April and May are known as the celebration, renewal, and transition months. There is much to celebrate, from high school and college graduations to Mother’s Day to Memorial Day. Some of us are gearing up for flowering season… Others are leaning into National Hamburger Month. Still, there are a lot of unknowns: Will family members keep the peace? Will the weather impact planned festivities? Will the hamburger-to-bun ratio be sufficient?
These transitional months are similar to how I feel about OCU. Some things are to be expected, while other things we just can’t predict.
In March 2022, we had our first Alumni Association Executive Committee board meeting. At that meeting, bylaws were discussed. Board members were getting nominated, and scholarships were being awarded.
It was brought up at this meeting about people paying alumni dues. Out of all our alumni, only about 2% have supported the university in any way, shape, or form. This has been discussed on the board for quite some time. As a board, we have decided at this point that contributions are a better word to use. The board wants to be very transparent about where your donations go. We wish to use contributions wisely for the students to allow them to have some things that are not actually set aside in the University’s budget.
As the first president of the OCU alumni board, events were planned and implemented throughout this year. We encourage events so the alumni can perpetuate the memory of our school, promote the growth and advancement of Oakland City University, and enter and promote interest in, concern for, and assist Oakland City University, among our graduates, more students, and friends of the University.
In April 2022, we conducted an Alum walk at the azalea garden. We also implemented an alumni website for OCU. As our board progressed, the alumni office was moved from the previous foundation building to an office space in Williams Hall. All files, tables, chairs, and desks were moved to this new location. All our meetings took place in Williams Hall. We have been lucky enough to be able to Zoom with board members who could not attend the meetings in person; this has been a great success.
Another Alumni project we continued to work on is the brick project around the bell tower. We have been selling bricks to honor graduates, clergy, and people who have greatly impacted OCU.
Other activities the board participated in include the President’s Golf Classic, Halloween Trick-or-Treat, Easter-egg Extravaganza, homecoming weekend, and Founders’ Day.
We had board members participate in Cleanup Campus Day in August. The board also participated in organization days with the students, and we raffled off three large door prizes of OCU paraphernalia.
Our biggest project undertaken to honor Oakland City University was petitioning the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to sell the OCU license plate at their BMV branches in Indiana. The board had to solicit and accept a minimum of 550 signatures before OCU could present the petition to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The board achieved great success, logging over 650 signatures. All the paperwork was completed and delivered to the BMV in Indianapolis. The approval process by the BMV is still underway and will take until October before we know if we will be able to purchase an OCU license plate in 2024. For each plate purchased, a percentage will be returned to OCU.
One of my main focuses was and always will be making our board self-sustaining. We have been constantly searching for ways to generate income. We have an alum named Larry Davis, who has offered his services of using a travel network to make reservations. A percentage will be given back to OCU for each reservation made on his website. We are ready to promote the website to all OCU alumni, family, and friends. The site is www.favoritehotelscollection.com.
Another way we learned to help generate funds is by buying OCU merchandise from a website called www.gomightyoaks.com. Again, they will give OCU a percentage of the sale of merchandise in return for your patronage.
In December, the board participated in the Christmas tree lighting, and in January participated in an Evansville Thunderbolts hockey game celebrating Faith Night.
In January 2023, OCU had a hospitality room for our homecoming game. We offered a coffee bar along with hot chocolate and snacks. We had multiple donations in the form of prizes that were given away throughout the game.
As of March 2023, we decided to plan an alumni luncheon for July 2023. We learn quickly that this is a big task. The board has reached out to as many alums as possible. And we asked those alums to reach out to others. As many of you know, not too many of the younger crowd attend this luncheon. We have reached out and made it known that we appreciate and love all our alumni, young and old.
The last endeavor I presented before my office as President of the Alumni Association board was termed- out was for the board to create a campaign titled 100 BY 100. The promotion seeks 100 Alums to donate $100.
The first 100 BY 100 funds will pay for a Hammock Lounge. Yes, imagine back to your years on campus and conjure up how delightful it would have been to lounge in a hammock with your friends. Another story in this newsletter explains the Hammock Lounge and the 100 BY 100. Please read it if you are interested in supporting this endeavor for our university.
As we make the 100 BY 100 an annual fundraiser, in the future, we envision an area of outdoor picnic tables painted in bright blue with OCU alumni recognition on the tables. In other words, this is something that the alumni will be totally contributing to the university students. They will know that the alumni worked for this and gave it to them. If we can raise as much money as possible, we can give both to the kids; this money is not budgeted at OCU. This is a way that the alumni can see what they are giving. Our Alums will be able to see it every time that they walk on campus. If an alumnus would like to make a special sponsorship, I will ensure that there is a plaque on it with your name as the donor.
I may be leaving as the OCU Alumni Board President, but I will not be leaving the board. OCU it’s not only my alma mater, but I have a long heritage here. My father graduated in 1963, I graduated in 1987, and my son just graduated in May 2023. OCU is not only a place of education. OCU offers a school where you can still pray. OCU is part of Oakland City, and Oakland City is my home. I believe in OCU and what it stands for and in supporting a school where you can still pray. I ask each of you to pray for Oakland City University, honor Oakland City University, and help us reach the 100 BY 100 goal. If anyone would like to be a part of the 100 BY 100, you may call the advancement office and make your pledge.
I have been so proud and honored to be the President of the OCU Alumni Board. However, the bylaws state that it is a one-year term. Change is a good thing. New ideas come from it.
Before our alumni meetings begin each month, I would begin our meeting with a quote. One of my favorite quotes that I will end with is this.
“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in your room. “
We may be a small group, but we will make a big impact together.
Thank you to my Vice President, Heather Hose, and my Secretary-Treasurer, Gay Weir.
A big thank you to Todd Mosby and Weston Whitehouse.
I also want to thank all the alumni board members who have given their time and dedication to attend all these meetings. We are a team. There’s one last thing I would like to say to my team. You’ve only got three choices in life: give up, give in, or give it all you’ve got!