When Jeffrey Meckler, MSIA ’90, BS ’89, hosted the first Tepper School Summer Welcome Reception more than a decade ago, he never thought it would grow into an annual, multi-city event series hosted by many Tepper School alumni.
“It’s wonderful to see how it brings together various alumni, from recent graduates to older alums, and current students,” said Meckler. “The Tepper School is a small school relative to the other elite graduate business schools, and that allows us to have a more closely knit alumni organization. The summer receptions are just one way to experience that.”
Meckler and his wife came upon the idea of a summer reception in the early 2000s, during a time when the New York City alumni chapter was gaining impressive momentum. The pair wanted to welcome students into the Tepper School community, and instill in them a desire to be involved in the alumni network early-on.
“The idea of welcoming students to the alumni community while they were still at the Tepper School became an initiative John Sengenberger and the Alumni Relations team was really building energy behind,” Meckler added.
The Mecklers decided to organize a casual event that would allow students interning in New York City to meet alumni of the school, and they generously offered their home as the first Summer Welcome Reception site.
“It is informal and fun,” Meckler said of the typical Summer Welcome Reception. “For our event, we hang a Tepper School banner in front of the house, and proceed with a typical backyard cookout, including hamburgers, hotdogs, snacks, beer, wine and soda.”
Inspired by the success in New York City, alumni leaders in chapters across the country have established annual summer welcome events in their cities including the flagship wine tasting reception at the Napa vineyard of alumnus Bart O’Brien, MSIA ’81.
Ross Bowen, MSIA ’92, hosted this year’s Minneapolis, Minnesota reception. Bowen, a state barbequing champion, provided a summer cookout for local alumni and students that by all accounts was “off the charts.”
“While I’m still in contact with many of my classmates from the class of ’92, we have pursued opportunities around the country, and few are located in the Minnesota,” said Bowen from his lakeside home. “I was glad to discover that so many other Tepper School graduates live in the Twin Cities, and I saw a great opportunity to host a summer BBQ so that we could all meet.”
Bryan Hauptfuhrer, MSIA ’98, also hosted a reception at his Philadelphia home, complete with Tepper School-themed décor.
“I have a large backyard patio with plenty of standing and sitting space, so we setup food and drink stations…it made for a fun, social event,” Hauptfuhrer said. “My wife even took the initiative to buy some table cloths and floral arrangements that fit the Tepper School color scheme.”
Though the format of the receptions may vary slightly from city to city, each event gives students and alumni the opportunity to network and mingle with classmates and members of the Tepper School community.
Motivations for attending a Summer Welcome Reception are profuse. Some view it as a way to stay current on different business issues, while others are hoping to stay connected with friends and reminisce on their memories of the Tepper School. Many use these receptions as an opportunity to meet and network with other business professionals.
“My experience at the Tepper School was a very enriching period in my life, both personally and in preparation for a more challenging career,” offered Hauptfuhrer. “I think it is important to share our experiences while we are at the school, but also post-graduation in our varied work experiences.”
“We received a great education at the Tepper School, but the network of friends we made there is another big asset that everyone should continue to capitalize on after they graduate,” added Bowen. “I am looking forward to socializing and networking with the new friends that I made at the reception.”