space holder space holder Previous month's column | Next month's column | October Contents | Gazette Home From the editor overline
Who gets the Gazette?

...is A QUESTION I'VE BEEN hearing since I started as editor a bit more than a year ago, with "and how come I don't?" as a frequent unspoken -- or spoken -- addendum.
   The goal of probably every educational institution is to have its alumni publication read by all alumni for as long as they live and/or care to receive it. Unfortunately, for most publications, including this one, that isn't financially feasible. The limitless capacity of the Internet may solve this dilemma eventually, but until the happy day that we are all "wired," the three Ps -- paper, printing, and postage -- will demand that choices be made. If not all alumni can receive a copy of the magazine, then how many, and which ones?
   In recent years, the Gazette has been mailed to 90,000 of the 204,000 alumni for whom we have addresses. This number has been arrived at by combining domestic undergraduate alumni for 25 years after graduation; Ph.D. recipients for 10 years out; and alumni contributors to the Penn Fund (the University's annual giving fund) and the Gazette itself; plus faculty, staff, and a more amorphous category of "friends" of the University.
   Over the past summer, we've been looking at those parameters and at ways to expand the publication's reach. As a result, I'm pleased to report that, starting with this issue, the Gazette's circulation expands to 122,000. This new total is made up of both foreign and domestic undergraduate alumni for the past 50 years; all undergraduate and graduate alumni previous-year donors to any University fund or the Gazette; and parents of current undergraduates; along with the above faculty, staff, and friends.
   The inclusion of foreign alumni recognizes the increasingly global nature of Penn as an institution; of donors, their expressed commitment to Penn's future. Parents, too, have a decided interest in the University's fate, having surrendered their children to it. The rationale for emphasizing undergraduate alumni is that, in the aggregate, they are believed to be more likely to identify with Penn, to think of it as "their" school, than graduate and professional school alumni.
   Our goal remains to put the Gazette in the hands of all Penn alumni. And we'll continue to work to expand our circulation through University funding, cost savings where we can find them, and increased advertising and gift revenue (a million dollars or so annually would take care of things nicely). And a subscription -- $30 per year domestic; $40 overseas -- will always bring you (or a friend) the magazine.
   With that rather roundabout reply accomplished, a welcome to our new readers -- and welcome back to our old ones.
   
   GAS Centennial. It's a happy coincidence that we are expanding the Gazette's circulation as the General Alumni Society celebrates its 100th anniversary. The business of placing anniversaries is slippery; when things start is often a matter of opinion. In the case of the GAS, we decided to fix on 1897, which is when the Society was formally incorporated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The charter is here at the Sweeten Center, so we have proof. Also, all the other candidate dates have already passed, so this is our last chance.
    -- John Prendergast, C'80



Previous month's column | Next month's column | October Contents | Gazette Home


Copyright 1997 The Pennsylvania Gazette | Last modified 9/25/97