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FALL 2011
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Alumni Association President Message

Alumni Engagement—What Does this Mean for You?

John Lutz

During the mid-1990s, the Gallup organization researched how companies could increase their number of customers and hold them. The term “customer engagement” was coined by Gallup to describe why the small percentages who stayed faithful to companies and their brands did so. Customers remained faithful not because of price or product alone (although those were important factors), they did so primarily because they were emotionally attached.

So how does this apply to our work with you, the alumni of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences?

In 1900, Liberty Hyde Bailey, as chief of Cornell’s newly created Bureau of University Extension of Agricultural Knowledge (a position he held until he became dean of the College of Agriculture in 1903), stated: “Perhaps the institution of learning has two co-ordinate functions as an organ of civilization—studiously to educate the few, enthusiastically to awaken the many.”

Those words apply equally to our work with CALS alumni today. The college continues to “studiously educate the few,” while our responsibilities as members of the CALS Alumni Association are to “enthusiastically awaken the many.”

Our work is to arouse and stimulate alumni to action by exciting you with engagement strategies. We want to promote loyalty—so you will make multiple contributions of time and resources and will recommend college and alumni programs to others.

But we also hope you’ll strengthen your emotional attachments to the college. To promote the four primary characteristics of emotional attachment among our alumni, we must put into operation these constructs:

  • Confidence—keep our marketing message synchronized with that of the college;
  • Integrity—provide competent, fair, and ethical services;
  • Pride—treat alumni with respect and hold you in high esteem; and
  • Passion—foster an ardent affection and devotion that compels alumni action.

Therefore, the job of the Alumni Association is to produce passionate and emotionally connected alumni and move you to partner with CALS as advocates of its mission and cause.

John E. Lutz ’64, MEdu ’65
2011–2012 CALS Alumni Association President