The Gemological Institute of America Alumni Association officially opened 12 new alumni chapters so far this year. Approximately 30 other new chapters are planning to open by the end of 2008.
This sudden increase is due to changes implemented within the last 12 months from suggestions made by existing GIA alumni. New chapters exist in the following locations:
New Delhi, India
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Gulf Coast, Fla.
“We instituted these changes in our alumni program because we wanted to better serve our graduates,” said Linda Ellis Harmeling, GIA vice president and chief advancement officer. “We wanted to stay in touch with our alumni and help them further develop their careers with continuing education and networking opportunities.”
Harmeling added, “These changes were made after careful research to take an inventory of the unique needs of our alumni, and working with GIA Education and the Alumni Executive Council.”
The 26-year-old GIA Alumni Membership changes that have transpired in the past year include:
* Expanding membership to automatically include all GIA graduates who earn a diploma or certificate;
* The Alumni Association executing a “Calling All Graduates” program designed to reconnect GIA with its more than 200,000 historic graduates, many of whom the Institute had lost touch with over the years;
* The association discontinuing dues, which expanded its active alumni members from a known population of approximately 4,000 individuals to more than 64,000 people in the first year;
* Creating and distributing a Quick Start Guide, online and in hard copy, which provides a resource in setting up a new chapter.
Also central to the evolution of the alumni association is a continuing education program for GIA Graduate Gemologists (G.G.) and a related recognition system.