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Message from the President: New York State of Mind

March 26, 2012

To our alumni friends:

Right here in De Pere, Wisconsin – 800 miles from the Empire State Building – we were pretty much in a "New York state of mind" recently.

As you probably know by now, the men’s hockey team went back to Lake Placid, N.Y., and the "Miracle on Ice" Olympic rink to skate off with its third Division III national championship in five years. The team dispatched Oswego State 4-1 to win the title on Saturday, March 17, one day after beating longtime rival Norwich. For some of us, the latter game was particularly sweet, because the last time these two teams played on that same sheet, in 2010, Norwich won the national championship deep into a second overtime against the Green Knights.

By now, of course, no can be surprised when St. Norbert winds up in the Frozen Four. But even Coach Tim Coghlin was startled by the accomplishments of this year’s team, having lost to graduation nearly half the young men from his championship squad from last year. As a rebuilding team will, the Knights got off to a relatively rocky start this season. But then did they ever figure it out!

Freshman goalie David Jacobson was a wonder to see – doing his best Martin Brodeur imitation, holding the opponents to just four total goals in his last six starts, all of which happened to be high-pressure, win-or-die tournament games. And speaking of performing under pressure, junior forward Cody Keefer scored a hat trick with three goals in the championship game. That topped his memorable performance in the 2011 final, when he scored two. Talk about knowing when to rise to the occasion!

Quite by coincidence, that following Monday in midtown Manhattan, three dozen of our young men and women found themselves on the stage of the most hallowed concert venue in America, Carnegie Hall. The St. Norbert students – members of our talented men’s and women’s choruses and chamber singers – were part of a massed choir that performed John Rutter’s "Magnificat," under the direction of the composer himself.

It was by all accounts a beautiful and thrilling evening for the students and their faculty mentors, Drs. Sara Parks and Michael Rosewall, who prepared them for the concert and accompanied them to New York for the performance.

We’ve been bragging about all these young men and women for the past week. They’re back at home now – but if I listen hard enough I think I can hear Billy Joel playing in the background ...