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Fall 2009
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Alumni Association President Message

Give Back

Jim Alves

It’s my honor and privilege to lead the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Alumni Association as president for 2009–2010.
As alumni of Cornell and CALS, we have great reason to be proud of our alma mater and the benefits we continue to receive through our affiliation with the college. Consider the countless times your Cornell degree earned you special recognition, landed you that initial job interview, or connected you to a new friend or colleague. Many lucky Cornellians even find love on campus. Considering all that Cornell and CALS has done for us, we all might ask what have we done for Cornell?

Making a financial commitment to Cornell is critical to maintaining the university’s viability as a world-class teaching and research institution. Especially in this economy, it’s more important now than ever to consider Cornell in your annual giving, just as you would for your local food bank or religious center. Any monetary amount makes a difference, and you can feel confident that a gift to the CALS Annual Fund is used to support the college’s priorities and scholarships, which enables students of all financial situations to experience the Cornell we know and love and to fulfill Ezra Cornell’s founding mission statement, “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

But not all alumni have the financial resources to contribute as much as they would like. Fortunately, there are many other opportunities to support CALS. For example, you can join your local CALS Alumni Association leadership team or Cornell Club, interview high school applicants through the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN), host a winter extern or summer intern at your place of work, mentor a recent graduate, attend a local high school career fair to promote CALS, participate on an informational alumni panel, join the Alumni Career Link through the college’s Career Development Office, or volunteer to organize or host a local alumni event. Regardless how much time you have to offer, there is something for everyone. You can even benefit CALS and the university by simply mentioning Cornell in your everyday dealings. With more than 50,000 CALS alumni throughout the globe, you shouldn’t underestimate the networking power of your Cornell degree.

Next time you update your budget, make plans for the weekend, or strike up a conversation, be mindful of your Cornell roots and seek out ways to contribute to the college. From assuming a leadership role to making a simple gesture or comment, you can make a difference in the future of Cornell and CALS. I encourage you to just give back!

Jim Alves ’01
2009–2010 CALS Alumni Association President


Jim Alves ’01 is the newly elected president of the CALS Alumni Association, the youngest alumnus to serve in this capacity.

Born into a Portuguese immigrant dairy family in Northern California, Alves was the first in his family to graduate from college. He set his sights on Cornell during high school when he participated in the Future Farmers of America organization.

While an undergrad, Alves was an Applied Economics and Management major, Cornell Tradition Fellow, peer advisor in the CALS Career Development Office, and a member of the dean’s list and Ho-Nun-De-Kah Honor Society. Taking advantage of two study abroad programs, Alves traveled extensively, visiting more than 16 countries across five continents.

Following graduation from Cornell, Alves worked in operations for an investment bank before entering the government sector. For the last six years, Alves has lived and worked in and around Sacramento, California. Currently the assistant secretary for the California Health and Human Services Agency in Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration, he represents 13 state health and welfare departments with a total budget of more than $82 billion.

Alves’s passion for Cornell and CALS drew him to alumni events even before he graduated. He joined the local CALS leadership team in Northern California in 2001 and assumed the director-at-large position for Northern California in 2005. Since that time, he has been an active member of the CALS Alumni Association board of directors, serving in key leadership roles. Alves helped lead the organization through many milestones, including the development of its new five-year strategic plan and the college’s centennial celebration.

Yet Alves is most proud of his efforts and achievements in college recruitment. Since graduating in 2001, Alves has volunteered countless hours to attend career shows, awards banquets, and conferences to promote CALS to high school students, teachers, and guidance counselors to recruit the best and brightest students on the West Coast and share his knowledge about Cornell and the college.