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Mark Land
Associate vice president, IU Communications

J Thomas Forbes
Executive director, IU Alumni Association

Last modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

IU's J Thomas Forbes elected to board of influential alumni association organization

July 30, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Alumni Association CEO J Thomas Forbes has been elected to a three-year term on the Council of Alumni Association Executives Board of Directors.

J Thomas Forbes

J Thomas Forbes

Print-Quality Photo

Founded in 1989, CAAE is a professional organization of CEOs from roughly 100 of the largest and most complex alumni associations in the U.S. and Canada. These thought leaders develop and share best practices and innovations that enhance the leadership and influence of the alumni, universities and institutional partners served by alumni organizations. Forbes was elected July 17 at CAAE's semi-annual meeting in San Francisco.

"JT.'s insights and leadership are not only having a positive impact on the Indiana University Alumni Association; he is helping to change our profession," said Steve Grafton, president and CEO of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan. "In his relatively short time as a member of CAAE, he has distinguished himself as one of the most thoughtful and dedicated alumni professionals in the business. We are fortunate to have JT. on our board of directors."

Forbes said it is humbling to be elected to help lead such a prestigious organization. He said he is "especially grateful" to the IU Alumni Association staff and volunteers who he describes as the wellspring of IUAA's reputation as a leading organization.

"This appointment cements IU at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in this area of institutional advancement work," he said. "These are very exciting times in higher education and alumni work."

In the three years since Forbes was appointed IUAA executive director and CEO by IU President Michael A. McRobbie, the IUAA has undergone a dramatic transformation, setting new annual fundraising records; launching an award-winning "Four and More" print and online alumni magazine program; and reorganizing the association to be more fiscally sound, transparent and outcome-based. In the fiscal year that just ended, IUAA's "Leap Forward" membership strategy resulted in a record nine consecutive months of net growth in paid memberships.

Forbes, a former IU trustee, earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public affairs and nonprofit management from IU. While an undergraduate, he served as student body president and founded the All University Student Assembly, of which he also was president. Forbes focused on public affairs and government relations in higher education at IU, serving four IU presidents, and at Michigan State University, as well as working in the private sector for Cummins Inc. before leading the IUAA.

About the IU Alumni Association

Founded in 1854, the Indiana University Alumni Association is a $20 million nonprofit corporation with an $8.9 million annual budget that brings alumni together to serve one another and Indiana University. With 63,380 dues-paying members, it is one of the 10 largest alumni associations in terms of membership.