Alumni push for strong Forester camaraderie in regional areas

Zealous alumni volunteers from across the country are collaborating with the Office of Alumni Relations to solidify existing regional networks of Foresters and establish new ones. In recent weeks, two networks have experienced a jumpstart that organizers hope will gain traction.

Under the leadership of host committee members Ashley Hall ’10, Allie Parks ’12, Will Pittinos ’06, for example, Foresters in the Washington, D.C. area gathered in late June to enjoy a cocktail hour at Local 16. Plans to attend an August 14 Nationals game are in the works.

“I initially reached out to some Foresters in the area, because staying in touch with fellow alumni will always be important to me,” Pittinos said. “Then, I realized that we have an incredible group of people here, and I wanted to help the College make sure that we continue to grow the network…I’m excited about the different possibilities for events and outreach in the future.”

The D.C. leaders also are one of three networks, including the Twin Cities and New York City regions, to manage a Facebook page with announcements about upcoming events, shared news from the College, photos from past events, and more.

New York City is home to another budding network under the leadership of Jared Fox ’09 and Martino Moore ’99. The two are hosting an event on August 7 that garnered the interest of nearly 20 Forester registrants within a week following its announcement. Even one 2013 graduate is on the list of attendees.

“Fourteen years ago when I graduated there was no New York City network,” Moore said. “Slowly, we are gaining traction with each new student that moves to New York City. Hopefully, in years to come we will have multiple annual events hosted by different alums across various NYC boroughs.” 

Regional network leaders identify several purposes for their groups. Among those are to advocate for the College in areas like recruitment and development and to offer networking and professional development support. Most importantly, though, it’s to experience that Forester camaraderie.

“It was important to me to have a network in the Cleveland area to meet people with whom I shared common interests and memories,” said Alumni Board member Barrie Sprang ’94. “I have enjoyed getting to know people of all age ranges and from all over Cleveland. We always have a great time when we get together.”

Kristin Carkeek ’85, who has hosted an event at her Phoenix home nearly every March for the past five or six years, echoed Sprang’s sentiments.

“We have a group of people who graduated in the 60s, a group that graduated in the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s,” she said. “The people who graduated in earlier years enjoy talking to people who graduated in the 90s about what they’re doing now, what the College was like.” 

Carkeek would like to see more events in the Phoenix area hosted by other Foresters and is looking forward to one in the works at Turf Paradise, a horse race track, in the fall.

The Office of Alumni Relations is here to help make these events happen.

“When I started working with Suzanne in the Alumni Office on establishing a network here, I was shocked to see how many of us there are D.C. — and not only that, how many I actually knew at Lake Forest but had lost touch with,” Hall said. “It seemed like not only a great professional but also social tool to establish for Foresters both new and old to D.C.”

To Fox, regional networks allow Foresters to bring themselves back to their years on North Sheridan Road — and also look ahead.

“When we come to Lake Forest, we come from all over, our stories are diverse,” he said, “and when we leave, we scatter back out into the world and make things happen.” 

Contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 1-800-LFC-ALUM or alumni@lakeforest.edu if you would like to help gather Foresters in your area. For more information, visit the Lake Forest College alumni regional networks web page.