Maureen (Liller) Kraft ’01, Carroll News Alumna
I can give you the weather report for May 20, 2001. I can also share other fun facts about the day, such as what I was wearing and what I ate for dinner. Fascinating, right? It actually is for me; it’s the day I graduated from John Carroll. Almost 10 years later I look back on the day with fondness because it proved to be a major turning point in my life. For me, graduation marked the end of something significant and the start of something yet to be determined. What I didn’t fully understand at the time though was how Carroll would continue to play an important role in my life.
When I arrived on campus in the fall of 1997, I knew one other student. But through extracurriculars and the close knit JCU community, that quickly changed. I was able to play basketball, run track and write for the Carroll News. Likewise, I was encouraged to explore academic opportunities and consider a wide range of professional options. Basically, Carroll shaped me for the future both personally and professionally.
In the 10 years since graduation my life has changed in the typical ways: I got married (to a JCU alumnus), I’m building a career, I bought a house and have started a family. And along the way, in the background, there’s always a bit of Carroll that pops up somewhere. You see, once you walk across that stage and collect your diploma, you become part of a distinct group: you become a JCU alumnus. What you will soon learn is that being a Carroll alumnus is permanent and will always be part of who you are. It’s definitely something to be proud of and a considerable achievement.
For me, at the most basic level, being a JCU alumnus means community, pride and opportunity. You are currently receiving a valuable set of tools that will help you succeed in the real world. Chances are that you are having a little fun on the side as well. Being an alumnus isn’t much different. As with most things in life, it’s what you make it. But I can guarantee you this: no matter your level of involvement with Carroll after you graduate, you will be asked where you went to college for the rest of your life. When the time comes, I hope you feel the same pride I do in saying you’re a Blue Streak.
As I continue to celebrate my tenth reunion year, I encourage you to get involved and experience the special connections and affinity that JCU alumni have for their alma mater. Take advantage of opportunities to learn about the careers of alumni and how the Carroll experience continues to play a role in the lives of our graduates. In addition, reunions take place each summer and becoming a reunion student worker is one way that you can gain a better understanding of what awaits you after graduation.
Go Blue Streaks!