It has a fancy name: The Williams College Society of Alumni.
It has a long history: Nearly 200 years, back to 1821.
It has an impressive pedigree: Oldest of its kind in the nation. Oldest of its kind, in fact, on the planet, so far as we know.
But what exactly is it?
Well, I could point you toward the mission statement, toward the constitution, toward the planning process we’re engaged in right now to chart out the society’s path toward its bicentennial. And all that is important.
But here’s the bottom line: The Williams College Society of Alumni is you. It’s me. It’s us. And it’s our relationships with each other and with the college.
And it is truly amazing.
The Williams College Society of Alumni is you. It’s me. It’s us. And it’s our relationships with each other and with the college.
From my perspective, just a little over halfway through two years as president, I couldn’t be more impressed with the society you have built. It’s not that we have it all figured out; far from it. We know there is much to do to further strengthen our relationships. We know, for instance, that we can make better use of technology. We know that we have work to do in ensuring that all of us—no matter who we are or where we come from—can find a comfortable place for ourselves in the purple tent. And we know we can do a better job in recruiting and supporting the volunteers who make it all happen in the regions, in the classes, in the affinity groups, in student interactions and everywhere there is an Eph connection.
Still: It’s pretty amazing. I love to meet fellow Ephs in Williamstown or visit them around the country. I love to hear about what they’re up to, to watch them connecting, to witness deep friendships growing between those who’ve just graduated and those who graduated, well, less recently.
I love seeing that the intellectual curiosity that brought you to Williams has only deepened. I love watching you still acting on the instinct to accomplish—the drive to do well, to do good and to do it together—that got you through your Williams years. That curiosity, that instinct and that drive enabled you and your classmates to leave a lasting mark on the college community. They enable you and your fellow alumni to do the same wherever you are today.
Our job on the society’s executive committee, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations and so many more colleagues and friends at the college, is to encourage, support and assist with everything you are already doing.
One very recent example: the just-relaunched alumni website at http://alumni.williams.edu. Take a look: It’s built to help you grow your relationships with each other and with Williams.
Drill down through each of the tabs at the top: “Connect” with fellow alumni, participate in “Events,” find out more “About” the society. And, especially, “Learn.” It’s on that tab where you’ll find lots of food to feed that intellectual hunger that led you to Williamstown in the first place.
We’ll be adding more learning opportunities soon. And many more opportunities to connect and participate, too. So check back online often. And please let me hear your ideas, suggestions and concerns. After all, this society is you. It’s me. It’s us.
Dennis O’Shea ’77
President, Society of Alumni