September 14, 2011
Fargo, North Dakota
As temperatures drop and the fall colors begin to appear across the upper mid-west, I begin to reminisce about this beautiful time of the year in Lewisburg as a cadet and as alumn. When I joined the GMSAA Board last October, one task I was asked to oversee was the redesign and development of our Association's website. As coordinator of the Graphic Communications Program at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), I provide instruction in web design, and thought this would be a good project for some student involvement. Not only would they get some real-life experience working for a client, we, the association, would be able to teach some young adults about GMS and the history of military schools in the U.S.
The original idea was to have a contest to come up with an interface design and award the winner(s) the job of developing the site. What really happened was I interviewed a number of graduating seniors who would have the programming background needed to develop the searchable database. Not only would this person need to have a good eye for web aesthetics, but also be knowledgeable in a number of web-based applications, such as CSS, Drupal, SQL and so on. The task was to develop a very intense database, an online store, reunion information, newsroom, Greenbrier Leadership Institute information, almost everything we had on the old GMSAA.ORG site, but more user friendly and with smaller-faster digital space.
Since the end of May 2011, Matt Winans of Fargo, ND, a brand new graduate of MSUM has worked diligently and professionally on developing our new look and the entire back end programming of the site. Matt spent hours on the phone with Tony Sadler, Phil McLaughlin, Jim Downer and Herb Pearis. Matt has spent close to 30 hours meeting personally with myself and has even had a meeting with Mary Essig, our Museum's Curator.
One new innovation is the Online Reunion Registration form. Where you can register for the all the Reunion activities, pay dues and will soon have a section for making donations. You are also able to pay by check if you do not want to use PayPal. This is very user-friendly. I registered this way and now JoAnn doesn't have to worry about rubber checks and the association has my money right away. The Cadet Store will operate in a similar fashion once it is up and running.
Try the new Cadet Database by looking for lost and not-so-lost friends. Type in any of the following: last name, last year or year graduated and company to find information on a cadet. There are two levels, one level is open to the general public and will retrieve a limited amount of information on any cadet. As a registered user, which we hope you will become, you will retrieve more in-depth statistics and information about a cadet as well as faculty and friends. This is an excellent tool.
So, welcome to the new GMSAA.ORG site. There is more to do, like an archive of Alumni Records and our Museum page, but I am sure you will find this enjoyable and easy to use.
I want to thank Tony Sadler, Herb Pearis and Phil McLaughlin for all their guidance and patience working with Matt and myself. And I especially think we all need to offer a big round of applause to Matt Winans for a bang up job on this project. His professionalism and technical ability to do this has saved our Association thousands of dollars.
Dr. Mike Ruth, GMS '69
Department of Cinema Arts and Digital Technologies
Minnesota State University Moorhead
Photos make our experience at GMS come alive!