WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
Do you have thoughts about The Peak, a particular story, or other aspects of CC life? Let us know » Send your thoughts to the editor.
From: Christine Moon Schluter ’65
To: Editor of The Peak
Date: Sept. 25, 2023
Subject: Elected Alumni and Young Alumni Board Members and Alumni Council
I am writing to express my great disappointment in and strong disagreement with recent changes to CC’s Alumni engagement.
The ad to enlist members of the Alumni Council made it clear that members were neither expected nor encouraged to be engaged or contributing members. Why even have such an organization?
On the heels of that communication, some of us— though apparently not all alumni— were notified that the Alumni Council and the College’s alumni body will no longer have their traditional roles in selecting the Elected Alumni Board Member or the Young Alumni Board Member.
These decisions were made without the consultation or knowledge of the alumni as a whole. It is unfortunate and, I believe, seriously detrimental to the College that there was no broader discussion or call for broader input.
Of course the Board includes a number of alumni, but there is an enormous difference between having the board appoint all of its own members and engaging the alumni body in a couple of the appointments. Several key current Board members joined the Board initially as Elected Alumni Board members. Others were identified or engaged initially by former members of the Alumni Board. In the past, the elected members have brought much needed diversity of all kinds to the Board. The elections have also been an unparalleled way to engage the alumni body meaningfully.
These decisions and the manner in which they were taken make me fear for the future of alumni engagement and broad alumni support for the College we love.
I urge the Board to revisit these decisions.
With great regret,
Christine Moon Schluter ’65
Former Alumni Board president
Former Board member
Gresham Riley Award recipient
From: Gary Knight ’67
To: Editor of The Peak
Date: Sept. 25, 2023
Subject: A Plea to the Board of Trustees, President Richardson, and the Alumni Association Council
Elliot Mamet’s (Colorado College Class of 2015; Student Trustee, 2014- 2015; Alumni Association Council Member (2021-) excellent letter in “The Peak” says it all:
“…The Board of Trustees decided to eliminate the young alumni trustee and elected alumni trustee positions. I write to express my disappointment in that decision. In my view, Colorado College’s young alumni trustee and elected alumni trustee positions have played a vital role in Board governance over their history. They have expanded the ranks of those included at a decision-making table—and as fiduciaries of the College, their perspective has led to more inclusive governance and better Board decisions. I am troubled that the Board has eliminated direct alumni voice in the selection of trustees without any advertisement or public comment period. Ideals of shared governance suggest that major governance changes should be advertised to stakeholders, and that those stakeholders should be able to voice their opinion about policy changes. No public comment was sought in this case; instead, alumni as a whole lost their ability to vote for trustee without knowing about this change or being able to offer their perspective. Alumni deserve input in these significant changes in CC’s governance structure, changes which directly affect them.”
The College’s communication with alumni has been chaotic since the advent of the Covid pandemic and has continued thereafter. I assume that part of the chaos has been due to substantive losses of staffing and the time taken to find their replacements in communication and marketing as well as development and advancement; another part may be to new directions provided by the Board and/or President Richardson about how the College is to be marketed; and part due to the time it takes to evaluate, reconsider, redevelop, and launch a new communications and marketing effort (like “The Peak”).
While change and improvement is commendable, chaos isn’t, especially when the result has been a two plus year loss of communication with the alumni during the lingering demise and death of the “Bulletin” and the launch of “The Peak.” I have direct experience with this problem because I have spent that amount of time trying to get the College’s development and alumni staff to write a memorial piece about the death of one of my classmates; I began that effort in late February 2021 and it was just published after years of persistent effort on September 22, 2023 in “The Peak”.
That the Board decision was made, and the Alumni Association Council assented to it, during a period when the College’s communication with its alumni was at an all-time low is either unfortunate timing or Machiavellian genius. It’s a foolish decision that should be reconsidered by both the AAC and by the Board. When you ask the alumni to support the College financially and then remove two of four alumni trustees, my own response goes back to those colonists in Boston who argued “no taxation without representation”. When I searched for the email addresses of the leadership of the Board of Trustees and of the AAC on the College’s website, they were not to be found, another emblematic indication that the possibility of direct communication between stakeholders and the Colllege is either accidentally or intentionally impossible. I ask therefore that President Richardson or her staff convey this email to the full Board of Trustees and that whoever is the administrator of that email do the same to the full AAC including its President Jen Hogland (there are dead LinkedIn links to the President and some of the members of the AAC).
