Outlook Magazine - Fall 2019


Mission of service Alumni Association was formed to serve graduates; alums now serve others

U W-Stout’s Alumni Association started with a suggestion made by speakers at homecoming programs. They wanted to bring together graduates as one large family. At the time the association started in 1925, President Burton E. Nelson announced an alumni magazine with the goal to serve alumni and to carry news of the school, including changes in courses, curricula and personnel. “It will attempt to give news of the alumni who are out at work in the field,” he said. In the first alumni magazine, Florence Quilling, the first president, urged graduates to become involved in the association. “If it is to be most successful, every graduate should become an active member,” she wrote. “It is the object of the organization to further the interests of its members.” The first referenced origin of minutes of the Stout Alumni Association was made in 1934 with a membership of one. Membership hit 1,073 in 1958, according to association records. The board of directors adopted its first bylaws, objectives and travel policy in 1971. Regardless of when the association started, service has been one of the mainstays. “It is our goal to engage and keep our alumni connected to UW-Stout and each other,” said Mesa Covill, senior alumni relations officer. “We want them to network together, volunteer and give back to the institution that they love.” In an effort to stay current and relevant to the ever-changing alumni population, the association is continually looking for new ways to engage alumni. When Bob Ward came to the association and suggested a service project overseas, it was quickly adopted. Ward, CEO of Oaks Financial Service in Apple Valley, Minn., and a 1974 alumnus in industrial arts education, has led Habitat for Humanity builds several times before, but in 2017 he traveled to Malawi, Africa, with a small group of fellow alumni to work on two homes. “There is a sense of pride when you have a home,” Ward said. “It gives you confidence. It gives you a feeling you are providing for your family. The pride of ownership is a sense you get all over the world. “The most astounding thing to me in leading Habitat builds is the impact it has on the people who go on these trips,” Ward said, noting he has found it very rewarding to do volunteer

UW-Stout alumnus Bob Ward, second from left, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity in Africa.

work while traveling. “They share with me how these trips are life-changing for them.” Another twist on connecting with fellow alumni is the Alumni Association’s Travel Adventures. “We have partnered with Collette, a family-owned leader in travel excursions, to provide our alumni with the opportunity to travel to destinations around the world,” Covill said. Judy Roberts, a 1957 graduate in home economics education, in February 2018 traveled to Costa Rica, with her sister Jean Schendel, who also attended UW-Stout, as part of Alumni Association Travel Adventures. Part of the trip included planting a tree near the rainforest to give back to the country. “It’s really nice to leave something meaningful behind,” said Roberts, a retired teacher. Roberts loved the trip. “People who travel like that enjoy other people,” said Roberts, who lives in West Hartford, Conn. “Travel is like a book. If you don’t travel it is like reading only one page. It opens up your world. Yet at the heart of it, everybody is the same. People love their families. It is very life-affirming.” Whether networking at a local social or traveling around the world with their fellow UW-Stout alumni, the mission of the Alumni Association remains much the same as when it started providing opportunities, building relationships and service to each other.


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