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Consider Yourself Having Been Asked!

Seventeen years ago the Albright Alumni Association asked me if I would be willing to serve on the Board of Trustees of Albright College as an alumni trustee.

I was honored and humbled that they felt I could serve the College in a broader capacity. I had never been asked to do anything before this. Why now are they asking me?

They said that they needed my financial and business management skills on the Board given some challenging financial times at the College. I was already serving on several other boards but, having been asked to serve my alma mater, I accepted the challenge, not knowing how I would ever find the time to serve on another board. But, they asked me.

I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Little did I know the challenges I would face at the table. And I never thought I would ever spend 16 years as a trustee. Now, there is proof, that no matter how busy you are, you can make time for your alma mater—and, more importantly, that the more you give of yourself, the more you get in return. Thank God they asked me to serve.

In the early 1990s, when tuition-dependent Albright, with our small endowment, encountered the precipitous national drop in the college-age population, it hit us hard. I was fortunately joining a group of more experienced and wiser trustees, who guided us through a challenging time. Some of them had to be asked too, but many of them came forward on their own.

We made it through the rough financial times and found we were truly poised for the following years of success. As I took leave of my roles as board
chair and trustee, I began to reflect on our truly transformational change during the past decade.

We have consistently broken records for increased applications and enrollment, grown our interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate education, and created accelerated degree programs that are the envy of our competition. We have rebuilt Gene Shirk Stadium to be the envy of Division III, grown our endowment more than 300 percent, constructed the new Schumo Center for Fitness and Well-Being, upgraded classrooms with the latest technology, broken ground for a new Science Center and raised in excess of $43 million—all to provide a different way of thinking for our students. All along with a surge of alumni, trustees and friends who gave their time, talent and treasure to help build the College’s future. And, many of these were never asked!

In my parting comments to the Board I was overwhelmed realizing how many possibilities exist for this great college. I urged the Board to continue to envision what this place might be and to approve the strategies to make it reality. The work of improving the quality of our students’ education and their lives on campus is never done. There are projects already on the horizon—a new residence hall, for one—but much more that we have not yet even imagined. And, there are many more people to be asked to help us achieve these goals.

During my years of service to Albright, I have gained far more than I have given. It has been a time of great personal growth, providing opportunities to experience the real joy of watching imagination and hard work turn into reality. I have experienced the deep gratification of knowing that I have played a small part in the success of thousands of students who have left Albright for fulfilling lives and careers.

I also feel the true satisfaction of knowing that I was never working alone—that Albright’s success has been because of the generosity and devotion of many committed people—trustees, alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It has been a privilege to serve with them.

Years ago the idea of taking a leadership role at Albright was a brand new thought for me. So, I’d like to offer you what may be a new thought—-that your talent, time and treasure is needed by your College. If you were waiting to be asked, let me be the one to extend the invitation. Join us and others in the process of imagining what we can do next and making it a reality.

Even if time or distance prevents you from being physically involved, I encourage you to help us build on our success by sharing your treasure as a steward of the College. You can do this by saying yes to the student who calls you about The Fund for Albright, by endowing scholarships and academic chairs, by supporting the Science Center specific building campaign, or by putting Albright in your will. Don’t wait to be asked.

Although my time as a trustee is at an end, my service to Albright is far from over. I am finding other ways to continue to serve the College. So, now I want to make sure that someone “asks” you to become a steward of the College’s future. It will be my greatest pleasure if you will join me, with love for our alma mater and with gratitude for our fine educations and the opportunities it has provided us, as we continue to imagine, to vision, and to create a bright future for Albright.

Consider yourself having been asked!

-Salvatore M. Cutrona Sr. ’73 will be the speaker at
the 2008 Commencement on May 18. He and his wife,
Nanette Ferrante Cutrona ’74, have most recently
made possible the new gateway to the College.

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