Why Davidson is Publishing a Print Alumni Directory for the First Time in Over a Decade

Printed alumni directories are largely a thing of the past.

But for one school that gets requests from alumni for printed directories every week, resurrecting the practice became an appealing way to satisfy their constituents and update their contact information at the same time.

Davidson College's Director of Alumni Relations Marya Howell explained why her office decided to take on the project.

Alumni directories have fallen by the wayside in recent years. Why did Davidson decide to produce one this year?

We published our last directory in 2005. We get asked weekly for a new copy and some even want us to send them old copies from 2005. In addition, our contact information is woefully out of date and this is one way to get updated contact information. We have all of this information available for free online, but some people still want print directories.

Do you expect to produce another edition at some time in the future?

Maybe. The company that we work with sends postcards/emails and takes phone calls. At the end of the call, alumni have the opportunity to purchase a print or digital directory. 

What could other schools gain from publishing their own updated alumni directories? What kind of investment does it take to get that kind of project off the ground?

We certainly have a group of people who are interested in the print directories. There are different types of organizations to work with for updating information. We worked with PCI (Publishing Concepts Inc.). They are a company in Texas who works with many institutions to produce print/digital directories. There is no charge to the institution.

PCI makes its money through the sale of directories. When people call in to update their information, they are given the opportunity to make a purchase at the end of the phone call. Some of our alumni have been happier about that than others. They will give us the data collected in such a format that we can put it back into our database.