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Meet a Badger: Lori (Battista) LaFond and Michael LaFond

What are your hometowns?
Lori is from Madison and went to high school at Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart – just 4 blocks from Camp Randall.
Mike is from Tomahawk in northern Wisconsin.

Which years did you attend UW?
Lori: Fall of 1995 – Summer 1999
Mike: Fall 1994 – Fall 1998

What was your major and what degree did you obtain?
Lori - BA in Psychology with a certificate in Woman’s Studies
MS in Educational Psychology & Counseling – UW Milwaukee ‘01
Mike - BS in Chemistry
JD from Marquette University Law School – ‘02

Describe your current job and career path?
Lori is a Professional School Counselor and is currently working as a Middle School Counselor with Peoria Public Schools. She has worked in several different public and private schools, as well as in juvenile justice counseling and with non-profit social service agencies.
Mike is an Attorney and works as the Director of Claims Legal for Pekin Insurance Company. He has worked both in the public and private sectors, and was an Adjunct Professor of Business Law at Carroll University for more than 10 years.

What is your favorite Badger memory?
Lori & Mike – Homecoming was always a great time. Every year we remember the float building (which Mike’s fraternity Alpha Delta Phi was particularly impressive at), walking in the parade, all of the events leading up to the big game and the game itself. We continued the homecoming tradition with our kids. Every year while we lived in Madison we went to the parade, even the year that our son was only 4 days old. In 2016, our daughter Nadia was recognized for her philanthropic efforts by being chosen to be the UW Homecoming Mini Queen. We got to ride with her in the parade, attend the game at Camp Randall and go out on the field at half time when she was introduced to the crowd. We watched her stand arm in arm with the rest of the honorees and sing “Varsity.” For two Badger alums, the joy and pride was indescribable!

How would you describe your education from UW?
Lori – Having grown up in Madison, I took for granted how AMAZING the UW was until I was a student there. There are so many things to do and enjoy in Madison and the UW is the epicenter of that. Athletics, arts and restaurants…. everything downtown has a pulse that you get to be a part of everyday. I am very grateful I was able to spend 4 years there. I loved living on Langdon Street as a member of the Tri Delta sorority. Academically, I am glad I was able to take a variety of classes and explore different venues. A music history class with Professor Leckrone sticks out as a personal favorite. Being a research aide in the Psychology Department is an invaluable experience I am also very grateful for.

What would you tell prospective students?
The UW is an amazing place to go to school. There are schools that are outstanding and cities that are fun places in which to live…. the University of Wisconsin–Madison is BOTH! The only complaint would be the cold and snow. January and February are TOUGH. But the rest of the year more than compensates! NOTHING beats summer in Madison!

What is your involvement with our alum chapter?
We are new to the Heart of Illinois community and the WAA: HOI Alumni Chapter is proving to be a great way to connect with people. We are also HUGE Badger sports fans, so having fellow fans to watch games with is a lot of fun!

What is a fun fact which people may not know about you?
We are avid water-skiers. Most people don’t know it, but there are more water ski show teams in Wisconsin than anywhere else in the US. Mike grew up waterskiing in northern Wisconsin and has skied with teams in Madison, Tomahawk, Muskego, La Crosse and Moline, IL. Our daughter began skiing at the age of 4 and competing at 7. Our 8-year old son Derek began skiing at age 6 and now loves to barefoot and wakeboard. Mike and Nadia are both members of the Backwater Gamblers Show Ski Team and have competed many times at the National Water Ski Tournament. We spend as much of our summer as possible in our boat and feel very blessed to enjoy it as much as we do.