The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

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St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas

ReMarker

School to welcome alumni home

RECONNECTED+Members+of+the+Class+of+1988+pose+for+a+photo+together+while+Alumni+catch+up+with+their+classmates+during+last+year%E2%80%99s+Back+to+School+Day+for+alums.+
Dave Carden
RECONNECTED Members of the Class of 1988 pose for a photo together while Alumni catch up with their classmates during last year’s Back to School Day for alums.

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young man’s time at the school doesn’t end when he graduates. In fact, the relationship continues to grow for years after.

One of many events that bolster this relationship is Alumni Weekend. Each year, the Alumni Association hosts the Alumni Weekend in an effort to bring back generations of marksmen to campus. One of the crucial people in this process is Ahlberg & Ribman Family Director of Alumni Relations Jack Mallick ‘14.

“The whole goal is to remind alums of why St. Mark’s is so special in their lives,” Mallick said.

Events like these are critical to the success of our Alumni Association. They’re very important pieces into what makes our alums want to give back.”

And this mission is quite successful, with the Alumni Association team keeping the around 4,200 alumni well-connected and well-informed on campus developments.

Of the roughly 4,200 alumni, around 1,200 of them attend Alumni Weekend each year. While roughly a quarter of alumni return to campus at first glance seems small, the ability to have that number return year in and year out is a difficult feat that the school consistently tackles. This return is what separates the school’s Alumni Association apart.

“St. Mark’s has an Alumni Association that is like none other in the country,” Mallick said. “For an independent school, it’s really special.”

Because of this special bond, many alums continue to feel like the school is their home well after graduating. Mallick believes that a sense of community is a huge factor that goes into the generosity of alumni, and that the alumni are always eager to help one another and to help the younger generations. To Mallick, the success of the alumni is shared with the students, and the success of the students is shared with the alumni.

An example of this reciprocal care is the St. Mark’s Fund, an annual drive to collect money from alumni and community members that is then used for on-campus initiatives — many of which positively impact students and their futures. And, as evident by statistics, alumni are more than willing to contribute.

“Fifty percent of alumni for the last 15 years have given back to the St. Mark’s Fund, through their gifts of their resources, which is incredible,” Mallick said. “The national average is somewhere in the low teens.”

Alums donate so often and so much because they recognize the unique community the school is, and by donating, preserve that community and ensure its success for generations of Marksmen.

As an alumnus himself, Mallick is in a unique position to reflect on his own experience as a student and then bring those reflections into his work with the Alumni Association. One of these reflections is a regret, a wish that he had done more while still a student on campus.

“I wish I cherished this place more as a student,” Mallick said. “That’s a feeling that we hear from a lot of alums.”

But bringing back so many alums isn’t easy. Requiring a long planning process and tons of brainstorming, each Alumni Weekend is planned far out in advance — the 2025 Alumni Weekend is already on the calendar.

“We start planning Alumni Weekend about a year in advance, so we already have next year’s Alumni Weekend on the calendar,” Mallick said. “Our Alumni Weekend has become a really streamlined process thanks to a lot of great work from people in our office. We work really closely with our Alumni Board to allow the weekend to pass.”

Of the many events hosted by the Alumni Association, the association believes the Alumni Weekend is its most important, drawing in one of the largest turnouts of the events the group hosts and impacting a large number of people on campus and alumni.

“We host several alumni events throughout the year, but we call Alumni Weekend our Super Bowl,” Mallick said.

And like the Super Bowl, the Alumni Association wants to keep the experience a refreshing and exciting moment of bonding and reconnection, not a stale, predictable event. Continually, in an effort to keep raising alumni turnout for the weekend, the association is always trying to improve. 

“We’re always looking for new activities: we don’t want the program to be rinse and repeat,” Mallick said. “It’s about constantly tweaking and improving and trying new things so that each alumni weekend looks different from the previous.”

A new feature from last year that is returning this year is the Lee S. Smith ‘65 Courage and Honor Award. The goal of the award is to acknowledge alumni who have made a positive impact on their community through acts of service and kindness.

For last year’s event, Lee Smith — the first Black student at the school — returned to campus to present the award in his name.

The first recipient of this award was Dr. David Vanderpool ‘78, an alum who dedicated his life to humanitarian aid when he founded his company LiveBeyond. Not only was he able to receive the award, but Vanderpool was also able to connect with Upper School students during a special Upper School assembly.

This year’s recipient of the award is Matt Osborne ‘90, whose mission is to inspire men to change the world in a positive way.

“Osborne has committed his life to working in public service with the CIA, and he combats human trafficking,” Mallick said. “He also helps educate young men on how to respect women and how to have healthy conversations.”

This mission was addressed when Osborne came and spoke to marksmen during special after-school assemblies. Because of his work and his close connection to the school, he will be in town for Alumni Weekend to receive this award.

Ultimately, the purpose of this Alumni Weekend is for alumni to reconnect, but the event also provides current students the opportunity to hear from alumni and to see the example they are setting in the world.

“We want our boys to make the world a better place,” Mallick said. “We wanted to honor people who have spent their lives and dedicated their personal lives to that craft.”

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About the Contributor
Christopher Guffey, Staff Writer