NIUAA Membership: Common Myths & Misconceptions, Debunked

The 2020 alumni membership drive revealed inaccurate assumptions which prevent eligible alumni from officially joining the NIUAA. Below are the most common “mythconceptions” about NIUAA membership.

Myth #1: “I am not eligible, as I neither attended NIU nor earned a proper degree (PGIP/UGIP).”

Anyone who graduated from a predecessor school is affiliated with NIU. Those who attended NDIC, JMIC, DIC or DIS are eligible for membership. Further, there is no distinction between those who were limited to just the Post-Graduate Intelligence Program (PGIP), and those who completed the thesis to earn the MSSI. Similarly those who attended the Undergraduate Intelligence Program (UGIP) are also eligible for membership.

Myth #2: “Surely I must be a member; I receive emails on a regular basis from Tom Van Wagner, ‘94.”

Receiving emails from Tom Van Wagner does not indicate NIUAA membership. Mr. Van Wagner sends out emails in his official capacity as the NIU Director of Alumni Relations. The Privacy Act currently precludes NIU from sharing personally-identifiable information. As a stop-gap measure, NIU alumni opt into NIUAA membership. Moving forward, Mr. Van Wagner has committed to including a disclaimer within his emails, clarifying that receipt of emails from an NIU official does not indicate NIUAA membership.

Myth #3: “Surely I am a member; I joined the LinkedIn group for NIU alumni, as previously requested.”

Joining the LinkedIn private group for NIU alumni is not officially joining NIUAA. LinkedIn is a borrowed platform containing LinkedIn proprietary information, over which the NIUF has no control. LinkedIn PROPIN is unavailable for use by the NIUF or NIUAA. A previous NIUAA welcome letter contained a reference to LinkedIn. The current NIUAA welcome letter directs eligible alumni to opt into the NIUAA, and directs individuals to the NIUAA registration web page at

Myth #4: “I already joined during the 2010–2013 timeframe.”

There was a previous alumni association during 2010–2013, which no longer exists. The NIUF established this current alumni association in 2015. Unfortunately, the membership information from the first alumni association did not transfer into the current NIU Alumni Association.

Myth #5: “I matriculated many years ago; the specifics of my attendance are not at my fingertips.”

Don’t worry about knowing the exact year; just provide as much information as you possibly can, to include any previous surnames. The NIU Director of Alumni Relations reviews all pending registrations; verifies alumni status (down to class year), and provides corrections if necessary. The NIU Director of Alumni Relations can confirm or correct official class year on the back end.

Myth #6: “I recently registered; nothing happened (or my “email address already has an account”?!).”

It often happens that when alumni register, the NIUAA registration confirmation email goes to the junk mail folder and subsequently gets deleted. So the registrant has no record of ever registering. The NIUAA recommends alumni: 1) check the junk email folder; 2) specify that emails from the domain are “not junk,” and 3) salvage the confirmation email from the junk email folder.

If you receive a dialog box on the website stating, “Sorry, that email address already has an account,” you likely have previously registered for the NIU Alumni Association, but have no record of doing so, because the registration confirmation email landed in your junk email folder and was subsequently deleted. The NIUAA recommends alumni: 1) reset your password using the following webpage:; 2) check the junk email folder, for the password reset confirmation email; 3) specify emails from the domain are “not junk,” and 4) salvage the password reset email from the junk email folder.