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Spike Gummere


I Like Spike

  • “The year was 1968. My Dad and I had just arrived on campus and were walking around, exploring. All of a sudden, two young men coming from the opposite direction called out my name. They were Gordon White and Spike. From then on, I nicknamed them the gold dust twins.” 

    -David Lo ’72
  • “I will always remember my admissions interview with you, in the lobby of the San Francisco Marriott!” 

    -Julia Rose Birka-White ’12
  • Thank you for keeping me connected to LFC for 30+ years!

  • “Spike was the first LFC representative I ever met, and now some 46 years later, he remains a good friend, an incredible ambassador for the College, and a wonderful role model for so many. I am most appreciative.” 

    -Meade Thayer ’74
  • “In December of 1969, Spike signed my letter of acceptance and I was delighted. I next saw him in the dining hall and he was incredibly welcoming to me and my friends. Spike has the ability to truly connect to people, young students and old alumni. His feeling for the school is deep and contagious. Well after my 40th reunion, I am honored to call Spike a friend. Spike also has a true sense of kindness. When my son was recently entering that trying time of college admission, Spike was there. He traveled to his independent school during my son’s junior year and specifically requested an interview with him. Suddenly this high school junior was a big deal with the college admissions office. After that, Spike could not have been more helpful or encouraging as my son applied to colleges, including Lake Forest. What amazed me was that Spike plainly wanted my son to attend LFC, but more importantly to him, he wanted to make sure my son made the right college choice for himself. What a man. I am proud to say not only that “I Like Spike” I love the guy.” 

    -Richard E. Welch III ’74
  • “Spike makes everyone feel like they are the most important person in the room. His interest in an individual goes well beyond their giving history. His patented smile and ageless persona, have on more than one occasion, induced me to hit my hip far harder and deeper than planned (…as well as rethink my attendance at the annual holiday party!).” 

    -Bill Bartholomay ’76
  • “In 1994-95 I spent my senior year in a rural Oklahoma town. As an exchange student from Brazil, I was certainly experiencing some culture shock. But I applied to American colleges anyway, and you can only imagine how surprised I was when the principal called me to his office one day to meet an admissions officer from Lake Forest. I had applied, but to have somebody stop by Ada, Oklahoma to meet me - unannounced! - really made the decision to go there an easier one. I cherish the time I spent at LFC, and it might never have happened if not for that visit. Thanks Spike!.” 

    -Rodrig Nunes ’99
  • “Spike is uniquely authentic.  His genuine interest in Lake Forest students, past and present, and in the preservation and enhancement of the institution is compelling. More than any other factor, Spike’s long-standing interest in me as an alumnus has inspired me to make Lake Forest one of a handful of institutions to which I always support.  I am grateful for all that he has done for me and for Lake Forest College.” 

    -Greg Fogg ’89
  • “Spike signed my letter of acceptance in 1974. Spike’s unparalleled enthusiasm for Lake Forest College and its students is a rare gift for those of us who have had the good fortune to know him. Attending sports events, Spike was always there, cheering and interacting with us. To this day it’s always been a pleasure to see Spike and hear the latest news when he would make his annual trips East. I can’t think of anyone who has promoted the spirit of LFC so fittingly or for as long. Thank you Spike, you are the best!” 

    -William Picoli ’78
  • “Spike inspired me to embrace and accept career changes.” 

    -Henry Gardner ’90
  • “You gave me an opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to become a meaningful man in a wonderful life - I will forever be grateful for having known you!” 

    -Fred C. Garfield ’77
  • “Spike is such an inspirational leader of students - he was when I applied and came to LFC in the early 80’s and his support continued with my daughter Maggie, who is graduating in 2016. Spike came by Lois Hall when we moved Maggie in as a freshman - what a nice personal touch on such a busy day! Spike is a big golfer and we stay in touch regarding my endeavors in golf design and he is still inspiring me to do well! Spike’s hand-scribed notes are a treasure to the personal attention he gives all students that have come across the campus over the years. Although he uses email and probably other “modern” means of communication, Spike’s care to sit down and write a note to someone is not lost on the younger generation. It is nice to see a forgotten skill being introduced to another generation. Keep up the energy, my good friend, and I will see you on the links!” 

    -Mike DeVries ’87
  • “Spike was Dean of Admissions at Lake Forest College when I was there. He promised me that my work study freshman year wouldn’t be in the cafeteria. He lied, it was. My roommate turned down a job in the admissions office for our sophomore year and recommended me and I jumped on the chance to get out of the cafeteria. I walked in the admissions office the first day of my sophomore year and the most popular girl on campus was sitting on the floor and looked up and said, “are you Tom?”. She eventually learned my name and even agreed to marry me. Because I was able to get that popular girl (Mary Worland Napier ’84) to learn my name and marry me, I really love Spike, in spite of him lying to me way back in 1980!.” 

