A special thank-you to the outgoing St. Thomas School of Law Alumni Board members for their years of dedicated service, including Jake Grassel ’09, past president, and the following directors: Simeon Morbey ’10, Alyssa Troje ’10, Emily Lawrence ’12, Kyle Willems ’13, Jabari Barner ’14, Lindsay Lien Rinholen ’15 and Carrie Thysse ’17.
Congratulations to the incoming alumni board members! What’s next? We asked incoming president Beth Forsythe ’06 to share her vision for alumni engagement and what the board will focus on in its first few months.
What are the greatest opportunities you see for alumni engagement with the law school?
Alumni can stay engaged virtually or (hopefully, again, soon) in person. The school’s social media outreach is outstanding, featuring alumni achievements, career moves, requests for assistance and fun facts (be sure to like/follow @ustlawmn on your favorite platform(s) and join the alumni Facebook group). We also continue to expand our free online CLE offerings. For those in or near the Twin Cities, when campus reopens and we can gather together again, there will be can’t-miss gatherings like the Christmas party, Alumnae Brunch, on-campus CLEs, off-campus coffees and happy hours to connect various alumni groups and informal requests from instructors for guest lecturers. The opportunities are there for all who want to engage!
How does the alumni board advance the mission of the school?
The board mirrors the school’s focus on morality and social justice, and its culture of mutual support and respect. I see the mission at work most clearly in the reasoned advice we give to administrators, and especially in our alumni outreach. We try to reach all alumni, offering recognition for achievements or assistance in finding a job or professional connection as needed. I have no doubt we will find creative ways to come together and help one another as we better understand the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on our alumni.
What do you like best about being on the alumni board?
Alumni board meetings offer comfort and familiarity and all the happiness that comes with spending time in a place and with people I really like. I also appreciate the opportunity to impact the future of the law school by challenging and giving feedback to administrators as they make key decisions.
What inspires you about our alumni?
We are driven. And compassionate. We respect one another and respect the bond of our school experience. I was so inspired at last fall’s Alumnae Brunch, when Summra Mohammadee Shariff ’07 received the Alumna Achievement Award. Summra, who is doing outstanding work as executive director and president of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, has been fighting for her vision of morality and social justice since her law school days. Erin Bryan ’08 and Anna Petosky ’07 presented the award to Summra, and their genuine support of and respect for Summra was everything I love about our alumni.
What are your priorities during your year as president?
Our strong and growing Tommie Law Network offers tremendous value for our alumni. When we send graduates into the world, they join an active and engaged community that supports each other in professional development, social engagement, business referrals, personal support and beyond. Our alumni also invest in the ongoing success of the law school by serving on alumni committees (Annual Giving Committee, Social and Program Committee, Law Women’s Networking Committee), mentoring current law students, teaching classes, recruiting at admissions fairs, coaching teams and more. My goal this year is to increase visibility of our alumni network and to highlight our contributions to the ongoing excellence of the law school.