My second week away from campus continues with an annual planning retreat for the presidents of the 14 PASSHE universities, the system chancellor and his senior staff. These two days will be filled with focused conversation that will help us plan to meet the economic challenges we continue to face as higher education institutions. We're committed to continue our tradition of delivering quality education at an affordable cost. This retreat will help us improve on that plan.
After the retreat, I'm flying to Denver with the director of the BU Alumni Association, Lynda Michaels, for an alumni event. There, we hope to meet up with close to 200 alumni who live in the Denver area.
We will also attend a celebration of the life of Henry Carver, who was the first principal of the Bloomsburg Literary Academy, the precursor of our university, and the builder and namesake of the first building on campus, Carver Hall, where my office is located.
These periodic trips to cities with concentrations of BU alumni are part of our efforts to keep alumni connected to the university, to support us financially and help us in other ways. Last year, roughly 5,200 alumni contributed nearly $902,000 to the univeristy, which was a 7% increase from 2007-08. In addition to their generous donations, our committed alumni have volunteered more than 500 hours over the past year. They have helped coordinate and staff alumni events and organize alumni chapters. Alumni have also served as admissions recruiters, student mentors and guest speakers in classes and for student organizations.
We are very thankful for the support our alumni offer. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to personally thank those alumni living in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.