    -Kieth Napier ’85
  • “I remember Spike’s ever smiling face and great enthusiasm when I was a student at LFC, and thank him particularly for his lovely note to us when our son won a Pulitzer.  How delightful that he would remember us and write!” 

    -Becky Barry and Warren Saslow ’72
  • “Spike’s eternal optimism, constant smile, and utilitarian insights were, and continue to be an uplifting tonic to students, faculty, staff and alums!” 

    -John Nelson ’63
  • “I remember walking by the Lake Forest College table at a college fair on Cape Cod in 1984. I mentioned to my friend that my father’s friend, Sean, went to Lake Forest College. From behind me I heard a voice ask, “Sean who?” and then I turned around to meet Spike. Of course he remembered Sean’s last name and his graduation year. He told me about Lake Forest College and suddenly I was seriously considering leaving Massachusetts to attend a small liberal arts college in Illinois. I visited the beautiful campus and chose to attend Lake Forest College over Boston University. I am so glad that I did. My friend applied a year later and Spike stopped me as I was walking across campus to tell me that the interview went well and that my friend was “a really nice kid.” Spike was such a positive presence on campus and he never forgot a face or name. He made everyone feel welcome and lucky to be part of the Lake Forest College community.” 

    -Karen Weston Hanesian ’89
  • “Spike has kept in touch with me through my 42 years of teaching high school mathematics. He has been supportive through the difficult years and he has shared my happiness during the wonderful years. His kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness are inspirational.” 

    -Donald Cameron ’74
  • “When I received Spike’s letter I was so excited! Seeing his actual signature made me believe that LFC had a very personalized approach and was the right place for me. After I arrived on campus, I wanted to become active with Admissions and help other student fall in love with LFC. I was an Ambassador for 4 years, hosting students, giving tours, and helping prospective and new students have the best experience at LFC. Thanks Spike for inspiring me and making my 4 years at LFC the best!” 

    -Genevieve Bravo ’96
  • “Had it not been for Spike Gummere, I believe my career and my life would have turned out very differently and not for the better.  I have often acknowledged to Spike what he did for me, and I know he went the extra mile for many others as well.”  

    -Chris Wardell ’73
  • “Spike seamlessly transitioned to lead Admissions after the tragic passing of Jake Edwards in 1967. His kinetic energy and love of the school have never waned. How do you replace a legend? You become one yourself!”

    -David Miller ’71
  • “I first met Spike as a high school senior in 1973 when I attended a reception for prospective students.  For a recently-arrived foreign student, I clearly recall my sense of wonder at the idyllic campus life described by the alumni, their closeness to the faculty, and the open and positive attitude that Spike exuded.  Forty-two years later, I am still in touch with Spike.  It was a fortuitous encounter with him that impacted my life to this day.” 

    -Nancy Chang Lee ’77
  • “Congratulations on your honor for being at LFC for 50 years.” 

    Tom Lincoln ’73

  • “I interviewed at Hotchkiss with Spike and, while I don’t have it anymore, I know Spike signed my letter of acceptance. What a wonderful, gracious representative for the college, from the moment I first met him to his kind visit to my home in CT a few years ago to say hi. Hard to believe you might actually retire, but I certainly wish you the best, Spike, and hope to see you again one of these days!” 

    -Stephen Ellis ’73
  • “As undergraduates, we all knew and loved Spike Gummere. He made it a point to get over to Commons at mealtimes to eat and chat with students and it was always a fun exchange. That was one of Spike’s many special qualities, his ability to relate to students with genuine interest, caring, and acceptance. I was particularly lucky, for Spike went way out on a limb and hired me as a member of the admissions staff right after graduation. Wow, can you imagine Spike Gummere as your boss? Well it was everything you might imagine and more. Upon reflecting on that time, aside from raising my two daughters, it was the best job I ever had and Spike was the best boss, hands down. He was an exemplary role model demonstrating personal responsibility, commitment, boundless energy, compassion, problem solving, and always in good humor. It was clear he loved what he was doing even in the face of inevitable frustrations and everyday problems. I am so grateful for all I learned from him and, with the passage of time and experience, I became increasingly aware of just how rare and extraordinary Spike is. I know there are legions who feel the same and it is no exaggeration to say that Spike is the heart and soul of Lake Forest College, embodying everything we know to be good. The many tributes and thanks from all whose lives he touched barely do justice to his remarkable decades of inspirational service to the college.” 

