RaySociety By-Laws

Establishment and Purpose

  1. These Bylaws direct the Billie & Robert D. Ray Lifelong Learning Society, hereafter known as the RaySociety. The RaySociety is a volunteer-supported organization of Drake University, open to all persons who seek opportunities for lifelong learning. We offer an environment of sharing and fellowship that provides opportunities for intellectual, social, and cultural stimulation and growth.

  2. The RaySociety is not a separate legal entity from Drake University, and these Bylaws should not be interpreted as creating an unincorporated nonprofit association or for-profit entity. The RaySociety operates as a department of Drake University within its office of University Advancement, and is governed by Drake University policies and procedures. The Vice President of University Advancement and/or his/her representative will serve as liaison between the University and the Members of the RaySociety.

  3. Vision: Expand your mind. Expand your community.

  4. Values:

    Personal Growth: We seek to enhance our lives by stimulating thought, providing new opportunities for creative thinking, expanding knowledge, and offering meaningful experiences. We encourage members to interact and enjoy themselves.
    Knowledge/Learning: We seek to enjoy the process of learning, the satisfaction of our curiosity, and the pursuit of truth.
    Respectful: We seek to create a welcoming environment where people feel safe to express their ideas and opinions.
    Communication: We seek to engage clearly, regularly, and directly with members, Drake partners, and other central Iowa communities.


  1. Membership is open to all persons who seek opportunities for lifelong learning.

  2. Payment of dues is required for membership. The following options are available:

    Annual membership
    2-year membership
    3-year membership
    Lifetime membership

    Members are eligible to vote and to serve on the RaySociety Council and committees.

  3. The RaySociety Council, in consultation with the office of the Vice President of Advancement, may revise membership fees and benefits as necessary.

  4. An annual meeting of the membership shall be held during the university’s spring semester. Other meetings of members shall be held as called by the Council. Notice of the meeting and agenda shall be made available to the membership at least two weeks prior to the meeting date. A quorum shall be the members present and voting.

RaySociety Council and Officers

  1. The RaySociety Council will provide responsible leadership and direction ensuring that the purpose of the RaySociety is fulfilled. Council members will provide oversight for program creation, financial management, community outreach, membership recruitment and retention, all in compliance with Drake policies and procedures.

  2. The RaySociety Council shall consist of no more than twenty (20) individuals elected from its membership who are responsible for overseeing the affairs of the society and carrying out its purposes.

  3. The Council shall be comprised of the four (4) officers (president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary) and the immediate past president (ex-officio); six (6) council members-at-large; the chairs of the five (5) standing committees (membership & marketing; programming; community events and campus socials; nominating; and finance). The Council may consolidate committees, or create new committees as needs may require, consistent with B. In the event that a position is occupied by two or more people, each elected position has only one vote.

  4. All officers and Council Members at-large, shall be elected to no more than two consecutive two-year terms by vote of the membership pursuant to the list of candidates submitted by the nominating committee (Effective July 1, 2019). Chairs of the standing committees are not subject to the aforementioned term limits. In order to be placed in nomination at the annual meeting, interested members must submit their names to the nominating committee no later than the preceding February 1st.
  5. Newly elected Council members assume office on July 1st.

  6. The Council shall meet in the months of August, September, November, January, March, April, the annual meeting in May, and ending with the June meeting which will include current and incoming council members. Special meetings of the Council may be called by the president or by any two council members on five (5) day notice in writing. Nine council members shall constitute a quorum.

  7. Replacement of council members and officers: If a council member or an officer of the RaySociety is unable to complete a full term of office, the president, or his/her successor, in consultation with the nominating committee, shall appoint a person to complete the term of office.

University Liaison, Society Manager, and Staff 

  1. The University liaison to the society is the Vice President of University Advancement or his/her designee and serves as ex-officio on the council, functioning as the representative of the University to the society with the responsibilities of providing counsel and direction as necessary to maintain a strong and positive working relationship.

