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Chris Richard recaps Association growth during presidency

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Dear fellow alumni,
To say I feel blessed and honored to have served as president of the Alumni Association would be an understatement. It's been a year of great rewards and challenges, and I have cherished every minute.
Over the past couple of years, the Alumni Board has worked tirelessly to improve the structure of our organization to better serve our alumni and the University. This past year, we filled the newly created associate vice president of alumni engagement and chief executive officer of the Alumni Association position. After a nationwide search, we brought an extremely qualified and experienced person to lead us into the future, Mrs. Amy Armstrong. Amy came to us with extraordinary credentials and much praise from her former coworkers and employers. The hiring process was very thorough, and I thank everyone who contributed their time and talents during the search and interview process.
The Alumni Association also created a new director of community engagement position, filled by current staff member Dan Hare. Dan's longstanding service to the University and his ties to the community made him the perfect fit for this position. Another strategic position was also created: the director of clubs and chapters. This position is currently in the process of being filled. It will focus on serving the needs of our various clubs and chapters to ensure we provide value to all our alumni, not just those in the Acadiana area.
The work that began under John Pere's leadership with regard to developing a new strategic plan has continued and should be completed before the end of June. This plan aims to give the Alumni Association a roadmap to move forward, improve the organization's services to alumni, add value and increase the number of Loyalty Fund donors to the Alumni Association. 
We have seen record attendance numbers for the second consecutive year at Alumni Association functions such as tailgating, Homecoming, and the Spring Gala. Our Spring Gala honoree, Bryan Hanks, was instrumental in helping the Alumni Association raise record amounts this year. This funding will go toward our programs throughout the year and the maintenance of our beautiful Alumni Center. Also, a big thank you to Mark Mouton, this year's chairman of Spring Gala, and staff members Kayla Hebert and Maci Quebedeaux for a fantastic job putting on this year's event.
Amy has brought fresh ideas for us to better engage the community and our alumni. For the first time in many years, the Alumni Association held an Alumni Open House to coincide with the Lafayette Sonic Christmas Parade. We opened the Alumni Center to the public, and Dr. Savoie, UL Lafayette president, even toasted Santa as he passed by during the parade. We also held a Commencement Celebration during the fall and spring commencement ceremonies. Graduates were invited to celebrate commencement with their loved ones at the Alumni Center. Light refreshments were served, and the grounds were open for everyone to take pictures.
Alumni Association leadership met in person for council meetings during the fall and spring. These meetings are instrumental in engaging the Alumni Council, getting valuable feedback on the Alumni Association's activities, and having quality networking time with other council members.
I wish to thank the Alumni Association Executive Board, the Alumni Council, our volunteers, and most importantly, our wonderful staff. You truly are the heartbeat of our Alumni Association, and we appreciate all your hard work and long hours of service to make everything a success.
I will close by asking for your continued support of the Alumni Association with donations of your time, treasure and talent. Let's continue to make the University of Louisiana at Lafayette a place we're proud of.
Geaux Cajuns!
In Ragin' Cajuns pride,
Chris Richard '87
UL Lafayette Alumni Association, 2022-2023
Photo Caption: Alumni Association President Chris Richard addresses Louisiana Ring recipients at Ring Release. Photo Credit: Annabeth Mejia / University of Louisiana at Lafayette