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Carleton experience inspires $3 million pledge

May 16, 2007 at 4:28 pm
By Marla Holt

Rich and Laurie Kracum have a deep appreciation for the education they received at Carleton. They agree that their time on campus has had a profound impact on their lives, perhaps most importantly in forming lasting connections with classmates, not to mention with each other.

“We remain close to so many people,” says Laurie, noting in particular her lifelong friendships with five women she met on the third floor of Musser Hall her first day at Carleton. “There really is quite a Carleton camaraderie. Even now, when we return for reunions, everyone we meet is so warm and friendly,” Laurie says. Both enjoy mini reunions twice a year with a group of Carls and their families.

Rich, a Carleton trustee, is a managing director of Wind Point Partners, a private equity firm in Chicago. Laurie is active on numerous nonprofit boards, notably that of Chicago’s Field Museum, and as president of One-to-One Learning Center, an organization that promotes lifelong learning skills in children. She also serves on the boards of the West Wisconsin Land Trust and American Rivers. The couple split their time between residences in Chicago and Miami.

“Carleton taught us to think creatively and analytically, and the combination of those two is what the liberal arts are all about,” Rich says. “That foundation is responsible for the success we’ve had since we left Carleton.”

As the parents of John Kracum ’07, a geology major who is having “the perfect Carleton experience,” the Kracums are pleased that Carleton’s culture has remained the same in the 30 years since they were students. “There is an intellectual confidence at Carleton that isn’t arrogant,” Rich says. Laurie adds that John has found Carleton to be a “nurturing environment,” much as she and Rich did. “It’s so great for college-age kids to be able to grow mentally in a place that supports and encourages them,” she says.

In part for Carleton to continue to provide its unique learning environment, the Kracums have pledged $3 million to the Breaking Barriers, Creating Connections campaign. “To have a high-quality school like Carleton, the capital has to come from those of us who received an excellent education there,” Laurie says. “With our gift, we want to encourage other young people to do the same.”