Bill Krein ’62 is owner of CREDO, LLC, in Woodstock, Vt. He is a former entrepreneur-in-residence at WPI and currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for the management department and the corporate and professional education division. He begins his term of office at an exciting time, ready to usher in a new era of alumni activism under a newly restructured organization.
Can you comment on the importance of the Alumni Association? Why get involved?
When you graduate from WPI, not only do you go into the world with an education, you also enter with a reputation. In the professional world, you are received with all the approbation earned by the WPI alumni who came before you and have been successful in their careers. Now, because you enjoyed that, it follows that you have an obligation to contribute to that legacy. By that I mean it’s important to roll up your sleeves and engage yourself in WPI, so that you further its reputation for the people who come after you. It’s not just about coming back for Homecoming and Reunion. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Those word-of-mouth success stories about WPI graduates will help other alumni in their careers. And the more alumni hear about those successes— in Transformations, for example—the more they appreciate WPI, and the more inclined they are to support the university so it can have that kind of impact on the lives of others.
This is a time of great change for the Alumni Association. How will you build on that progress?
My predecessor, Morgan Rees ’61, led the design work on the new structure for the alumni organization and initiated the implementation. Now it’s time to get it working and demonstrate its effectiveness. As president-elect, Joyce Kline ’87 is chairing a group that will define how the Alumni Association will be constituted as the central presence for all alumni programs and interest groups. In addition, members of the association’s Board of Directors are working on revisions to the bylaws. Certainly, we want to keep up the momentum that the Alumni Office has generated—drawing together alumni all over the country—with its dynamic schedule of regional events and town meetings. We also want to capitalize on the energy created by the launch of the new AlumniConnect online community, with interactive features for alumni to remain engaged with each other and with WPI.
What’s important to know about the new Alumni Association?
Our goal is to strengthen the relationship between the Association and the WPI administration. It’s more than just a new organizational chart; it’s a new way of thinking about alumni involvement. We’re looking at how and where we can contribute on a more strategic level. With increased Office of Alumni Relations staffing to handle operations, the board is freed up to function in more of an advisory capacity, focusing on strategy and direction. We’re also responding to the need for broader representation. Instead of just a few key committee chairs doing all the work, we’ll have 18 to 20 members-at-large, each with several areas of interest. Technology allows us to cut down on the frequent on-campus meetings. That opens it up to alumni who live outside the local area or those who may not have much time to attend meetings.
Career development has been a priority for you, given your involvement with the Alumni Association. What can alumni expect in that area?
Over the last four years I’ve spent time reinforcing the concept that WPI must support its graduates throughout their careers. I’m excited by the fact that we have a new Career Development Center director who understands lifelong career involvement, and a firm commitment of resources from the administration. Right now we are engaged in recruiting a dedicated staff member who is skilled in assisting alumni at all stages of their working lives. You’ll also notice expanded online resources, including a Career Services area as part of the new online community, and a link to job postings, accessible through The Bridge, WPI’s monthly alumni enewsletter.