Lab hires new director for Alumni Relations & Development


Midway Staff

Coming from Lake Forest Academy, Robert J. Buckla joins the Laboratory Schools as the associate director of schools for alumni relations and development.

Chloe Alexander, Assistant Editor

Robert J. Buckla will join the Laboratory Schools as associate director of schools for alumni relations and development beginning Feb. 6, 2023.

Since 2017, Dr. Buckla has been vice president of advancement at Lake Forest Academy, where he secured more than $34 million in philanthropic investment and $23 million was added to the school’s endowment, according to an email to the Lab community from Laboratory Schools Director Tori Jueds sent Dec. 12.

In his 37-year career, Dr. Buckla has served on senior leadership of eight endowment campaigns, including raising $250 million at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He received a bachelor of arts from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s of education degree and doctorate from Vanderbilt University.

Lab’s alumni relations and development office works to foster and create philanthropic and volunteer opportunities at Lab to support teachers, students, ​​strategic priorities and programs. In the nationwide search for a new director, the search committee looked for someone who would work well with Lab and the department’s values.

“As always, we were also looking for someone with a deep appreciation for Lab’s mission and values,” Ms. Jueds wrote in an email to the Midway. “And the ability to lead this critical work with attention to scholarship, kindness, and honoring diversity. We found all of that and more in Rob Buckla.”