When Tracy Kipfstuhl, ’90, was looking for a college, her mother set a limit: She had to choose a school that was no more than 2 hours away from their Cleveland home. Two older sisters went east, to Walsh and Mount Union. But Tracy wanted to be different, maybe even a little defiant. So she went the opposite direction to the school that was two hours to the west and landed at Heidelberg.
That was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with Heidelberg.
Since the day she graduated, Tracy has remained highly involved with her alma mater. She serves on Alumni Council and spearheads many of the events of the Northeast Ohio Alumni Chapter – one of the university’s most active and successful chapters. She’s found a balance between her career with Tegna Broadcasting and service to Heidelberg. With Tegna, she supports NBC affiliates in Cleveland and Buffalo, N.Y., assisting with budgeting and other financial matters.
Highly involved as an undergrad, following graduation Tracy made her way back to campus several times a year to visit friends. Those trips continue to this day.
“That really kept me engaged early on,” she says. “I just stayed engaged. The people at Heidelberg and the shared experiences you have keep me coming back.”
With so much to do in Cleveland, planning chapter events is easy. “I work with Bob Youngblood (’70) to come up with events for us to do and we try to balance it between adults-only events and family-friendly events,” Tracy explains.
When events are planned, Tracy works with the Alumni Engagement Office to promote them through social media.
Some of her personal favorites have been athletic events, including Cleveland Indians games – she’s a huge fan!! – and Lake Erie Monsters games, along with theatre events. Late last semester, the chapter got together to attend a production of Wicked at the Cleveland Playhouse. Her all-time favorite, though, is the annual Good Times III cruise on Lake Erie.
“It’s just a really fun time and a great opportunity to talk to people that you don’t have at other events,” she says. “It’s a captive audience.”
Going forward, Tracy envisions some Northeast Ohio Alumni Chapter events that involve networking, especially with newer ‘Berg grads and prospective students, and maybe even creating some mentoring opportunities for current students.
Although her term on Alumni Council concludes this June, her involvement with the chapter and her alma mater will remain strong. After all, Heidelberg – which helped her to begin to find her voice when she was an undergrad – is still a place where she feels a strong sense of belonging.
“I love that there is this place that I chose and people I choose to associate with,” she says. “Heidelberg is my happy place. I just want more people to feel that they are a part of this community.”