I'm the supervisor of records at the Alumni Association.
I came to the Alumni Association in November 1983, and I've been a supervisor since 1986.
We try to keep good address records of graduates from all three UI campuses. We keep a database that the Alumni Association and other campus units -- such as the UI Foundation -- use to reach alumni and friends of the university. We don't try to raise money or anything like that, we just try to keep track of where everyone is.
From the Urbana campus we have about 300,000 addresses of degree-holding alumni, and more than 100,000 addresses of university friends. Friends are people who have shown an interest in the university through donations. Including the other campuses, there are more than 500,000 names total in our database, and we add about 9,000 new graduates to that list each calendar year.
It can be. On average, we make about 25,000 address changes each month to keep our records up to date. We're alerted to address changes in a variety of ways, including post office change-of-address notices, departmental mailing lists, and calls directly from alumni, their parents or sometimes old friends.
I usually come in right after 7 [a.m.]; sometimes things can get hectic here early. People call our office from all over the country, and there are times when the phone rings all day long. We average about a dozen calls each day from people looking for someone who attended school here, and other calls are from alumni who want us to straighten out their records. So some days I spend a lot of time working with other departments trying to clear up those problems.
You have to be kind of a detective sometimes to track people down, and that can get pretty interesting. Occasionally we'll have a person bring in a class ring with only initials on it and we're able to figure out who it belongs to, or sometimes an alumni member will want to get in touch with an old romantic interest and we're able to forward a letter to that person, so that's the exciting part. But the job can be boring sometimes too, like when we're coding names in our database for specific mailings. We have about 1,000 different codes for alumni, depending on what activities or clubs they were involved in when they attended the university.
Our numbers have been going up recently, and as of April we have about 136,000.
A number of benefits, including a health insurance plan that costs less
than what most companies charge, and a credit card, and an award-winning
magazine about alumni that's published six times a year. Plus, members can
use facilities such as IMPE for a small fee, and they can check out library
materials. We give a free one-year membership to new graduates with the
hope that they'll become lifetime members and to get them used to keeping
in touch with us.