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June 2012


Dear Abbot Pennings,

At this year’s Commencement, it was quite a sight to see all the faculty and even staff wearing a cap and gown along with me and my classmates. Has this always been the tradition at St. Norbert?

Samantha Schurhammer ’12


My dearest Samantha,

First and foremost, a hearty congratulations to you and to the entire Class of 2012! Commencement is without a doubt one of my favorite days of the year. It is with immense joy that I watch our remarkable students excitedly cross the stage to receive their diplomas, a small yet significant token of the completion of their academic journey.

With regard to your question, it was in 1927 that St. Norbert faculty and staff first donned cap and gown during Commencement ceremonies, a tradition upheld ever since. The photo below depicts that year’s graduating class, posed proudly before Boyle Hall. Perhaps you’ll see someone familiar in the front row wearing a white habit and the abbatial cape and cross.

1927 Graduates

Samantha, may your experiences and accomplishments at St. Norbert guide you in your future endeavors. I certainly hope that you and your fellow graduates will continue to frequent the campus. You may have become an alumna of the college, but you will always be a part of our college community – a community that knows no physical boundaries, connected as it is by an enduring spirit of communio.

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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