Posted November 09, 2022 in Articles
Cheering and applause echoed down Olde Eight as graduation caps were joyfully tossed in the air at Lawrence School’s Eighteenth Annual Commencement Exercises. Unbeknownst to our 47 newly-minted alums and their loved ones, an important milestone in the history of the school quietly accompanied their boisterous celebration. The five-hundredth graduate to cross the Upper School stage was among the Class of 2022.
No special recognition marked the impressive count, no official announcement, yet with it begins an exciting new chapter for Lawrence School.
Introducing the Alumni Association
For more than 50 years, Lawrence has redefined the educational experience for those who learn differently, and it only stands to reason the Alumni Association would follow suit. More than just reunions and happy hour meet-ups, every aspect of this new group is designed to offer alumni a true partnership, no matter where they are on their journey. And while it’s an ambitious venture, the Alumni Association's ultimate goal is as simple as it is meaningful. To remind all our grads: Once a Lion, Always a Lion.
Launched this year, the Lawrence School Alumni Association aims to connect former students, celebrate achievements, foster camaraderie, encourage mentorship, offer networking opportunities, and more. Every Lion who has ever walked our halls is welcome to join the fun!
Organized outreach to alumni has long been a goal of the school’s Board of Trustees and leadership. Numbers, after all, are difficult to ignore. With more than 500 graduates, the Lion Pride now stretches well beyond the confines of campus.
“Keeping in contact with graduates, former students, and their families is crucial to maintaining community,” said Board of Trustees President Jennifer Kaufman.
This spring, Head of School Doug Hamilton turned the Alumni Association from goal to reality by creating a brand-new position and naming the ideal individual to lead the way—alumni parent Melissa Tullis. A longtime staff member whose daughter Caroline graduated in 2015, Melissa took the reins as director of alumni relations and her schedule has been jam-packed with phone calls and emails ever since.
“The first part of my job is tracking alumni down and checking in,” Melissa said. “Asking ‘How are you? What’s new?’ We now have grads with children of their own who are doing incredible things professionally and personally. These alums are part of our family, and we want them to know they still have a tie to Lawrence.”
Melissa plans to build an alumni database, which she hopes will help inspire networking. The Association will also host several events throughout the year, fostering relationships both old and new. Click here to learn about our upcoming reunions.
More than simply strengthening ties to the past, however, the Association is working toward a brighter future. An Alumni Association makes it easier than ever for grads to stay in the know with what’s happening at the school, get back on campus, and forge new bonds with the current student body. With hundreds of successful professionals who credit Lawrence for setting them on their path, who better to inspire the next generation?
“We want our alums to be as active as possible,” Doug said, “to return to campus and interact with students.”
Added Melissa, “For current students to meet alumni and see all they’ve accomplished is fantastic! These examples will inspire them to dream big and set the bar high.”
And speaking of setting bars high—the Association’s biggest project is to work with recent grads. After graduation, Melissa will regularly check in with the Class of 2023 regarding their experiences as first-year Lion alums. She’ll speak with students and their parents to learn what’s going well and what isn’t, using that information to help shape Lawrence’s support efforts. The school’s ultimate goal is to determine how to best set students up for success.
Should any alums need extra help, Melissa will connect them to Lawrence faculty or administrators who can provide advice and suggestions. It’s unprecedented for schools to support students after they leave the classroom—but, then again, no other school is quite like Lawrence.