“When you mentor a St. Lawrence student or recent graduate, you are not only enacting Laurentian Impact yourself but also empowering those who follow.”
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Roxanne Stergas Scully ’91 and Russ Scully ’91. Together, they have built successful careers in Burlington, Vermont. Their work brings together their passions for surfing, the California lifestyle, good food, design, mindfulness, entrepreneurship, and economic development. Their influence can be felt in every corner of Hula, their co-working and innovation campus along the shore of Lake Champlain.
When I asked Roxanne about how she and Russ came to develop their diverse range of initiatives, her response was, “We did the things we love, with people we love, and then scaled it up to share it with others.”
Roxanne’s simple explanation of how she and Russ built their careers exemplifies what I call Laurentian Impact. Laurentian Impact is what happens when St. Lawrence graduates use what they learned in college to make a positive difference in the world after graduation. Laurentian Impact is about more than job or grad school placement immediately after graduation (although those things are also important). It’s about empowering students to discern their passions, to develop their sense of purpose, and to use their educational experiences in college—both in and out of the classroom. It’s about building futures that not only ensure they can make a living, but also to make a life that is meaningful and that positively impacts others through their professional work, volunteer work, or civic engagement.
How do we empower our graduates to build futures that foster impact? We ask our students to bring us their interests and their questions, and we ask our faculty to guide students in exploring the topics that they find especially meaningful. We also encourage students to go to our Center for Career Excellence to discover the range of opportunities available to them. At the Center, St. Lawrence career coaches, alumni, and parent mentors work with students on a personalized plan—helping them see how all that they are learning is a foundation for their future.
Students can learn what career possibilities are before them through SLU Connect trips to meet with and learn from alumni in cities including but not limited to Washington, D.C., Boston, and San Francisco. They can participate in the LINC (Laurentians Investing in Networking and Careers) program that matches sophomore students with St. Lawrence alumni who serve as professional mentors for one year. They can participate in the New York City Semester, which features a faculty director and staff members supporting an average of 15 students each semester. These individuals live in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, taking classes and participating in intensive internships—many sponsored by Laurentians.
We are fortunate to have a strong alumni network—consistently ranked among the best in the country for many years now, including this year, by The Princeton Review. Alumni, parents, and friends who work with us to support our students and recent graduates empower their success and reinforce our close-knit Laurentian community.
Let there be no doubt: When alumni mentor St. Lawrence students or recent graduates; when they host internships, make introductions, or move resumes to the top of the pile; or when they participate in SLU Connect events and other activities sponsored by the University’s Center for Career Excellence, they are not only enacting Laurentian Impact themselves, but they also are empowering students and young alumni to do the same.
This arc of our students’ intellectual, personal, and career development aligns with the University’s mission of providing an inspiring and demanding education in the liberal arts to our students. By fulfilling this mission, the return on the investment in a St. Lawrence education becomes obvious—our graduates do what they love, with people they love, and scale it up to impact others positively.
I can think of nothing that inspires me more, and I’m so pleased to be a part of it.
Thank you for all you do to support St. Lawrence and the meaningful work of Laurentians everywhere.