Alumnus Eager to Start Alumni Group in Chicago 

On an average day, Todd Rowden, ‘86 represents major financial institutions and businesses as the managing partner at the Chicago office of Thompson Coburn LLP.  Rowden still values the significance of his UM-Flint education and now wants to start a group in the Chicago region for UM-Flint alumni. “I think those four years at UM-Flint were the most formative of my adult life and I want to stay as connected as I can to UM-Flint,” says the Chicago lawyer.

Rowden was the first person in his family to graduate from college. Originally from Lapeer, MI, he commuted to school and worked various jobs throughout his college career, eventually working in a law office. “UM-Flint really opened doors for me,” he says.

Rowden majored in English, with minors in Political Science and Philosophy - not a bad combo for getting into law school. After graduating with honors and as a Maize and Blue Scholar, he went on to study law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

After getting his J.D. in 1989, he moved to Chicago where he has practiced law since. He specializes in banking and financial services litigation, as well as business litigation.

Rowden isn't the only UM-Flint alum who ended up in Chicago. An estimated 350 alumni now live in the Chicago area. “Chicago's a great place for Michiganders,” says Rowden. Noting the success of various alumni groups and clubs from other universities, Rowden is enthusiastic to begin a Chicago UM-Flint alumni group.

While there is a University of Michigan Club of Greater Chicago, Rowden thinks UM-Flint alumni merit an organized group. “UM-Flint alumni share some really interesting qualities,” says Rowden. He suggests that like him, many UM-Flint students needed to go to an affordable school that was close to home, while still benefiting from all a university has to offer. “Attending UM-Flint is a unique experience, and I want to connect with people who share that with me,” says Rowden

The Chicago UM-Flint alumni group will give alumni a chance to get together and network, as well as support the university. “A Chicago group will raise the profile of the University of Michigan – Flint, as well as give us an opportunity to get to know each other.” He notes that networking with alumni is simplified because “you instantly have something in common.” The group will also explore educational and philanthropic opportunities, as well as demonstrate to current and prospective students just what UM-Flint alumni have accomplished. “Chicago is a world-class city, and the accomplishments of our alumni across its industries will look pretty spectacular,” says Rowden.

As excited as Rowden is about the possibilities for the club, he knows he doesn't want to start it alone. To kick things of, Rowden will be hosting the first UM-Flint Chicago Alumni Meet and Greet at his law offices on June 12th from 5:30 to 7:00. His office is located on the 37th floor of 55 E. Monroe St, in Chicago.   “I plan to host a fun reception at my office so we can begin to network with other alumni in the region. I think our 37th floor office with a view of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park should be a great place to get to know one another,” he says.