When SNC Comes to Your House
More than 1,000 miles away from campus, dozens of St. Norbert alumni take in a different kind of beauty on a cool autumn evening. As the sun sinks low against a picturesque golf course with a mountain view, they sip cocktails inside a stunning Colorado home and trade stories about their alma mater.
Their hosts are Carl Vogel ’79 and his wife, Carol, who happily agreed to welcome guests to their home for a “Tom’s Last Tango” farewell event. “I’ve been a fan of Tom’s for a long time,” says Vogel of President Tom Kunkel, who is visiting alumni and parents in cities near and far during the final year of his nine-year tenure. “I never liked to miss a good party when I was at St. Norbert, and that hasn’t changed much,” Vogel recalls with a smile. The Vogels opened their doors and provided food and beverages. SNC took care of the invitations and planned a brief program.
As a teenager from a small Wisconsin town, Vogel was drawn to St. Norbert by the opportunity to play baseball, but says he didn’t understand until later what a great educational opportunity he had been granted. SNC connections helped him climb early in his career and on to Arthur Anderson, first in Chicago, then Denver. He entered the cable television field just as it was erupting; helping build Dish Network, where he continues to serve as vice chairman.
“We would always want to help [St. Norbert College] in any way possible,” says Carol. “It’s the least we can do for what they’ve given us. Our success comes directly from St. Norbert.”
She and Carl worried about rainy weather in the hours leading up to the party, but Mother Nature delivered last-minute sunshine. Tom’s “tango” became extra festive thanks to south-of-the-border themed drinks and food – served alongside Kunkel’s signature favorites, Whopper malted milk balls and Diet Dr. Pepper. “It was relaxed and fun,” says Carl. “It was really interesting to see the diversity of the group,” Carol adds. “We had a few people in their 70s and a girl who was fresh out of college!”
Scott ’99 and Katie Burns ’99 attended the party and had a great night. “It’s totally different than having it at a bar or a restaurant,” says Scott. “It was casual but it was a really more intimate experience. Their house was spectacular. Carl and Carol are great hosts.”
The personal touch is the best part about hosting alumni events in people’s homes, according to Jessie Deschane ’10, SNC’s assistant director of alumni communities. “Everyone involved in the event has a tie to the college, which makes the setting even more special. We have to work with what we’ve got and get creative with seating, decorations, food and everything else.”
Vogel says he and Carol would host an encore “tango” in a heartbeat. “We’re thrilled to have Tom in our home,” says Vogel. “He’s done a spectacular job at the college. For us to be a small part of that where we can gather and honor him, it’s an honor to do it.”
Nov. 14, 2016