Carnegie Mellon University

Alumni Relations

Policy Title Alumni Relations Policy
Policy Owner Vice President for University Advancement
Responsible Office University Advancement, Alumni and Constituent Engagement
Contact Information

Questions concerning this policy or its intent should be directed to the Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Engagement in the Division of University Advancement, 412-268-2049.

Pertinent Dates This policy was approved on August 18, 2016. Administrative changes were made in October 2018 and January 2022.
Approved By The President of Carnegie Mellon University.
Entities Affected By This Policy Carnegie Mellon faculty, staff, and alumni.
Who Needs To Know About This Policy

This policy governs Carnegie Mellon University employees engaged in activities related to university alumni.

Definitions n/a
Forms / Instructions n/a
Related Information
Reason for Policy / Purpose

The Alumni Relations Policy helps to provide all university departments and units with consistent language and operating principles as they relate to alumni relations. It also provides structure for how university-recognized alumni and donor groups may be developed. This will help ensure efforts to engage alumni are efficient, are aligned with overall Advancement and university goals, and provide a uniform positive experience for alumni.


This policy defines alumni status and outlines requirements associated with Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Association membership, alumni awards and honors, alumni communications and surveys, alumni volunteer networks, donor recognition societies, and reunions.

Policy Statement

  1. Alumni Status: Who is Considered an Alumnus/a of Carnegie Mellon University?
    1. Degree-holders are automatically considered alumni.
    2. Non-degree holders who were admitted to any college or school of Carnegie Mellon University and then departed the university in good standing after completing at least one semester may be considered alumni. It is recommended that these individuals contact the university to verify their alumni status.
  2. Alumni Association Membership
    1. All university alumni are automatically members of the Carnegie Mellon University Alumni Association (CMUAA). Alumni do not need to opt-in or pay a membership fee in order to be part of the CMUAA.
    2. As stated in the CMUAA Board Bylaws, CMUAA membership will also be extended to honorary degree recipients and honorary members.
    3.  Alumni benefits, including but not limited to alumni email accounts and Alumni Community alumni accounts, are exclusive to university alumni.
  3. Alumni Awards and Honors
    1. The Alumni and Constituent Engagement team and the Alumni Association Board manage and administer an Alumni Awards program that recognizes university alumni for their achievements and contributions to society, as well as their service to the university. Should other university colleges, schools, and departments develop award programs to recognize their respective alumni, any such program will be coordinated with the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team to ensure consistency and avoid confusion among programs.
    2. The notification of award honorees who are university fundraising prospects should also be coordinated with the individual’s/organization’s Prospect Relationship Manager. Please see the university’s Prospect Management and Alumni Engagement Management Policy for further information.
  4. Alumni Communications and Surveys
    1. In order to ensure communications standards and best practices are adhered to, all official communications to broad groups of alumni, donors, and prospects (i.e., beyond a college’s, school’s, or department’s own constituency) will be coordinated with and approved by the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team and/or Advancement Communications. These communications include, but are not limited to: event notices, surveys, emails, announcements, and newsletters.
    2. Colleges, schools, and departments may communicate to constituents who are affiliated with their respective units without approval by the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team and/or Advancement Communications, provided they request updated contact and exclusion data from the Advancement Programs and Services Office. Please also see the University Advancement Data Confidentiality and Usage Policy.
    3. In addition, it is strongly encouraged that colleges, schools, and departments coordinate the scheduling of their communications with Advancement Communications to help prevent constituents from receiving multiple university communications at one time and to avoid survey fatigue and information overload.
  5. Alumni Volunteer Networks
    1. The purpose of alumni volunteer networks, organized regionally or by special interests, is to support and further the mission of the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team and the university. When alumni volunteer networks are officially recognized, they benefit by having access to the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team's expertise and support in communications, marketing, events management, resources, and fundraising efforts.
    2. In order for an alumni organization to have the designation of an official university network, the approval of the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team is necessary. To be considered an active network, the group must meet the following minimum standards:
      1. Coordinate efforts with the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team or other university representative(s)
      2. Maintain active volunteer leadership
      3. Adhere to standards and operating principles set forth by the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team and the university, including Carnegie Mellon University’s Statement of Assurance
    3. Individuals or groups that are not officially recognized by the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team or university will not be permitted to use the university name, logos, service marks, or brand.
  6. Donor Recognition Societies for Alumni and Other Donors
    1. The purpose of donor recognition societies, both college-based and university-wide, is to recognize varying types and levels of giving, and develop donor communities.
    2. Activities and perquisites of each society correspond to the amount and nature of support. It is of the utmost importance that recognition societies are equitable and consistent across the university. Therefore, all new donor recognition societies must be approved by University Advancement prior to being operationalized.
  7. Reunion Programming
    1. The purpose of reunion celebrations, organized by class year or shared affiliation, is to reconnect alumni with their classmates and the university.  
    2. The Alumni and Constituent Engagement team hosts undergraduate reunions each year. Should other university colleges, schools, and departments develop reunion programming, any such program will be coordinated with the Alumni and Constituent Engagement team to ensure consistency and avoid confusion among programs.