Gateway opens for alumni
Alumni Gateway, the fledgling online service for WPI alumni, is taking off like a rocket. "In its first six weeks, it processed more than 4,000 online sessions," reports Sharon Davis, director of alumni affairs. "Even though this number includes some repeat visits, it's still impressive, considering our alumni body is about 22,000."
Davis credits much of the success of the gateway to Harlan Williams '50, chair of the Alumni Online Committee since 1994. "Harlan's input was invaluable in the design of the alumni Web service."
Williams, in turn, singles out Allan Johannesen '68, WPI's manager of academic timesharing, for his efforts. "Al designed and built the gateway. He was interested from the beginning and took it on as a personal challenge. He did a fantastic job. It would not exist without his strong commitment to the project."
The gateway offers a kaleidoscope of opportunities to alumni, allowing them to use a searchable online alumni directory; establish a WPI e-mail address that will forward messages to their own Internet address; update their personal information in WPI's alumni database; send personal information for publication in the Wire and in the Class Notes section of the online service; submit ideas for student projects; post job openings and peruse a constantly updated list of job opportunities.
In addition, a quick link is now available to WPI's home page and, through the alumni home page, to several other services requested in an alumni survey taken last year, according to Davis.
"Since the gateway has come on-line, 900 alumni have updated their e-mail addresses using the service," says Johannesen. "The number of alumni with e-mail addresses has quickly grown to over 1,600, with more being added every day. If a search turns up alumni friends with e-mail addresses, a click of the mouse can initiate e-mail to them. Nearly 800 alums have also made use of the alumni e-mail relay, where mail to their email@example.com will be directed to their location on the net."
In order to keep current, Davis suggests that alums who have not yet registered a user name and an e-mail address register both and use that instead of the ID number in conjunction with the password that was mailed to them earlier. "Since the e-mail address can be changed at will, following this procedure will give alums a consistent e-mail address at WPI, despite any changes in Internet providers the alum may make in the future," Davis explains. "It will also permit alums to write e-mail from their firstname.lastname@example.org, if they wish."
With the nuts and bolts now in place, the gateway is in high gear--accepting information about alumni marriages, new babies, promotions, awards, travel or whatever category of news one might care to share. The online database is helping alums find lost friends and classmates. Job listings change almost daily--recently Northstar Technologies had an opening for a senior software engineer, Price Waterhouse was looking for a consultant, and The Mathworks was searching for a technical support engineer.
The busy headquarters for the new service is the Alumni Office. The staff has the latest information about programs, services, events and announcements and, most of all, can help with maneuvering within the gateway. Anyone with questions about the new gateway service or the Alumni Association in general is invited to contact Sharon Davis at email@example.com.
Access the gateway at: http://www.wpi.edu/alumni/gateway.html
firstname.lastname@example.org Last modified: Thu Jun 10 10:11:04 EDT 1999