The Stevens Alumni Association: Fostering Enduring Ties to Alma Mater
Soon after Stevens graduated its first students, alumni formed an association that continues to enrich members and their alma mater today.
When Stevens held its first classes in September 1871 as America’s first college for mechanical engineering, there was one building on campus, one degree program and an enrollment of 21 students — all males. The first graduating class had just one member: J. Augustus Henderson, Class of 1873, who promptly landed a good job in shipbuilding.
More graduates followed, and alumni incorporated the Stevens Alumni Association (SAA) on July 1, 1876 “to foster among its members a sentiment of regard for one another, and of attachment to their alma mater, and to promote in every way the interests of Stevens.”
For nearly 150 years, the SAA has met those objectives. Members have promoted the interests of Stevens by contributing time, expertise, networking, philanthropy and camaraderie. Each summer since 1920, alumni and their families have returned to campus for lively alumni weekends and other gatherings. Newer affinity groups complement traditional fraternities, while regional clubs rekindle the Castle Point spirit for far-flung alums.
Alumni also return for career fairs to open doors for enrolled students, just as their predecessors did. And the Stevens Awards program, culminating in an Awards Gala, showcases the achievements of alumni in industry, science, academia, business and society.
Now headed by president Victoria Velasco ’04, a math teacher, the SAA has grown to represent some 50,000 living undergraduate and graduate members of the alumni community, thriving in communities as close as Hoboken and as far away as Hangzhou, China. They work on Wall Street, in labs designing bio-tissues, in Silicon Valley developing artificial intelligence and in many other walks of life.
They are also unfailingly generous. Just as early alumni contributed toward a fund for students in need or paid off debt on the Morton Building, contemporary alumni continue to invest in hundreds of scholarships and new campus landmarks such as the Gateway Academic Center.