Inside Rensselaer
* New RAA President Seeks To Grow Alumni Engagement
(l. to r.) RAA President Stu Benton ’62 (left) presents the Albert Fox Demers Medal to George Criss ’68 at the 2009 RAA Awards Dinner.
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New RAA President Seeks To Grow Alumni Engagement
The Rensselaer Alumni Association, founded in 1862, is one of America’s oldest alumni organizations, and looks to engage alumni, current students, and parents in support of the Institute. The RAA represents more than 90,000 alumni worldwide and maintains a strong working partnership with Rensselaer through the Office of Alumni Relations. The RAA develops alumni programs, provides valuable services, offers philanthropic support to the Institute, and enables alumni to reconnect and network around the world.

The Association has a proven track record of high performance, involving more alumni in 2008-2009 than at any other time in its history. As the Institute marks the 10th anniversary of The Rensselaer Plan, the RAA, with new president Stu Benton ’62 at the helm, has set in motion an ambitious operating plan designed to grow alumni engagement exponentially. Benton, a long-term board member and active alumni volunteer, will serve as RAA President through 2012, continuing to support the RAA’s mission of “engaging and empowering all alumni as active and effective partners in the Rensselaer community.”

Benton will focus on several key areas during his two-year appointment. As founder and managing partner of Soundview Partners Inc., he has a proven track record as an entrepreneur and venture investor. At Rensselaer, entrepreneurship will be an important area of concentration. He has a particular interest in growing the number of alumni mentors for students.

Benton has experience in a number of industries ranging from computers and printed circuits to plastics and paper packaging. During the past 12 years he has focused on investments in high-tech startup ventures. He also serves as a mentor, consultant, and investor for startup companies in Rensselaer’s Incubator. He received an electrical engineering degree from Rensselaer and an MBA from Columbia University.

The alumni program at Rensselaer has sought to engage with the provost and the deans, as well as Enrollment Management and Student Life and others across campus, to find ways to strategically infuse alumni volunteers to move The Rensselaer Plan forward.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Jackson, the campus community, and my partners in alumni relations to help communicate the great successes and accomplishments at our alma mater to all alumni,” said Benton. “We expect to see another year of record growth for the RAA.”

While efforts toward growing the alumni community are focused in part on traditional programs such as regional alumni chapters and professional networking, a growing emphasis is being placed on online programs. The RAA now has a presence on popular networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The RAA also has worked with Rensselaer to partner with the Cornell Club-New York City as an affiliate member. Rensselaer alumni now have a place to call home when traveling or working in the city or at more than 90 reciprocal clubs around the world.

For more information on the Rensselaer Alumni Association, visit the Web site at www.alumni.rpi.edu/board.
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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 14, December 11, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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