WPIAA President's Corner

Current President: Rachel Delisle '96, '06 MBA

Dear WPI friends,

This is the time of year that WPI is on the precipice of big changes in the student body. Our seniors, the class of 2017, have just a few weeks left and are preparing for commencement. High school seniors, the class of 2021, have received their acceptance letters and are making one of the most important decisions of their lives – to attend WPI in the fall.

I want to take this opportunity to share with you how each of these students will be touched by the Alumni Association and the work we do. Members of the class of 2021 will be invited, along with their families, to attend welcome freshman barbeques that are hosted by alumni and partially funded by the Alumni Association. These barbeques are an amazing way to welcome them to the WPI family, allow the students to meet each other and make connections, and allow the parents to be put at ease that their children will be in good hands.
bridge crossing

Once on campus in August, the class of 2021 will participate in one of our oldest traditions during orientation. They will cross Earl Bridge as a class and receive their Beanies and Tech Bibles. These are provided by the Alumni Association and distributed by Student Alumni Society. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s a fun event and a good number of alumni come back to help out.

The class of 2017 will participate in a welcome reception that takes place after commencement rehearsal. They will be welcomed to the Alumni Association and receive a special gift. The gift, selected and funded by the Association, varies from year to year. This year they will receive an awesome book, with an online component, that gives some really great tips for life after college as adults. Some of us ‘more experienced’ adults have even found some helpful hints in it. The class of 2017 will also receive complimentary admission to Alumni Weekend activities and Homecoming events. We want to help as many young alumni to get back on campus and stay connected as soon as possible.

There is one other, very important, thing the Alumni Association supports. In fact, I would argue it is the most important. The Alumni Association provides several full-tuition scholarships to undergraduate students. Each year several additional students receive scholarships for IQP experiences. The impact of this financial support cannot be adequately expressed in words. At our recent Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting we had the chance to meet two of our scholarship recipients. The most consistent message we hear from the recipients is that the scholarship changed their lives. I was able to spend more time with one recipient this past week. I’d like to introduce you to her.

Rachel and ReneeRenee LeClaire, class of 2019, is a sophomore double majoring in biology and biotechnology. I’m telling you, this young woman is pretty amazing. She told me about all the things she is involved in on campus and just lit up. The list seemed never-ending. She is passionate about being a student leader of ACCESS, a student group focused on advocating for campus and educational accessibility for people with disabilities. As if that and the double major isn’t impressive enough, check this out, Renee is a member of the Varsity Softball Team, Crimson Key, Alpha Xi Delta Woman’s Sorority, and several professional societies.  I am very happy to now know this amazing young woman. I can’t wait to see all that she achieves.

Let me try to add some clarity on the various sources of the funding. Funding from the Alumni Association comes from earnings on the Alumni Association’s endowment and investments, not from your donations to the WPI Fund. The Alumni Association and Finance Committee continually work to ensure that Association funds are managed and invested in a way to maximize the potential to continue to fund activities like those mentioned above as well as others. WPI Fund donations are made to the University and support students through financial aid, facilities upkeep and improvement, and offsetting other operating costs. This is wholly managed by the University.

If you have any feedback or ideas you want to share, feel free to reach out to me at rmdelisle@alum.wpi.edu.

All the Best,

Rachel Delisle ’96, ’06 MBA