Wire, Vol. 10, No. 3 - Fall 1996

New program turns trustees into mentors

A dozen members of WPI's Board of Trustees have been paired with a like number of undergraduates in an innovative program that provides opportunities for learning and friendship to participants in each group.

The Trustee/Student Mentor Program was the brainchild of Leonard E. Redon '73, vice president of Eastman Kodak Company, who developed the concept as an informal way for students to exchange personal and professional experiences with trustees (many of whom are WPI graduates) in person and via e-mail, letter or telephone throughout the students' careers at the university.

"A program like this has the potential to serve several purposes," says Bernard H. Brown, vice president for student affairs. "It enables students to establish a relationship with a successful alum who is actively supporting the university and to learn firsthand about the world of the engineer, scientist or manager. It provides trustees with opportunities to see WPI from a student's perspective. We also hope that long-term friendships will be established through these connections."

When students were told about the program last spring, about 15 undergraduates applied, says Brown. "Three are now on the waiting list. We expect to open the program to more trustees and students as word gets out. Our goal is to have a majority of our trustees take part."

The trustees met for lunch with several of the students for the first time in mid-October. Other meetings will be scheduled during the fall and winter and when the full board meets on campus; each mentor/ student team may also meet at their convenience.

"We are encouraged by the response of the trustees and the students to the program and to each other," says Brown. "If the program fulfills its early promise, we would like to expand it to allow these students to attend committee meetings with their mentors to gain a better understanding of the important role our trustees play in the success of this university."

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