Dear Fellow Alumni:

As president of the Commerce Alumni Association, I am honored to present you with my report for the last year of the century and millennium. It delights me to say that the College of Commerce continues to grow not only in the quality of its programs, but in the prestige of its distinguished faculty and accomplished graduates.
As many of you are doubtless aware, both the college and the university have done extremely well recently in national rankings by major publications. See page 13 for a listing. Graduates of Commerce doctoral programs continue to achieve distinction as researchers, professors, and business scholars at institutions of higher education throughout the world. Our alumni now number more than 43,000 strong worldwide, and among them are many influential leaders in business and industry. We can all take pride in our college and its future.

It was a great pleasure to meet and chat with many of you at Homecoming, where the annual Commerce Tent Party proved to be a rousing success — with a rousing early starting time of 9 a.m. As InSight goes to press, many of us are thrilled to be going to the Bowl in Miami where we will meet Virginia. The Fighting Illini finished the regular football season with a strong 7 and 4 record.

Further ahead, I hope that you are looking forward to the annual Commerce Alumni Association Spring Luncheon, as I certainly am. Set for April 7, this will be the fortieth such gala gathering for our alumni, to be held in the traditional and sumptuous venue of the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Always a great event, the Spring Luncheon offers rare opportunities to meet and greet old friends and former classmates, and to catch up on the wonderful work-in-progress that is our alma mater. It's an event not to be missed. So — make your plans now!

We begin the new millennium with the announced departure of our very special friend, Dean Howard Thomas, a world-class leader and scholar. Through his efforts, we have seen esteem for CBA soar. Howard has also dramatically expanded the fiscal resources of the college, securing increased corporate giving and a significant rise in the number of endowed chairs and professorships. A major renovation and upgrade of Commerce West, now underway, is just one example of the far-reaching impact of his efforts on behalf of the college. Certainly, his focus on our Illinois MBA program and on the internationalization of student scholarship at CBA will serve our graduates well as they face the challenges of the twenty-first century. I know you will join me in thanking Howard for a job well done during his stewardship of Commerce, and in sending best wishes to him and his family, as they make plans for a new life in the United Kingdom.

I'd like to leave you with a thought about new initiatives for the Commerce Alumni Association in the coming term. In the year 2000, we will place a special emphasis on working with undergraduates. At the time of this writing I'm looking forward to meeting with members of the Commerce Council to discuss some ways in which the Alumni Association can show support for our fine, hard-working students.

Finally, allow me to extend to you best wishes from the Commerce Alumni Association for a wonderful holiday season, and good heath and happiness in the year 2000 and beyond.

Warmest regards,

Patrick E. Rea
President, Commerce Alumni Association