A special thank you to our outgoing St. Thomas School of Law Alumni Board members for their years of dedicated service, including Pat Zomer ’11, past president, and the following directors: Gerry Fornwald ’05, Amanda Bloomgren ’06, Matt Mons ’08, Nicholas Linstroth ’10, Brittany Besler ’12, Sam Johnson ’13 and Steve Kool ’14.
Congratulations to the incoming alumni board members! What’s next? We asked incoming President Bryan Feldhaus ’06 to share his 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?
A. The law school has an exceptional track record of alumni engagement. That is evident in the participation rates for the annual giving campaign. But as we reach milestones, such as the 15th anniversary of the first graduating class, the alumni board must continue to refine its approach to engagement. That approach may include service projects with faculty and staff, CLE programming or targeted social events based on class, practice area or geography. It may also include increased social media engagement and the utilization of digital platforms to promote alumni-generated content, such as the Career Corner podcast by Adam Brown ‘06.
How does the alumni board advance the mission of the school?
The alumni board is an important steward of St. Thomas Law’s mission. To advance the mission, the alumni board must continue to recognize the ways in which the mission has been placed into action by alumni. Additionally, the board must continue to provide opportunities for alumni to live the mission. This may be accomplished in collaboration with faculty, staff and students, and include mentorship opportunities or social programming. Providing such opportunities will allow alumni to actively participate in the mission and promote its advancement in the legal community.
What inspires you about our alumni?
I’m inspired by the leadership of our alumni - such as the military service of Tom Alford (St. Thomas Lawyer, “All Rise!”), the compliance and ethics diligence of Jessica Tjornehoj ‘15 and Justin Windschitl ’05 (St. Thomas Lawyer, “Beyond Black and White”), the scholarship of Dr. Artika Tyner ‘06 as the Director of the University of St. Thomas Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice and the successes of Alyssa Troje ‘10, John Darda ‘07, and Jeff Storms ‘06 who were named 2018 Minnesota Attorneys of the Year. I’m equally inspired by the number of alums who live the law school’s mission daily. Many of these alums are recognized for their service, such as through the MSBA North Star Lawyers, but countless others are active in other critical roles, such as coaching constituents about legislative advocacy.
What are your priorities during your year as President?
My first priority is to serve our alumni and be responsive to their concerns. For this reason, the board’s first task will be a strategic discussion regarding its collective priorities for the upcoming year. Second, I believe it is critical to continue the momentum from past alumni boards. Thus, I’m personally interested in strengthening the annual giving campaign, advancing the mission with our alumni, and engaging alums from the various degree programs, including the J.D., LL.M., and Ethics and Compliance programs. Finally, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently issued a ‘Call to Action’ concerning lawyer well-being, which Justice Lillehaug referred to as a moral issue. The alumni board should heed that call and make alumni well-being a top priority, which is in line with the law school's commitment to providing a whole-student legal education.