And on the subject of “The Peak”, can someone who is a better author than me straighten out this language: “The Peak encompasses everything that is Colorado College. The name represents where we are – set high in the Rocky Mountains – what we are – an institution at the apex of academic and athletic excellence – and who we are – alumni, students, and faculty reaching the pinnacle of achievement. The mission of The Peak is to engage CC alumni and friends in the advancement of the college and its entire community.”
The first time I visited the College in 1963 it was in the high plains. When I visit this October for my 55th CC Reunion, I still expect the College to be in the high plains. Neither US News and World Report nor the Wall Street Journal place the College at the apex of academic and athletic excellence. That’s a goal to which I would subscribe but we would be naive to believe it has been achieved. Remember, there was a town in Colorado called Apex. It’s a ghost town.
I am immensely proud of the Colorado College I attended and the institution it has become. I have supported it for over 60 years. But I fear the current College has lost touch with reality. My older son attended Pomona College which describes itself as “Daring Scholarship, Caring Community”. That’s a description which I believe is also apt for Colorado College. Pomona College has a program for students working at the border, just like CC does, and it’s as invested in all the moral issues that Colorado College is. But it’s the scholarship, the intellectual characteristic, that comes before the caring community. Colorado College’s marketing seems totally focused on anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, and carbon neutrality. I absolutely support those goals but not at the exclusion of the primary conversation about scholarship and intellectual inquiry, of creating thinkers and leaders that must be the heart of Colorado College’s mission.
Please rebalance the messaging of the College. Please restore the two alumni elected alumni trustee positions to the Board of Trustees.
Gary Knight ’67
Recipient, Lloyd E. Worner Award, The Colorado College, 1989
Member, Capital Campaign Executive Committee, 1985-1989
Chairman, Annual Fund, 1986-1988
Member (ex officio), Board of Trustees, The Colorado College, 1985-1987
President, National Alumni Association, The Colorado College, 1985-1987
Member, National Alumni Council, 1983-1988
From: Anne Trostel Galbraith ’57
To: Editor of The Peak
Date: Sept. 11, 2023
Subject: Alumni Publication’s New Name
With significant interest, I awaited the results for a creative new name for The Bulletin, the much anticipated new choice which the gathered committee, sans one – made, presumably and thankfully after eliminating such alliterative campus-related selections – as perhaps Cossitt Chronicle, Palmer Perview, or Shove Strivings – to achieve an unforgettable banner for its alumni newsletter – but which ultimate selection apparently was not to be associated with the college itself but with the world around it – how uplifting, how creative, how inspiring – was the goal – and I now am as deflated as a punctured balloon plummeting over Pikes Peak – which to many of us is The Peak, our affectionate reference to a revered landmark – not The Peak. It seems inappropriate to equate that soaring mountain to an unconnected newsletter, when originality for an institution’s alumni news should be in direct reference to that institution – not achievement, not fame, not unrelated-to-the-institution – but which in itself is something of a landmark, deserving of a recognizable connection to our alma mater.
Many thanks for the efforts of The Bulletin staff to make a challenging attempt to arrive at an acceptable and needed change. Let us hope that the selection will be reconsidered.
Anne Trostel Galbraith ’57
From: Elliot Mamet ’15
To: Editor of The Peak
Date: Sept. 6, 2023
Subject: Board of Trustees Decision
A recent message from Jen Hoglin, President of the Colorado College Alumni Association Council, announced that the Board of Trustees decided to eliminate the young alumni trustee and elected alumni trustee positions. I write to express my disappointment in that decision. In my view, Colorado College’s young alumni trustee and elected alumni trustee positions have played a vital role in Board governance over their history. They have expanded the ranks of those included at a decision-making table—and as fiduciaries of the College, their perspective has led to more inclusive governance and better Board decisions. I am troubled that the Board has eliminated direct alumni voice in the selection of trustees without any advertisement or public comment period. Ideals of shared governance suggest that major governance changes should be advertised to stakeholders, and that those stakeholders should be able to voice their opinion about policy changes. No public comment was sought in this case; instead, alumni as a whole lost their ability to vote for trustee without knowing about this change or being able to offer their perspective. Alumni deserve input in these significant changes in CC’s governance structure, changes which directly affect them.
Elliot Mamet ’15
Student Trustee (2014 – 2015)
Alumni Association Council Member (2021 -)