Our History

  • The University of Arizona Alumni Association was organized and its first constitution adopted on June 2, 1897. Eleven graduates were declared members. All faculty were named honorary members. Mark Walker Jr. '97 was the first Association president, serving until 1900.
  • The first Homecoming was held on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The first alumni directory was published.
  • On July 1, 1922, the combined office of Graduate Manager of Athletics and Executive Secretary of Alumni was established, headed by A. Louis Slonaker '21. 
  • Arizona alumni numbered more than 800.
  • The Alumni Association adopted a new constitution on May 29. Dues were $10 for life membership. 
  • The first issue of Arizona Alumnus was published, dated Nov. 15, 1923.
  • The Alumni Association expanded with development of alumni clubs throughout Arizona and in major U.S. cities. The first out-of-state club was organized in Southern California.
  • The Alumni Association took on its first fundraising project for a new football stadium and athletic facilities. The new stadium was dedicated on Oct. 12, 1929.
  • The Alumni Association conducted its first scholarship fund drive, raising $350.
  • Beginning with the Sept. 15 issue, Alumnus magazine's circulation was 6,000.
  • A $1 subscription rate was charged for six issues of Alumnus magazine, beginning in the fall of 1936. Graduates who paid a $10 life membership fee received a free three-year subscription.
  • J. Melvin Goodson '27 was named the first full-time executive secretary of the Alumni Association, effective June 10.
  • Executive Secretary Goodson left in August for Air Force service. Margaret Nielson Grozier '35 was appointed acting executive secretary for the duration of the war. 
  • The Alumnus magazine was sent free to alumni in the Armed Forces.
  • Executive Secretary Goodson returned on Oct. 1, 1945, and visited the Southern California Club in Los Angeles on Oct. 23.
  • The first Homecoming since 1941 was held Nov. 9.
  • The first Homecoming queen, Ruth Tackett, was crowned at the University's 30th Homecoming on Nov. 22.
  • Alumni engaged in fundraising activities for a new Student Union Memorial Building. 
  • A. Louis Slonaker was acting alumni director between May 16, 1948, and Dec. 31, 1948.
  • A. Lee Lowery '37 was named alumni director and served until 1954.
  • F. W. Boyd Allen '31 was named executive secretary of the Alumni Association and director of the newly created University of Arizona Foundation.
  • An alumni fund drive was initiated in the fall of 1956. The money collected was to be used for scholarships, the research general fund, and the operation of the Alumni Association. 
  • The Tucson Alumni Club was organized. 
  • The Alumni Association filed articles of incorporation and adopted new by-laws, which were approved Oct. 27, 1956. A board of directors replaced the former executive committee to manage the Association.
  • Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson '50 became the director of the Alumni Association and served until he was named a University vice president.
  • James E. Gibson '62 was named alumni director.
  • The Phoenix Office of the Alumni Association opened. 
  • The Alumni Wildcat edition of Arizona Alumnus was introduced: three magazines and four Alumni Wildcat tabloid newspapers per year were published.
  • Michael J. Harrold '64 became the acting director of alumni and permanently assumed the post in 1972.
  • A computerized record system for the Alumni Association was put in place using punch cards.
  • The Alumni Travel Program was launched.
  • The Alumni Association offices moved to the Slonaker Alumni Building (formerly Pima Hall) in July.
  • Hugh Harelson '52 was named to the newly created post of executive director of university relations and acting director of alumni, following the departure of Mike Harrold who entered private business. 
  • Kent D. Rollins '73 was appointed director of alumni, effective Oct. 3.
  • The alumni dues program was dropped. 
  • The alumni endowment fund was established. The first campaign was chaired by Duane Miller, past Alumni Association president. 
  • A new computerized alumni records system was implemented.
  • Hispanic and Black Alumni organizations were established. 
  • The Alumni Association was actively involved in student recruitment. The first student recruitment seminar was held.
  • The Los Angeles regional alumni office opened. 
  • The computer-based magazine, UA TODAY, the forerunner to the Alumni Association website, was established.
  • The Tents on the Mall tradition at Homecoming began with 12 organizations participating. 
  • The UA Centennial Arizona alumni directory was published. 
  • The tabloid newspaper version of Arizona Alumnus was discontinued. Two glossy color magazines a year were mailed to all alumni free of charge. 
  • Arizona Alumni Forum, a monthly television program produced by the Alumni Association, aired in Tucson, Phoenix, and Yuma. 
  • The Alumni Association produced "Arizona Magazine," a weekly statewide radio program. 
  • The first Black Alumni basketball fundraising event for scholarships was held in April.
  • The Alumni Association won national recognition from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in the form of two gold medals and one bronze medal. 
  • The circulation of Arizona Alumnus exceeded 100,000 for the first time. 
  • Wildcat Sports Week, a national sports newsletter covering University of Arizona intercollegiate sports, began. Eight-hundred alumni subscribed for $20 a year. 
  • The Action Travel Program was started to attract younger alumni. 
  • UA Homecoming was featured on the "Geraldo!" television program.
  • A CASE gold medal was won for Publication Improvement for Arizona Alumnus magazine. 
  • An associate director for external affairs and an assistant director for class gifts and reunions were added to the professional staff. 
  • Five hundred people participated in the first "Tour of the Tucson Mountains," a bicycle fundraising event on April 5. The ride was dedicated to former student body president, the late Richard Garcia. 
  • The Student Alumni Association raised $12,000 in pledges in the first "Senior Challenge" to benefit the Alumni Endowment. 
  • Affinity financial services, including credit cards and credit line programs, were established as revenue-generating projects. 
