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July 2017


Dear Abbot Pennings,

Exactly how many students have graduated from St. Norbert College? Do most of them still live in the area?

Zach Krysiak ’20


Dearest Zach,

Your question is a most interesting one, and I must confess my surprise that it has never been asked of me before now – indeed, that I have not yet even posed it to myself!

Our beloved college has grown to such a size that we have systems in place to store such useful, ahem, data. Yes, “data” would be the word currently in use it seems to me.

A brief consultation with my friends in our advancement services department yielded much insight. I was quite taken aback by the extent of the impact today of that little college that we founded so long ago. I wonder if you are equally astonished. Would you believe that a total of 23,274 have received undergraduate degrees from our cherished institution over the course of 119 years? Every one of those names is dear to me, but what an extraordinary thing it was to encounter them in the mass, as it were!

Of the aforementioned total, 20,880 of our alumni are still living. The highest concentration of them do live in the Midwest (85.7 percent). The southern United States is home to 6.5 percent; the West, 5.8 percent; the Northeast, 2 percent. And let us not forget to acknowledge those living outside of the United States – a number currently less than 1 percent, but sure to grow. Of our Midwestern Green Knights, 68 percent live in Wisconsin, 21.5 percent in Illinois, 5 percent in Minnesota and 2.1 percent in Michigan. 

Thank you kindly for asking this most interesting question, Zach. The answers were instructive, and have set me thinking once more upon the wonderful fruits that are borne by the trees that grow from even the tiniest of the seeds we sow.

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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