With the graduating class of 2015, the California State University system will reach a new milestone; educating 3 million alumni, the largest body of graduates in the nation.
In celebration of this achievement, the CSU launched an online yearbook, featuring several profiles of CSU alumni. The online yearbook is expected to be the largest in the world.
Aaron Moore, director of Alumni Relations, said the idea of an online yearbook came over a year ago after examining an annual report of current alumni. When he saw the CSU was reaching close to 3 million alumni, he asked other directors if this event would be worth celebrating.
“The answer was a definitive ‘yes,’ that this could be something exciting and fun and a great way to showcase why the university is here, which is to invest in its people and for those people to go out and invest in their communities,” Moore said.
The online yearbook launched on Oct. 1, 2013. Former students have the option to create an online profile and occasionally update it with current information about their occupation and where they live.
Moore says this allows alumni and students to network, which can potentially lead to employment opportunities.
“That’s really helpful say, for example, when an alumni association starts a student and alumni mentoring program, we need to know where an alum[ni] works and what their expertise is so we can match them with a student who might have similar interests,” Moore said.
Moore said he does not want interaction to stop with the online yearbook. He hopes that alumni will maintain an involved and active role in the state university system.
The CSU offers former students several incentives and awards, including three $10,000 scholarships available to all those who submit a profile. Alumni also have the opportunity to earn several badges on their profile, including a legacy badge, given to those who have family who have attended a CSU, a networking badge and a pride badge.
“We don’t want that to be the end of their interaction with the yearbook. We want them to come back throughout the year, especially as the numbers of profiles grow, as they may be able to network with other alumni,” Moore said.
The occupations of alumni on the list vary widely, from a NASA astronaut to the owner of a massive food corporation. The list also includes very prominent professionals, including author San Jose State alumna Amy Tan; SpongeBob creator and Humboldt State alumni Stephen Hillenburg; and filmmaker Ryan Coogler, an alumni of Sacramento State.
Jennifer Barber, executive director of alumni relations at Sac State, said she was particularly surprised at several of the profiles listed.
“The one I didn’t realize [went to] Sac State until just a couple years ago was Joan London; she’s a Sac State grad,” Barber said. “It’s really neat to find those names of folks who went to your school or the CSU system.”
Moore, who graduated from CSU Long Beach with a degree in public administration, describes his educational experiences at the CSU level as “transformative.”
“It also provided a very large university, which was fun and interesting for me, but also a smaller community to be a part of, which was very important for me as an 18 year old away from home for the first time,” Moore said. “Cal State Long Beach and the CSU system… gave me a place to grow intellectually and personally and it’s something that I’ve always been really grateful for.”