  • AlumNotes, a leadership newsletter, was sent to 500 volunteers nationally. 
  • The Alumni Endowment Fund exceeded $500,000 for the first time. 
  • Tom Berresford was the first out-of-state resident to serve as the Association's president. 
  • Bobcats became a coeducational honorary by naming its first female members.
  • The Alumni Association moved to the new Foundation/Alumni building on Speedway and Cherry. 
  • The Alumni Association won four CASE medals: gold for Program Improvement, silver for Student Programs, bronze for the Arizona Alumnus, and bronze for UA TODAY. 
  • The first Alumni Emeritus Luncheon was held. 
  • The first Bear Down Bash was held as the "All Alumni" celebration.
  • A major records system computer upgrade took place.
  • American Indian and Asian American Alumni Clubs were established.
  • The Collegiate License Plate scholarship program started.
  • The alumni directory was published. 
  • UA alumni numbered more than 150,000. 
  • The Alumni Legislative Advocacy Program was launched, and the Arizona Tri-University Alumni Council was established.
  • Astronomy Camp won a CASE silver medal for alumni projects and programs. 
  • The Association hired its first director of International Alumni and Development.
  • Alumni from around the country gathered to dedicate the Marvin D. "Swede" Johnson Building. 
  • Young Alumni groups were formed in Tucson, Phoenix, and San Francisco. 
  • The International Alumni and Development Board was established, along with clubs in Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • The first Club Leadership Conference was held. 
  • The first European Alumni Club was established in London. A UA presidential delegation visited alumni clubs in England and Oman. Clubs also were established in Seoul, Korea, and Yokohama, Japan.
  • The Alumni Association hired its first chief financial officer. 
  • The Visitor Information Program, in partnership with the UA Visitor's Center, was started. 
  • The UA Alumni Association was one of the first nationally to have a website.
  • The Hispanic Alumni Endowment exceeded $1 million. 
  • The Alumni Association Endowment exceeded $3 million. 
  • The Alumni Travel Program shared a national PBS development award with KUAT-TV. 
  • Career Connections was started in partnership with UA Career Services. 
  • Alumni Association President Kent D. Rollins was elected president of the Council of Alumni Association Executives (CAAE). 
  • Alumni clubs were established in Stuttgart, Germany, and Amman, Jordan.
  • The Arizona Alumni Association celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding. 
  • In celebration of its centennial, the Alumni Association dedicated the UA Heritage Hall, located in the Student Union. 
  • An Alumni Association Centennial Directory was published.
  • Arizona Alumnus was increased to four issues per year.
  • UA alumni numbered more than 200,000. 
  • The Alumni Association hired its first development officer and launched a $10 million endowment campaign, The Arizona Experience.
  • Alumni Association President Kent Rollins retired in June after serving nearly 20 years at the Alumni Association. 
  • In July, Sandy Ruhl was promoted from vice president to president of the Alumni Association. 
  • Plans for the Alumni Plaza began. 
  • The Alumni Association's new website was launched in November.
  • The dues-paying membership program was launched in the September Arizona Alumnus magazine.
  • The Alumni Association launched an online alumni directory and published a printed alumni directory.
  • Sandy Ruhl retired as president and executive director.
  • ​Christopher Vlahos began his term as president and executive director.  
  • The Alumni Association published its coffee-table book, Old Main and Beyond by photographer Jacob Chinn.
  • UA alumni numbered more than 250,000.
  • Published an alumni directory.
  • Christopher Vlahos announced his departure as president and executive director in January.
  • Jacqueline Mok served as interim president and executive director, January-June.
  • The Wildcat Pride Club was established.
  • Melinda Burke became president and executive director in July.
  • The Student Alumni Association changed its name to Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA) and grew their membership to more than 300 students becoming the largest student group on campus.
  • The Arizona Alumnus magazine name was changed to Arizona Alumni Magazine.
  • UA alumni numbered more than 260,000.
  • The Alumni Association hired its first director of social media.
  • SAA grew to more than 500 student members.
  • Melinda Burke became a vice president of alumni relations in addition to her status as president of the Alumni Association. 
  • The Alumni Association launched an international ambassadors program.
  • The Alumni Association launched a new website.
  • The online version and the iPad app version of the alumni magazine was launched.
  • SAA grew to more than 600 student members.
  • The Alumni Association celebrated the 100th anniversary of Homecoming.
  • The first mobile app for Arizona alumni was launched.
  • The Cats Give Back crowdfunding campaign raised more than $70,000 for scholarships.
  • ​Alumni Career Lab created.
  • The UAAA celebrated its 120th anniversary.
  • A recent alumni program was established.
  • All alumni of the university were recognized as general members of the Alumni Association.
  • The Alumni Association launched the Bear Down Network to select audiences with a full launch taking place in early 2019.
  • The Wildcat Mentor Society was launched to bring accomplished alumni together with current students and recent graduates.
  • UA alumni numbered more than 290,000.
  • UA alumni numbered more than 300,000.
  • Alumni Association President Melinda Burke retired after leading the department for nine years.
  • On July 1, the University of Arizona Alumni Association and Foundation united to better serve constituents and the university community. Both organizations retained their status as separate 501 (c) (3) organizations, but combined budgets and staff to create a new, holistic office. The office is known as the University Alumni and Development Program and is led by UA Foundation President & CEO John-Paul Roczniak.
  • The first virtual Homecoming was held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Arizona Alumni Magazine circulation increased to 260,000 per issue.
  • The university's first Giving Day was held on Feb. 14 and raised almost $4 million.
  • The alumni and development office changed its name to Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement.