NED University & Alumni Giving
By Riaz Haq

Alumni of US schools play a significant role in the lives of their alma maters. There are well-established traditions and mechanisms in place for alumni giving their time, money, and various resources to enhance the academic life and extra-curricular activities of almost all schools in the US. Even public universities such as University of California system boast of their alumni support as a source of funding and a way to attract the best faculty, significant research grants from industry and government, and higher rankings by various ranking bodies including US News & World Report. As a rule, the older campuses of UC system are ranked higher than the newer ones based mostly on the size of the alumni and their track record. In recent years, the IIT system, established in the 1950s in our neighboring India, has taken a leaf from this US tradition and resulted in a dramatic boost in their international reputation and brand recognition through the work of their alumni in the US and elsewhere. NEDUET is a 76 year old institution of higher learning in Karachi, Pakistan with a sizable and highly accomplished alumni population in Pakistan, US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Yet, NEDUET has not derived the benefits from their vast and wealthy alumni body that are quite common and expected in the US universities as well as IITs in India. This article is written to propose how this situation can be rectified.
Effective Alumni Giving:
The most effective way of alumni giving requires a close partnership of the alumni organization with an on-campus alumni center working with the administration, faculty and staff of the university. The partnership requires a voluntary agreement to work together that is clearly written, accepted and faithfully implemented by both sides. It clearly spells out the role played by the alumni association in various programs such as arranging funding of specific ideas, industry projects and research grants, establishing endowment chairs, the level of oversight by the alumni and the university etc. As far as I know, none of this is in place right now. So the first step is to have alumni organization discuss and agree on this framework with the university. This will require a frank discussion and persuasion based on the actual past experience at NED and other universities in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Establishing Alumni Center:
Once the basic framework is agreed, an alumni center needs to be established and a list of possible program and projects can be reviewed which are then jointly agreed and pursued by the alumni and faculty/staff.
Path Ahead:
If the past experience of various alumni efforts is any guide, the path forward is not going to be simple, short and easy. The reasons vary from the lack of a formal structure in place for alumni role to a degree of skepticism and mistrust on both sides. Part of the problem has been that the past failed efforts seem to have been piecemeal, ad-hoc and, in some instances, rather haphazard. Attempting to push pet projects by alumni on the university without a clear understanding of the needs and the plans of the university has not worked. What is needed is a mutual understanding on a shared vision of the future, the needs of the university, the desires of the alumni and trust-building by executing a few agreed projects leading to shared success. This will require patience, determination, thoughtfulness and an atmosphere free of acrimony. We must be prepared for the long haul to make it work. NED Convention 2007 can be a platform to help build consensus among a core group of generous, dedicated alumni prepared to embark on this journey.
About the Author:
Riaz Haq is the President of the NED Alumni Association of Silicon Valley and Chairman of the Convention 2007 steering committee. Riaz has more than 25 years experience in the hi-tech industry. Riaz has been on the faculties of Rutgers University and NED Engineering University. He has cofounded two high-tech startups, Cautella, Inc. and DynArray Corp and managed multi-million dollar P&Ls. Riaz is a pioneer of the PC and mobile businesses and he has held senior management positions in hardware and software development of Intel’s microprocessor product line from 8086 to Pentium processors. Riaz's experience includes senior roles in marketing, engineering and business management. Riaz was recognized as “Person of the Year” by PC Magazine for his outstanding contribution to 80386 program. Riaz earned a MS degree in Electrical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Riaz Haq has a blog at http://riazhaq.blogspot.com
For information about NED Alumni Convention 2007, please visit: http://convention2007.nedians.org


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