Bradley University’s National Alumni Association was founded in 1901, but it wasn’t until former professor, public relations director and soon-to-be University President David B. Owen ’29 established an alumni office and named Allen Upton ’48 as its first full-time secretary in 1950 that the organization really came to life.

With a vision of building and maintaining stronger relationships between the university and its graduates and nurturing pride among its alumni, the alumni association organized chapters in most major cities (the first was formed in Chicago on May 5, 1904), produced an alumni magazine and established the most prestigious awards given by the institution. Through the years, the alumni association continued to serve the university through service to – and from – its graduates.

Today, the BUAA also sponsors programs designed to enhance the student experience – from admissions assistance to mentoring and from legacy programs to networking events, alumni nationwide are providing valuable services to students. To solidify this new emphasis, there is now student representation on the association’s board of directors, and an alumni staff member dedicated to maintaining effective student programs.

The association remains committed to its vision of building strong relationships with its alumni. Regional alumni networks continue to thrive, with leadership in more than 30 cities nationwide. Affinity groups like the Black Alumni Alliance, Forensics Alumni Network and Communication Alumni Network are finding creative new ways to serve today’s students, future alumni and each other. The alumni online community has not only helped establish ties with more young alumni, but has also provided an easy way to reconnect with alumni living in foreign countries.

From a file of index cards containing the names, addresses and class years of 9,000 Bradley alumni (kept safely within Dr. Clarence Schroeder’s closet in Bradley Hall until 1950), the alumni association has now grown to more than 60,000 strong. And until 2007, it seemed only fitting that the home of the alumni association was also the former home of the man that once breathed new life into the organization, David B. Owen.

Today, we occupy a permanent and magnificent tribute to the thousands of Bradley alumni who have walked this campus. Conceived and planned by alumni; built by alumni for alumni, the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center reflects the proud history and traditions of our alma mater, resembling the institution’s iconic first building, Bradley Hall.