Alumni Association President’s Message

Tracy Hagert Sutka ’82 P’17

On Sunday, May 30, I had the honor of participating in Commencement for the Class of 2021. After a year and a half of the strangest college experience on record, this class was able to graduate in person on Fisher Field, albeit with only two guests in attendance and in a chilly, windy drizzle. As president of the Alumni Association, I was on hand to congratulate and welcome each graduate as an alumnus or alumna of the College. The graduates were in full celebration mode so may not have realized that they had crossed into The Alumni Zone.

I am proud to welcome this talented and resilient group of 572 new alumni to the Lafayette Alumni Association. We will give them a chance to unpack their college boxes, transition into their new lives, and plan for their new careers or future education. We hope their connection to their alma mater is included in these plans.

Commencement is never a goodbye, and the Alumni Association is ready to engage and support these graduates.

The College recognizes that engaging alumni, as well as parents, is crucial to supporting Lafayette’s mission. You may recall participating in the Alumni Attitude Study in 2018, a survey that informed the project resulting in the recently unveiled Alumni and Parent Engagement Plan. The plan is based on the following vision statement: All our alumni, students, and parents feel undeniable connectivity and pride in their relationship with Lafayette College wherever they are in their lives.

What does this plan set out to accomplish? We aspire to expand engagement opportunities that will serve the College and its students as well as its alumni and parents. We all benefit by building Lafayette’s brand, sustaining a strong, diverse admissions pipeline, enhancing career development, and bolstering advocacy of the College. The plan offers alumni and parents increased access to the Lafayette Network, a variety of lifelong enrichment opportunities, and new ways to impact the value of their Lafayette degree.

The Alumni Association Board has been restructured to carry out this plan by more directly representing the alumni and parent communities. We are expanding this governing board to include more “seats at the table,” to include the voices of alumni from every decade, different regions of the country, and different affinity groups such as the Council of Lafayette Women, McDonogh Network, Pride Network, Maroon Club, and Alumni Interfraternity and Sorority Board. We also will include a parent member as well as a current student from the Lafayette Student Alumni Council.

This plan has been sent out to all alumni as an attachment to the Alumni Relations June newsletter. I hope you will all read it and be inspired that the College is committed to supporting and engaging all of us.

I don’t think I’m jinxing anything by saying that I hope to see many of you ON CAMPUS this fall as we welcome our new president, Nicole Hurd, and resume in-person beloved traditions like Homecoming and Lafayette–Lehigh!

With Pard Pride,

Tracy Hagert Sutka ’82 P’17