers); voting on awards; discussion of Reunion 2014; and discussion of Annual Fund;
  • Discussion & development of a possible alternate plan for Chatham College for Women;
  • Discussion between Chatham University Administration, representatives of the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association Board;
  • Discussion of next steps after the Trustee vote and the role of the Alumni Association Board going forward.

Remain informed and educated – Please continue to stay up to date with the latest information coming from Chatham University and the Board of Trustees by following the blog. If you have questions or options that you believe should be considered, make sure that you have voiced these through the official University channel. Send your communications to: ChathamFeedback@chatham.edu. This is the official channel for options to be heard.

Contact us – Please understand that we have heard and share your concerns about the future of Chatham College for Women. If you have conducted research on viable options that will promote the growth and health of Chatham College for Women and/or a coeducational undergraduate college, please also share them with us at cuaaboardsurvey@gmail.com by April 3, 2014. We would be happy to review your suggestions and research during our meeting in early April. The time for options and suggestions is now.

Renewed Commitment – We all want a vibrant and healthy alma mater. What that looks like may be different to each of us. Even if Chatham remains a women’s college, changes need to occur to insure a healthy, academically sound, and financially stable undergraduate college of Chatham University. The time for our renewed commitment is now.

As always, thank you for your time and dedication to our alma mater. We look forward to hearing from you before our April meeting.

Best regards,

Gail Ruszczyk Emery, ’84
On behalf of the Chatham University Alumni Association Board