Carlson tries to step up alumni relations

Dean Alison Davis-Blake will headline a Carlson School of Management alumni event away from campus Tuesday night. A long way, in fact âÄî the get-together will be in Chicago. The reception aims to begin a new era of connecting to Carlson alumni. Carlson Associate Director of Alumni Relations Stephanie Hagel said the event is a platform for the dean to update alumni on the new undergraduate curriculum, the newly constructed Hanson Hall and other news. Carlson Director of Institutional Advancement Sara Fenlason said she hopes to establish Carlson alumni clubs in the spring, and this is the first step. âÄúWe have a goal, since weâÄôre starting from the beginning, of officially organizing five clubs a year starting this year,âÄù Fenlason said. The clubs would be in places with dense populations of Carlson graduates, Fenlason said. Chicago, New York and San Francisco are first on the list, with similar receptions to TuesdayâÄôs already set up in New York and San Francisco. Fenlason said the idea came from peer business schools. The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan , for example, has alumni clubs across the nation and internationally. Hagel and Fenlason said these clubs wouldnâÄôt hold events dedicated to fundraising. The goal is simply to connect Carlson alumni with the school and create a strong sense of affinity, Hagel said. Finance senior Andrew Flis said he is currently looking into jobs on the East Coast , Chicago and Minnesota. âÄúIf it has a feel of just being a fundraising event and not being a community event then there is no point in going,âÄù Flis said. âÄúThe hard part is going the first time and getting to know people there.âÄù Other University colleges donâÄôt have plans to set up similar clubs. Institute of Technology Alumni Relations coordinator Liz Stadther said she has not really thought about setting up similar chapters. The same goes at the College of Liberal Arts. âÄúIâÄôm not sure that CLA has the resources to establish its own clubs in communities across the country,âÄù Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Erica Giorgi said, âÄúso what we do is try to follow the lead of the alumni association.âÄù The University of Minnesota Alumni Association has geographic chapters across the world, but the programs through these chapters are not specific to certain schools. The Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs holds an annual event in Washington, D.C., but Michelle Potter-Bacon, alumni relations and annual giving manager, said she believes it would be difficult to set up similar clubs because they lack an undergraduate program and have fewer alumni. Carlson alumnus Patrick Schott is currently the treasurer of the University alumni chapter in Chicago and said he has noticed the business school connecting to its alumni. âÄúThe Carlson school has been very good in the last decade about reaching out to alumni in remote geographic locations where there are concentrations of Carlson alumni,âÄù Schott said. Carlson is also developing corporate alumni clubs in local businesses. Currently, 15 clubs are in the early stages for alumni working at Minnesota companies including 3M, General Mills and Target.