Chapter and Verse

When the Office of alumni relations joins with the alumni association to host a large event at our school, it can be thrilling to be among the throngs, visiting with scores of classmates and seeing which classrooms and labs have been refurbished since your student days.

But it’s not always possible to travel to Brooklyn if you live and work outside of the city, and sometimes it’s nice to be part of a smaller, more intimate group.

The NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering’s dedicated alumni-relations staffers plan as many regional gatherings as possible, and while those are always fun, they don’t take place as frequently as many alumni would like.

Why not consider starting or joining a regional chapter? The alumni association is seeking to revitalize its local groups, and many members are stepping up to help organize.
South Florida is already home to a regional chapter headed by Jay Bluestein (’66) and Mel Weinzimer (’67), who have organized past events and look forward to hosting more, including, perhaps, a sightseeing tour of the picturesque Intercoastal Highway and a pro baseball game. They assert that the benefits of a strong region- al chapter go well beyond the social, however. When the two were working at tech giant Raytheon, they arranged for recruiting events for the students, for example. “Staying involved ensures that we can contribute to our school—and not just financially,” they say. “And contributing to our school is, in a very meaningful way, contributing to society.”

Gary Ogin (’69), who attended a lively NYU-hosted alumni dinner this past spring, agrees and hopes to help establish an active chapter in his current home city of Denver. “At school I was surrounded by like-minded ‘geeks,’ back in the day before geek was cool,” he says. “My participation in the alumni association will hopefully provide an opportunity to stay in touch with the many like-minded members of the alumni community who have settled in the Denver area. “

Steve Garone (’73) and his wife, Lynne (’75), met more than four decades ago while they were both attending the school, so they are familiar with the benefits of getting to know
your classmates. They recognize the value of fostering their connection to the school and were active in the Boston-area Bean Pot chapter, which they hope to see re-energized soon. “Having been involved with the Alumni Association for many years, I have concluded that the greatest value the Alumni Association can provide is help, knowledge, and expertise in areas import- ant to the careers and lives of the alumni,” Steve says. “And regional social events [can be] great venues for updating alumni on the status of the school and its programs. That’s the way to keep alumni engaged.”

Bob Franco (’69) remembers when the Houston-area chapter planned several wonderful events. “I offered my home to host meetings, and my wife and I were the catalyst behind having an alumni group outing to see the traveling Broadway series show Rent,” he recalls “Another alumnus, who was the technical director at NASA, arranged for a private tour of the NASA Space Shuttle and International Space Station facilities.... These activities were not held too frequently but were special occasions to me.” They were especially important because of the camara- derie they fostered. “We all met as strangers but were bonded by our experiences at our alma mater,” Franco, who is helping spearhead a revitalization of the Houston chapter, says. He hopes that the group will foster the same camaraderie as in its previous incarnation, with one important difference: “The demographics of the last alumni chapter group was semi or fully retired, and male. That reflected the absence of women and minorities from the engineering disciplines at that time,” he explains. “Today, I'm hoping to attract a younger, more diverse, group to our events, one that re- flects the school as it is now.”

Alumnus Charlie Hinkaty (’70, ’72), who sits on the boards of both NYU and the School of Engineering, served as presi- dent of the alumni association and chairman of what was then its newly created International Board of Directors from 1996 to 1998. “Perhaps the most important initiative I pursued during my tenure was the creation of Alumni Chapters in key locations domestically and internationally, as part of our effort to rekindle a relationship between our distinguished Alumni and our Alma Mater,” he recalls. “We were successful in establishing vibrant chapters in New York, Long Island, Washington, Houston, California, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Israel, among other locales. In view of the exciting renaissance currently underway as we merge with NYU, this is the ideal time to re-establish regional chapters that may have lost their momentum, as well as other, new chapters.”

“Leading a chapter can be a fun and rewarding experience for alumni,” Valerie Cabral, the Director of Alumni Relations, says. “We love sponsoring events, and it’s very gratifying to know that we’re helping alumni connect. When our regional chapters take the reins to plan and host gatherings, it’s a way of nurturing those connections and keeping the momentum going throughout the entire year.”