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September 2015


Dear Abbot Pennings,

Back in my days at SNC, freshmen wore beanies from the day they moved in up until Homecoming. Are there any freshman-year rituals today?

Rich Gausselin ’61


My dearest Rich,

You’ve set my mind adrift, returning to a time at St. Norbert College that differs very much from our current 21st-century experience! I do indeed fondly recall the green and gold beanies you reference.

It used to be the case that new students donned green and gold beanies every day from their arrival on campus until Homecoming. The week prior to Homecoming brought about other freshman clothing requirements and stunts. Oh, the memories! History shows that the times (and shenanigans!) have changed. However, there are several new ways that our first-year students find the warmest of welcomes to the college.  

It is through participation in our First Year Experience Program (FYE), that new students partake in our Week of Welcome events. The programming provided here affords our newest community members an opportunity to settle a bit more comfortably into life at St. Norbert. Small group activities, special entertainment, Convocation (coupled with fireworks) and our service day Into the Streets are just a few of the activities planned within the week.

The FYE program continues on through the first 10 weeks of class, with weekly small group meetings guided by an upper-class mentor and adviser. Times have changed for certain! Nonetheless, I’d be remiss to not share that it would tickle my fancy if I could but see our new students donned in beanies once again.  

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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