|Saint Meinrad Alumni Association|
Who We Are
The Saint Meinrad Alumni Association began in 1894, when that year’s ordination class formed a small organization to "foster mutual love and respect; to ensure success in [their] vocation; and to effect spiritual advancement” (Saint Meinrad Alumni Union of 1894). Over the years, it has grown to include anyone who has been regularly enrolled for one semester in:
There are no dues or subscriptions charged to any member of the Alumni Association. In lieu of dues, alumni are encouraged to participate actively in the activities of the Alumni Association.
The mission of the Saint Meinrad Alumni Association is to strengthen the members' identity as alumni of Saint Meinrad, to provide opportunities for interaction among alumni and Saint Meinrad on an academic, social, and spiritual level, and to foster, enhance, and support Saint Meinrad in carrying out its institutional mission.
The Alumni Association is governed by a board of 18 directors representing clerical and lay alumni. The Director of Alumni Relations serves as an ex-officio, non-voting member. A slate of six directors is elected annually to serve a three-year term. Members may serve two consecutive terms.
The board’s mission is to:
Official History of the Saint Meinrad Alumni Association
The Alumni Association began in 1894. The Ordination Class of that year formed a small organization. The printed rules of the Saint Meinrad’s Alumni Union of 1894 determined the object of this union was “to foster mutual love and respect; to insure success in our vocation; to effect spiritual advancement.” They were to meet “every five years”; to offer one Holy Mass for the union annually; and to offer five Holy Masses for a deceased member.
From 1927 to 1973, the Saint Meinrad Alumni Association included only clerical alumni. During these years, the Annual Meeting was held at Saint Meinrad twenty times. At other times, the Annual Meeting was held in such cities as Indianapolis, Louisville, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Peoria, East St. Louis, and for one meeting, in 1952, they went to Corpus Christi, Texas.
During the October 2, 1949, meeting, the Alumni Association suggested the appointment of a permanent secretary of the Alumni Association. Father Abbot Ignatius appointed Father Ralph Lynch, OSB, as the first Executive Secretary. He held this office from 1949 until 1965. The Executive Secretary kept the records and acted as liaison with the Seminary.
In 1965, Father Paschal Boland, OSB, became the Executive Secretary and continued in this position until 1968, when Father Eric Lies, OSB, took over. Father Eric acted as the Secretary until 1983.
In 1967, Saint Meinrad established a Development Program and hired John MacCauley as its first director. John showed great interest in the Alumni and their activities. Working with Alumni leaders, John helped develop the annual reunion at Saint Meinrad, the Saint Meinrad Sunday Program, Alumni Dinners, Alumni Annual Giving and the merger of clerical and lay Alumni into one organization.
First Alumni Director Hired
On February 24, 1969, Mr. Paul Stabile was hired as the first Alumni Director. He remained until February 11, 1983.
After 1967, the Alumni Reunions were always held at Saint Meinrad. In 1968, the first Alumni Dinners were held in such cities as Indianapolis, Louisville, Evansville and Fort Wayne. In addition, the Alumni Board encouraged the Saint Meinrad Sunday Program, which was developed to support and strengthen their alma mater.
The two main purposes of this program were: 1) to encourage people of the Alumni Pastor’s parish to reflect on the important role that priests play in their lives; and 2) to invite the parishioners’ investment in the work of educating their future priests.
The Constitution was revised and adopted at the October 15, 1969, meeting at Saint Meinrad. The Constitution stated that there would be twelve members on the Board, and the Board Members would elect from their number the officers of the Alumni Association.
On November 1, 1970, the Saint Meinrad Lay Alumni Association Board of Directors proposed a joint meeting with the Clerical Alumni Board, which took place on May 16, 1971. Each Board first met separately and then in joint session. At the joint assembly, they endorsed the idea of a joint Reunion. The first joint Reunion (clerical and lay) took place on August 24-25, 1971, at Saint Meinrad.
Based on the success of joint activity at Alumni Dinners and Reunions, the Alumni Boards approved an ad hoc committee to study a merger of the two associations. The committee unanimously recommended the merger.
Lay and Clerical Groups Merge
At the joint meeting on January 28, 1973, a Constitution revision committee was appointed to prepare a new constitution for the merger. At the August 21, 1973, annual meeting during the Reunion, the Alumni approved the merger and new Constitution.
The first Board Meeting of this newly constituted (clerical and lay) Saint Meinrad Alumni Association was called to order on Sunday, November 8, 1973, by Father Gerald Gettelfinger, president of the new Alumni Board.
