F&Mily for Life
The mission of the Alumni Association is to advance the welfare of the College and
its alumni by engaging alumni in the life of their alma mater; fostering and strengthening
the connections between and among alumni, students and the rest of the College community;
and inspiring in alumni and students a lifelong sense of loyalty to, pride in and
support of the College.
The Alumni Association is led by a Board of Directors, comprised entirely of F&M alumni, who, in partnership with the College’s Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, develop and support events and other initiatives to carry out its mission.
You can keep up with the latest from the F&M Alumni Association by following our Facebook and Instagram pages.
History of the Alumni Association
Written in 2008 by Paul K. Carberry '81, Alumni Association president in 2010-2011
The history of the Alumni Association of Franklin & Marshall College is just as distinguished as that of the College itself. F&M is almost 220 years old – it is the 13th oldest college in the country – while the institution’s alumni have been organized for more than 160 years. The Alumni Association traces its roots to September 26, 1840, when graduates of Marshall College first organized themselves. While the early history of formal alumni associations is generally sketchy, it appears that the F&M alumni association is one of the 10 oldest in the country.
The founders of this first Alumni Association elected A.S. Young president pro tem and G.V. Willard secretary pro tem. The next year, the fledgling association adopted a constitution and began to hold annual meetings. Neither this first constitution nor any mission statement survives from the original association. But like most alumni organizations of that era, it served mainly as an intellectual society for the graduates, who each year designated one of their members "Orator" and listened to his remarks on some current issue or philosophical problem at the annual meeting.
As the college evolved, so did the association. Following the merger of Franklin College and Marshall College that created the modern F&M in 1853, members of the original Marshall association enthusiastically pledged themselves to the new institution. Two hundred graduates of Marshall College attended the first F&M commencement, along with representatives of every class. New officers of a combined association were elected, and the following statement of loyalty was adopted:
"Resolved, that the Alumni Association of Marshall College expresses in public their entire and hearty concurrence on the consolidation that has taken place between their College and Franklin College."
Over the next several decades the new alumni association maintained the activities of a typical group of that era, meeting annually and designating an orator. In 1866, the association asked the Board of Trustees to add one day to the ceremonies of commencement week to be devoted "exclusively to the interest and exercises of Alumni." Less than 10 years later, in 1874, the association had incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with an expanded mission: "to promote intercourse and friendship among the alumni and Marshall College and Franklin and Marshall College and to advance the interests of liberal education." Regional chapters were now formed, beginning in 1887 in Philadelphia, followed by the Southern Association (in Maryland) in 1890, the Lancaster chapter in 1894, and the Eastern Association (in Reading) in 1900.
In the first decades of the 20th century, the association grew in size and in its ambitions. By 1937, 17 chapters existed across the country, including in New York City, Baltimore, Washington DC, and as far west as Cleveland and Chicago.
The association also claimed an enhanced mission: "to keep alive the sentiment of
affection of the alumni for their alma mater, and to unite the graduates of the successive
years in common ties of fellowship… sustaining and giving expression to the interest
the alumni have in the welfare of the college."
Over the course of its 165-year history, 105 individuals have served as president of the Alumni Association. The first woman president was Elizabeth Mackey ’75, who assumed office in 1982, 13 years after the college became coed. In 1973, the Association received a $10,000 gift from Andrew Rouse ’49 that established a separate endowment and operating budget. Thanks to additional contributions combined with prudent management, the Association’s endowment now totals more than $1 million.
On the occasion of its 20th reunion in 1924, the Class of 1904 presented the college with a ceremonial torch, principally for use at commencement. The members of the class hoped to create a new tradition in which the torch would be ceremonially handed from the oldest alumnus present to the winner of the Williamson Medal, who represented the graduates. This literal and symbolic “passing of the torch” was intended to welcome the newest graduates into the ranks of alumni.
For more than 75 years, this tradition was a centerpiece of commencement. Unfortunately, the torch disappeared during the 2000 ceremony and has never been found. The
Alumni Association, with the help of the Class of 2004 (in a fitting tribute to its predecessors of a century before), commissioned the creation of a new torch that is an exact replica of the original. This tradition has now been renewed.
Today the Franklin & Marshall Alumni Association boasts chapters around the country
and hosts activities around the world. It serves the nearly 25,000 living alumni who
reside around the world, hold leadership positions in virtually every profession,
and who enjoy the ongoing programs of the College. Its chief mission is to “advance
the welfare of the College and its alumni by engaging alumni in the life of their
alma mater; fostering and strengthening the connections between and among alumni,
students, and the rest of the college community; and inspiring in alumni and students
a life-long sense of loyalty toward, pride in, and support of the College.” Affiliated
groups include the African American Alumni Council, the Greek Alumni Council, the
Diplomat Athletic Club and the Benjamin Rush Society.
The Alumni Association is not just concerned with the needs of alumni, but has long worked to enhance the experience of current students. The Board of Directors of the Alumni Association supports two scholarships, and hosts a dinner each commencement weekend for graduates – the college’s newest alumni. In recent years, the Board has made important financial contributions from the association’s resources to key strategic initiatives. These include a gift of $125,000 to support the renovation of Distler Hall, and in 2006 a $25,000 gift to the campaign for the Barshinger Life Sciences and Philosophy building.
