St. Bonaventure University

Alumni News

St. Bonaventure University’s alumni group transitions from board to council structure

Oct 24, 2022 The new SBU Alumni Council with President and Betsy Gingerich
St. Bonaventure’s National Alumni Association Board is streamlining its operation to become more efficient and make more of an impact.

The transition to the new model became official at the NAAB’s fall meeting on campus Saturday.

“The new structure of the Alumni Council will allow for greater flexibility and efficiency in its partnership with the Office of University Advancement and other university representatives,” said Dr. Jeff Gingerich, university president.

“More importantly,” Gingerich said, “the development of guiding principles will also create more structure and intentionality to the council’s efforts to bolster alumni engagement. I think this is such a positive step forward to take advantage of an alumni base that continues to amaze me with its passion and desire to support the university.”

Those guiding principles include:

  • supporting the mission and promoting the interests of the university.
  • continuing to strengthen the Bona Network for all alumni and students.
  • fostering a diverse and inclusive alumni community, one where all identities, experiences, and backgrounds come together to contribute to a strong and welcoming Bona family.
  • working to increase alumni engagement with and in support of St. Bonaventure via a wide range of opportunities including professional and social networking, volunteerism, and continuous learning.
  • promoting St. Bonaventure as a preferred school of choice.
  • encouraging philanthropic investment in the university.

In the transition from a board to a council, some changes will be made to the roles on the leadership team. The president and vice president roles will become chair and vice chair, respectively. During the transition period, the two current vice presidents will share the role of vice chair.

Pat Doyle, ’81, will remain chair, and Stephanie Karnas, ’06, and Mary Beth Wells, ’76, will share the role of vice chair until 2024. The role of secretary, held currently by Laurie Forino Colagiovanni, ’88, will remain part of the leadership team.

Additionally, a new role has been added to the leadership team; Emily Ciraolo, ’08, ’09, has been appointed by the university as alumni chapter representative. All five of their terms expire in two years.

Beginning in 2024, Alumni Council officers will be appointed by staff from University Advancement, subject to the approval of the university president. Formal officer elections by the Alumni Council members are no longer necessary.

The chair of the Alumni Council will continue to serve as an ex-officio member of the St. Bonaventure University Board of Trustees during the time of their term as chair.

Council membership will eventually be right-sized to 20 members, but gradually over the course of the next few years as the terms of current board members expire.

“This leaner structure aligns with national best practices to maximize alumni engagement,” said Bob Van Wicklin, vice president for University Advancement. “The new model focuses the priorities of the Alumni Council on needs that are more defined and aligned directly with university goals.”

Twenty Alumni Council members are optimal to carry through this work in a more engaging manner for “everyone involved with enhancing the impact of our remarkable alumni network,” Van Wicklin added.

“What’s important to understand,” Doyle said, “is that the new structure makes room for non-elected members to serve on committees as needed, which fosters inclusivity while also building a pipeline of potential new Alumni Council members.”

The decision to move to a more streamlined council structure was made collaboratively with NAAB members, Dr. Gingerich and Advancement Office staff members after initial discussions about the mission of the group were held at the NAAB meeting in April.

For more information about the transition of the NAAB, click here.


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.