Leading the alumni council
Susanna Ryan Berger ’99, the global marketing leader for Pricewaterhouse-Coopers’ technology, media and telecommunications practice, is excited to be at the helm of the Alumni Council. She began her three-year term as president of the group this spring.
A political science major at Union who earned an MBA from Columbia Business School, Berger has served on the Alumni Council since 2001 and was founding president of the Boston Alumni Club. She’s also served the council as second vice president and serves on the College's board as an alumni trustee.
“Union College has an amazing community that I love being a part of, and I want to help strengthen it,” she said. “When I was at Union, I had no idea how this small school would create a strong bond for me with everyone who is part of it.”
“There are so many affinity groups that connect alumni to the College and each other, and I hope to put a spotlight on that and help encourage involvement with these groups,” she added.
Berger, her husband, Steve, and young son, William, recently moved from Brooklyn to Edgemont, N.Y.
“We bought our house from an alumnus whose daughter also went to Union, reminding me once again how Union alums are everywhere,” Berger said. “I’m excited to connect with the Union family in Westchester and beyond in years ahead.”
The Alumni Council recently updated its bylaws.
“In 2014, the Office of Alumni & Parent Engagement conducted a survey of the Alumni Council,” said Berger. “It became evident it was time to refresh the bylaws. Many members weren’t clear about their roles and were looking for more ways to be actively involved.”
According to the Office of Alumni & Parent Engagement, bylaw changes include:
- The council currently has two representatives per class, totaling approximately 140. Typically, 40 to 60 people attend meetings. The new bylaws define a member as any alumnus, with council membership between 30 and 60 individuals. These members will now to be able to serve two 3-year terms, with eligibility renewed after one year off the council. This new policy will be grandfathered in; members will remain until their terms expire. In 2020, the council will abide by the new rule.
- New executive board terms were also instituted. Current terms are two years, with the option to serve two terms. The new bylaws put executive terms in line with member terms of three years.
- Council committees will be focused on partnering with the Office of Alumni & Parent Engagement in areas that directly support the office and alumni involvement with Union (i.e. admissions, career planning, alumni clubs). The bylaws committee agreed that the athletic committee is better represented by various booster clubs at this time.
Term lengths will allow more alumni to become involved, Berger said. “With the new structure, we are also a small council with meaningful committees,” she added. “This will help us create connections between the Council and regional clubs, strengthen our legacy program, and enhance other types of similar opportunities.”
To learn more about the Alumni Council, visit uconnect.union.edu