Alumni React To The American Colleges New Alumni Association
Recent events surrounding the relationship between the American College and the Society of Financial Service Professionals have left some planners questioning the real issues around the situation.
As reported in last weeks National Underwriter, the American College is in the process of forming a new alumni association dedicated to serving the graduates of its programs. Furthermore, the college has decided to withdraw its conferment exercises from the SFSPs annual meeting.
“Sometimes two organizations get to a point of realizing theyre going in a slightly different directionthats what happened here,” says Chuck Wright, chairman of the board of trustees for the American College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., speaking on the new direction of the institution.
Historically, the SFSP, also based in Bryn Mawr, was formed as an alumni association for graduates of the American College, according to Wright. But over the years, the college has expanded its role to include educational programs, opened its membership up to professionals from other disciplines who are not graduates of the college, and changed its name–removing the connection to those designations offered by the college.
“Incrementally, the society has taken steps to become more independent and to move in a direction different than its original purpose. I respect that, but the college has its own need for an alumni group,” Wright says.
He adds that once people have a better understanding of what is happening with the new association, constituents of both the SFSP and the college will react positively.
“I was disappointed that the American College took this approach,” says Russell L. Crook of Crook Financial Services, Red Bank, NJ.
Crook feels that there are already too many organizations that practitioners can belong to, and the formation of another one will dilute the SFSP. “I think it is competition for an organization that already encompasses CLUs and ChFCs,” he says.
But Wright insists that the new alumni association will not be in competition with the SFSP for members. “People who want a way of maintaining their contact with the college and supporting it will join the alumni association. People that are looking for the kinds of things a professional association does can join the SFSP,” he says.
“We certainly support the goals of the SFSP; we have considerable admiration for what they do. We hope that people dont perceive this as something they have to choose between,” says Laurence Barton, president and CEO of the American College.
“I think people can be active in both,” Wright adds.
Members of the colleges alumni association will receive a number of benefits, including periodic newsletters, networking opportunities, participation in regional alumni association meetings, as well as sponsored regional seminars on issues of widespread interest, according to officials at the American College.
“That certainly sounds like its in direct competition with the SFSP,” Crook adds. “To me thats reinventing the wheel and probably a waste of resources,” he says.