The CUNY School of Professional Studies Alumni Association’s inaugural event was held on Wednesday December 15, 2010. It was an intimate gathering of alumni, the Alumni Relations Council members, the deans and SPS staff and faculty. We celebrated the holiday season together with a festive potluck and took the opportunity to get to know bit more about one another and the programs from which we graduated.

There were alumni from all corners of the SPS community: graduates from the Online Communication & Culture and Business BA’s, the Applied Theater MA, various Certificate programs, and the Off Campus College. Some people were surprised that there were alumni from other academic programs at the event, having previously assumed it was an alumni event for their program. This is what is so great about the new SPS Alumni Association: we’re building community from the diverse people coming from disparate parts of SPS.

The dessert table! Assorted cookies, an amazing Flan made by Online BA alum Marco Castro (who is also a professional photographer and photographed the event for the Alumni Association), a beautiful heart cake brought by Off-Campus College alum Lillian Flecha, sugar cookies baked by Online BA alum Sara Morgano (pictured above with Dean Mogulescu), and a spectacular gluten-free rum cake made by me! Rachel Smith, Online BA alum. Recipes are being cooked up to make a book, which will be available soon!

Dean John Mogulescu (pictured standing, left) and Associate Dean Brian Peterson (pictured standing, center) spoke briefly about the Alumni Association, noting that it’s quite exciting that SPS has enough graduates now to actually build an Alumni Association and an ever growing student population to keep it going for years to come. Then Brian Peterson gave us the great news that we’re well on our way to meeting the goal for the Alumni Association’s first fundraiser!

Maggie Keenan-Bolger and Garret Scally (pictured right), alumni of the MA in Applied Theater Program, led our group in a series of “icebreaker” games. When we were planning the event and they volunteered to do the icebreakers I had no idea that they would be so much fun, so engaging and ultimately so wildly successful! As we moved around the room telling our stories, laughing, and discovering that some of us have fallen in love with the same parts of the globe or live down the street from one another, I realized that hours of mingling would never have resulted in the kind of camaraderie Maggie and Garret helped to foster (thanks so much to the both of you and your MA in Applied Theater!).

Bringing everyone together on a chilly December evening was not an easy task but it was well worth the effort. What started out as a tentative group of strangers ended up as a jovial gathering of new friends who discovered they had more in common than they thought.

I’m so looking forward to our next event and I sincerely hope to see you all there!

Rachel Smith is a marketing and design professional in New York City. She graduated from the SPS BA in Communications and Culture in 2009. Currently she is a founding member of the Alumni Relations Council and By Laws Task Force. Rachel loved the BA program which inspired her to work towards fostering community and collaboration among Alumni at SPS.