Thursday, January 29, 2015

IN THE BEGINNING: The Origin of the Peirce Alumni Association

Although there have been many changes at Peirce throughout our 150-year history, one constant has been a group of loyal, active alumni who have represented the benefits of a Peirce education in their workplaces and communities.  And among the many facets of our history we'll be celebrating this anniversary year, few have had a longer tradition  - one which continues into the present day - as does the school's Alumni Association, which has been in place for the last 123 years.   

June 15, 1892 marked the first formal meeting of the Alumni Association.  As the history book Peirce Means Business describes the group's genesis, "the formation of the Association was the work of seven graduates...(who were) all current Peirce faculty members." Their number included Ruth Peirce, a member of the Class of 1892 and the daughter of our founder Thomas May Peirce. The initial objective for the Association, stated in the minutes of that evening, is one that carries forth to this day: "to promote social intercourse among the graduates...and to aid the faculty in further popularizing our Alma Mater." 

Original minutes from the first Alumni Association meeting
(Click to enlarge)
The response by alumni to that first call to organize was overwhelming - two hundred graduates joined together that evening at what was then the Peirce College of Business and Shorthand at 917-19 Chestnut Street to establish the Association. The minutes of that inaugural gathering describe the breadth of business carried out that night:  the gathering didn't adjourn until 11:15 PM! However,  all the work done by the men and women at that first meeting held the Association in good stead for many years to come:  a dues structure was established, an officer group elected, and a Board of Managers put in place. 

By the time of their next annual meeting in June 1893 the Association sponsored a banquet for alumni (complete with a six piece orchestra), revised the Association bylaws, and grew their membership to 345 individuals, including graduates from Texas, California, Oregon and Maine.  There was even a love match among their numbers:  the minutes of the Annual Meeting notes the "marriage of Miss Lizzie P. Chew, Class of '90, Member of the Board of Managers, to Mr. Charles W. Schoener also of the Class of '90."

The current Alumni Association continues in the tradition of that first group of graduates.  They bring together men and women who, bonded by their Peirce education, connect with one another and the school to the mutual benefit of all. To learn more about the work of the current day Association and become an active partner in connecting our graduates with the College, visit our webpage and join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.