Welcome Madame President

Tracy Hagert Sutka ’82 P’17

As the president of the Alumni Association, I delivered the official Welcome from the Alumni at President Hurd’s inauguration Oct. 1. The following are my remarks:

I am sincerely honored to be present here today on this important moment in the history of Lafayette College to represent the Lafayette alumni community at President Hurd’s inauguration ceremony.

Our academic procession today includes an alumni delegate from every graduating class since 1954. Thank you, H. Eugene Harrison ’54, for leading the alumni today.These alumni stand with me to represent our strong and longstanding ties, and our responsibility to remain guardians of our Lafayette legacy. 

When I arrived on campus in 1978, Lafayette had been a coed institution for only eight years. The student body and the alumni community looked vastly different then. Today, we hear a blend of over 29,000 voices from many decades, from diverse backgrounds and from all 50 states and 87 countries. What we share is a belief that Lafayette College is indeed a distinctive, special place. We honor the traditions of the past, but acknowledge that in today’s challenging field of higher education, we alumni must support Lafayette—more than ever—as active stakeholders in the College’s mission.

President Hurd, in the short time you have been on campus, you have inspired the alumni with your entrepreneurial energy to make college more accessible and with your experience in promoting undergraduate excellence. We accept your challenge to be ‘bold and brave’ with you, as you lead the College into our Bicentennial in 2026. Your experience aligns with our mission, while your vision pays homage to our College history and traditions.

I speak for all 29,000 alumni when I say congratulations on becoming Lafayette College’s 18th president, and President Hurd, WELCOME HOME!

I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted to say to our new president, who is eager to get to know the College’s alumni community. She is fully onboard with our work through our Alumni and Parent Engagement Plan to bring more alumni to the table. 

I refer to “a blend of over 29,000 voices” because even though I am very involved in alumni programming, I have my personal affinities to the College and can only speak to those experiences. By design, the Alumni Association Board includes among its 28 members an alumnus from the Class of ’71, Mike McClintock, through the Class of ’24, an alum-to-be, Tyler Osipower. At the table are members representing key affinity groups such as the McDonogh Network, Lafayette Pride, Maroon Club, Council of Lafayette Women, and Alumni Interfraternity and Sorority Board. The board includes the chairs of the four regional councils—Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and West Coast—as well as our two parent representatives, Sheila Black and Russ Cranswick  P’23. All 28 members, even those directly representing an affinity group, bring with them the opinions and perspectives of all of their personal affinities to the College as well.

I hope a lot of our alumni have the opportunity to meet President Hurd as we enter the next chapter in Lafayette’s history.

With Pard Pride,

Tracy Hagert Sutka ’82 P’17