Carnegie Mellon University

Alumni Association Board FAQ

Learn more about how the Alumni Association helps CMU thrive as a world-class institution and serve the needs of Tartans around the world.

The Alumni Association aims to foster a global community of engaged alumni, serve as a resource for that global community and provide an organization to serve and promote the mutual interests of Carnegie Mellon University and its alumni. The AAB engages in that mission by:

  • Partnering with the university to provide opportunities for alumni to engage and connect with the university and each other, and to assist with programs and events
  • Encouraging alumni to contribute their time, talent and financial support to Carnegie Mellon
  • Advocating for the entire alumni community and the university on issues of mutual interest
  • Communicating needs and news, and celebrating the innovative accomplishments of Carnegie Mellon and its alumni
  • Providing and promoting opportunities for volunteer engagement, professional association, career development, leadership and fellowship among alumni

Members of the AAB are reflective of the diverse alumni community, with a wide range of class years, colleges, backgrounds,  careers and geographic regions represented. They typically have CMU volunteer leadership experience, having served on regional and interest network boards, reunion and fundraising committees, as well as college and school boards.

The AAB has an annual nomination process during which members of the university community may nominate alumni to the board. A nomination form, professional summary and a minimum of two letters of support are submitted for review by the Nominating Committee of the AAB.

The Nominating Committee selection process focuses on current board representative needs (regional, decade, gender or college representation, for example), as well as a candidate's level of volunteer experience at both Carnegie Mellon and other organizations, consistency of giving to Carnegie Mellon and ability to contribute to the overall AAB mission.

The AAB is led by a president along with the past president and president-elect. The president serves a six-year term (two years each as president-elect, president and past president) and represents the board and all alumni at official university functions. The president also serves on the university's Board of Trustees.

The AAB  has several committees on which its members  serve. There are 26 to 27 total AAB directors:

  • 4 officers, including the assistant vice president for alumni relations, who serves as board secretary
  • 20 directors serving 4-year terms, beginning July 1
  • 3 ex-officio members: The vice president for university advancement, a student representative and a rotating representative from the Andrew Carnegie Society Executive Board

Attend all AAB meetings and CMU events — The AAB meets three times per year, in the fall, winter and spring. The meetings are typically held in Pittsburgh, although meetings have been held in other cities around the country. In-person attendance at all full board meetings is expected for those who live in North America. AAB directors who live outside of North America are expected to be physically present at a minimum of one full board meeting per year and to participate in all other meetings remotely. In addition to board meetings, AAB directors are expected to attend at least one college event and one global network event annually, and are encouraged to attend Spring Carnival.

Serve and participate on committees — Members of the AAB are assigned to standing and ad hoc committees. Standing committees include:

  • The Executive Committee, composed of the president, president-elect, past president, secretary and all standing committee chairs, is led by the president and assigns AAB directors to serve on one or more committee each year.
  • The Nominating Committee solicits and reviews nominations and selects and submits candidates for directors of the AAB, as well as for president-elect, to the board for its approval.
  • The Awards Committee solicits and reviews nominations and selects and submits candidates for the Alumni Association Awards to the board for its approval. These awards are presented at an annual ceremony held on campus.
  • Ad hoc and working committees are designed to reflect current and ongoing AAB and university priorities. Current examples include mature alumni and graduate students programs.

All board directors are expected to participate fully in the work of the full board and the committee(s) to which they have been assigned. This includes in-person work at board meetings, as well as via virtual channels between meetings. Committee chairs will spend additional time working with staff partners and ensuring that the committee objectives are met. 

Support/give back — Every AAB member is expected to make an annual financial gift (in any amount) to the university. They are expected to cover the costs of their travel and accommodations for board meetings and campus events. At the request of the board member, Carnegie Mellon can provide a letter to verify volunteer service for tax-deduction purposes.  

Advocate, participate and mentor — All AAB directors are expected to be Loyal Scots, who serve as role models to other alumni by keeping their contact information up to date, keeping up on the latest CMU news and activities, and participating in giving, as well as regional and interest group activities, reunions, college and department activities, and campus events. They are  expected to inform and educate alumni and students about the Loyal Scot recognition program. Members of the board may be asked to mentor incoming AAB directors to help with the onboarding process. 

Recognize their limitations — Should circumstances arise in the personal or professional life of a board member that prevent full participation at the above-described levels, the member should notify the board president. If it is determined they can no longer fully serve, the Nominating Committee will be responsible for filling the vacancy.