Message from the President: SNC Day 2010

Sept. 21, 2010 

To our alumni friends,

We were nervous about Saturday morning's gloom and a bit of spitting rain. But about 11 o'clock the sun poked through the overcast, and before long it was the kind of glorious fall afternoon that we Wisconsinites like to brag about – perfect weather, in fact, for our second annual campus open house, SNC Day.

I strolled the grounds to take it all in. Out at the Campus Center, the popular local band Big Mouth was drawing a crowd, and families were lining up for Fox River boat rides. Behind the Bemis Center, international folk troupes and bands were big draws, too – or maybe it was the free baklava. The campus bookstore in Todd Wehr Hall was standing-room only. In the library, kids were listening to stories in one room, while in another their parents were getting in touch with their inner "gamer." To the north of Main Hall, youngsters were twirling hulahoops, while to the south the face-painting booth was running at full capacity. In classrooms around campus, St. Norbert faculty held forth on topics ranging from contemporary art to Dante's "Divine Comedy" to the meanings of freedom. 

The trolley to Schneider Stadium was packed all day long as folks went down to check out our beautiful new sports facility, including kids doing "grass angels" on the 50-yard line.

And Chef Dan Froelich's hamburgers were flying off the grill.

We started SNC Day in 2009 as a way to thank the wider community for its century-long support of St. Norbert College – and as a way to invite them onto campus. We were especially keen to attract families and children. Indeed, thousands of people pass our campus every day, but many of them never take the opportunity to stop and spend some time. Some may not even think they can.

SNC Day shows them otherwise, with a big dash of fun. In just two years, it's already become a combination of family reunion, picnic, community social and dance party. 

And most of all it was a big hit. Because there is no admission charge and folks were flooding onto the campus from all directions all day long, there's no way to know with certainty what our attendance was. But based on food sales and some other indicators, it appears as many as 10,000 people were there enjoying everything we had to offer.

By the way, here's a link to an online photo gallery from Saturday: http://bit.ly/a176yo.

Of course, many of the folks who came for SNC Day were you, our alums, and we hope you enjoyed coming back to campus and being reminded of how beautiful it is, and how varied the talents of our faculty, staff and students.

It's also a reminder that a core St. Norbert value is community – that we are not an institution in isolation, but part of the wider community that is Northeast Wisconsin.

I want to thank my chief of staff, Amy Sorenson, who led so many of our creative employees in the SNC Day steering committee. I also want to thank our friends with De Pere's municipal government and the De Pere Area Chamber of Commerce, who again worked with us to celebrate in conjunction with De Pere Fall Fest. Then there are the dozens of non-employee volunteers who worked so hard, perhaps most conspicuously our friends who offered their boats (and driving skills) for the incredibly popular Fox River cruises.

Most of all, we want to thank our major sponsors: Baylake Bank; Camera Corner/ Connecting Point; Ryan Funeral Home and Crematory; the Green Bay Press-Gazette; Cellcom/Nsight; the Oneida Nation; H.J. Martin and Son; A Sound Mind Psychiatric; Lamers Bus Lines; Independent Printing; and Titletown Brewing Co. Their enthusiastic support quite literally made the day possible.

Once we catch our collective breath, we'll be reviewing the day to see how we can continue to improve the experience. But be sure we're already planning an even bigger – and better – SNC Day in 2011!

Tom