The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Alumni reunite in D.C.

It’s happy hour at the Clarendon Grill in Washington, D.C. and the local restaurant is crawling with SMU alumni. To the north, in New York City, SMU alumni are attending a New York Yankees baseball game, and in Atlanta alumni are attending “IMAX and Martinis” at the Fernbank Museum. These are just a few examples of active SMU alumni chapters across the country.

“Local chapters allow SMU alumni of all ages to network and feel connected to each other and their alma mater,” said Jennifer Rotter in the Office of Alumni Relations.

The office and the SMU Alumni Association provide an extensive social and professional network between 27 nationwide chapters. Monthly social activities provide support for recent graduates who have moved away from family and friends, as well as a powerful connection to SMU. The New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. chapters are three of the most active SMU alumni chapters in the country.

“The SMU Washington, D.C. chapter caters to nearly 1,000 SMU alumni who are not all tied to activities and careers inside the beltway,” said Alison Reams, president of the Washington D.C. chapter. “As a result, the chapter leadership has to ensure that the chapter meetings and activities cater to a large audience and reflect the unique style of the political and business-minded climate in the greater Washington area.

“Monthly activities and personal networks between alumni attract a wide variety of members on a regular basis,” she said. “In the past year, alumni participation has grown and activity offerings have expanded because of the growing strength of an alumni presence in the greater Washington D.C. area.”

The chapters’ activities this year have included attending a hockey game between the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars, a meeting with current SMU communication students on their trip to the capital in October and multiple mixers at local restaurants.

The New York Chapter includes New Jersey and Connecticut alumni hosting approximately 10 activities a year with about 2,000 alumni in the area. Living in the hustle and bustle of New York lends opportunities for numerous alumni gatherings. Recently, the alumni chapter annual meeting was held at the Yale Club with speakers Thomas E. Barry, SMU Vice President for Executive Affairs, and Jasper Neel, dean of Dedman College. At the event, Barry spoke on the current developments at SMU and the hope of attracting the George W. Bush presidential library and museum to SMU. Neel discussed his recent success in the opening of the Dedman Life Sciences building and the expansion of the University Honors Program. The event was a great success with many of the New York alumni in attendance.

Kimberly Head, former president of the New York chapter and current president of the Atlanta chapter, admits that one chapter event in New York introduced her to a boyfriend.

“I had known this guy when I was at SMU but had always thought he was a jerk,” said Head. “Who would have thought that we would both end up living and New York, much less dating one another.”

Continuing down the east coast to the south is the SMU Atlanta alumni chapter with over 1,000 alumni members in the metro area. The Atlanta chapter foresees four strong activities this year.

“The chapter activities used to be just mixers, but this year we plan to encourage increased attendance by expanding areas of interest,” said Head. Activities will include a tour of the High Museum of Art, “IMAX and Martinis” at Fernbank, Atlanta sporting events and possibly mixers with other college’s Atlanta alumni chapters, such as The University of Texas or Texas Christian University.

“We will have official ‘floaters and greeters’ at our functions, to make sure that people are welcomed and get acquainted with other alumni in Atlanta. This is key for the new people who attend an SMU activity for the first time,” said Head. “This year will be a strong one as we work together to build a sense of SMU community here in Atlanta.”

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