Your class officers have several items we want to share with you about the “state” of our class. This report will discuss the continuous improvement of our Class Website (www.usna1978.org), updates on our rapidly approaching 45th Reunion in 2023, a brief discussion of our class involvement with “Another-Link-in-the-Chain”, and a discussion about our 50th Class gift.
Class Website: If you haven’t been to our class website lately it continues to expand and improve thanks to the hard work and dedication of our webmaster, Matt Elias. New sections have been added in the following areas:
- June Week, 1978, including President Carter’s speech, June Week award winners and the June 7, 1978, issue of the Annapolis Capital Gazette
- Expanded Class History section
- Added pages for Class Authors and Artists
- Added 43 years of Class of 1978 Shipmate columns.
In the past year, the number of photos on the website has tripled from just over 2,000 to over 6,000 today. These photos include company photos from Plebe, Youngster, and Second Class years and the professional photos of our 35th and 40th reunion taken by Debbie Latta. Most importantly, our photos now include personal photos uploaded by our classmates and even some by their wives.
We began measuring visitors last June and in the eight months we’ve been measuring visits to the website the number has grown steadily from 410 in June to over 550 in December. We did grow registered users on the website by over 10% this year, but the total number is still only roughly a third of the class.
How can you help improve our Class Website?
- Register for access to our website. If you have never had a password, you can register for the website by emailing our webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive a return email with a link to create a password. Your user ID will be the email address from which you wrote. If you have previously registered and have forgotten your password, click on “Account Login” at the top of the website home page and then add your email address and click “Lost your password.” You will receive an email to reset your password at that address. If your email address is not in the system, you will get an ‘ERROR: Invalid email address’ and you will have to email the webmaster for assistance.
- Update your profile page: When you update your profile, look for the section where you can include a paragraph about the 2021 version of you and upload a current photo.
- Send us your ideas, corrections, criticisms and suggestions to improve our website: email our webmaster at email@example.com.
- Upload current and past photos of your family, from your time in the military, and from our time at the Academy: Instructions on how to upload photos are in the FAQ section of our website. The system allows you to assign a title to the photo, identify the classmates, their companies and the time frame so that the photos will be accurately searchable, displayed and tied to each classmate’s profile.
- Go through your company photos that are already uploaded to ensure we have properly identified the guys in them, the time period, and that any other labels are accurate. Every photo should have a title so it should be easy to send an email telling the webmaster (firstname.lastname@example.org) that we missed this classmate in photo titled X.
- Notify our webmaster if you are having any problems with the website.
Our website will be a key communications tool for our 45th Reunion, so please help us by keeping your contact information up-to-date.
45th Reunion: Our 45th Class Reunion is set for October 19 – 22, 2023 (corrected dates), in Annapolis, and Navy football will play Air Force. John Cooke (20th CO) has volunteered to be our reunion coordinator. So far we have reserved the stadium banquet room for our Saturday tailgater and we have made the decision to hire a reunion event coordinator who will assist with registration management, event scheduling and event check-in, and other general reunion tasks.
We hope to see another great turnout, so mark your calendars now. We will see you in 2023!
Another-Link-in-the-Chain (ALITC): This program forms bonds and relationships between current midshipmen and members of the 50-year class counterpart throughout the four years on the Yard and beyond. From Induction Day to Commissioning and beyond, the 50-year counterpart class becomes a part of the Naval Academy experience for the Brigade. Our “link-in-the-chain” will be formed with the incoming plebes of the Class of 2028 in the summer of 2024. You can read about this program at this link and check out the types of events other classes before us are participating in Another Link in the Chain – www.usna.com. We have set aside class funds to cover the costs of our class participation. Once we begin planning in earnest we will reach out to the class and make you aware of events in which you can participate.
50th Class gift: Normally the period between our last Class Gift and the next 5-year reunion is a “quiet” period for class funding-raising efforts. However, a very unique opportunity has arisen where our class can make a significant impact for our Alumni and make it part of our 50th Class Gift starting now. Our Alumni Association and Foundation currently has staff scattered over 5 different locations in Annapolis which makes interacting and operating (during normal times) very challenging. The good news is our Association is now building a new home that will house our Association and Foundation staffs and provide a welcoming venue for our Alumni. This U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and Foundation Center will be located on the banks of College Creek across from Bishop Stadium. If you want to learn more about this project you can sign up for a presentation by the project committee chairman, Admiral Bob Natter, on February 4, from 1100am -1200pm EST at this link Event – www.usna.com. The link will take you to the Alumni Association website where you will log in; you will then be taken to the event registration site. The presentation will take you inside the project, highlighting key milestones, next steps and the potential impact of the new facility. The facility will not only house our Association and Foundation staff, but it will be available to host Class events, such as class meetings and other gatherings. As a side note, the building will be operational in the Fall of ’22, and we have already requested use of the facility for our Friday night gathering during our 45th Reunion in 2023.
We will make supporting the building of our new Alumni Center part of our 50th Class Gift. We have an agreement with the Foundation to begin our project early with part one of the Class Gift dedicated to the Alumni Center. Part two of our 50th Class Gift will be determined at a later date to support a campaign following our 45th Reunion.
We have committed to raising $750,000 to support this project. We will provide a gift of $500,000 to support the main entrance gate, Gate 2, which is prominently located on King George’s Street, and we will make a $250,000 gift which will be recognized in the North Garden Terrance of the Alumni Center with a large glass panel with our Class Crest and Class numbers. We are uploading a recent Alumni Center presentation from Admiral Natter to our class website at www.usna1978.org under the “News” tab (should be up sometime tomorrow).
How can you participate? Part of the fund-raising effort will be an opportunity to become a plank owner of the Alumni Center. To become a plank-owner the Foundation is asking for a 5-year commitment at the Presidents’ Circle level which is a $2,500 commitment for 5 years. So, your participation would be a “three-for” – join President’s Circle; become an Alumni Center plank-owner, and give the Class credit towards our 50th Class Gift goal. We already have a significant number of annual President Circle members and so we ask you to contact the Foundation when you renew and become a plank owner. It only requires a commitment of 60 plank-owners to reach our goal of $750,000.
Sean Coffey again is leading our fund-raising efforts. As a refresher, our 40th Reunion Gift goal was $1.5 million and we exceeded that goal to about $2.3 million. We anticipate that we will once again exceed our goals. Sean will be sending out more information on our efforts soon. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Sean or myself if you have questions.
That is all. Thanks for your attention… and as always…
President, USNA Class of 1978