  2. The society manager shall serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Council. The manager works at the direction of the university liaison and with guidance from the RaySociety Council. The society manager shall be responsible for the administrative needs of the society and management of the office staff. The manager can convene working groups of the membership to address process improvement.
  3. The society manager may hire or dismiss staff as needed to ensure efficient completion of the business of the society in accordance with the university policies and procedures.

Duties and Responsibilities of Officers

  1. Officers. The officers of the council shall be the president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.

  2. President. The president shall preside at all meetings and work with the officers to prepare an agenda for regular meetings of the council and special meetings of the executive committee.

  3. Vice-President. The vice president, in the absence of the president, shall perform the duties of the president and assume such other responsibilities as may be assigned by the council.

  4. Secretary. The secretary shall ensure that minutes are recorded of all meetings of the Council, and the annual meeting, and that a correct roll and attendance record of the Council membership is maintained. These minutes shall be permanently maintained and made available to all interested parties for inspection at the RaySociety office. The secretary shall see that proper notice of all regular - and called - meetings is distributed and will work in collaboration with staff to fulfill the correspondence needs of the RaySociety.

  5. Treasurer. The Treasurer is an elected member of the Council and executive committee and works with the office staff to provide: annual budget, monthly financial reports, forecasting for future organizational sustainability and growth. In conjunction with the RaySociety Manager, the treasurer will ensure RaySociety financial management is in alignment with university policies and procedures.

 Duties and Responsibilities of Committee Chairs 

  1. The chair(s) of each standing committee is charged with carrying out the duties of the committee as defined below.

  2. The Membership and Marketing Committee will devise and implement strategies for membership recruitment and retention. The committee will work in coordination with the RaySociety staff to implement and oversee promotional activities.

  3. The Programming Committee will identify topics and develop classes to be offered by the RaySociety in the Fall and Spring semesters. The committee will work in coordination with the RaySociety staff to implement and oversee classes offered.

  4. The Events and Socials Committee will identify opportunities for on-campus and community activities to present in conjunction with the RaySociety classes, and will coordinate with the RaySociety staff to implement and oversee activities.

  5. The Nominating Committee will prepare a slate of nominees to fill vacant positions on the council. Committee membership shall consist of the RaySociety Manager, two current Council members and at least two additional society members.

  6. The Finance Committee will provide oversight to the society’s financial management activities. Committee membership shall consist of the Treasurer, the President, and the chairpersons of the standing committees.

Executive Committee

An executive committee is formed and is comprised of the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and the chairs of the standing committees. The society manager and the university liaison will serve as ex-officio, non-voting members. The committee shall conduct the business of the society as necessary between meetings of the council.

Financial Responsibilities 

  1. The Council shall approve an annual budget that coincides with Drake University’s fiscal year.

  2. Drake University is empowered to accept gifts in support of the RaySociety. University Advancement records staff are responsible for recording and receipting contributions. The Vice President of University Advancement will coordinate fundraising efforts and provide notification to the council of gifts received through the Manager.

  3. RaySociety staff shall deposit all funds received by the society with the Drake University office of accounting, which shall handle disbursement and accounting of RaySociety funds. An annual report, prepared by the treasurer, shall be presented to the membership at the annual meeting.

Statement of Relationship with Drake, Office Policies and Procedures  

  1. The Council, in consultation with the manager, shall have the authority to adopt practices and procedures governing the day-to-day operations of the RaySociety. The manager will keep the Council updated about significant changes to the practices and procedures.

  2. The operational relationship between Drake University and the RaySociety is defined by a Statement of Mutual Commitment (April 17, 2012).

Amending the Bylaws

  1. Proposals to change these Bylaws may be made by any society member to the Council for consideration.

  2. The membership shall be informed at the next annual meeting of any and all amendments to the Bylaws that were approved by the council and implemented during the previous program year


With 30 days notice, either the RaySociety or Drake University may bring about dissolution of the RaySociety. If the RaySociety is dissolved or ceases to exist for the purposes for which it was established, all assets, records and materials shall be turned over to the office of University Advancement and disposed of in accordance with the rules and regulations of Drake University.

Adapted from and replaces Articles of Organization, last amended and approved 5/17/17 Bylaws approved April 18, 2018
Amended and Approved September 16, 2020

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