|Kim Sullivan ’95
By Kim Sullivan ’95
Memories from a handful of the 3,000-some St. Norbert alums whose student love stories never came to an end
My husband, Matt Sullivan ’95, and I met at freshman orientation. A group of us were in the PAC gym playing volleyball and some guy kept hitting the ball to me. So, I figured either I was the weak spot on the team or he was interested. Turns out, it was some of both.
We started dating the fall of our freshman year and dated our entire four years ... almost. There was a period of about 72 hours our junior year where we “kind of” broke up. You see, I had this idea that maybe we should see other people for a while to confirm or deny what we had. Matt, unfortunately, was not of the same mind. When he walked out of my townhouse that evening, I thought it was over for good.
That same night I had a meeting over at Campus Ministry to help plan an upcoming retreat. I can tell you, I wasn’t much help. Before I knew it, I was crying in Fr. Jim Baraniak’s office. He told me to bring Matt in so we could all have a talk.
Matt and I both had great respect and affection for Fr. Jim.
We had known him for several years by that time. We thought of him as part of our extended family. He was, and is, funny, warm, approachable and dedicated to the students.
It was within this context of familiarity and understanding that we were able to talk with him and work things out. That meeting changed our lives forever. We didn’t break up. Our relationship grew stronger, and our faith with it. Fr. Jim presided over our wedding two years later. Five years after that we moved back “home” to De Pere, where Fr. Jim baptized our son and then later, our daughter.
So, yes, St. Norbert College holds a special place in our hearts. It brought us together and has kept us together.
And we are not alone. According to college records, there are 1,554 married St. Norbert alumni couples – that’s 3,108 of us.
It has been my honor and privilege to interview just a few of these people. Despite the 40-year difference in graduation years, there are threads of commonality that weave these couples together – a chance meeting in class, playing football, walking down by the river, enjoying a dance on campus. Come with me for a bit. Let’s enjoy some of their stories.
Clarice (Krawczyk) ’58 and Norm Jarock ’58
|In fall 1957, when Boots was Homecoming queen and Norm was “king of
football,” the Rev. Simon Becker, O.Praem, ’34 was chaplain to the
football team. He also ran the print shop on campus, so he made sure
the couple appeared on facing pages in the Homecoming game program.
Later, he would print their wedding invitations as his gift, and indeed
concelebrate the ceremony itself.
In the fall of 1958, Clarice (Krawczyk) Jarock ’58, better known as Boots, was voted Homecoming queen and Norm Jarock ’58, the football hero and record holder for rushing yards, was tagged the unofficial Homecoming king. When I interviewed them, Norm told me that Boots is still the queen.
After 51 years of marriage, they still adore one another. You can hear it in the way Boots talks about Norm’s accomplishments. She is sure to tell me he was named a Little All-America Football Team player, which got him an audience shot on the Ed Sullivan Show. She tells me he was the ninth player drafted by the Packers in 1958, only to have his football career cut short by an ankle injury during the Packers’ first major scrimmage that year. She proudly tells me of his three early promotions in the army. He retired at the rank of colonel.
At one point, when I express awe at Boots’ ability to pick up and move her family of seven to Korea, stay in a small apartment where she hand-carried the water and slept on the floor, and find a teaching job at a nearby international school, Norm raises an eyebrow and nods – his admission that, yes, Boots is an amazing woman.
One of Boots and Norm’s early encounters was in English class. Norm was reading from the poem “Sohrab and Rustum” by Matthew Arnold, and caught Boots’ attention with his deep voice.
Next day, Boots arrived early and purposely sat in the wrong seat so she could be next to Norm. The two of them sat next to each other for the remainder of the class. By the fall of their junior year, they were an item.
The place and the year they fell in love still hold special meaning for the couple. They had run across “Sohrab and Rustum” at an antique shop and purchased it in honor of the memory. They dusted off its cover for me to see. Since then, Norm and Boots have lived all over the world, only returning to De Pere in 1986 when Norm retired from the army.
