Commencement speaker’s Mizzou ties run deep
If there were a competition for Mr. Mizzou among alumni, Craig Lalumandier would have to be on a shortlist of finalists. Consider:
- He earned bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from MU in 1989.
- He helped reinvigorate the Mizzou Alumni Association’s St. Louis Chapter and became president of the national MAA.
- He and his wife, Cheryl, have been football season ticket holders for more than 25 years and funded an endowment honoring Cheryl’s father, Alfred Horn.
- He actively connects St. Louis area high school students with Mizzou through MAA.
- He has a brick on the Legacy Walk and a paver on Traditions Plaza.
So when he was asked to come home to Mizzou to give a commencement address for Mizzou Engineering, Lalumandier didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“It’s a privilege, and it’s humbling that they would consider including me,” said Lalumandier, now Group Vice President of Information Technology for Charter Communications, Inc. “It’s an incredible honor to have the opportunity.”
When he graduated 30 years ago, Lalumandier said he was just like many of the students who will graduate this year. He had a short-term plan for what he wanted to do, but never thought he’d hold a corporate leadership position.
“Some folks probably understand and know what they’re going to do next or even near-term,” he explained. “Other individuals may not.
“I spent four years on something I thought was interesting, then I found something more enticing to me. It’s not just the first couple of years. We all have an idea of what we want to be. The definition of success is what we want it to be. You never know what opportunities may arise for each of us.”
That mindset took Lalumandier from the world of consulting to Charter and on up the ladder to a key leadership position in the Information Technology organization. Throughout his journey, he found tremendous value in the technical skills he learned at Mizzou as well as the interpersonal skills, which Mizzou Engineering continues to foster through student organizations, undergraduate research opportunities and the MU Engineering Leadership, Engagement and Career Development Academy.
“What we build over time is a portfolio of skills,” he said. “You will be learning always. We are always continuing to develop ourselves. Those different skills are extremely important as we advance in our careers”
Regardless of how graduates put their expertise to use, Lalumandier believes that engineering will continue to be critical for the growth and benefit of our state, our nation and our world.
“Engineering has always been foundational in our ability to innovate,” he explained. “We as a country have to continually innovate to stay ahead, and the pace of change is only going to increase. … Growing the amount of talent we have in this country is going to be critical with our ability to lead the rest of the world.”