St. Norbert College commencement speaker, awards, area candidates for graduation

May 14, 2006

From St. Norbert College, May 2, 2006
by Mike Counter, mike.counter@snc.edu, (920) 403-3089

Gillian Wolfe, director of the education department of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, will deliver the commencement address at St. Norbert College on Sunday, May 14. The College will present two honorary doctorate degrees and the President's Medal at the ceremony. Commencement will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the St. Norbert College Schuldes Sports Center.

There are 470 students in the 2006 graduating class, including 432 candidates for baccalaureate degrees and 38 candidates for master's degrees.

Patrick J. Kelly, chair of the board of trustees, will authorize the conferring of the baccalaureate and master's degrees; St. Norbert College President William J. Hynes will award the degrees and diplomas with the assistance of Michael Marsden, dean of the college and academic vice president. The Rev. James B. Herring, O.Praem., prior of St. Norbert Abbey will deliver the commencement prayer and the Rev. Jay J. Fostner, O.Praem., vice president for mission and heritage will deliver the benediction.

Gillian Wolfe, the speaker, will be awarded the Honorary Doctor of Humane Arts degree. In 1984, Wolfe came to Dulwich Picture Gallery (England's oldest public art gallery, founded in 1811) and single-handedly designed a groundbreaking educational program that brought disadvantaged elementary students from London's inner city to the gallery. As head of education at the gallery, Mrs. Wolfe has worked tirelessly for life-changing possibilities for the socially excluded. By welcoming the visitors to the gallery and outfitting them with hand-held interactive computers, the gallery's collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century paintings have become accessible and relevant to youth of the twenty-first century.

A teacher by vocation and profession, Wolfe is also a freelance education consultant and has worked for government departments and private clients across the museum, heritage and education sector.

Wolfe has received 17 awards for bringing fine art into the lives of ordinary people and she is the author of several prize-winning art books for children. "My First Art Book," won the prestigious U.S. Parent's Choice Silver Award. "Look! Zoom in on Art," won the English Association's Award for the best children's non-fiction book. There is only one non-fiction annual award in Britain and this was the first time it was given to an art book.

Queen Elizabeth II has honored Mrs. Wolfe with the MBE (Member of the British Empire) and CBE (Commander of the British Empire) honors.

Edward A. and Sally H. Thompson will receive Honorary Doctor of Humane Laws degrees for their contributions to St. Norbert College. This degree is the highest distinction the college can bestow upon meritorious citizens.

Together the Thompsons have been interested in finding ways to involve the larger community on campus. Ed and Sally conceived and funded the Thompson Marina, located behind the Ray Van Den Heuvel Family Campus Center. It's home to not only the College's crew team and the many students who use the marina, but to the very popular summer concert music series Knights on the Fox, first envisioned by the Thompsons.

Ed and Sally are also long-time supporters of the Dudley Birder Chorale and Summer Music Theatre, and are members of the President's Club. The Thompsons conceived, and were the first to help fund, the smart classroom initiative at St. Norbert College.

Mr. Thompson is president of Thompson Management Associates, a business consulting firm that works with CEOs and divisional executives to improve strategic planning, cost management, work system design and change management.

Mrs. Thompson taught grade school in California, Georgia and New Jersey. In Green Bay, she served as the president of the
Green Bay Service League and on the Heritage Hill Foundation. She also gives of her time and wisdom to the Boys and Girls Club, Youth Soccer, YMCA, Langlade School organizations and the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra.

The Thompsons raised three sons and now have eight grandchildren.

The President's Medal will be awarded to Linda L. Clay, a career counselor at St. Norbert College, in recognition of her outstanding service to the St. Norbert community and to the people of Zambia, Africa.

Clay came to St. Norbert in 1979 as director of career planning and placement and, in 1980, started work as an instructor in the Teacher Education Program.

Under Clay's leadership, career planning and placement was renamed career services, and a number of new programs were initiated that reflected a change in focus from job placement for seniors to services for all students. The shift in emphasis included the highly successful networking program that linked St. Norbert alumni in the Midwest with students exploring career options. Innovations under Clay's leadership were recognized and sometimes borrowed by her professional peers.

In 1999, Clay moved from career services to the counseling center, where she focused on assisting students uncertain about their goals, or struggling with academic achievement.

Clay also established the Zambia Project at St. Norbert College. The Zambia Project works with young students of the Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) in the capital city of Lusaka.

Since 2002, Clay has returned to Lusaka and ZOCS several times bringing with her St. Norbert student volunteers who come to learn and to help. In the last five years, St. Norbert Zambia Project volunteers have raised more than $120,000 for supplies, textbooks and other education-related materials and projects. Many students have worked long hours with Linda to raise funds, with every dollar going to the Zambia Open Community Schools.

The student speaker is Kurt Paul Krippendorf, of Plymouth, Wis., who will graduate with Bachelor of Science degrees in both philosophy and political science.

During his time at St. Norbert College, Krippendorf served as the vice president of the Student Government Association, was a First Year Experience mentor for new students and served as a student alumni ambassador for the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations. He has been a member of the Leadership Advisory Board, the Senior Gift Committee and the Student Life Committee.

Krippendorf also represented his fellow students on the Student Life Committee of the board of trustees. In addition to working in the Campus Center as a building manager, he also volunteered in the after-school tutoring program at West De Pere Middle School.

After graduation, Kurt plans on attending law school. He desires to practice international law in an effort to assist people in all countries build a better future.

The national anthem will be sung by graduating senior Matthew D. Kimmeth, of De Pere. At the close of the ceremony, the entire audience will join in singing the St. Norbert College "Alma Mater" with graduating senior Jeremiah J. Eis, of Manitowoc, Wis., serving as honor conductor.

St. Norbert College is a Catholic, Norbertine liberal arts college known for its academic excellence, focus on international awareness, and leadership and service opportunities. Founded in 1898 by Fr. Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., a Norbertine priest, St. Norbert College provides an education that is academically, personally and spiritually challenging. U.S. News & World Report's guide to "America's Best Colleges," listed St. Norbert College as No. 4 in the Midwest.