    -Madeleine Spang von Hemert ’71
  • “You’re the best!! LFC is blessed to have such a champion supporter. You’ve always given 110%!” 

    -Rebecca R. Yord ’74
  • “Go to…” 

    -John ’69 & Martha Virden ’70
  • “Spike put me and my fellow classmate/applicant Barbara Johnson, at ease and encouraged us all along the way, even after we were accepted.  We both graduated.  He was always interested in us as students and people.  Spike is a great ambassador for LFC, and has always been for decades!  Best wishes for a joyful life, Spike!” 

    -Name ’YR
  • “I graduated in 1968, so I have known Spike for many years. What a great guy! He always has a smile on his face, he is always glad to see you, and he takes the time to listen to you. He has been such an unbelievable asset for the college. For years I have gotten hand-written notes on my birthday, or as a thank-you for a donation. He has a personal touch that is genuine and heartfelt. I never met anyone that didn’t like him. So Spike, just know that there are THOUSANDS of Foresters like me who think the world of you! You are awesome, dude. It has been an honor to have known you and considered you a friend. GO SPIKE!” 

    -Lindsay Schieffelin ’68
  • “Spike: Yes, just the best.  Spike’s Dedication is the true meaning of PASSION for the future of Lake Forest College.  He was dedicated to every students’ welfare and their own success. He cared for each student with a BIG smile and he loved greeting and meeting with each and every one.  The school is so LUCKY to have him on their TEAM, as we were so LUCKY to have him with us.  Once he retires, Spike will be deeply missed by all students, especially by us older students who have known him in his and our earlier years.  He never gave up his DREAM.  JUST the BEST!” 

    -Jennifer McCartney Rumbough ’75
  • “My first college interview was with Spike in the summer of 1971! His enthusiasm and excitement over LFC was contagious! I applied for early decision and cancelled plans to visit other schools! Without question, Spike is and has been a key valued asset to LFC! A great guy and class act!” 

    -Steve Webster ’75
  • “Thanks for keeping Lake Forest College in the hearts & minds of alumni every where.” 

    -Nancy & Dave Wilber ’68
  • “Thank you to Spike for bringing me to Lake Forest and opening up the world to a New England girl.”

    Seana Kelly Crellin ’91

  • “Spike is the perfect representative for LFC.  His intelligence, wit and integrity are the result of combining a wonderful person with the very best a small college, liberal arts environment can provide.  Thank you, Spike, for being who you are.” 

    -Jim Micali ’69
  • “My interview with Spike went so well that I applied early decision at LFC and dropped the 6 other colleges that I applied to! More to come later! Cheers.” 

    -Steve Webster ’75
  • Cheers!

  • “I don’t know that I truly appreciated Spike and all he does for the College while I was an undergraduate.  It wasn’t until I was out in the working world, busy with a family, and trying to stay one step ahead of a lengthy to-do list that I came to be in awe of Spike’s charm, energy, and amazing attention to detail.  He remembers everybody.  He has a kind memory and a warm handshake for every student who has passed through those hallowed gates.  His handwritten notes of gratitude or just to catch up are legendary and his ability to find the time to communicate with hundreds of alumni this way, every year, is both intimidating and inspiring.  Thank you, Spike, for your life of service to Lake Forest College.  It truly would not be the same place without you.” 

    -Hilary Newlin O’Hollaren ’92
  • “My dad and I met Spike for an interview in 1977. It was my dad who first said, that is an amazing man (my dad is a great judge of character); that began a 39 year to present relationship - Lake Forest College was 4 of my most favorite years in my life, and was due to Spike’s continuous hounding of my dad until he signed the contract (also sparking my dad to say “I don’t know what you did, but they sure want you at LFC”). Thanks Spike for all your goodness, encouragement and support!!!!.” 

    -Clinton Oie ’82
  • “All the best! Thanks for all you have done for LFC. When we think of LFC,we think of you.” 

    -Mike Brown & Betsy Nolte Brown ’77
  • “I’ll never forget my first campus visit in 1984. I was visiting the College after making the decision to attend. Spike was the first person I encountered on my visit and he welcomed me with open arms. He knew many people from the Avon Old Farms community I was leaving behind which made me feel as though the transition to LFC would be an easy adjustment. Spike has this way of making all feel welcome.There is nobody better at being the “Director of First Impressions” and he makes great ones.” 

    -Mike Gibbons ’88
  • “He is one of the main reasons I attended LFC! He cane all the way to Los Angeles! Amazing man and thank you so much I had the time of my life in four wonderful years!”

    -Sabrina Zamora ’00
  • “You are amazing! My first boss after graduating college, when I worked for you in admissions. Would love to be at your celebration but I will be out of town at our Santa Barbara.” 

