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September 2017


Dear Abbot Pennings,

Why is there no 1974 yearbook?

Christi Hansen ’74


My dearest Christi,

Thank you for your most intriguing inquiry. How I love to peruse old yearbooks to help revive fond memories of yesteryear!

Indeed, our own yearbook here at St. Norbert College was first published 100 years ago and was known as “Des Peres.” It ceased publication in 1996, and until that date had missed just two years: 1946 and 1974. 

As I ponder those years, I recall them both to fall during tumultuous times, and I surmise the publication ceased due to reasons related to one war or another. In 1946, many of our students had just returned from World War II. In 1974, our community was not untouched by the upheaval in our own beloved country concerning issues related to the Vietnam War. My memory dims, but it is conceivable that our students found their resources and passions diverted elsewhere during those times.

To be sure, even the 1973 yearbook was a near miss. In the 1973 “Des Peres,” editors had pointed to a “campus-wide apathy and unwillingness to contribute time” as reasons for staff turnover, which brought production to a halt. Fortuitously, and with true Norbertine spirit exercised in the name of communio, some students persevered, calling for emergency meetings and pleading to more students to contribute. The new group of students, led by editor Dave Hornung ’75 and associate editor Jill (Klobucar) Logan ’76, successfully produced the 1973 yearbook despite having begun the endeavor more than six months late. 

While it is quite troubling that we do not have the aid of yearbooks to commemorate our campus life in 1946 and 1974, we can delight in the fact that all other “Des Peres” yearbooks are easily within our reach. It is my distinct pleasure to inform you, dear Christi, that archived St. Norbert College yearbooks are available for viewing through the College Archives & Special Collections at the Mulva Library. And, though I hardly understand this new-fangled technology myself, the first 10 issues are archived in a digital format, making them even easier for people to hark back to our early years as a college.

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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