A Letter from Greg Bedard and Josh Harraman

Dear members of our scarlet forever community:

While we have not been able to gather, celebrate, and cheer the way we expected, the Rutgers family came together through talent, resources, and expertise to learn, grow, and remain connected.

Thank you for being an integral part of the Rutgers alumni community and for making 2019–2020 another successful year. Below you will see some great examples of what we’ve been able to accomplish that highlight the depth of our programming, innovative approaches, and impact.

We dove head first into virtual engagement opportunities that inspired new ways of thinking about and solving challenges affecting our communities. We highlighted how Rutgers is making the world better by seeking solutions to COVID-19 and climate change and by fighting racism and bias with robust diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. We are excited to enter the new year and to continue to build connections that support our common purposes.

Scarlet forever,

Greg Bedard RC’97, RBS’03
Chair, RUAA Board of Directors

Josh Harraman, Ph.D.
Vice President for Alumni Engagement, Annual Giving, and Advancement Communications


2020 RUAA Events




increase in first-time event attendees


virtual events

Alumni by the numbers

  • 16175

    NEW ALUMNI IN 2020

  • 542744


  • 328196


  • 80997


  • 63341


  • 19512


  • 16793


  • 11606


  • 5909


Strategic Plan Updates

Strategic Priority #1: Meaningfully engage alumni based on their needs, interests, and life stages

  • When COVID-19 first struck, we quickly pivoted to virtual events and doubled the number of first-time attendees.
  • We merged our two student advancement programs—the TAG Team and the Scarlet Council—into a single program to provide students with a more holistic approach to a lifelong culture of philanthropy and engagement. This new merged team, which will keep the name Scarlet Council, will provide students with leadership opportunities.
  • The RUAA has refocused on recent graduates. While the pandemic caused us to pause many initiatives, we launched a Think Scarlet newsletter issue just for recent graduates in August, increased social media presence, and provided additional career resources during this challenging time.

Strategic Priority #2: Enhance the reputation of Rutgers through intentional, purpose-driven partnerships and engagement with academic units

  • We created a Rutgers–New Brunswick engagement team to provide better programming and support to Rutgers’ flagship university.
  • We hosted a total of 57 in-person and virtual events throughout the year, highlighting 29 faculty experts from Rutgers–Camden, Rutgers–Newark, Rutgers–New Brunswick, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS).

Strategic Priority #3: Connect with alumni where they live and work through increased regional and workplace engagement opportunities

  • Workplace
    • We developed nine programs for Rutgers’ workplace partner companies, engaging 233 alumni, 45 percent of them newly engaged alumni.
    • The Rutgers Alumni Workplace Engagement program inspired 50 Rutgers corporate volunteer leaders across 10 companies to build company-specific Rutgers groups, empowering them to network, take part in career growth opportunities, and strengthen both their employer and their ties to their alma mater.
  • Regional
    • We hired two regional engagement officers for California/Western United States and Florida/Southeastern United States to deepen engagement among alumni and donors in these high-density markets.
    • We hosted eight all-alumni events and five prospect events in California and Florida, facilitated by regional Rutgers staff.

Strategic Priority #4: Provide value to Rutgers alumni though comprehensive career services

  • In FY 2020, 6,207 alumni were engaged (a 16 percent increase from FY 2019) with 13 career-related alumni engagement initiatives.
  • We partnered with 20+ Rutgers units and departments to support mentoring programs, professional development, and job search assistance.
  • During the fourth quarter of FY 2020, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we created eight new digital career programs on topics ranging from job searching during the pandemic to personal branding and networking in digital environments. These programs engaged 675 alumni. Overall, new programming helped 1,641 alumni deepen their connection to Rutgers through career-related touchpoints such as webinars, resume reviews, career advising, use of job search tools/resources, and networking and mentoring opportunities during the pandemic.

Strategic Priority #5: Transform alumni engagement efforts with a data-driven culture of assessment, analysis, training, and action

  • We hosted three training sessions on Rutgers’ alumni engagement metric for Rutgers University Foundation staff. This training is vital for helping staff members understand the value of engagement, the commitment that the university has to engaging alumni, and how alumni choose to connect with the institution.
  • We created a quarterly chancellor-led unit report detailing alumni engagement by school for embedded alumni engagement and development staff. As training is identified and created on how to apply alumni engagement metrics, this report will become a valuable tool for chancellor-led units to identify their most engaged alumni and understand how they are connecting with the university. This will stimulate strategies to continue to engage alumni in meaningful ways and increase their participation and engagement.