    -Steve Breihan ’83
  • “How does he do it? Spike has an uncanny gift of remembering names and faces, and then he can tell you your greatest LFC moment! Spike goes beyond the LFC reach; after re-uniting with Spike, 30 years after graduating, he offered to meet with, prepare, coach, mentor and guide my daughter in her college search. He even made a call on her behalf. A great man .” 

    -James Doyle ’84
  • “You passed me through the admission process. I will never forget that.” 

    - William G. Stoops ’56
  • “Thanks for believing in us.” 

    -Skip Flinn & Mardi Young ’78
  • “I attended Lake Forest College from 1971-1975. Those were very different times than today. As a Black student from Chicago’s Lindblom, Spike had a way of making me feel at home. He use to visit me at the ice rink and always asked how things were going. We always talked and still do, he is an amazing man! .” 

    -Greg Evans ’75
  • “Thank you for allowing me to attend LFC and bringing me back in!” 

    -Kent S. Clow III ’73
  • Did you know our friendship actually began with your parents who were friends with Joe’s parents and were at our wedding? I always enjoyed your visits to Waynflete.

  • “Spike helped me through some rough patches in my freshman year; I was lonely and felt I would not come back to Lake Forest for my sophomore year. He convinced me to stay on, and I will always be more than grateful to him for doing that. So, it was therefore amazing to me when I brought my son Samuel Murphy ’13, to the campus for his freshman year and we ran into Spike in front of Roberts Hall! What a treat! Both Spike and I were amazed that Sam had been placed in the same room I had occupied in my sophomore year! Spike kept in touch, sent me notes, and will always be an example of a great human being to me.” 

    -Erin Kenefick Urban ’69
  • “As part of the class of 1977, I remember always seeing Spike with a huge smile on campus. He knew all students by name and was genuinely interested in our lives and progress at LFC. Always very welcoming, we knew when we spoke to him he would have something enlightening (often funny) to say. He had a way to make the day better for those in his path. With his smoking pipe he maintained the appearance of my “campus dad”. Many congratulations to Spike on his retirement. I wish him and his family the very best.” 

    -Richard Sova ’77
  • “As Spike closes in on 50 years of service, I take great pride in saying I have had the pleasure of working with him for nearly half of them.  I consider Spike the Oracle on all things Forester. His council and his experience are valuable beyond words. Although I knew this to be so back in my mailroom days, never was this clearer than when I moved into the alumni office.  His institutional knowledge, his multi-generational reach, and his caring for the place improved everything I did when I was in the annual fund. Now, in my new role, I find myself relying on him even more.” 

    -Derek Lambert ’03
  • “I don’t have “one” Spike memory but rather a vast collection: When I think of Spike, I see that contagious smile of his in my mind’s eye from 30+ years ago. It was everywhere he went on campus, including when he watched our football games at Farwell Field. I like to think his smile broadened a tad watching me sling the pigskin around the gridiron! Be well, old friend!!” 

    -Mark Vruno ’85
  • “As a busy senior in high school I was unable to meet Spike during his regular interview times. Instead, I interviewed with him at the Salt Lake City airport while he waited for his flight back to Chicago.” 

    -Julia Slaby ’01
  • “A confused high school student who was choosing between schools all over the country walked into a hotel conference room in San Francisco and found a warm and welcoming Spike Gummere. Spike listened and answered all of my questions in a way that convinced me a transfer from California to Illinois wasn’t as crazy as friends around me thought, and it would actually be a great fit. A few months later, I was moving into the dorms, officially a college freshman, and heard a knock and a ‘hello’ from a familiar voice. Not only did Spike welcome me on my first day on campus but he even ate a meal with my family in the caf. Throughout my four years at Lake Forest and even to this day, Spike always provides a cheerful smile and a genuine conversation that brightens my day. Lake Forest is so lucky to have this amazingly dedicated, kind and thoughtful individual as a huge part of our institution! Thank you for all you do Spike!” 

    -Sarah Jonathan ’14
  • “I met Spike in ’92 when he first came to Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, CO. I’m not sure what it was, but we immediately clicked! His passion for the school was one of the main reasons why I chose LFC. Now my daughter is looking at colleges. The one person I told her to be on the lookout for during her school’s college fairs is Spike. He’s a life changer!.” 

