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In Search Of ... Penn Quakers
It's 1998. Does your alma mater know where you are? Penn, through Harris Publishing of White Plains, N.Y., is conducting its first alumni census in 10 years and will use the data to compile its first, all-University alumni directory in seven decades. Questionnaires have been sent to some 238,000 Penn graduates in more than 89 countries and should be appearing in mailboxes soon. "This is something alumni have been asking us to help them do for years," says Alexis McCann, C'79, associate director of development information services and project manager for the census.
   The print directory, which should be available in late 1998 (for $59.99 plus shipping and handling) in two hardcover volumes, will include password access to a regularly-updated online version. And unlike the last directory, this one will include e-mail addresses and fax numbers, making it easier for everyone to stay in touch.
   In addition to updating addresses and career information, alumni are encouraged to weigh in with their opinions about Penn, rating their University experience, for example, and ranking the priorities in the Agenda for Excellence, Penn's strategic plan. "They're our greatest resource for advocacy," explains Martha Z. Stachitas, CW'75, director of alumni relations. "But if they're not up-to-date on where Penn is, how can they do that advocacy work? [The questionnaire responses] will help us know how we can better communicate with our alumni."
   Wharton, which already contracts with Harris for its own directory, will continue to do so, but its alumni -- along with alumni from all of Penn's undergraduate and graduate schools -- will be included in the main directory. "We believe that the coming of the 21st century signals a time to confirm that the University is, indeed, one community -- greater, even, than the sum of all its parts," writes Penn's president, Dr. Judith Rodin, CW'66, in the letter accompanying the census. This directory will underscore that fact, she says.

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Copyright 1998 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 3/11/98