A Resource and a Joy
Milo Madole ’12, president of the Kalamazoo College Alumni Association Engagement Board (AAEB), offered some sage advice to the Class of 2023 at commencement.
Addressing the uncertainties and insecurities that many new graduates face when finding a job or moving to a new town, Madole said, “When fear and self-doubt start to creep in—and if you’re like me, they will—I want you to remember that you’re not alone now, and you never will be, because there are over 20,000 other wicked smart, wacky, weird and wonderful Kalamazoo College alumni who have walked this stage before you.”
Nurturing these connections among alumni is something that Madole, a history major at K and a current real estate attorney, is incredibly passionate about, and it’s central to the mission of the AAEB.
The board—whose mission is “to foster and maintain lifelong active relationships between Kalamazoo College and its alumni, and to promote the general welfare of the College and the engagement of its alumni with the College and each other”—focuses on enhancing connections in three key areas: alumni to alumni, alumni to faculty and staff, and alumni to both current and prospective students. But in particular, this current board is focused on enhancing the bonds among alumni.
Whether you’re a newer alum or one whose retirement is in the rearview mirror, there is much to be gained by joining or hosting alumni events in your area, reaching out to someone for coffee via the alumni directory, attending homecoming, or tuning in to a virtual K Talk with a current or emeriti professor. You never know who you may meet, what you may learn, or who you may help.
For Madole, his service on AAEB is due in part to the way that K changed his life and his desire to pay it forward. But more than that, he said, “I also get so much joy out of getting to know other alumni who are not in my class, who were not in my major, who didn’t go on the same study abroad program as I did, and maybe had a very different K experience in the 1960s or ’70s. And yet, we can identify on a fundamental level because we have this shared mindset.”
These relationships can be a significant benefit for alumni who connect and reconnect through alumni events and volunteering. “These friendships have become such an important part of my life. I almost feel selfish, like I don’t feel as if I’m serving. I feel like the College is serving me still.”
And for those alumni who are facing the future with a bit of trepidation, or want to talk about their careers, or just meet kindred spirits?
As Madole noted to the Class of 2023, just reach out: “As a graduate of the College, you are a member of the Kalamazoo College Alumni Association. If you want it to be, K—and your fellow alumni—will be a resource and an ally and a source of joy for the rest of your life.”