‘Tis the Season of Awards

By Karlie Perry '19, '19

During the Alumni Association (AA) annual meeting this past May, we announced the Affiliate of the Year, Chapter of the Year and Volunteer of the Year award recipients. The affiliate and chapter of the year awards are based on the groups’ efforts to engage their audiences, support scholarships and host events. The award recipients are selected by the awards committee, comprised of Alumni board members and alumni volunteers.

Affiliate of the Year

Based on the criteria mentioned above, The University of Toledo Retirees Association (UTRA) set itself apart to be selected by:

  • Writing a governance document that detailed each UTRA committee’s purpose, structure, functions, etc.
  • Creating a philanthropy committee, whose main purpose is to facilitate retirees’ philanthropic efforts such as support for the UTMC Satellites group; collections at the Annual Meeting and Holiday Brunch, and tracking and analyzing giving via the combined charitable campaign.
  • Hosting a wide range of programs, usually one activity per month. 2022-23 programming included visits to the Museum of the Great Lakes and the Toledo Museum of Art; Hoen’s Gardening Center; a Sandpiper cruise; a 6-day bus trip to Vermont; a day-long bus trip to the Purple Rose Theatre in Michigan; a wine tasting; Rocket football tailgate party; as well as a lecture on the Toledo State Hospital and tour of the former grounds.

Out of those programs, the Sandpiper Cruise had 68 people attend and the Holiday Brunch had 65. The Vermont bus trip was very popular with 45 people who attended all 6 days. The bus trip to the Purple Rose Theater had 46. Overall, UTRA has had a considerably high member attendance per event ratio and we look forward to all of their innovative programming this year!

New UToledo retirees receive a one-year complimentary membership into UTRA. Visit our website to renew your membership. Not getting their event information? Be sure to subscribe to AA emails and join the UTRA Facebook group to stay connected.

Chapter of the Year

The UToledo Alumni Association Columbus Chapter was selected as Chapter of the Year based on their innovative and strategic event planning and chapter recruitment efforts. For example, in early 2022, COVID-19 was still rampant and there was concern about indoor gatherings during the first half of the year. Therefore, the Columbus Chapter was intentional in planning safer, outdoor events that alumni would want to attend, despite possible low temperatures. This included an outdoor ice-skating program, an outdoor (heated) golf event and supporting the UToledo baseball team during their March game against Ohio State University. “As luck would have it, their events were actually better attended than the one event that we did indoors this past fall,” mentioned Paul Smith, director of alumni engagement and staff liaison for the Columbus Chapter.

Chapter leadership invested significant time engaging with first-time event attendees, getting their feedback and inviting them to be part of the planning committee for future events. Several first-time attendees attended additional events due to this level of engagement.

Robert Kramer ’05, president of the Columbus alumni chapter, noted that, “during these past two years, we are proud to have held so many events for our local alumni to attend. These events have allowed for alumni spanning over 50 years of graduation to mingle, enjoy themselves and most importantly, each other’s company. This has been our strength: welcoming a diverse group of UToledo alumni with different backgrounds to each of our events. We work hard to make sure that anyone attending is only a stranger once.”

Columbus chapter at brewery event

You are automatically a member of the Columbus Chapter if you reside within 50 miles of the city. Not getting their event emails? Be sure to update your information with your current address and ensure you are subscribed to AA emails. Alumni are also encouraged to join the Columbus Chapter Facebook group to stay connected.

Volunteer of the Year

Carol Thomas ’94 was named the Alumni Association’s Volunteer of The Year Award for her dedicated service not only as an AA board member, but her prior service as the University College Affiliate president. Thomas is very active with Women and Philanthropy, currently serving as vice president. Before her role as VP, she was the Women and Philanthropy member-at-large and co-chair of the holiday project, among other activities. She is a very generous donor to the University as well, and recently set up a new scholarship to support students in need.