When Norm and Boots began looking to move back to Wisconsin, Boots called up Abbott Pennings High School in De Pere to see if she could get David, their fourth child, on the waiting list. Boots gave the secretary her married name, Clarice Jarock. The secretary immediately asked, “Is this Boots?” Boots says: “I mean, after being gone all those years! It turned out that this woman’s brother went to St. Norbert with us.”
It’s that kind of small community atmosphere that has Norm and Boots glad to be back. They’ve got a lifetime pass to see all the college football games, they enjoy getting together with old classmates at Homecoming, they love the music theatre productions of Dudley Birder and, on warm summer nights, they still ride their bikes around campus.
Marty (Webb) ’77 and Tom Dwyer ’77
|The Dwyer family
Love at St. Norbert College has spanned the generations for the Dwyer family. It all started in 1974 when a young Tom Dwyer ’77 asked Marty (Webb) Dwyer ’77 to Homecoming. Now, 32 years of marriage and five children later, the family boasts two more St. Norbert College love stories; the most recent culminated in a November 2009 wedding.
Tom, a football player and founding member of JDL, and Marty, a cheerleader and founding member of CC Hams, got to know one another when Marty dated Tom’s roommate. Tom and Marty had been together for almost a year when Marty went abroad to study in Spain. Because phone calls were cost-prohibitive and near impossible to arrange, Tom and Marty exchanged letters and cassette tapes. The cassette tapes were a meaningful way for them to keep in touch, but Tom laughs when I ask if they’ve kept them. He says, “Oh, they’d probably be embarrassing to listen to now.” The time away helped them solidify their relationship and they married shortly after graduation in 1977.
Fast-forward 19 years and their eldest son, Tom Dwyer Jr. ’00, decides to attend St. Norbert. Their eldest daughter, Anne (Dwyer) Wohlford ’02, and their fourth child, Patrick Dwyer ’07, follows suit. Tom Jr. marries Amy (Aurit) Dwyer ’99 in August 2003 and Patrick marries Ellen (Hake) Dwyer ’07 in November 2009.
Pat says, “I think the fact that my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and now my wife and I have all met at SNC, and then later married, is a testament to the draw of the college!”
Kris (Priester) ’86 and Tom Schnell ’86
|Kris (Priester) ’86 and Tom Schnell ’86
Tom Schnell ’86 and Kris (Priester) Schnell ’86 didn’t start out romantically involved. They were friends their freshman year and wrote to each other the summer following. Their romance, they now realize, dates back to a “goofy” letter that Tom wrote to Kris during that summer.
When Kris’ mom read the letter, she was sure that Tom was interested. Kris’ response was, “Oh, Mother, he couldn’t possibly like me. We’re just friends.” Well, 22 years of marriage later, it turns out Mom was right.
When school began that next fall, Tom and Kris both had dates for a dance held upstairs in the Union. But by the end of the night, they dumped their dates and opted, instead, to take a walk down by the river. That night was the beginning of their relationship.
Tom proposed in May 1986 in Burke Hall, with the words, “What are you doing the next 75 years of your life?” They were married the following July, a year after graduation. Now they have three children. Their oldest, James Schnell ’12, is a sophomore at St. Norbert and a resident assistant in the same dorm where his father proposed marriage.
Karyn (Lange) ’93 and Tim Buerger ’92
Karyn (Lange) Buerger ’93 and Tim Buerger ’92 dated during Karyn’s freshmen year and then broke off their relationship over the summer. When they did see each other for the first time the following fall, they were in the cafeteria. Karyn recalls all of the details, even the fact that they were standing in front of the sandwich bar. She says, “He approached me and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s it – he’s the one.’”