In 1979, it was decided the Mass at the Annual Reunion would be celebrated for all alumni who died during the previous year. Priest alumni were asked to commemorate the deceased alumni on this day if they weren't at the Reunion.
At the July 1, 1979, meeting, the Board accepted the recommendations of the staff that if there was sufficient interest among summer school graduates, they would establish a separate Summer School Alumni Association. If such an association proves viable, after some experience with their own program, joint activities with the Seminary Alumni Association could be considered.
In 1983, Mr. Paul Stabile, Alumni Director for fourteen years, resigned. Father Gregory Chamberlin, OSB, was appointed acting Alumni Director.
A discussion was held that year as to whether to officially change the name of our organization to the Saint Meinrad Seminary Alumni Association to avoid confusion with the summer session alumni Association. It was decided not to formally change the Constitution and By-Laws, but to use the term in newsletters, etc. to clarify the distinction between the two Alumni bodies.
It was also proposed and approved that a member of both the Seminary Alumni Association and the Summer Alumni Association serve as a liaison to the seminary Board Meetings. This person would not be a member of the Board, but a non-voting attendee.
New Alumni Director Hired
In 1985, Father Meinrad Brune, OSB, was appointed Alumni Director to replace acting Alumni Director Father Gregory Chamberlin, OSB.
In 1986, the president of the Board participated in the Development Office’s strategic planning process. This was the first time a member of the board was involved in such an activity.
Also in 1986, discussion was held on whether membership of the Board should include alumni from outside of the Indiana-Kentucky areas. Two issues were addressed:
1. The need to stay connected to distant dioceses.
2. Whether the Board should offer travel assistance to someone elected from a distant diocese.
It was decided that if Alumni are elected from a distant diocese, their transportation cost would be covered by the Alumni Board budget.
Changes in the Alumni Association Constitution were recommended to the Alumni Association membership and approved on August 13, 1986. They were:
1. Nominees for the Board shall be selected from each of three divisions of classes:
a. ordination class of more than 30 years ago
b. ordination class of 15-30 years ago
c. ordination class within the last 15 years
2. Six Board members will be elected each year; the number of Board members was raised to 18.
Board membership will be limited to two consecutive three-year terms. After absence from the Board for one year, a previous Board member may serve again if re-elected.
In 1987, the Alumni Board supported the motion that special dinners be held for College Seniors, College Grads (editor’s note: 1st theology students preparing for MDiv program), and Deacons to acquaint them with the Alumni Organization and allow the students to meet Alumni Board Members.
Also in 1987, a motion to extend membership in the Saint Meinrad Seminary Alumni Association to all St. Placid Hall oblates was carried unanimously.
Distinguished Alumnus Award Proposed
In 1989, the Alumni Board proposed a Distinguished Alumnus Award Program. The Board recommended the program to the President-Rector, who approved the plan.
The guidelines for the Distinguished Alumnus Award are as follows:
1. The recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award should be an Alumnus who spent at least one semester on campus and left in good standing;
2. The recipient should be an Alumnus who is an actively-practicing Catholic in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church;
3. The Recipient should exemplify the Gospel values in his life and work;
4. The Alumni Board presumes the recipient is living, but the award could be given posthumously; and
5. The recipient should be one who has provided recognized service to Saint Meinrad Seminary as an Alumnus.
In concern to more actively involve younger alumni in the Alumni Association, it was proposed to invite the School of Theology and College Student Unions to appoint representatives to attend Alumni Board meetings as resource persons.
Representatives would meet Alumni Board members, learn what the Alumni Association does, and channel information from Board Meetings to their student governments. The Board approved the proposal.
In 1991, the Distinguished Alumnus Award Committee nominated Msgr. Alfred Horrigan of the Archdiocese of Louisville. The award, called the Meinradi Medal, was designed by Fr. Eric Lies, OSB. The Alumni Board unanimously accepted the nomination of Msgr. Horrigan.
In 1992, the Board overwhelmingly approved Fr. Theodore Heck, OSB, as the second recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Mission Statement Created
The Mission Statement for the Saint Meinrad Seminary Alumni Board was approved by the Board on March 1, 1992.
“We, the members of the Saint Meinrad Seminary Alumni Board, confident that our own years of seminary education at Saint Meinrad are a valuable part of our heritage, dedicate ourselves to assisting Saint Meinrad College and School of Theology in their calling and mission. We see our ministry of service as two-fold. First, since we have been elected by the seminary alumni as a whole, we are committed to serving the needs and interests of all the alumni of Saint Meinrad Seminary. Second, since the Alumni Association itself is grounded in our common appreciation of the Saint Meinrad experience, we are committed to serving as a resource for the Seminary Schools.”
