Joe Lanning, who graduated UR in 2000, has managed to branch out and succeed while still remaining active in the UR community. Lanning, who grew up in Fairport, N.Y., decided to stay in Rochester after graduation and has since become the Associate Director of College Enrollment for UR. In addition, he is an assistant varsity baseball coach for the Yellowjackets, a team on which he played as a student.
Lanning is also the Director for the World Education Fund and in the summer leads the Malawi Immersion, a UR seminar that takes students to Malawi, Africa on experiential learning trips.
Is this what you planned to do with your life or is it something different?
A combination of the two. After graduation, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, Africa, so the Malawi Immersion Seminar is a direct result of the transformative experience I was able to have.
I didn’t plan to work in the college enrollment business when I graduated; I am not sure anyone plans to work in admissions. But it has offered me a great chance to work with undergrads and continue my own graduate studies at the same time. I love getting paid to make my alma mater a little better every day.
As for the baseball coaching, I always wanted to coach, and there is no better place and no better group of players than the teams at UR.
Tell us more about the World Education Fund.
It’s a non-profit organization I started my senior year that works to get African orphans, mostly orphaned by AIDS, back into school when they have been forced out for a lack of school fees.
Is there some critical aspect of the school that you think needs to be addressed?
Nothing that needs to be fixed, just improved. I would love to see a Ph.D. program in Anthropology so I could enroll and never have to think about leaving.
What’s one thing about UR that you wouldn’t change?
The curriculum lets you make a story out of your education; you become more than a transcript at UR in a way no other school offers. This place makes you believe you can have a dream, and then it gives the resources to make it come true. I had incredible support from faculty members to get the World Education Fund started, and that support didn’t stop when I graduated.
What good advice do you have for current UR students?
At the end of your education, find a meaningful way to give something back, whether it’s money to support a scholarship, volunteering or working that serves the greater good of the world. And come talk to me if you want to go to Africa.
Fountaine is a member of the class of 2008.