“An email or a text is great, but there’s something extra special about receiving a hand-written note,” said Andrea Lawrence, Rice Alumni coordinator. “It takes time. It shows a personal investment, and that’s a very powerful tool.”
The Alumni Recognition Committee (ARC) has been devoted to this high level of personal connection for years. The volunteers on the committee reach out monthly to celebrate alumni, current students, faculty and staff members who have made significant personal and professional achievements. Lawrence is the alumni office liaison for the committee, providing names and articles of the alumni to be recognized.
“We send them congratulations and best wishes on their great successes. It is a personal hand-written note on Rice stationery,” said Karin Shipman ’12 ’20, chair of the ARC. “It’s amazing to me that we sometimes receive letters back from the alumni we write. They tell us how thrilled they were to get our note.”
Shipman, a retired high school English teacher and principal, was a volunteer with the committee before becoming its chair approximately five years ago. She also holds a master’s degree and a diploma in liberal studies from Rice’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.
“I heard about the work of the ARC,” Shipman said. “I thought their purpose was terrific, and it fit with my busy schedule as a graduate student, so I started writing for Rice.”
“We sometimes get a list of 30 to 40 notes and articles on alumni each month from the ARA,” Shipman said. “Volunteers write two, maybe three letters per month. We have about 20 volunteers currently, but we would love to have more.”
Shipman is quick to point out volunteers can be a part of the recognition committee wherever they live. The committee has volunteers from across the nation and even one volunteer in London. “It’s a way to continue to be an outstanding volunteer and stay connected to your alma mater,” Shipman said.
One of our volunteers was so impressed with a letter recipient that she donated to her nonprofit organization,” Shipman said. “This work enriches and enlightens my committee members too. Our intent is to say congratulations for your good work, but we get a little back as well.
“The recognition committee is a great asset to the ARA,” said Lawrence. “It shows our alums we are still following their successes, their achievements and their accomplishments even long after they have left Rice.”
To find out more about the Alumni Recognition Committee, contact Andrea Lawrence at email@example.com or 713-348-4057.