    -Michelle Wong ’97
  • “Thank you for all you have done for LFC”

    Doni Fordyce Urfirer ’81

  • “My first introduction to Spike was as an overly confident high school senior who was sure I was going to another college when Spike came to visit my high school. I only met with him out of courtesy to a relative of his. I am sure he came away from our meeting thinking, ’ this kid is full of himself and we are better off without someone like him at our college.’ As fate would have it, I was put on the waiting list at the college I thought I was attending. As the summer dragged on and it appeared I was not going to be accepted, I reached out to Spike in a moment of panic. I remember his words as clearly today as I did 42 years ago, “if you promise me you will come to this college and give it your very best then I will accept you.” I hope what I have accomplished in my life during and after my four years at Lake Forest College will, in some small way, repay Spike’s faith in me and demonstrate once again the powerful impact he has had on so many lives. There are very few people who have had as positive an influence on my life as Spike. I wish him years of health, happiness and his continued association with Lake Forest College. We are all better for having had Spike as our mentor, sage counsel and friend.” 

    -Peter Hearn ’78
  • “With fond memories & best wishes in the future.” 

    -Eleonora Marovitz
  • “I first met Spike in a hotel ballroom during college night in 1990 in a suburb of Phoenix. I was on my way out and I saw him standing alone at the LFC booth. I walked over to take some material just to be nice, not knowing the course of my life would change forever. “Have you ever been to Illinois?” he asked. No, I said. He opened a photo album (this was before iPhones) and showed me pictures of this amazing campus in the Midwest. I could never afford to attend such a fancy place, I told him. “I’m sure we can find a way to help,” he said. He made good on that promise by being an advocate during my application and financial aid process. I couldn’t afford a visit to the school so I landed at O’Hare airport with three suitcases and a denim jacket on move-in day. I had to get a warmer coat a few months later but I still have the core friends I met my freshman year and I still treasure the handwritten notes from Spike. A couple of years ago when I received another personal thank-you, I decided to fund a scholarship in honor of my 20-year reunion. It was a full-circle moment when I got the notice of a young woman from Arizona who received it. I hope her path is as rich and fulfilling as mine has been, thanks to Spike and his photo album.” 

    -Kristin Graham ’94
  • “Spike he always made everyone feel special.” 

    -Susan Sanidas ’87
  • “Spike was there when I was transferring to LFC my junior year, 1970, he was there for my daughter 2004 for four years, and even when my son had not applied to LFC but had decided on a college in MA, Spike wrote a letter to the school without any prompting.  All of this meant so much to my family.  LFC and the community are so blessed to have Spike as one of their own!” 

    -Sarita W. Beebe ’72
  • “Though he didn’t interview me, I feel like Spike factored significantly in my enjoying LFC. I ended up a teacher in secondary education and always knew that if I recommended a kid to LFC that they’d be considered as an individual with a special story, not merely a statistic, and that Spike would care about them. Isn’t that what school is supposed to be all about? Spike admitted students to the college but, more importantly, he also encouraged, supported and believed in their potential during and after graduation as well. His generosity and positive energy is special and I thank him for that!.” 

    -John (Chip) Norton ’69
  • “Thank you for all your many years of service, LFC would not be what it is today without you! All the best.” 

    -Katherine Shervin Hamblett ’85
  • “I was interviewed by Spike, at LFC, in February 1969; just days after my oldest friend had run (quite naked) from Blackstone to Deerpath on a dare. I was concerned that Spike would peg me as just another ill mannered ruffian from Medfield. So I tried to leave the impression that I was studious and high minded (not given to spontaneous pubic disrobing and such). After all, there were others from Medfield at LFC who behaved appropriately. Spike was having none of it; he told me to relax and said “you will do just fine”, and that my friend is now a legend. He was right, LFC was a great choice and I have enjoyed working with him for many years, introducing young people to the college and interviewing kids in the DC area. A few have even become Foresters. There is one perplexing thing about Spike, however, the guy never ages!” 

    -James Fredrick Palumbo ’73
  • “I met Spike in 1969 when I visited LFC and he interviewed me. I got to know him during my college years and he never changed in all the years after. I served as a trustee of LFC for 16 years culminating in my being chair. I had lots of interaction with Spike over those years and even after that–and Spike always has looked the same, always has been a fan of teams from Boston, and always has been friendly and good humored. What can I say? The only improvement I would make would be in his golf swing!!!!” 

    -Peter Schiff ’74
  • “I traveled from a little place in Massachusetts called Buzzards Bay to attend college in Illinois. I will never forget my time at Lake Forest College and the many friends and mentors who helped shape my future.  Every year, both myself and my father receive at least one handwritten note from Spike.  Even with all the time and distance, Spike still makes me feel like a valued member of the LFC community..” 

