July 5, 2006
GIA Discontinues Alumni Membership Fees, Creates Continuing Education Program
The Gemological Institute of America's Alumni Association has announced that as of April 1, 2007, its membership will expand to include all graduates of GIA and will no longer require dues. Graduates will become alumni members when they pass a final examination in a course or program that awards a certificate or diploma.
The 24-year-old Alumni Association will encompass more than 65,000 members once the initiative is launched in 2007, and will continue to grow as students complete their studies.
"We want to be more connected with our GIA family of graduates and create valuable networking and educational opportunities for them worldwide," says Linda Ellis Harmeling, vice president of GIA Institute Advancement.
Central to the evolution of the Alumni Association will be a continuing education program for GIA Graduate Gemologists (G.G.) and a related recognition system.
Harmeling emphasizes that many Alumni Association benefits and programs will stay the same or be enhanced, and she expects the continuing education program to be an exciting opportunity for gemologists to stay up-to-date in their disciplines.
"The motive is simple: to keep gemologists current," says Brook Ellis, vice president of GIA Education. "There are so many new sources and changes in production, treatments and synthetics in the gem industry. Since we have access to the Institute's research department and laboratory, we are uniquely able to offer our graduates the latest information."
Alumni will be able to view presentations, which will vary in topic each year, through online podcasts, either on their computer or by downloading them to an iPod or similar device. Podcasts can also be presented to groups at chapter meetings and other gatherings.
Topics for 2007 lectures will include treatments for diamonds and other gems; synthetic diamonds; rubies, sapphires, and emeralds; GIA Diamond Cut Grading System updates; and other in-demand topics.