20 Years of PROMYS Celebration attendees in July 2009
During the summer session, PROMYS participants are part of a vibrant and supportive mathematical community consisting of both full-time PROMYS attendees and visiting mathematicians, scientists, and alumni. At the end of the summer, first-year participants become alumni, are invited onto the password protected alum site, and have life-long access to the extended PROMYS community of kindred spirits around the country and around the world. PROMYS alumni form a dedicated group: many students return to PROMYS as counselors, mentors, lecturers, faculty, or the new instructional post of "Distinguished Alum in Residence; very many alums return to visit and to maintain important social and intellectual bonds. Within the past 4 years, 86% of all alums have been in contact with PROMYS. There are 1,332 PROMYS alums.
PROMYS now holds regular alum reunions both during the summer session at which arranged activities encourage current participants to ask visiting alums about their educational and career backgrounds and during the JMMs when experienced alums mentor high school aged alums attending the conference. About 80% of the alumni connect with PROMYS and with fellow alums by joining PROMYS Facebook groups and/or by logging on to the private alum site (whose offerings include discussion forums, searchable directories, details of mathematical outreach opportunities, abstracts of guest lectures, and student research lab write-ups). Many of the alums engage in mathematical outreach.
The alumni body has shown its support of the PROMYS philosophy of learning and of the longstanding PROMYS policy that no student should be unable to attend for financial reasons. A group of alums recently established the PROMYS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to support PROMYS, particularly its financial aid program. The Foundation's alum trustees are Henry Cohn (Treasurer), Cameron Freer (Secretary), Amanda Beeson, Joshua Greene, Jon Hanke, Michael King, Li-Mei Lim, Hai Po Sun, and Ila Varma.
Alums very much want the program to remain affordable to families as well as to low-income students. The amount families are asked to pay for their children to attend the program is only about half the actual per-student cost to PROMYS.
Alumni know and relish the fact that mathematically, pedagogically, socially, and financially they are central to PROMYS and to the future of PROMYS.