    -Rachel Gratis ’04
  • “I first visited LFC’s campus as a high school senior when I was visiting my relatives in Chicago for Christmas. Even though school was out, my parents and I decided to just check out the campus on a freezing, rainy December day. We wandered into Durand Hall because it was open and happened to meet the one and only Spike. What a perfect personality to meet on a dreary Midwestern day! He chatted with us for a while, showed us more of the campus, and then followed up with me the next month. Spike arranged my next visit to campus, ensuring that I got to meet the soccer team, an eventual cornerstone of my college experience. I’ve always been amazed at Spike’s ability to remember every student he’s worked with, as well as their families. My mom would even go to the college fair at my high school long after I graduated just to say hello to Spike! Spike is without question one of the main reasons I ended up at LFC.” 

    -Erin Sovick Kobler  ’01
  • “I had not spoken to Spike in 10-15 years in the 1980’s. I got a call at work and the caller just starting talking without introducing himself. No problem, I recognized Spike’s voice immediately. During college the much loved hockey team had lost a few games to teams full of Canadians. The Air Force Academy was coming to LFC to play. Spike commented that at least we would not be facing another team full of Canadians. The home town for almost the entire team was International Falls, MN.” 

    -Frank Coyle ’73
  • “It’s simply a fact, without the LFC grant, work study, and student loan, I would not have attended Lake Forest, thanks to Spike, but equally important, Spike’s genuine interest when I met him in 1976 told me LFC was a unique and friendly place to spend the next several years in college, and finally, Spike’s ongoing friendship to this day is why I am in touch with LFC, attending events, and supporting the institution. All fact. Thanks Spike, Eric.” 

    -Eric Stovicek ’80
  • “As an admissions counselor for LFC, Spike was my first boss after graduating in 1984. That first job introduced me to the higher education profession. I learned the value of hard work and the importance of striving to be my best. I am still passionate about higher education to this day.” 

    -Henryne Green Tobias ’84
  • “I attended LFC sight unseen. This is because of Spike! I met him at an admissions event in Boston (late in the game) and he and the current students he brought totally changed my mind from where I thought I would be attending. I am so glad he did. Spike and I still stay in touch - he always makes a point of reaching out when he is in the area…..this many years later. When I think of LFC beyond some very dear and lifelong friends made, I think of Spike  and his infectious enthusiasm for the institution. He can never leave!.” 

    -Melissa Russell Leyden ’81
  • “Spike is more than an Admissions guy or administrator. He is a friend and has been my connection with the College and friends in the town of Lake Forest ever since graduation. I remember being devastated when Jake Edwards passed away. But, Spike was like the Rock of Gibraltar, helping us through a difficult time and becoming a mentor for us- even while handling a heavy Admissions job. Every school or college has its own legends who have made the place more than simply an institution, and Spike is LFC’s. I wish I could be there to congratulate him in person, but I will be there in spirit- and I will forever have a special place in my heart for him. All the best!.” 

    -Beach Tredennick ’71
  • “Spike *IS* LFC . He’s the reason a LOT of us went to LFC and have stayed connected and committed. A true legend and a true challenge to us all to carry on the AWESOME tradition! Time to carry the torch. If not us, who? Thanks Spike!” 

    -Bill Walsh Jr ’89
  • “Spike played a major role in three pivotal moments of my life.  First, I can imagine him and his team discussing my application for admission and deciding that Lake Forest would provide this shy Cleveland kid from a really small school an opportunity to grow and flourish.  He was right.
     Then, after graduation, Spike gave me my first job. I served as an Admissions Officer for 5 years, during which Spike taught me lessons on how to be a professional.  Watching the joy with which he served as Director of Admissions made me realize what a blessing it is to really love what you do.

    Finally, when it was time for me to move on, Spike gave me a much needed push, which made me expand my perception of my professional capabilities and forced me into greater levels of responsibility.

    Thank you Spike for your heart, your guidance and your wisdom!” 

