Organized in June 1894, the Alumni Association created its first constitution the following year. All teachers and pupils of RISD who paid dues were eligible for membership after four months with the School, changed to one year in 1897. The 1897 constitution allowed for honorary members who were "well known as patrons of the school or the subjects taught therein." Members elected officers and Executive Committee members, held annual business and social meetings, sponsored gift sales, arranged lectures, and established scholarships including the Alumni Traveling Scholarship (1911).
The 1935 constitution required that active members be graduates or seniors about to graduate. Active members could, by two-thirds vote, grant honorary or associate membership to those interested in RISD and fine or applied arts. The 1944 constitution created a Governing Board comprised of nine members elected to three-year terms, the presidents of the Local Chapters, the RISD Chief Executive Officer, Director of Alumni Relations, and the Assistant in Alumni Relations. The Board could elect officers and set up committees. Membership dues were abolished. Local Chapters required at least ten members. RISD began publication of the Alumni Bulletin in 1944 to provide information to alumni regarding the activities of the Association and the School.
In 1971 a fifty member Alumni Council, selected according to geographic location and continued interest in the School, replaced the Governing Board. An Executive Committee held operational responsibility for the activities of the Council. Other committees included Design Education, Membership and Nomination, Alumni Communications, Annual Fund, and Continuing Education. As of 1994, the Alumni Association operates in coordination with the Office of Alumni and Career Services.
From the guide to the Rhode Island School of Design. Alumni Association records, Alumni Association records, 1895-1962, (Rhode Island School of Design Archives)