Letter to the Alumni

David Galef on what presidents really mean when they write to graduates.

August 21, 2015

From: Seymour Gelt, President of U of All People

To: Our Recent Graduates, Friends and Families

Happy New Year! In China, this is the Year of the Green Sheep, which betokens fortune and prosperity.

[It’s easy to contribute money online. Check out www.uap.com/donate.]

If you’ve visited campus recently, you might have been surprised by our recent growth. At the far end of campus is our new No Sweat Rec Center, with its 12,000-square-foot yoga space, ergonometric juice bar and personal trainers in a two-to-one trainer-student ratio.

Opposite from the rec center in more than location is the Six Flags Food Court, with fast food from over five nations, including ours. Stop by our Mexicana stand for a plate of re-refried beans!

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But it’s easy to get money for the amenities. It’s far harder for the humanities, where the last banner year was over a decade ago, when 2002 alumnus Greg Aryus donated $100 for a couple of library books. Well, never mind the humanities, which are hopeless these days in consumer branding. As an English department faculty member recently remarked, “Shakespeare belongs to everyone,” a lovely sentiment but not, I think, one that can be monetized efficiently.

For that matter, the natural sciences, too, have experienced setbacks, though the cyclotron accident in Mayhem Hall this past June can now be safely put behind us. The only bright light at the end of the tunnel is our Shekels School of Business, which managed to place a record 33 percent of its graduates last year, if “place” is interpreted as some kind of activity for some kind of remuneration.

[Donating money online is easy, through our intermediary makeapledge.com! Just go to www.uap.com/donate, and click on the empty-coffer icon. For non-liberal arts graduates: a coffer is a box for holding money.]

Of course, times have changed. The purpose of a university education has grown a step beyond college sports, casual hook-ups and drinking. With the national economy on the skids so long that slave-labor internships look good, it’s understandable that students demand jobs at the end of their four, five or six years here. As a recent graduate asked me just the other day, “How come I took courses in Plato and trigonometry, but the only postgraduation job I could snag was holiday helper at Kmart?” To which I could reply only, “Was that you in the green elf costume?”

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Of course, another reply is to note the very real achievements of some of our graduates:

Angelo “I’m no angel” Angelino, class of 2011, is now deputy assistant at the AMA, Association of Mob Affiliations, having recently survived what he good-humoredly calls “a brush with the law.” He’s recently donated a warehouse of major appliances that “fell off the truck.”

Dominique (Dom to her friends and clientele), class of 2008, is now mistress of her own dungeon, putting her double major in psychology and leisure science to good use. Always on the lookout for a few good subs, she’s just put out a new ad: “Check out my brand-spanking-new equipment -- and new spanking equipment!” She’s recently sent in funds for the construction of three Dom dorm rooms -- all sub-basement, of course.

[Got a business to advertise? Place a notice in the UAP Recording Angel alumni magazine, at www.uap.edu/record-ang/ads]

Here on campus, we haven’t exactly been idle, either, though the salary freeze since 2006 has prompted some to start enterprises on the side. The latest to do so is Professor M. T. Soote in Business, who’s begun an entrepreneurial institute that has already parlayed three bake sales into the Comestibles Exchange, with a trading value of $5 per cupcake.

[Psst! It’s cool to give! www.uap.com/donate]

That’s about it for now -- in fact, that’s all we have -- though please remember to keep us posted, via the megaphone icon, just to the left of the empty-coffer donation icon. In addition:

  • Check out our revamped website, www.uap.edu, which includes links to all available social media (like us on Facebook!). This month, we’re offering a virtual UAP lapel pin for the biggest alum donor-tweeter.
  • Attend homecoming, which this year will feature a special reception for our largest donee, To Be Announced.
  • Drop in. The campus is probably somewhat as you remember it. Check out your old haunts and recall a time when food fights didn’t mean squabbling over who gets to eat.

[U of All People: Where begging for funds has become a way of life. www.uap.com/donate]

With open hands out,

Seymour Gelt


David Galef directs the creative writing program at Montclair State University. His latest book is the short story collection My Date With Neanderthal Woman (Dzanc Books).


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