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Discussion Forum: Alumni Receptions

What Have you Found to be the Best Options for Alumni Receptions at the Major Veterinary Conferences?

  • On-site vs. off-site?
  • Combine with other schools?
  • Does location change your approach?
  • What has participation looked like over the last 5 years
    • Typical attendance
    •  Increase or decrease in attendance
    • Are families attending as well
  • What does the event consist of?
    • Dean remarks
    • Give Aways
    • Drawings
    • Etc.

Please add your comments and input in the comment section below as a resource for other programs.


  1. Rileigh Ray says:

    At Ohio State we host receptions at VMX, MVC, WVC, AVMA and AAEP. We host all of our receptions off-site except for MVC. That is our biggest turn out since it’s held here in Columbus. We also typically do pretty well at VMX, our numbers were slightly down this year – we went from 77 attendees in 2017 to around 50 this year. Sometimes I wonder if it has something to do with the date the conference decides to host the alumni receptions – for instance, I know this year at VMX it was towards the end of the conference and not everyone will plan on staying to the very end. The opposite of that was true at AVMA last year which was held at the very beginning of the conference when many were still traveling there. Our reception was still well attended and actually higher in 2017 with 68 attendees than in 2016 with 52 attendees.

    The other thing that can be a factor is the time the receptions are set to start – we actually moved our time up to 5 pm at VMX so people could come directly there after the conference and would still allow them time to go out to dinner afterwards if they choose. I’d like to find out how that is advertised with the conference because sometimes I know there’s confusion when we do a different time than all the others.

    Western and AAEP are definitely are least attended in comparison to the others. I would say our biggest struggle is always with the RSVP’s – our final reminder for our VMX reception was sent out by our dean in the hope that might encourage people to RSVP.

    We do door-prizes and the dean will make some remarks with socializing the rest of the event.

  2. Bill Venne says:

    At the University of MN, we host alumni receptions at NAVC (also known as VMX), WVC, ACVIM, AVMA, AABP, AAEP and our own state association conference (MVMA). We continue to see our numbers increase at these events in part because we make a point of recruiting current students to attend. Alumni enjoy talking with our students. These alumni receptions have led to new gifts from alumni. And we have cut back on expenses by moving off site. Some of the associations are easier to work with than others.

  3. We go offsite as much as possible. Cheaper, and people want more of a destination feel. It has almost doubled our attendance, even though our alumni attendance at the big meetings is dwindling. Sometimes families attend, but it is rare. Location and time of receptions was definitely a factor. When the receptions couldn’t start before 7:30 in Vegas, no one came. We got a suite and start as soon as sessions get over (6ish) and our attendance has skyrocketed.

    Dean makes some remarks, we do some door prizes, and then it’s just grip and grin.

    This year we are not doing VMX or WVC-too expensive, with little ROI.

  4. At major conferences, OSU CVHS hosts alumni reception on-site in a private venue to off-set the cost of hotel catering. This approach has worked well for us and attendance remains consistently strong at around 80 alums, with the exception of AVMA for 2017 when alumni receptions were moved to Friday night. Many of our alumni and in particular, students, had not yet arrived for the conference. Attendance at the 2017 AVMA conference was half the usual count. Children are welcome and often accompany alumni. Remarks are given by the dean and alumni representative. Door prizes are drawn for branded merchandise.

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