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Today @ Sam

Campaign Seeks To Drive Membership Past 1,300

April 13, 2010
SHSU Media Contacts: Jennifer Gauntt

For 1973 Sam Houston State alumna Susan Lenamon, becoming a Life Member of the Alumni Association was a “no-brainer.”

“I have my bachelor’s from Sam Houston, I have my master’s from the University of Houston and I have my doctorate from California University, but nothing means as much to me as Sam Houston,” Lenamon said. “That’s where I started my college experience, and it was one of the most significant times in my life. Sam Houston has become my major charity.”

Lenamon is one of a small, volunteer committee helping the SHSU Alumni Association to embark upon its first Life Member Drive. The six-week campaign will run through May 15, during which time the committee hopes to reach their goal of adding 100 new Life Members to the association.

“Life Members are the heart of the Alumni Association,” said association executive director Charlie Vienne. “They provide leadership on university committees, assist in legislative advocacy, raise funds for scholarships, recruit new SHSU students, and pass on Bearkat traditions.”

“Life Members represent the essence of our university motto: ‘The measure of a Life is its Service,’” he said.

Life memberships help support an endowment account that provides revenue for such things as operating costs for the Alumni Association, according to Lenamon, who became a Life Member in 2004 before becoming a Life Endowed Member in 2007.

“I don’t think people realize what an impact the money that we get from a life membership makes on the Alumni Association,” she said.

There are currently 1,211 association life members, compared to just 350 four years ago, and the endowment is approaching $1 million.

“The endowment is critical to the success and operations of the Alumni Association,” Vienne said. “An endowment of this size puts us on par with larger universities in scope and magnitude of the types of programming activities we can offer alumni.

“Of course the very best benefit of Alumni Association membership is being part of making our university stronger and, thereby, enhancing the degrees of all alumni,” he said.

Life Members receive a number of benefits, including reduced rates for both campus-related activities, such as the use of Raven Nest Golf Club, as well as off-campus entities such as Hertz car rental; invitations to university events; access to the Sam Houston credit card and an insurance program for both car and home owners insurance, Lenamon said.

“There are lots of tangible benefits for the $1,000 that you give, and it’s $1,000 one time and then you’re over and done with,” she said. “The biggest benefit, to me, is that I can say I am a Sam Houston graduate.”

Memberships can be paid for in installments, which can make becoming a life member more manageable for alumni, and memberships can also be counted as a tax credit, according to Lenamon.

“Think about it economically: If you’re going to support the university, why pay $100 (for Century Club-level membership) or $35 (for sustaining membership) every year, when you can pay out $1,000 in four payments to be a Life Member, and you’ll get all of the benefits,” she said. “It’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.”

For more information on becoming a Life Member, or purchase a life membership, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 800.283.7478 or visit http://alumni.shsu.edu.


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