On October 29, 2009 I met with Vice President for Alumni Affairs and President of the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) Howard Wolf. VP Wolf received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Stanford in 1980. He was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity and participated in the Florence, Italy study abroad program from September 1978 to March 1979. He lived in the Wilbur Madera residence which is now known as Okada during the 1976-1977 academic year. He later received an MBA from Harvard Business School. VP Wolf joined Stanford in his current position in April 2001 after taking a leadership role in a class reunion fundraising campaign and being recruited by the University.
The University's first graduates founded the SAA in 1892. The SAA started out as independent organization but was acquired by Stanford University in 1998. The SAA "aims to deliver the most effective alumni relations program anywhere in higher education. Its diverse offerings include a bimonthly magazine; online communication and networking tools; academic and social programming (on and off-campus); a worldwide travel/study program; and numerous Stanford-related products and initiatives" (SAA About Us Page). One point of confusion with the community that VP Wolf mentioned is that the SAA does no fundraising yet many people think they do. This is because many universities place their alumni association under their development office but at Stanford the SAA and the Office of Development are two completely independent organizations both reporting directly to the university president. At Stanford the Office of Development oversees and coordinates all fundraising activity, which allows the SAA to focus on engaging alumni/alumnae and building community through events like Reunion Homecoming weekend.