"An alumni base that is informed, engaged and proud of what our school does and represents is the cornerstone to allowing Choate to continue to positively shape the lives of today's students."
These words of David Hang '94 capture the very essence of the Choate Rosemary Hall Alumni Association, of which he is at the helm. David, alongside 15 fellow alumni across professions, interests, and graduating classes make up Alumni Association Executive Committee (AAEC). More than 15 years ago, the AAEC was created with the intention of building strong and reciprocal connections between the School and its alumni. The small and devoted group saw early growth and many achievemennts in cooperation with former Director of Alumni Relations Monica St. James. Director of Alumni Relations, Andrea Solomon, says "The AAEC is guiding us and partnering with us to help alumni better understand what is happening on campus, and in return, feel more supported by our office and the School."
The AAEC is a vehicle for broadening and deepening the alumni base, which is essential to the health and financial security of the School. Simultaneously, AAEC members are ensuring that the School is creating programming that appeals to a wide range of alumni. As AAEC member Elizabeth Hogan '82 reflected: "It is a true two-way street: It is a window for us into what is happening day-to-day on campus, and it is a window for the School into perspectives from alumni on what they'd like to see from the School."
As with just about everything, the pandemic significantly altered the programming of the Alumni Relations Office. The upshot was the ability to gather alumni from near and far on virtual panels, all organized with input from the AAEC. The topics were far-reaching in scope, comprehensive in depth, and timely. With the prospect of in-person events on the horizon and virtual events continuing as a mainstay, the opportunities for robust alumni offerings are significant. One of the most exciting new partnerships underway is a plan for expanded alumni mentorship. Dewey Kang '03, who will serve as Vice President of the AAEC for Career Networking, sees so much promise in this initiative – a real expression of the AAEC at its best: "I approach networking to quite literally and simply be making friends – and making friends is so much easier when we have something in common and something that we love: Choate Rosemary Hall...I'm excited for what we could build on this career networking front and spring all of us back into the vibrant community that we always have been."
Perhaps most significantly, AAEC members come at their role with unique but shared experiences. They bring the perspective of their class year (and even decade) as well as their professional interests and backgrounds to a table that celebrates these differences in a way that deepens connection and collaboration. Their relationships to each other, to the Alumni Office, and to their own networks – all as an interconnected web – drives their involvement. It is a space that members unanimously enjoy and value – they thrive on working together and deeply believe in the importance the role they are playing for alumni and for the School.