“I received a great liberal arts education that prepared me well for graduate school and my career,” he said.
Rak, who recently retired from Wachusett Counseling Associates in Leominster, Mass., spent nearly 30 years as a psychotherapist. He specialized in group therapy with sexual offenders and has treated offenders at every income and education level, including physicians, attorneys and other professionals. He also has provided mental health services to prisoners.
Upon graduating from UNH with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, he moved to Cape Cod and started his career, focusing on the treatment of children. Later he worked with adolescents at the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and the Herbert Lipton Health Center. At the Madonna Hall School for Girls, he counseled troubled young women.
While the work was very challenging, Rak said, “It was rewarding to help them get through tough times,” he said.
He then went on to work at Fitchburg State University, where he was an advisor for students who came from difficult home situations but showed promise academically. Along the way, he obtained a master’s degree in counseling from Fitchburg State.
As a student at UNH, Rak was involved in the football club, which went on to become UNH’s varsity football team, a squad that has developed into a perennial power in the Northeast. He was back in the stands for Homecoming last year, cheering on the Chargers as they defeated crosstown rival Southern Connecticut State University.
Looking back, Rak said it was the close-knit campus community that attracted him to UNH. “I was able to develop personal relationships with several of my professors,” he remembered. “Small schools are a great place to go because everyone knows you.”
Today, Rak lives in South Dennis, Mass. with his wife, Louise. They have a daughter, Emily, who is a senior project coordinator at Child Obesity 180, an initiative at Tufts dedicated to improving the health of children, and a son, Elijah, who is a certified preservation carpenter working in the Boston area.