That same date, the document titled “Saint Meinrad Seminary Alumni Board Responsibilities” was not voted on, but there was a consensus of acceptance of the document. It says:
IN RELATION TO THE ALUMNI:
1. To treasure and affirm the Alumni as an important resource for the Kingdom, the Church, and the Seminary;
2. To unite the Alumni to continue to ongoing spirit and community of Saint Meinrad
3. To keep the Alumni informed of news and special events concerning the life of the Seminary, as well as the lives of fellow Alumni;
4. To invite the Alumni to support the Seminary through prayer, recruitment, and financial contributions.
IN RELATION TO THE SEMINARY:
1. To advise on matters of public image, the impression that Saint Meinrad Seminary and its programs make on the wider Church and communities where we reside;
2. To offer input, as requested, concerning present and future Seminary programs and plans, particularly in the areas of continuing education, recruitment, and financial contributions;
3. To assist the professional staff of the Seminary, as needed, in the execution of strategies for recruitment and financial contributions;
4. To assist the professional staff in discerning the continuing education needs of diverse Alumni constituencies and the wider Church
5. To serve as a sounding board, a sympathetic outside resource, from which the Seminary administrators, faculty, and staff can elicit candid commentary and advice, as needs warrant.
Also in 1992, consensus among the Board indicated updating the Alumni Directory every three years is an appropriate use of time and expense ($15,000).
In June 1994, Father Meinrad Brune, OSB, concluded nine years of service as Alumni Director. The Alumni Associations recognized Father Meinrad’s faithful service at the Summer Session Reunion in July and the Alumni Reunion in August.
Father Julian Peters, OSB, was appointed Director of Alumni Relations, effective January 1995.
Prayer Book Published
A significant project accomplished through the workings of the Alumni Board was the Saint Meinrad Prayer Book, made first available at the Annual Reunion in August 1995. Mr. Charles Belch and Father William Munshower shepherded the prayer book project, working closely with Father Julian and Barbara Crawford, Director of Communications for Saint Meinrad.
In August 1999, President Fr. David Hillier introduced the recently appointed Director of Alumni Relations, Fr. Warren Heitz, OSB.
Also in 1999, Dan Schipp reported at the October meeting, after consulting with Fr. Warren, that Janet Werne was appointed Associate Director of Alumni Relations earlier this month. In her 32 years in the Alumni Office, Janet has taken on increased responsibilities and now oversees several projects.
President Fr. David Hillier asked the board to review the most recent draft of the Board’s revised mission statement. The motion was approved.
The new mission statement read:
The mission of the Saint Meinrad Alumni Association Board of Directors is:
In 2002, Fr. Warren Heitz was reassigned to his former position as Director of Corporate Services. Joe Cook, an alumnus of the School of Theology, was hired in December.
In 2007, the alumni website was launched at http://alumni.saintmeinrad.edu and maintained some of the features present under the Saint Meinrad website while adding new features such as allowing members to have their own personal page with photos, biographical information, blogs, etc. Information on “lost” alumni was sent in after the launch of the website, which helped the Development Office with its record keeping. Private areas, such as class group pages, are password protected. Alumni could use this website to register for events and learn of the latest news from Saint Meinrad.
Mr. Tim Herrmann, a former One Bread, One Cup participant and intern, was hired and began work as Director of Alumni Relations on August 15, 2011.
Day of Service Launches
In 2014, it was proposed to the Alumni Office and the Alumni Board to try a Day of Service for alumni. We launched two Alumni Day of Service events in Chicago (March 8) and Evansville (March 15). The events were very successful and fun.
In Chicago a band of alumni and others helped sort, organize and serve 250+ families fresh produce at the St. James (Wabash) Food Pantry. In Evansville, alumni, students and coworkers helped clean and organize St. Benedict Cathedral as well as pick up trash at Wesselman Park. For lunch, the Saint Meinrad Oblates from Evansville prepared and served lunch to the Day of Service attendees. The day ended with Mass celebrated by Bishop Charles Thompson T’87 with the parish community at St. Benedict Cathedral.
Mr. Tim Herrmann’s last day as Alumni Director was on May 9, 2014. He stepped down to pursue life as a monk here at Saint Meinrad.
Mr. Christian Mocek, a former One Bread, One Cup participant and intern, was hired and began work as Director of Alumni Relations on July 14, 2014.
(Last Revised 12/31/2014)