Who is the Alumni Society?

foehlDigging a little deeper on Society President Dennis O’Shea’s ’77 message from the inside front cover of People, here’s a quick quiz to see how much you know about your alumni family:

1. What’s the current count of alumni in the society (let’s say within 500 people)?

2. What’s the gender breakdown of the society? Extra credit if you can guess what decade it reaches 50-50.

3. What’s the median class year of the society?

4. What are the top four most populous regions of the country? Extra credit if you can put them in order.

5. What’s the ethnic breakdown of the society?

6. What’s the percentage of alumni married to each other?

Here are the answers:

1. With the addition of 527 members of the Class of 2013, along with 12 Grad Art and 28 CDE graduates, the society numbered 28,711 in late July.

2.The gender breakdown is currently 36.42 percent female and 63.57 percent male. Assuming current enrollment numbers stay constant, the society will reach gender balance in 2040.

3. The median class year is 1986. I’m guessing how you feel about that depends on which side of that number you land.

4. Not surprisingly, 25 percent of you live in New England. The next region may have thrown you—it’s the West Coast, with 17.5 percent. Metro New York is next, with 16 percent, followed by the Mid-Atlantic at 13 percent. Those of you in the South make up 11 percent, and 9 percent of you are in the Midwest. Slightly over 4 percent of you are living outside the U.S.

5. Approximately 84 percent of you are white, 5.5 percent are black, 5.3 percent are Asian, and 3.2 percent are Hispanic or Latino. Alumni of color are the fastest evolving demographic within the society. The incoming Class of 2017 mirrors recent classes and numbers 552 students, 295 of whom are white and 206 are students of color (12 students declined to indicate their race).

6. Rural legend has had the number of married alumni couples as high as 50 percent, but it’s actually 11.64 percent.

Whatever quantitative analysis may tell us, we know that your relationship with Williams can’t be fully captured in our database.

These numbers only begin to tell the story of our diverse and disparate group. We have Williams in common along with a broad range of affiliations with each other and the college. The obligation of the Alumni Relations Office and the society’s leadership is to provide you with meaningful and substantive opportunities to engage with Williams and your fellow alumni. In our data-driven world, we’re increasingly focused on how we can measure the effectiveness of our efforts and your engagement with the college. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we track points of engagement, among them your event participation, volunteerism, giving and utilization of online resources. Combined, or viewed individually, these factors paint a picture that gives us a sense of how you’re engaging with Williams.

But we also understand that the picture is incomplete. Whatever quantitative analysis may tell us, we know that your relationship with Williams can’t be fully captured in our database. Your definitions for engagement with Williams are as disparate as the society you inhabit. We’d love to hear how you define yours.

With best wishes from Williamstown,

Brooks Foehl ’88
Director of Alumni Relations
bfoehl@williams.edu