Milestones of 2014, Exciting Announcements for 2015

The new year brings a time of reflection and anticipation for the future. As we all emerge from the blur of year-end, the alumni office is pleased to report that 2014 was a stellar year of milestones and highlights. It is impossible to summarize all of the accomplishments of our committed alumni around the world ‒ or the effect of their outreach as ambassadors supporting GIA’s mission ‒ but I’ve outlined a few below. Please take some time to view photos of alumni events in the gallery above.

The Numbers
  • The active number of GIA Alumni members reached 100,000 and continues to grow!
  • More than 25,000 members are listed in our Alumni Online Directory.
  • The GIA Alumni Association has 71 chapters on 5 continents.
  • More than 175 Alumni Events offering continuing education and networking opportunities worldwide were held.
  • GIA connected with our alums at nearly 100 tradeshows in 2014.
  • Nearly 1,500 members took a moment in 2014 to manage their Alumni Membership and let GIA know the alumni benefits that are most important to them.
  • Susan Jacques was appointed GIA president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2014, the sixth leader in GIA’s 83-year history. Susan is a GG from the Santa Monica campus class of 1980 and proof positive that hard work, ethics and staying connected to GIA is a benefit for our alumni.
  • Robert “Bob” Earnest, who advocated for a GIA Alumni Association and was its first executive director, passed away in December. Learn more about his special relationship with GIA alumni.
Bob Earnest, left, with Richard T. Liddicoat’s support helped establish the GIA Alumni Association in 1982.
In Review
Here are some of the chapter news and events from 2014:
  • Travel excursions and alumni tours to China, Germany, the Gulf of Mexico, Malaysia, Burma, Taiwan and U.S. tradeshows were planned by various chapters.
  • Chapters continue to expand their collaborations and co-host events across the globe, including Shanghai and Taiwan; Africa’s Johannesburg, Cape Town and Botswana chapters; Hong Kong and mainland China; Malaysia and multiple southeast Asia chapters; Houston and North Texas; and southern California chapters in San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles.
  • New York classmates organized a 40th reunion for the 1974 Graduate Gemologist class.
Top chapter meeting topics:
  • Technical instrumentation and hands-on events
  • Jewelry history, museum tours and visits to lapidary and diamond cutting houses
  • Gemstone buying, excursions and collecting from industry experts
  • Research news on treatments and synthetic diamonds and colored gems
  • Security, law enforcement seminars and understanding UL & Trade commission rulings
  • Mentorship from experienced alumni graduates for students and grads seeking refreshers
Looking Ahead in 2015
We’re excited to share a bright launch to 2015:
GIA Events
  • Tucson’s gem, mineral and jewelry fairs are quickly approaching Feb. 2-15. GIA’s presence and activities are extensive, but the Party at the GIA Gem Mine: Rocking Down Under is the most fun you’ll have. The annual dinner, dance and auction is really a large reunion party, where more than 250 alumni, students and industry friends gather to celebrate. We hope to see you there!
    • Please note: Jan. 15 is the deadline to purchase tickets early and save. It is also the deadline to submit auction items, with guaranteed donor recognition online and in print
  • Gemfest Basel is scheduled for March 22; global alums and industry members are invited to an afternoon of education followed by a reception.
Make Travel Plans
  • The Malaysia chapter is planning an international gathering for alumni in late August in conjunction with the Malaysia International Jewelry Fair, held Aug. 21-24, and all global alumni are invited to participate.
In closing, I would like to applaud all of our members around the globe for their support and attendance at alumni events and for following their commitment to educate and professionalize the industry. I most especially want to thank the dedicated chapter leaders who plan and execute these events to build camaraderie among industry professionals. Thank you.

Personally, I welcome 2015 and look forward to the advancements and opportunities that are sure to come!

Kate Donovan, manager of alumni relations, is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with more than 20 years of retail jewelry experience.