|History of the Alumni Association|
This history of the Alumni Association was written in April 1986 by Loïs Meyhoffer (LGB '37).
The Ecolint Alumni Association, founded officially on October 17, 1935, existed during its early years by the efforts of a few interested alumni and teachers, mainly through correspondence. Obviously, it remained passive during the World War II period.
It became operational when the school charged a retired teacher to take over the responsibility, and a Central Committee was formed. The school's support consisted of: office space and a small stipend to the teacher. A bulletin (newsletter) was published three times a year until 1967, then once a year, a larger issue, until 1976. Bulletins were first mimeographed, later printed. Correspondents were appointed in several countries in Europe and overseas. The expenses were covered by membership dues (SF 10 per year in 1959, or SF 30 in 1975). Life memberships were also purchased (SF 50 in 1959, or SF 200 in 1975) by 400 to 500 ~ alumni.
In 1968, the school started giving financial support to the Association in the form of a grant to cover the publishing costs of the yearly "bulletin" (Fr. 5000 to 6000). Mailing was covered by the Association's own budget. Between 1968 and 1976, a yearly "bulletin" was published, edited by a group of alumni, all volunteers.
The Association, through members of the Central Committee, participated actively with the school in the 50th Anniversary celebrations: "Founder's Day", Symposium "Towards Education in the Third Millennium", publication of the 50th Anniversary Book. During that period, the school gave only minor financial support for part-time clerical help. Archives and files were kept up-to-date by Central Committee volunteers.
In 1976, the president of the Central Committee, also a member of the school's Foundation Board, submitted a proposal to strengthen the school's support for the Association. The goal was to create a strong Alumni Association, which in turn would become supportive of the school. The Foundation agreed to the proposal, although the support granted was more limited than in the proposal. Mr. R.T. Shade was released from part of his duties at the school to serve as Executive Secretary of the Alumni Association commencing January 1977. In the summer of 1977, the Central Committee president left for Brazil, and the post remained vacant for some time.
Mr. Shade, who had one day per week for this task, and a part-time secretary, engaged in a big drive to register as many alumni as could be located. In order to encourage them to join, it was decided to drop membership dues. The school would spend money which it would, in due course, recuperate in donations. The Alumni Office corresponded with Alumni and published a bi-yearly "newsletter".
Files and archives, kept up till then by the Central Committee, were transferred to the Office of the Alumni Association at the school. There were some 1,200 alumni with valid addresses on file. As these new arrangements were being made, it was also decided that the alumni of all the schools of the Foundation were eligible for membership in the Association.
The Association next prepared the "1984 60th Anniversary Alumni Reunion" in Geneva. It was organised by the Central Committee with considerable support from a large group of Geneva-based alumni, headed by Phil Thomas and Bob Shade.
At the time of the Reunion, the school proposed to strengthen and develop the Association, with logistic and financial support from the school. Local Alumni Chapters were to be formed wherever large numbers of alumni were living. This plan was submitted to the Alumni Association in June 1984, which accepted it at its General Assembly.
The Director General appointed Bonnie Fatio to replace Bob Shade, who had resigned to assume his guidance responsibilities full-time in September 1984. The Central Committee submitted a plan to the DG to implement the school's proposal at the least possible cost, counting on volunteer help in Geneva and elsewhere. The DG accepted the proposal, and there are now 5 local chapters, which are, in order of their creation: New York, Geneva, Toronto, Tokyo, and London.