Class of 2008 graduate hopes to improve connectivity following pandemic
Mark Kraft-Strong ’08 has been giving back to his alma mater since graduation. Now, he’s helping out in a new way — as president of the Alma College Alumni Board.
Kraft-Strong, currently the vice president of the board, is set to step into the role after this year’s Homecoming event. As alumni board president, he said, he wants to rebound from a pandemic that took many opportunities for face-to-face interactions away.
“I’d like to bring back a sense of engagement and find that balance between in-person meetings and virtual,” Kraft-Strong said. “COVID-19 taught us that we can do many things virtually, but are we truly connected through screenshots on a PowerPoint? We have some new leadership in the Advancement Office who are bringing incredible energy to Alma, and I’m excited to work with them and explore some of these ideas.”
Kraft-Strong, a sociology major during his time at Alma, has previously served as an advisor for organizations on campus, a volunteer during athletic events and a mentor for students seeking employment.
The company he co-owns, Beyond Horizons Tour and Travel, has outfitted one of their buses with Alma College logos and wordmarks. The bus is frequently used by Scots athletic teams en route to away games.
“When those graphics hit that bus, it was one of the proudest moments of my professional career,” Kraft-Strong said. “When our teams hit the road at the different states they play in, all over the country, people are seeing and experiencing Alma College, big and bold, right in their face. Oftentimes, these are people who haven’t yet heard of Alma. So, it’s a great ice-breaker.”
Kraft-Strong said he actually started Beyond Horizons as a tour agency from his residence hall room at Alma College. It has since grown to become a full-service tour and travel agency, and motorcoach charter company with a fleet of 10 motorcoaches and two locations in Michigan.
Originally from Alpena, Kraft-Strong now lives in Alma — just a five-minute walk from campus, he said — with husband Brad.
“Alma did what they always said they would do — provide me with a quality education. Now it’s my time to do what Alma always taught me, which is to use that knowledge to give back. I want to make sure students in the future have wonderful opportunities,” Kraft-Strong said.