History of the Torch
On the occasion of its 20th reunion in 1924, the Class of 1904 presented the College with a ceremonial torch, principally for use at Commencement. The members of the class hoped to create a new tradition in which the torch would be ceremonially handed from the oldest alumnus present to the winner of the Williamson Medal, who represented the graduates. This literal and symbolic "passing of the torch" was intended to welcome the newest graduates into the ranks of F&M alumni.
For more than 75 years, this tradition was a centerpiece of Commencement. Unfortunately, the torch disappeared during the 2000 ceremony and has never been found. The Alumni Association, with the help of members of the Class of 2004 (in a fitting tribute to their predecessors 80 years before), commissioned the creation of a new torch that is an exact replica of the original. This tradition has now been renewed, with the president of the Alumni Association passing the torch to the president of the graduating class.
Society of Distinguished Alumni
The Board of Directors of the Alumni Association formed the Franklin & Marshall Society
of Distinguished Alumni to collectively celebrate graduates of the College who have
been honored in years past with awards and distinctions from the College and from
the Board. Winners of these awards have provided distinguished service to their alma
mater, profession, or community.
Current Annual Awards
The Alumni Board grants the following awards to alumni of the College each year:
- The Alumni Medal, the Board’s oldest and most distinguished award, is given to an alumnus or alumna in recognition of sustained, distinguished and outstanding service to the College.
- The Alumni Citation is given to an alumnus or alumna who is distinguished in a particular profession, has provided dedicated leadership and service to the community, and has established an exemplary record of accomplishments in a specific field of endeavor.
- Alumni Development Volunteer Award recognizes alumni who have excelled in raising funds and obtaining pledges for the College.
- The Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Alumni Award recognizes an individual who has graduated at least five years ago but no more than ten years ago and who has contributed significant service and support to the College.
Each year, the College grants the Nevonian Medal, which honors and celebrates members of the Nevonian Society (alumni who graduated at least 50 years prior) who have demonstrated extraordinary and sustained dedication to the College.
If you would like to nominate yourself or a fellow alumnus or alumna for one or more of these awards, please email Director of Alumni and Volunteer Engagement Donna Pflum at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information:
- The award for which you are making a nomination
- The name of the individual you are nominating
- The alumni class year (if known)
- A short paragraph describing why you think they should receive the award
The College and the Alumni Board granted the following awards in past years:
- The Presidential Medal recognized alumni and friends of the College for their distinguished service to and generous support of Franklin & Marshall College.
- The Volunteer of the Year Award was previously given to an alumnus or alumna in recognition of exemplary service that has contributed significantly to the advancement of Franklin & Marshall College.
Alumni Association Board
The Franklin & Marshall College Alumni Association Board of Directors works to advance the welfare of the College and its alumni. Members of the Board volunteer their time and talent by attending three on-campus meetings each year and regular Committee and Board calls throughout the year, by leading and participating in College events on and off campus, by serving other volunteer organizations of the College, by mentoring current students and by committing to give to the College annually. Members of the Board have tremendous pride in the College and in their fellow alumni, and promote that pride to their fellow alumni and those in their communities at every opportunity. Please feel free to connect with members of the Franklin & Marshall Alumni Association Board at email@example.com.Contact the Alumni Association Board »
Meet the Board
Elizabeth Fuller Smith '87 - President
Hometown: Doylestown, Pa.
Occupation: SVP, Human Resources
Alan R. Ingraham ’72 - President-Elect
Hometown: Reisterstown, Md.
Employer: The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, Inc.
Karla Avelino ’01
Hometown: San Salvador, El Salvador
Employer: Rogen and Avelino, A Law Corporation
Donnell K. Bailey ’17
Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Occupation: Asst. to the VP of Enrollment Mgmt. and Dean of Admission
Employer: Tulane University
Vassilis Coutifaris ’09
Occupation: Senior Public Diplomacy Officer
Employer: Delegation of the European Union to the United States
Michael W. Dohrmann ’12
Hometown: Hoboken, N.J.
Occupation: Vice President
Employer: Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Eileen Ellis ’95
Occupation: Senior Account Executive, Financial Services
Employer: Coupa Software
Michael Espinoza ’02
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Employer: The Children’s Movement of Fresno
Michelle Flatt ’99
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Employer: South Shore International College Prep
W. Kurt Foreman ’86
Occupation: President and CEO
Employer: Delaware Prosperity Partnership
Kelly Kennedy, M.Ed. '04
Occupation: Instructional Designer, Talent Development
Employer: Appian Corporation
Preston K. Kilgore ’14
Hometown: San Francisco, Calif.
Occupation: Legislative Assistant to Supervisor Dean Preston
Employer: City of San Francisco
Erica Gordon Lawrence ’05
Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
Occupation: Associate Dean, Student Leadership & Campus Engagement
Employer: Dickinson College
Paul Mowery ’71
Occupation: Retired Senior Research Statistician
Employer: Research Triangle Institute, Sarasota Florida
Carmen T. Navia ’18
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Occupation: Research Associate
Employer: Integral Molecular
Ericka Powell, M.D. ’94
Hometown: Lititz, Pa.
Occupation: Medical Director, Emergency Department
Employer: WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital
Austin D. Williams, M.D. ’07
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Occupation: Breast Surgical Oncology Fellow
Employer: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Victoria H. Zuckerman, Ph.D. ’86
Hometown: Lancaster, Pa.
Occupation: Resident Psychologist
Employer: MJK Associates