John Vero ’97 is president of the Alumni Council and a College Trustee. The Union College magazine recently spoke with Vero about the Council and being an active alumnus.
The Alumni Council was formed in 1910 as clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas between the Board of Trustees, the College’s Administration and active alumni. That remains the Council’s main purpose today, especially as the College begins to implement President Stephen C. Ainlay’s Strategic Plan. To turn ideas into actionable recommendations, the Alumni Council employs a host of subcommittees that focus on specific issues such as Greek life on campus. Vero was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He earned a law degree from Albany Law School in 2000. He is a partner with the law firm of Couch White, LLP. Vero and fiancée, Sarah Delaney ’02, live in Albany.
What is the Alumni Council today?
The Alumni Council is, in many respects, what it was in 1910: an organized group that helps alumni get involved in the College community. The Council communicates with the Board of Trustees and the Administration on behalf of all alumni. The Council also disseminates information to active and engaged alumni and tries to facilitate an exchange of ideas.
The College is blessed to have 25,000 or so living alumni who can serve as personal ambassadors for the College. In this age of e-mail blasts and impersonal communication, all of our alumni can put a human face on Union College. The Council can educate alumni about the College community and get more voices to deliver a message of support for Union.
What does the Alumni Council mean to you?
When I come back to the College for Alumni Council meetings, I feel invigorated. It gets me excited about the College. It reminds me of the incredible impact Union has had on my life.
When I stand up in front of Council meetings, I think about the College’s rich history. It’s not just a gathering of alumni. We are carrying on a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. For much of the College’s history, there has been an organized group of interested and active alumni. And to this day, it continues. It’s vibrant. I am honored to lead that group today.
More than two hundred years since the College’s founding and nearly 400 years since the founding of Albany, both are still undergoing transformations, breaking new ground and leading the pack. For me, the College is a critical piece of local history. I’m proud to be not only an observer, but an active participant, in the College and New York’s Capital Region.
Tell us about one Alumni Council project.
Just about two years ago, the Board of Trustees asked the Alumni Council to examine aspects of the Strategic Plan dealing with fraternities and sororities. We formed a subcommittee and researched what other colleges were doing. Our top recommendation was to create the position of director of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
At our last Council meeting we met the new director, Tim Dunn. He is doing a fantastic job. He is doing exactly what we envisioned. Tim’s presentation was tangible proof that the Council does have a positive impact on the College.
President Ainlay has many goals within the Strategic Plan. There is going to be ample opportunity for the Council—and all alumni—to be involved.
What does Union mean to you?
The College is, for me and for Sarah, the foundation upon which our professional careers are built. Usually you hear of alumni giving back to the College. But for me, the reverse is true. Union keeps giving back to me.
During my four years on campus, I took advantage of everything the College had to offer. I learned so much and made so many lifelong friends.
After graduation, I remained involved with the College as a member of the Alumni Council. In that role, I continued to learn about the College and I made new alumni friends. I got to experience the College in a whole new way.
Over ten years later, I am president of the Alumni Council and a Trustee and I’m still learning about how the College works and I’m still making new friends. I’m still experiencing Union in so many different ways and enjoying it.