The University Record, May 9, 1994

Forman to retire after 28 years with Alumni Association

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Robert G. Forman, who has served as director of the Alumni Association for the past 28 years, will be honored at a Universitywide reception 4–6 p.m. May 18 in the Founders Room, Alumni Center. He will retire June 30.

“Over time, some people come to personify the institutions they represent. Bob Forman is such an individual,” says President James J. Duderstadt. “ His leadership of the Alumni Association has been extraordinary.

“Bob’s quick wit, warmth and intelligence, combined with a wonderful talent for innovation, have earned him the respect of thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and alumnae and friends of the University,” Duderstadt adds.

Forman joined the University in 1963 as assistant director of university relations and development, became associate director of the Alumni Association in 1964 and was named director in 1966.

Since 1966, the Alumni Association has been recognized as an outstanding independent alumni organization, receiving the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Ernest T. Stewart Award for outstanding contributions to higher education twice and winning the gold medal for best overall alumni relations program in America in 1991.

Among the Association’s accomplishments under Forman’s leadership are:

  • Construction of the Alumni Center, which was dedicated in 1983.

  • Expansion to more than 200 alumni clubs worldwide.

  • Development of 17 constituent and affiliated societies.

  • Pioneering efforts in alumni travel programs.

    During Forman’s years as director, he encouraged a close relationship between his department and campus athletics.

    “In a University such as ours, where educational efforts are at the school and college level,” Forman says, “athletics bring us together as an institution. The two organizations that personify centralization are athletics and the Alumni Association. Therefore, we have historically worked very closely together.”

    Forman says it also has been a great way for him to meet some really wonderful personalities, including Fritz Crisler, Don Canham and Bo Schembechler.

    In addition to sports greats, his 30-year career has allowed him to work with four University presidents, “each quite remarkable in his own right,” notes Forman. “Each left an imprint on this institution that was a product of his own vision and personality. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe first-hand these very distinguished people.

    “But the most important thing is simply to have had the opportunity to work for some really great alumni—volunteers who continue to serve the Univer-sity because they feel it is special.

    “It is the best job a person could have, to work for a great University and with people who are totally committed and dedicated to keeping it that way,” Forman says. “It has been delightful to work with the people in the Alumni Association and it will be difficult to walk out in June because I will be leaving not just my associates, but my very best friends.”

    Forman will be moving to Harbor Springs, where he plans to turn some of his memories into publishable fiction, to paint, and to continue some consulting work in institutional advancement.