February 12, 2014
A Lewis & Clark education creates vital and lifelong networks.
That’s the thought I had after reading this issue’s stories about some of the many ways our alumni are expanding opportunities for current students and increasing the reach of Lewis & Clark in the world.
Just consider these examples: Alumni are a catalyst for our rapidly growing entrepreneurship program. And they provide perspective on the impact of teaching new national standards in math. They also strengthen internship and career connections in Alaska for law school students and graduates.
When alumni talk with me about the impact Lewis & Clark has had on their lives, I hear a common thread binding all of their stories together. Here, students come into their own—intellectually, socially, personally, and with a deeper sense of what it means to contribute to a larger community.
Elizabeth Fowler Ross B.A. ’93 described this process beautifully at her reunion last June. Recalling her experience as an undergrad arriving on campus from Southern California, she said, “It felt like the world cracked open, that everything had been reimagined. It was a tectonic awakening.”
College is a world-shifting experience, and returning to campus helps us gain deeper perspective on that time in our lives, where we are now, and our journeys in between. Reunions provide the opportunity to rekindle old friendships and create new ones. These close interactions build and sustain relationships, careers, and meaning over a lifetime.
Of course, we can and should cultivate our relationships year-round too. Students in all three schools are eager to start putting their knowledge to work right away, so I encourage you to volunteer your expertise and time as a mentor. Work with us to connect students and alumni with contacts in your field and where you live. The folks in our alumni and career development offices can help you make the most of your education as you are helping others.
And I do hope you’ll return to campus and keep in touch whenever you can. Alumni of the College of Arts and Sciences, please mark your calendars and set your travel plans for Alumni Weekend, held June 19 to 22 this year.
As it happens, my own reunion is not far off. When I’m back at Northwestern, I’m looking forward to sharing stories about my undergraduate days—and, of course, to bragging about Lewis & Clark.