Tim, an avid deer hunter, proposed on the opening day of deer season. He burst into Karyn’s residence, the St. Boniface building, early that morning dressed from head to toe in blaze orange, yelling, “You gotta see this buck I shot!” He piggybacked a barefoot Karyn out to his truck where, dangling from a necklace on a stuffed deer’s antler, was a diamond ring. The significance of his giving up opening day of the gun hunt season was not lost on Karyn. Since then, it’s only happened on one other occasion: the morning of the birth of their second daughter.
Karyn and Tim were married in July 1993.The last photograph in their wedding album shows all the alums who were in attendance – about 65 in all. Twelve of Karyn’s 14 roommates were able to celebrate with them. Of those “Boniface Girls,”’ five later had St. Norbert alumni weddings of their own: Bridget (Pape) ’93 to Tom Posta ’93; Jenny (Black) ’93 to Jim Beehler ’93; Sara (Mellish) ’93 to Matt Barry ’95; Bridget (Krage) ’93 to Jeff O’Connor ’93; and Kerry (Conroy) ’93 to Greg Sloyan ’94. Tim says, “You know, a lot of people say how crazy we were to get married so young, but I can tell you that I love her more today than I did back then.”
|Tera (Sampo) ’98 and Craig Stencel ’98
Tera (Sampo) ’98 and Craig Stencel ’98
Craig Stencel ’98 and Tera (Sampo) ’98 have long enjoyed close proximity to one another. It started their freshman year when Craig lived in Madelaine and Tera lived in Lorraine. To see each other, all they had to do was take a short walk across the first-floor lobby. It was so convenient; they opted to stay in Mad/Lor all four years. Now, 11 years after graduation, they find themselves back on campus just a hop, skip and a jump away from each other. Tera manages the registrar’s office and Craig is senior project manager for the Survey Center.
In college, Craig was an anthropology/geology double major and Tera was a sociology major. They often had class together and, for those classes, bought only one set of books. One of the classes was the course Tom Faase (Sociology) taught on Society, Sex and Marriage. Tera says, “I remember Dr. Faase thinking it was a hoot . . . that we had been together and then took this class together, and he just figured we were going to get married and this was kind of a guideline to get you there.”
Craig and Tera were married in September 2001, with the Rev. Jay Fostner, O.Praem., ’84 helping them celebrate. By that time, Craig had earned his master’s degree and, in 2000, fulfilled a long-term dream of working for the college. Tera joined him in 2003. Craig says, “Everybody on campus pretty much knows us and a lot of people knew us when we were students.”
They’ve almost overcome the hurdle of calling their former professors by their first names and are enjoying those relationships as they evolve. They love working at the place where they were once students. And there’s a bonus. As Craig says: “We look at it as though we’re kind of on the repayment program now. We’re getting our tuition back.”
Look here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current St. Norbert College Magazine (PDF).
Too 'Old School’ for our own good?
President Tom Kunkel challenges colleges and universities to embrace new ways of delivering higher education.
A new face in the cafe
Steve Pyne (Dining Services), who has Down syndrome, was profiled in this recent article in the student newspaper, the St. Norbert Times.
St. Norbert College Magazine dropped in on a rehearsal for this three-act operetta production, to be staged on campus.
More than a photo
A gallery of images from a trip that connected a child in Kenya with his sponsors in the United States.
A father’s love
Jeff Kratz ’92 offers a unique perspective on a father’s love.
Words from life
The poetry of Ken Zahorski (English, Emeritus) deals with fathers and sons, phases of life and familiar figures remembered across the years.
Gratzia Villarroel (Political Science) speaks with Dean Michael Marsden on international issues and educational opportunities.
Man of property
Joe Jones ’12 sits down with Mike Dauplaise ’84 to discuss an education in entrepreneurism and the launch of Jones’ third business. He is 21 years old.
Dick Bennett on Gary Grzesk
The basketball legend remembers his years presiding over the storied
defensive career of Grzesk, current coach to the Green Knight men.
Your ideas for future magazine stories are most welcome. Write to the editor with any suggestions or comments.
Request a subscription to bring
St. Norbert College Magazine to your inbox three times a year.