|© Nathan Mandell
Spring brought Kellogg's annual Reunion Weekend, but this
year also saw past and present GMA presidents (above)
arrive in Evanston to exchange ideas with the school's
"summit" convenes quarter-century of Kellogg leaders
representing 25 years of Kellogg student leadership descended
on Evanston during Reunion Weekend in May for an unprecedented
meeting of the school's Graduate Management Association (GMA)
presidents. The inaugural "GMA Presidential Summit"
attracted 20 former student leaders from as far away as London,
Paris, Singapore and Australia. As part of more than 500 overall
reunion attendees, these participants met to share their reminiscences,
offer suggestions on strengthening alumni bonds, and salute
Dean Donald Jacobs during a dinner at the James L. Allen Center,
the highlight of which was a surprise "parade" of
presidents that formally greeted Jacobs. Before the dinner,
graduates also shared their favorite memories of Kellogg with
him. The principle architect of the event was Edmund Wilson,
associate dean for student affairs. Wilson, along with 2000
GMA President Brian Poger '01 and Assistant Dean of Administrative
Services Carole Cahill, revisited the idea for the summit,
which was first proposed a few years ago. Over several months,
the team negotiated the details and formidable logistics of
assembling the former presidents from all corners of the world.
Their collective efforts resulted in an event that Laura Smith
'02, GMA president for 2001, called "remarkable."
summit gave me an opportunity to learn from the experiences
of our past presidents while also providing a forum to seek
their advice on current GMA issues," said Smith. "We
found many similarities throughout the years of leadership
represented at the summit, especially with regard to the ongoing
relationship between Kellogg students and the school's administration."
concurred, emphasizing that the student leaders had contributed
significantly to the school's progress over the last 25 years.
"It was humbling to be in their company," said Wilson.
"They returned to campus for an historic meeting of incredible
proportions and to pay tribute to Dean Jacobs while sharing
their views of institutional history."
of the summit involved a daylong exchange of ideas between
the former GMA representatives and the current Kellogg administration.
Participants joined Jacobs in dialogue about the school's
programs and initiatives, noting effective strategies as well
as areas where alumni could make more of an impact. Jacobs
apprised the group about his decision to step down as dean
and return to teaching. He also revisited some highlights
of his tenure, including the decision to build the Executive
Education program and the James L. Allen Center, a move which
Jacobs said "forced academics out of their ivory towers
to communicate to laypeople in the corporate world."
Jacobs also assessed Kellogg's faculty, calling it "superb"
and remarked that the Kellogg on Strategy textbook is used
widely at business schools.
© Nathan Mandell
Dean Jacobs shares a story with former GMA presidents
Spurgeon Robinson '94 (left) and Kent Walker '92.
emphasizing the need for Kellogg to continue enhancing its
alumni base through special programs -- both social and educational
-- Jacobs invited questions and comments from summit participants.
In response, Sandy Haviland Jr. '90 recommended that Kellogg
enhance online search features for the alumni database that
would allow graduates more effective networking opportunities.
"I like meeting Kellogg alumni who live or work near
me," said Haviland, adding that a search feature that
facilitates this process would be very helpful. Haviland also
suggested that Kellogg continue to explore creative synergies
with Northwestern University. Citing the Kellogg-based biotechnology
center, Haviland envisioned "a collaboration with the
athletic department to create a sports marketing center,"
among several other possibilities.
Barry '98 agreed about the importance of "leveraging
the increasingly large Kellogg alumni baseŠusing digital tools
to significantly upgrade our connectivity." Barry urged
fellow alums to get involved with their local alumni clubs
and to update their contact information frequently on the
school's Web site so that the Kellogg database remains a valuable
alums expressed enthusiasm for Kellogg's increasingly global
presence and were gratified to learn that additional international
branding efforts were among the school's top future priorities.
Participants also said they came away from the summit with
a renewed vigor about their roles as alumni, and even greater
awareness of the important role that Kellogg continues to
play in their lives.
on what was the most special part of my visit, I couldn't
isolate just one event," said Luke Parker '93, who traveled
from Australia for the summit. "Then it dawned on me
that the most special part was re-experiencing the 'vibe'
of Kellogg. The atmosphere here is very, very special."
expressed his hope that the presidential summit will play
a key part in strengthening the school's community by becoming
an annual event, as well as an element of the school's advisory
GMA presidents served us well while enrolled here, and they
are representing us still," Wilson said. "We need
to find ways to use their leadership talents to the fullest
extent on Kellogg's behalf."