Your Alumni Council

On Upper Saranac Lake, the nights of early June often echo early spring—temperatures fall below freezing at night and driving rains dampen the day. Members of the Alumni Executive Council are very familiar with these biting conditions and, as Laurentians, are characteristically undeterred by bad weather; St. Lawrence’s top corps of volunteers holds its planning retreat at Canaras just after Reunion each year.

Fireplaces and fellowship offer strong defense against damp and cold during the annual zenith of the Council’s year. The three-day retreat is spent planning strategy to execute the Council’s goals and is serves as a chronological marker to welcome new members and to salute retiring members.

This June will be particularly notable—the Council will welcome 18 new members as seven senior members retire the gear. The year 2017 marks the second year of a three-year cycle of expansion for the Council; we are aiming for our membership to grow from 35 to 50 by 2018. The Council’s Membership and Honors committee has been tasked with executing this growth; our goal is to build on the Council’s portfolio of service to St. Lawrence by engaging more alumni leaders to participate. We expect 46 alumni leaders to join us at Canaras.

This year’s retirees include some remarkable volunteers whose devotion to St. Lawrence is deep and impactful. We are confident that the new members recruited to take their places can fill the big shoes left behind. Our work goes on to meet these goals:

  • Increase the alumni participation rate in the Annual Fund
  • Increase alumni engagement
  • Sustain and expand student and alumni connections, i.e. build the Laurentian network
  • Actively serve as ambassadors of/for the University

Our five committees—Advancement and Engagement; Student Services; Finance and Resources; Admissions and Membership and Honors—operate more than 60 initiatives and projects against those goals. Beyond that, we have two other projects worthy of note to the wider Alumni Association.

Tracy Dana ’07 and Robert Rood ’69 are chairing a working group tasked with completing fundraising for the Alumni Executive Council Endowment for Internships and Experiential Learning. Launched in 2015 as the Council celebrated its centennial, the endowment has raised more than $213,000 toward a goal of $250,000. Tracy and Bob are leading us over the finish line as fundraising is scheduled to wrap by 2018.

Jacqueline Roy Hallock ’04 and Cortney Terrillion ’99 are chairing a working group that will build a comprehensive communications strategy for the Alumni Council focused on three goals: to rethink how we communicate our work in the St. Lawrence magazine; to build an annual report; and to build a social media strategy.

Not every retreat at Canaras is cold and damp. On warm, sunny days that approach perfection, the water of Upper Saranac Lake reflects cloudless skies in striking azure. At cocktail hour, the Council gathers on the Canaras sundeck. Green Island, a dense mound of pine that is a much-photographed backdrop, glows gold as the sun sets. On those nights, amid characteristic conviviality and an endless din of laughter, Laurentian fellowship is at its zenith as we celebrate the good work of service to St. Lawrence.

Ed Forbes
Alumni Executive Council