    -Steven Murray ’87
  • Cassandra Balzer, class of 2016 is my oldest daughter and therefore, she was my first experience at dropping off a child at a college so very far away since we live north of Boston. I was worried, concerned and anxious even though I knew this was an exciting day for her as she started her new life. I remember the day we both met Spike like it was yesterday. Cassandra and I had just walked the 3 set of stairs SEVERAL times to move her into her dorm room. In the heat of that brutal summer day, we organized, set up and got accustomed to the new space that she would call her home for the next several months. In the midst of our activity, there was an unexpected knock on the door. We opened it to meet Spike for the first time. He said that he had purposefully found Cassandra and wanted to meet her. He explained who he was and that he was part of the decision making process that decided she was entitled to receive an award and a grant. It was an award and grant that she received throughout the 4 years and I am so thankful to Spike for continuing to favor Cassandra in that regard. I was so taken by him from the very first moment; not only did he know Cassandra, knew her background, but he went out of his way to meet her. What more could an anxious, worried mom ask for? A caring adult interested in my daughter so far away from home! As we talked, we discovered some common ground; his life on the north shore of Boston close to our hometown of Ipswich, Massachusetts, his wife’s position at the Lake Forest Library and my aunt and uncle who lived directly across the street from the library who were frequent visitors of the library. There was a common thread that helped me to see even more that Lake Forest College was the right choice for my daughter. Over the course of the next 4 years, he would periodically send me an email telling me about Cassandra. Each time my heart warmed with gratitude for Spike. Then, when Cassandra was studying abroad in Istanbul, he emailed both of us to let us know that she eligible for a study abroad grant. He took such an interest in her. I am still so amazed by his constant attention to her education and welfare when I know he must also follow and care for so many other students. What an amazing person; kind, caring, interested and dedicated to the students of Lake Forest. He calmed the anxiety of this first time mom and I will always and forever be grateful for and to Spike. He is a gem in every sense of the word. I will miss the honoring of his life and his career but I am there in spirit. He touched the lives of the Balzer Pisciotta family and he is someone that I will never forget. Very so much fondness for and gratitude to Spike.

  • “Congratulations on five decades and distinguished service!” 

    -Earl & Lisa Barnes ’86
  • “Thanks for all you do!” 

    -David H. Close & Gail Chapman Close ’76
  • “During my initial “visit” to the College with my parents, the first staff member I encountered was Spike….I was full of excitement beginning a new phase of my life and he was gracious and helpful as we met with him in his office.A wonderful person.” 

    -Patti Jo Stevens ’75
  • “Thank you for your dedication to LFC!” 

    -Andy & Mark Hertzberg ’72
  • “An inviting smile / From the prince of admissions / Eager acceptance  (this is my Spike-u tribute).” 

    -Ron Burian ’73

    -James Bellis ’76
  • “Forty years after showing up at LFC for my freshman year, I can look back with appreciation at how essential the college has been in my life, personally and professionally. While attending Lake Forest, I met professors who steered me towards a fulfilling career in education, and I also met wonderful friends and my wife Laurey.

    In 1975 I was admitted to LFC and discovered the foundations of my adult life, and Spike Gummere deserves my thanks for that and much more. I first met him when I was seventeen years old, and it is an honor to know him still as a mentor and as a friend.” 

    -Alden Mauck ’75
  • “I met Spike in a hotel in Massachusetts. I was attending Philips Andover and I was quite a loner. Spike managed to talk to me as if we’d been in one another’s lives for years. He really likes to listen, or at least is very skilled at sending that sense to the person he’s with. That interview, in that hotel (along with a generous scholarship) brought me to LFC. If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship, I never would’ve been able to afford college, as the youngest of seven children.” 

    -Erin O’Hearn ’95
  • Thank you so much for all you have done, and continue to do for the school!

  • “I will do everything in my power to be there for this celebration of Spike.  As a mentor, co-worker and constant face to LFC, Spike has held many roles in my life personally.  I look forward to the chance to connect with others who feel the very same.” 

    -Tim Smith ’00
  • “I first met Spike, when he made his annual stop with his father’s or grandfather’s battered briefcase at the high school in Needham, Massachusetts.  I had recently moved to Needham from Worcester to be near family. 

    Spike was Spike, so between him and a cousin of mine, who is LFC class of ’69, it was clear that to consider seriously any other college would mean that I was out of my mind. If I got in, I was matriculating. That was that.  End of story.  So, Spike  - with very honorable mention to Gordon White, who called my home to advise that I was admitted and pretty much had a free ride – was the one who opened the door to much of what is good that has happened to me since – wife and children excepted of course. 

    Melodramatic, probably. However also true. Call it the butterfly effect or whatever you want, but no Spike, no Lake Forest College. No Lake Forest College, no love of the visual arts (in particular Louis Sullivan, Franz Schulze), no love of history (especially English history, Dan LeManieu) – I am so grateful that two of the four best teachers I have had anywhere, including at a so-called elite law school, are here.  By the way the other two are Bob Steamer and Jack Sproat, may they rest in peace. 

    None of the self-confidence that working on The Stentor provided, especially through constant interaction with the President of the College, Eugene Hotchkiss, who patiently let its reporters try to match wits with him and always had time for an interview that usually would lead to yet another unflattering editorial. No Ruth Winter. No tickets to watch and listen to Georg Solti conduct the greatest symphony orchestra in the word. No tickets to the Lyric Opera and the chance to sit front and center for Wagner’s Ring Cycle. And on and on and on. 

