St. Lawrence University - homepage homepage directories sitemap
contact us search
 prospective students current students faculty and staff alumni, parents and friends campus visitors

Table of Contents

Comings and Goings: Class of 2000

Comings and Goings: Class of 2004

Working to Serve

Making Connections

Ready or Not...

Now We're Talking

Alumni Accomplishments

The Kenya Connection

Laurentian Reviews

Table of Contents

Making Connections

One way that young alumni stay in touch with the alma mater is through serving on the Alumni Executive Council.

By Colleen M. Fenity

The youngest members of the Alumni Council gathered in the new student center at the council's meeting in January. From left are Joe Kerper '00, Dawn-Marie Webster '96, E-Ben Grisby '99, Joellen Hornig '96 and Peter Darcy '98.

In her article, Director of Alumni and Parent Programs Kim Robinson Hissong '94 points on that that "there is a large contingent of young alumni who feel disconnected from our alma mater." Six young alumni who serve on the University's Alumni Executive Council are certainly more connected than most. Recently, three of them reflected on how their time spent "being connected" by volunteering as council members has affected them; through their service they have come to see how much St. Lawrence shapes people's lives and how much it relies on the support of those people after they graduate.

Joellen Hornig '96 credits her service to the council for helping her to become "more aware of the voice that the alumni body is given" at St. Lawrence and is pleased that "the feedback that is provided is taken very seriously by the administration." When asked how she perceives the University differently now than when she was a student, Hornig, who works in human resources for MetLife Financial Services in New York City, responds, "I see the ‘business' side of running the University.  I've gained an understanding of costs and the challenges of raising capital for upcoming projects."

Becoming involved with the University has also opened her eyes to some of the issues facing its future. In her time on the council, Hornig has discovered how the percentage of alumni giving affects St. Lawrence's rankings in US News & World Report and has learned that "this is one of the factors holding us back from achieving parity with institutions that we consider our peers."

Joe Kerper '00 says he was drawn to St. Lawrence the moment that he set foot on campus because "It fit my vision of what the small liberal arts school should truly represent." The youngest member of the Alumni Executive Council, he feels he's in "the most advantageous position to appreciate and benefit from just what the council says about the St. Lawrence experience. Being able to work with graduates from such diverse backgrounds—age, race, place of residence—has taught me more about SLU than I thought possible.

"Being able to talk with folks, all of whom experienced SLU in a completely different light," Kerper continues, "has allowed me to reconnect and further appreciate just what the University offers to students. I've come to understand that St. Lawrence has given something different, though equally beneficial, to each graduate, in the form of the stories that they leave with. Walking through the new Student Center, remembering my own days in the old ‘UC,' reminds me of my connection with St. Lawrence and proves that that connection is anything but static," says Kerper, a communications specialist with the National Rifle Association.

"One of the biggest things I've learned since leaving St. Lawrence and becoming a member of the Alumni Executive Council is how much of a difference small efforts make," says Dawn-Marie Webster '96. "It's very frustrating when I encounter peers who have a negative view of St. Lawrence. I know how important they would say their experience at SLU was to them – how important the people they met are to them still." Webster believes her life would not be what it is today without her experiences at St. Lawrence. "I was a North Country scholar and attended St. Lawrence with the Cadillac of financial aid packages," she points out. "I met friends that I still have to this day. My internship in University communications gave me enough experience to get my foot in the door in advertising. I got my first job through a St. Lawrence connection. I'm a Canadian who speaks two languages working in New York City for a St. Lawrence alum," says Webster, an account executive at the advertising firm Grey Worldwide. "None of this would have happened if I hadn't attended St. Lawrence. I spend so much time and effort volunteering for current students and fellow alums for the same reason that I did when I was in school--just to give something back to an institution that took a chance on me. Because as far as I'm concerned it was a chance that's paid off in spades." Perhaps Webster summarizes the feelings of the others when she says, "St. Lawrence sells itself as a student-centered institution, and I think delivers on that.  I also think it does a great job of being an alumni-centered place.  I have a much better perspective now on how this University cannot function without the full support and participation of all Laurentians. There is not one that isn't essential."

A 2002 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hamilton College, Colleen Fenity is assistant director of alumni and parent programs; she helps foster connections by paying particular attention to young alumni programming and Saints Network events.