"RE is on a wonderful path right now and we are full steam ahead."
—Agustin “Konky” Arellano, Jr., ’90, 2017-18 President Alumni Association Board
Q. What’s new in alumni affairs?
KA: Without a doubt, new challenges. All very exciting. I have been on the Alumni Board now for approximately eight years, during which time Chip Cole ’79, Elliot Gelber ‘84, Ben Quevedo ‘98 and Ricky Stokes ‘94 served as President. I cannot begin to tell you what a wonderful job each of these gentlemen did during their tenure and they have transformed the way we attract, inform, engage and involve our alumni. RE is on a wonderful path right now and we are full steam ahead. Everyone is excited about the addition of the STEM building and certainly the acquisition of La Brisa, which significantly expands and enhances our campus. Now more than ever, we need the support of our alums, which is where the Alumni Board comes into play.
Q. Where’s all this momentum coming from?
KA: I think it is generated from Penny Townsend and the Board of Trustees. They have a vision for our beloved school and they are very determined to achieve it. Honestly, as a student I did not give much thought to how our campus could grow. During my senior year, the gymnasium was built and at the time, we thought, “OK, what else could possibly fit?” I am amazed by what has been done and what we are doing today. It is all very impressive.
On the Alumni Board front, we also have a good deal of momentum. As I mentioned above, Chip, Elliot, Ben and Ricky did a great job of transforming the group. In each of the last three years, we have exceeded a 30-percent participation in terms of alumni giving. When I first started on the board, 30 percent was a “pipe dream”; it has now become our baseline.
Q. What has driven the increase in alumni giving?
KA: Activity and awareness. Our goal on the Alumni Board is to get as many alums to REconnect. Over the past few years we have made a conscious effort to get alums involved in activities on campus, such as reunion, REEF and homecoming as well as off-campus events involving professional networking and community service. We have also greatly increased alumni awareness. Many alums do not realize the amount of money that is needed to meet our financial aid programs. In 2016-17, 17.5 percent of RE students received $5 million in financial aid or tuition remission. The more people understand the need (and use) of their gifts, the more likely they are to participate.
Q. Are most active alumni located in Southern Florida?
KA: Most are, but our Alumni Board has active agents in New York as well as Southern and Northern California. I would like to add more regional agents throughout the country, so if anyone in DC or Chicago or any other place is interested in becoming an Alumni Board liaison/agent, please let me know (email@example.com).
Q. If you could tell uninvolved alumni one thing would it be?
KA: Very simply, we need you, please get involved. It is a great time jump in.
Q. How should absent alumni get back involved?
KA: Become a class agent. Become a non-resident liaison. Attend an on-campus event. Make a gift. There are so many ways to get started. Start small and I am fairly certain your involvement will significantly increase over time.