    I’ll leave it with this – I have traveled a long way from a very tired  and dreary house in a very tired and dreary industrial city in central Massachusetts, and Spike without even knowing it, I suspect, (again with very honorable mention to Gordon) was the gatekeeper, who let me move from that gray world into one full of color.” 

    -David Olson ’75
  • “Thanks for all you have done for LFC.” 

    -Walter & Laurie Eschelbach ’72
  • “Cheers to 50 great years!!” 

    -Mary Ellen Holstein
  • “Spike is a treasure and I cannot imagine Lake Forest College without him.” 

    -Mary Peterson Colhoun ’75
  • “You’re the best Spike- Hope we can meet soon!!”

    Molly Porterfield ’83

  • “I have always been amazed at Spike’s ability to remember every face and every name - it’s a gift! He truly makes each individual feel special. I grew up in MA, and I can remember going to a local hotel for a Lake Forest College admissions night. Once you meet Spike, you think Lake Forest is where I want to be. The people are nice, they are welcoming, they smile, they’re fun, and someone like Spike makes a lasting impression. I left that meeting, and even my mother who was paranoid about me leaving the state, knew right then, that Lake Forest was where I would spend my next 4 years. I always enjoy a shout out from Spike when he’s in Boston, or when he’s making a quick call to remind me that I’ve forgotten to make a donation, or when he sends a personal (handwritten) note to say thank you. When you say someone goes above and beyond,  that’s Spike. He has passion about Lake Forest College and he has made a tremendous impact on so many of us - THANK YOU SPIKE!” 

    -Winni Chase Fuller ’96
  • “Spike, you rock! Thanks for all your service to LFC. All the best”

    Geoffrey Steadman ’84

  • “I do not have a specific Spike story. He has been a constant link of our class to LFC.  All of our teachers have retired or have passed; but there is Spike. Looks like he graduated LFC last year.” 

    -Mark Abrahams ’68
  • “Thank you for all that you do.” 

    -Brett C. Egner ’96
  • “Spike admitted me into Lake Forest College, twice! After my sophomore year the College “gave me some time off” to reassess my academic goals. I reapplied 2 years later. Spike met me at Logan Airport and we had a frank, heart to heart discussion about my past and my potential future. I left the “interview” with the realization I didn’t convince the College to re-admit me, I convinced myself. Spike personified LFC for me that day by showing compassion tempered with guidance. I wanted to succeed for myself and not let Spike down for taking a risk on me. Since finally graduating, I’ve worked in education for 23 years. Ironic isn’t it?! Thanks for the second chance Spike!.” 

    -Todd Wheelden ’02
  • Congratulations on your 50 years at LFC - you can’t retire- you’re too valuable & everyone looks forward to seeing you when they visit the campus!!

  • “My contact with Spike was a bit unorthodox. Most of the time I connected with him was when he was contained in a plexiglass enclosed cage, sitting on top the hockey rink, acting as a goal judge. Although his job was to be totally objective and to determine if a score occurred, when I scored or made a good pass, one could skate around the back of the net and look up and wink at Spike. He always winked back. Great irreplaceable man, friend and hockey fan.” 

    -Tony Guernsey Jr. ’70
  • “I might not have even gone to LFC if it weren’t for Spike, that and the financial aid, of course. But Chicago seemed a long way away from Denver, yet Spike made you feel like you would be right at home. How is it possible that he could remember so many names? When my daughter decided to go to Lake Forest for her College years, I had only been back once. Yet when we attended her orientation, Spike was there and remembered things from my years at the college that even I had forgotten. I always knew she would be in good hands, but knowing that Spike was still around, made it a little easier to let go and drive back to Colorado with a similar type of excitement as when I started my own experience there almost 40 years before. What a treasure LFC has had in Spike..” 

    -Jannelle Wilkins ’72
  • Thank you for everything you have contributed to LFC! I will never forget walking into my interview in the Bay Area in 2009 and meeting you - what a gift!

  • “It was my senior year and I don’t remember how I met Spike, but I do remember rapidly becoming friends. Soon I was babysitting for the Gummeres. When I couldn’t afford to go home for spring break, I babysat and got invited for dinner! Over the years Spike has kept me informed about his children and grandchildren. I made lifelong friends at Lake Forest, and I count Spike as one of them. He has been the constant when I attend alumni events or visit the campus. Always a smile and a hug, Spike represents the best of Lake Forest.” 

    -Ronnie Tobin ’69
  • “We love you Spike. See you in October.” 

    -Jaike & Shawn Williams ’77
You’ve read the story about how Spike has inspired students and alums for nearly 50 years. Now tell us your Spike story. 
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