Extend the Invitation

Tracy Hagert Sutka ’82 P’17

The connection came about, as it so often does, by sheer coincidence. A Lafayette knit hat I wore that chilly day for my paddle tennis match sparked the conversation. The maroon and white hat had been a giveaway from a prior Bring the Roar Giving Challenge. One of my opponents asked if I had a child at Lafayette. I explained I was Class of ’82, my husband, Mike, was Class of ’83, and our son, Christopher, was a sophomore, Class of ’17. “Do you ever go back?” she asked. By the end of the match, Allison Lister Boeckmann ’95 revealed her affiliation and accepted my invitation to call her local alumnae friends and attend the Wine 3/9 event that was being held that weekend in Greenwich, Conn. She also mentioned that her husband interviewed applicants for his alma mater . . . does Lafayette do that? Yes, consider yourself recruited as an alumni admissions representative!

My Lafayette Leopard bumper sticker also draws attention from fellow alumni, parents, and current students. In our little Nantucket summer neighborhood, I now know there are two alumni, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren. We Leopards apparently feel a strong sense of affinity to our alma mater.

I am honored to serve as the next Alumni Association president to work with the Alumni Council to channel that loyalty and pride in order to reach out to a greater number of alumni.  My volunteer experience began with serving as an alumni admissions representative, interviewing students in Fairfield County, Conn., working college fairs, and hosting accepted students receptions. As my class fund manager and later as chair of the Marquis Society, I have worked closely with both the offices of Admissions and Development, two departments that work tirelessly to attract, recruit, and retain Lafayette students and provide the funding to support the unique Lafayette experience.

If you are reading this article, you are already connected to Lafayette and receive mailings, email, and social media posts that keep you informed about campus and alumni news and events, Gateway Center services, athletics and faculty achievements, etc. Hopefully, you are among the loyal and generous alumni who participate in the Annual Fund, ensuring that our College remains one of the preeminent liberal arts institutions in the country, attracting the best and brightest applicants.

Opportunities for engagement have become virtual in light of the COVID-19 situation, and Lafayette has made it a priority to keep alumni in the loop with virtual events benefiting current students (such as video messaging of congratulations to the Class of 2020 and online career counseling) as well as alumni (such as the virtual Town Hall with Alison Byerly and career services through Gateway Link and FaceBook live sessions).

Each and every one of us can play a role in Lafayette’s success. Make sure Lafayette has your contact information. When you register for next year’s Reunion, reach out to a classmate who may not have considered attending. Encourage your friends to donate to the Annual Fund or attend a chapter event. Put a Lafayette sticker on your car!

Tracy Hagert Sutka ’82 P’17