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By David Nathan

Since May, a group of alumni, faculty, and staff volunteers — including President Michael B. Alexander — have reached out to Lasell graduates as part of an initiative to strengthen alumni connections with one another and the University.

Hold the Torch High (HTTH) volunteers have made phone calls, sent emails, and composed handwritten notes in an effort to connect with all 17,000 Lasell grads. What has resulted is a web of interconnected stories and experiences spanning decades of Lasell history.

“The goal of Hold the Torch High is to expand and deepen connections with our vibrant alumni base, and strengthen our community beyond the boundaries of our campus,” says Chelsea Gwyther, vice president of development and alumni relations.  

An aside with Bacons

Class of '10

Through Hold the Torch High, twins Neil ’10 and Scott Bacon ’10 enjoyed the opportunity to turn the clock back a decade and reminisce about their days as Lasell students. They chose to attend Lasell for the small-school feel and individualized educational experience. While at Lasell, Neil majored in graphic design and was active with Polished Magazine and Scott studied hospitality and event management. After years living under the same roof, they chose not to live together at Lasell. “After sharing a house our whole lives it was time to branch out, but at the same time it was nice having a family member close who you could count on,” Scott recalled. Both Neil and Scott shared fond memories of Lasell basketball and volleyball games, Halloween parties, kayaking on the Charles River (sometimes forgetting to apply sunscreen), and heading to Moody Street in Waltham for pizza. Neil and Scott have stayed connected with several of their Lasell friends, including a yearly fantasy football league, with Michael Ansaldi ’10, Phil Viaud ’10, Ben Stewart ’10, Antonio Nesbitt ’13, John Becker ’10, and Matt Gavigan ’11. The brothers live in San Diego.

Returning home?

Class of '69Marie Fratoni ’69 just can’t seem to get enough of Lasell. The Georgia resident told the HTTH volunteer caller that not only is she a proud member of Lasell’s Class of 1969, she worked for Lasell from 1977-79 and hopes to eventually move to Lasell Village. Fratoni is the CEO of Get Clients Everywhere, a consulting firm that coaches business owners and professionals to become savvy, social, and successful by cultivating fulfilling and profitable relationships. She is active with the Women’s Professional Development Network in Atlanta and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business and Who’s Who of Women in International Business. Inspired by her HTTH call, she plans to re-engage with Lasell and network with fellow alumni in the Atlanta area.

A growing Lasell family

5 family membersThe HTTH volunteer caller did not get the opportunity to speak to Carolyn Grant Leary ’62 GP’21 GP’24, but she had quite a Lasell story to share in a lengthy email. Turns out that Leary’s mother (Janice Shutter Grant ’36 P’62) and aunt (Carolyn Shutter Stinson ’39) graduated from Lasell, and her grandchildren Conor Leary Watson ’21 and Caelan Watson ’24 are students today. As a three-generation family, her clan surely qualifies as Lasell royalty. Leary reported that she spent 10 years working as a sales manager for Macy’s and later served as an assistant teacher at her local elementary school in Connecticut. Her four children all live nearby. “I am now a lady of leisure hiding in my house from COVID-19,” she wrote. On her last visit to Lasell, Leary was amazed by the growth and beauty of the campus. She misses the original Bragdon and Blaisdell Halls, “But the other older buildings look wonderful and the campus has retained its special charm while moving ahead.”

Stormy Alert: She may be calling you

Class of '92Stormy Bell ’92 G’20 P’22 didn’t need much convincing to volunteer to make calls to alumni for Hold the Torch High. “Lasell is so dear to me,” she says. “I have a rich history with Lasell and want to see it succeed and advance.” Bell enjoyed hearing about her fellow alums’ experiences as students and comparing them to her own. Among the alumni she spoke with was a member of the Class of 1987 who had many of the same professors, an alumna who taught at Lasell after she graduated, and a 1950s graduate who was excited to see the evolution of the institution. As for herself, Bell enrolled at Lasell when it was still a junior college and was part of the first class to receive bachelor’s degrees. During the spring, both Stormy and her son Andrew were home in New Jersey taking Lasell classes online, she for her master’s in management and he for his bachelor’s in sport management. Bell encourages other alumni to join her to volunteer to make calls. “You will be happy that you participated,” she says. “It was fun reaching out and listening to them share their memories of Lasell.”

Memory lane

Class of '55Anita Royer Martin ’55 enjoyed her virtual trip down memory lane/Woodland Road with her HTTH volunteer caller. Martin loved her Lasell experiences — the classes, the faculty, and the friends she made — and often thinks of her days on campus. The Floridian stays in touch with many of her friends from college, including Janet Holmes Murphy ’55, Sally McGill Jessie ’55, and Nancy Wright ’55. The quartet lived together in the original Bragdon Hall, which was taken down in the late ’60s and replaced by the current Bragdon in 2004. Martin reads Leaves and is thrilled to follow the upward trajectory of the institution — from two-year junior college to four-year university with graduate programs.

The Hold the Torch High campaign has five goals:

Class of ?? Insert your story here. Get ready to pass the torch and share your memories from Lasell with a volunteer this fall.

1. Inform alumni about recent news from campus, including institutional, student, and faculty achievements.

2. Learn more about our alumni, their families, and their careers. 

3. Help our alumni connect with both Lasell and their fellow alumni.

4. Share the programs and benefits available to alumni, including remote career services, networking opportunities, and insurance discounts.

5. Determine what else Lasell can do to support our alumni and meet their needs. 

"Our volunteers are enjoying the opportunity to connect with alumni to share news from campus, see how they are doing, learn more about their lives since graduation, and make sure they know about everything still available to them through Lasell,” says Chelsea Gwyther, vice president of development and alumni relations.

If you are interested in joining our growing corps of Hold the Torch High volunteers, please contact Alexa Donegan ’16 G’20, at