Alumni Volunteer Stories

Louis Clark ’98

photoLouis Clark has been serving on Reunion Committees since his 5th Reunion. In addition, he has served on the Viking Gift Committee and the Awards Committee of the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors as well as being a frequent volunteer at Björklunden with his family.

"It is an honor for me to serve Lawrence in a volunteer capacity, always. I am humbled each time the college asks me to pitch in, and I am inspired by others who join me in the various efforts.

"This was a banner volunteer year for me. My family attended our annual volunteer workdays at Björklunden in May; I served on the alumni board with a tour on the awards committee (which went on to honor our classmates Peter Kolkay '98 and Chris Jones Benedict '99); and I had the chance to co-chair a successful cluster reunion that exceeded our hopes in terms of reunion gift and classmates returning to campus. To think that I played a small role on creating opportunities for deeper engagement for others who value Lawrence brings me great joy.

"Naturally, I have great support on the home front to volunteer at Lawrence. I'm married to a Lawrence grad, Alissa Joseph '98, and I have three brothers who went on to follow me -- Jacob '06, Jordan '09 and Philip '15. Beyond this, hearing my daughters, Addison age 11 and Camryn age 10, start to float the idea of a Lawrence education makes it all worth it personally.”

Andrea Lewis Hartung ’05

photoAs a student, Andrea Lewis Hartung did not meet many alumni or understand the extent of Lawrence’s alumni network. Consequently, she became disengaged after graduation. The first Black Alumni Network Reunion provided an opportunity for Andrea to reconnect to the university. “At that time, I was able to meet many students and alumni of color and to hear about various campus concerns. I realized there was a need to connect alumni back to Lawrence, but that, like me, many others might only be prompted to engage through some current personal connection or experience.” Afterwards, Andrea began volunteering by helping to plan networking events in the Chicago area, serving on the Black Alumni Network planning committee and eventually the Lawrence University Alumni Association Board of Directors. “In working with LUAA's Connecting Alumni committee, I have the opportunity to consider which experiences might draw alumni back to Lawrence. For some, that might be an affinity area. For others, a giving campaign geared towards a particular interest, college-age children who are currently attending Lawrence, or simply the desire to reconnect with old friends. Either way, my committee works to reengage alumni who otherwise have not had much contact with Lawrence since graduation. I hope to find even more ways to reconnect alumni with the University, and ultimately ways to connect alumni with the amazing current Lawrence students.”

Valeska Okragly Koch ’03

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Being chair of the Lawrence Club of the Twin Cities has been a rewarding experience for Valeska Okragly Koch. Through organizing club gatherings, Valeska has gotten to know a number of interesting alumni and learn what they are doing in the Twin Cities.  For instance, Valeska met Katie Hawkinson '09 at a club happy hour and learned that she is an assistant stage manager at the Guthrie Theatre. Katie has given talks to the club after they attended performances at the Guthrie. Miriam Gieske '07, a doctoral student, has led hikes for the club. Heather Humbert ’98 works at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and has organized tours through special exhibits like Guillermo Del Toro or Egyptian Sunken Cities.

“We get to experience new parts of our community and also get to know other alumni from our area.  It enriches my life to explore our community and to broaden the circle of alumni that I call friends. 

"Thanks to all of you who give what you can to strengthen the college. By doing so, Lawrence becomes an active part of our lives worthy of our time and philanthropic investment. From this poor kid from Omro, Wisconsin, I'm just glad to be a part of the Lawrence family, giving back where I can and typically getting more in return.”

Thomas Quill ’82

photoThomas Quill has been a longtime volunteer for Lawrence. Having served on Reunion committees and the LUAA Board of Directors, interviewing prospective students and serving as a career contact for current students, Thomas has almost done it all. Currently, Thomas is helping to establish a regional alumni club in the Los Angeles area and is one of our most dedicated alumni admissions volunteers. This work with admissions has been particularly rewarding for Thomas. “The energy, passion, and ambition of today’s youth are what I find most rewarding in interviewing prospective students and representing LU at local college fairs. The term ‘millennial’ often has a negative connotation, but the prospective students I speak with completely debunk the stereotype. I am generally blown away at their accomplishments and ambitions for the future, and their questions touch on many aspects of college life – academic, social, emotional, spiritual – they want to understand the entire experience. Since many of these international students are unable to visit campus, I also find it extremely rewarding to help bring to life for them the Lawrence campus and Appleton community. These discussions tend to increase their interest as they say it describes the environment they are truly seeking for their college experience.”

Chiao-Yu Tuan ’14

Photo of Chiao-Yu Tuan on a beachSince graduating from Lawrence, Chiao-Yu has been a career resource for Lawrence students interested in software engineering. This has included hosting students at her places of employment, returning to campus to give presentations and talking with students one-on-one. Having worked at both LinkedIn and Airbnb, Chiao-Yu has been able to provide students with a window into the world of Silicon Valley and some of the biggest companies that occupy it. This career mentoring has not just been beneficial to the students receiving it, however. Chiao-Yu has also found the experience to be fulfilling. “I remember how stressful and challenging it was to plan for a career after college. Now, with a few years of experience in the tech industry, I am happy to help lighten the load for any student with industry insights and career advice… It is always rewarding to be able to contribute in any way that helps students transition to the professional world.”