The Alters have raised their family in Flagler County since 1992.
Dr. Dennis and Laurie Alter were recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Action Award from Florida Southern College. The award is presented to alumni who have excelled in their professions.
For the couple who graduated in 1980, their story began with an act of chivalry in English class.
Laurie McCain (later Alter) was unsuccessfully trying to find her English class on the first day. By the time she arrived at the chapel where the class was meeting all of the seats, except for one, were filled.
“There was one seat left but it was blocked by a large wooden cross,” she said. “Then this cute boy stands up, puts the cross over his shoulder, and drags it across the room. Then he moved the desk out and motioned me toward it.”
The two became friends and Laurie said in their sophomore year, he asked her out. The friendship blossomed, but Laurie wasn’t ready for a serious relationship.
“He was the smartest boy I knew,” she said. “When he wanted me to be his genetics class lab partner, I said ‘yes’ of course.”
As they began their senior year Dennis told Laurie he only wanted to go out with her – the couple were married in August 1980.
The couple has five children, Jonathan, Larissa, Taylor, Tess, and Joseph. Jonathan and Larissa are also Florida Southern alumni, and Joseph is in his junior year at the school.
Dr. Dennis Alter attended the University of South Florida, College of Medicine on an Air Force scholarship and was awarded “Outstanding Student in Orthopedic Surgery” upon graduation in 1984. After his internship at Andrews Air Force Base and Flight Surgery training in San Antonio, he served as Flight Surgeon at the Pentagon and was charged with medical support for the 89th Special Air Mission (Air Force One).
While her husband was getting his medical degree, Laurie Alter received her Master’s in Business Administration for the University of Southern Florida, and went to work for ECI Division of E Systems managing cost control in the production of AWACS surveillance aircraft electronic systems.
When the family began to grow, Laurie Alter stayed home with the children, but she wasn’t watching soap operas.
Joining officer’s military wives organizations she became involved with Barbara Bush’s literacy campaign, and was selected by Oscar de la Renta to represent the wives in a Washington, D.C. fundraiser fashion show.
The Alters moved to Flagler County in 1992 where Dr. Alter opened his medical practice and the two became involved in the community.
“He wanted to practice community medicine,” Laurie Alter said. “We both grew up in South Florida and wanted to come back.”