Early in December, I had a meeting with the pro tem Archivist of my alma mater and a member of the Alumni Association staff. Since I'm friends with the archivist, it was more to gauge how the staffer would react. I don't know that I was hoping for more but I certainly wasn't surprised by the lack of ability to help--mostly because she was told upfront by HER boss "don't give it too much attention."
However, I had two cards in my pocket--but I could pull only one--and I had to hope that the one I pulled was the ace. I played the card on Tuesday by having lunch with the university's outgoing Chairman of Trustees. He was very receptive and promised to speak with the President and current Chairman during the Executive Committee meeting which took place Thursday. Yesterday I received an email stating that both were enthusiastic and "willing to help". The President assigned one of the VPs (actually the boss of the Alumni Association Director!) to work with me on the project. The card turned out to be an Ace.
I am not a fan of going over anyone's head simply because I don't like the answer. I am, however, also not a fan of saying "no" simply because you think it will cause you more work. If there are legitimate reasons, and sound thinking behind the 'no', it's ok. So, while I broke on of my own personal 'rules' and went over the heads of everyone, it's honestly for the right reasons and will be for the benefit of the school, students, faculty and alumni, in the end.
More to come as events unfold.