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June 2011


Dear Abbot Pennings,

My daughter, Kellie Herson ’11, just graduated from St. Norbert. It seemed like a large class. How many students received their diplomas this year? Out of curiosity, how many students graduated in 1982?

Andrew Herson ’82


My dear Andrew,

I thank you most warmly for writing. First and foremost, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to you and to Kellie on her recent commencement. How wonderful it is when generations of families like yours follow in each other’s footsteps to attend our beloved institution!

Commencement is, in my humble opinion, the year’s most festive event. Seeing our graduates with their proud family members and friends amidst the glories of springtime on campus truly brings joy to my heart. 

Sunshine was prevalent at this year’s commencement, as were the myriad accomplishments of the Class of 2011. In total, 460 graduates received their diplomas on that lovely day. The Class of 1982, by contrast, comprised 341 graduates.

As these numbers suggest, the college has grown considerably in the last three decades, and even more so since its founding in 1898. That October, St. Norbert’s first four students – Francis Van Dyke, Anthony Vissers, Charles Savageau and William Marchant – began studying for the priesthood. I am grateful beyond words that the mission of our hallowed institution has expanded to embrace you, your daughter and thousands of others over the years.

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898.

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