|@St. Norbert October 2008 - The inauguration of President Thomas Kunkel||St. Norbert College|
The inauguration of President Thomas Kunkel
The inauguration of a new college president is a major celebration for any college community, but it’s an event that carries significance far beyond the campus community. That’s one reason approximately 20,000 invitations were distributed for the Oct. 10 inauguration of Thomas Kunkel as the seventh president of St. Norbert College.
“It’s intrinsic to higher education that we have these huge celebrations for an inauguration,” says Amy Sorenson (Office of the President). “Presidents of other institutions have been invited, as well as representatives from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and other higher education organizations.
“Many of these people have never been here before. [The inauguration] serves as a great celebration of Tom’s presidency, but is also an opportunity to showcase the campus.”
Banners announcing the event will fly on the new De Pere bridge and along approaches to the college. “The Pursuit of Excellence” will be Kunkel’s theme for the opening of this new chapter in college history.
A new chapter in a long tradition
Friday’s inaugural events will round off this year’s Heritage Days. The annual weeklong celebration of the college’s roots makes a seemly setting for the opening of this, its latest chapter.
“Tom said, ‘This is a celebration, not a coronation,’ says Sorenson.” “We used that as a guide in our plans. We were able to piggyback on some of the [Heritage Days] events. It provided us an opportunity for a full week’s worth of programming.”
Sorenson served as a tri-chair for the inauguration with president’s cabinet members Bridget Krage O’Connor ’93 (Enrollment, Management and Communications) and the Rev. Jay Fostner, O.Praem., ’84 (Mission and Heritage). Nine subcommittees were formed to execute the extensive plans.
A Mass of Celebration at 1:30 p.m. at St. Norbert Abbey opens the ceremonies. Eight coach buses will be on hand to transport guests from campus to the abbey and back. The inaugural ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m. at Schuldes Sports Center.
In addition to students, staff and faculty, all alumni have been invited to the ceremonies. One of Kunkel’s initiatives is to connect with St. Norbert graduates.
“He has sent out e-mail blasts to alumni and has received a very good response,” says Sorenson. “It’s a nice personal touch, and people seem to appreciate him reaching out to them.”
To read more on the seven presidents in St. Norbert College’s 110-year history, visit the Mission and Heritage web site.