by Rhea Hirshman
Marian Kerr ’13 didn’t intend to go to her parents’ alma mater. “I wanted to forge my own path,” she says. “All my parents asked was that I not totally cross off Trinity from my college list.”
She didn’t. Instead, after visiting Trinity and more than a dozen other schools, she wound up applying early decision.
Now Marian, who works as a government affairs executive assistant for Peck Madigan Jones, is the vice president of the Trinity Club of Washington, D.C., joining her parents in helping to keep the city’s alumni network thriving.
Her parents, Stuart Kerr ’78, P’13 and Eleanor Wenner Kerr ’81, P’13—who met at a D.C. club event in 1982 and married a few years later—are longtime Trinity boosters and volunteers. Stuart, an attorney and the practice coordinator for Jones Day’s Africa Practice, has served as president of the D.C. club, been a member and vice president of the National Alumni Association Executive Committee, hosted Trinity faculty members for alumni events at his places of work, and served as Reunion co-chair. “Maybe most important,” Eleanor says, “Stuart hosts the D.C. club’s annual meeting and barbecue at the Potomac Boat Club”—an event that draws up to 100 alumni each year.
Eleanor, who is director of government affairs and policy for Siemens Healthineers, found her way into alumni activism after Marian entered Trinity and after reunions with fellow Pipes and other classmates. She and Stuart both note that when each first moved to D.C., they had an instant friend network. “When I came here,” Stuart says, “I ran into all sorts of Trinity people whom I had known only slightly or not at all. Once you are out in the world, you realize that you have more in common than you might have thought when you were in school. Meeting all these people I liked and respected motivated my involvement.”
Eleanor’s activities for Trinity combine her passions for career networking and mentoring. She has discussed her work in government affairs with juniors and seniors at D.C. events organized by Trinity’s Center for Student Success and Career Development, and she has counseled numerous Trinity students to help them find professional internships and government affairs jobs. “Now, when I attend Trinity Club events, I know more young alums than I do alums my own age,” she says.
Eleanor is an active member of the Trinity Women’s Leadership Council, which offers nationwide mentoring, career networking, and opportunities for strengthening connections among Trinity women both on and off campus. In recognition of her work, she was presented with the Kathleen O’Connor Boelhouwer ’85 Award by the NAA in 2016.
“Stuart and Eleanor Kerr have always been open and welcoming and will always step in to help,” says Lizey Korengold Bernstorf ’12, the D.C. club’s president, with whom Marian works closely to plan and run several club events each year. “And without Marian’s organizing and networking skills, my job would be a lot more difficult.”
Says Marian, “I grew up watching the club in action. Now, as an alum myself, I know the Trinity network means having people ready and willing to be your allies—it doesn’t matter if you are decades apart.”