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Fallon family

Pat ’77, Jim ’74, Nancy ’79 and John Fallon ’72

August 2009

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It’s a family thing

When Nancy (Fallon) Tazioli ’79 took her first trip to St. Norbert College at age 11, she had no idea how many times she would end up traveling the same road as visitor, student and, later, with her husband, Lou Tazioli ’79, her daughters and other members of the Fallon and Tazioli families.

In fact, three of the four Fallon children fell in love on campus. Nancy met Lou, her husband of 28 years, through her brother Patrick ’77. When Nancy was first introduced to Lou, he was a fraternity pledge for Sigma Nu Chi, Pat’s fraternity. John ’72 is married to Diane (Leszczynski) Fallon ’72 and Jim ’74 is married to Joanne (Doody) Fallon ’74.

Legacy families like Nancy’s will be honored at Family Weekend this year. Members of any legacy family who will be on campus for the Sept. 18-20 event will be invited to a special legacy brunch with President Tom Kunkel.

The legacy begins
It was in the fall of 1968 when Nancy Fallon, her three brothers, John, Jim and Patrick, and their parents made the journey from the northwest side of Chicago to De Pere, Wisconsin. The family was dropping John off for his first year at St. Norbert and Nancy remembers it being a new experience for the whole family, including her parents, who had not themselves attended college. “I remember each of us saying our goodbyes as if John was going off to war. Being the only girl, I cried all the way home, thinking nothing would ever be the same for our family,” remembers Nancy.

She was to become accustomed to the college experience, though. Two years later, Jim followed John to St. Norbert; three years later, Pat entered the college; and, two years after that, Nancy herself enrolled as a student.

Nancy credits this St. Norbert pattern in part to Family Weekend, which made her and her brothers very comfortable on campus early on. Having another family member on campus and six or more neighborhood friends there, as well, also relieved her anxiety about being away from home.
As a student on campus Nancy was pegged as “another Fallon.” She remembers having great fun with her brother Pat, who kept an eye on her but allowed her to do her own thing, too. Pat was especially pleased to have Nancy on campus when they landed in the same class together. “Pat loved that I was a great notetaker and a regular class attendee,” says Nancy.

When the time came for the oldest of Lou and Nancy’s six children, Lauren ’08, to begin her college search, the Taziolis encouraged her to look at many schools. And, at first, she was resistant to the idea of becoming a student at her parents’ alma mater. When she visited the campus with a friend’s family, though, her plans quickly changed. “I was determined to go to a different school and go my own path. However, once I visited SNC I knew it was the right fit for me,” says Lauren.

Lauren and her parents returned to St. Norbert one last time before making a final decision. While the family was there, Lauren shadowed a student and Nancy and Lou walked around the campus reminiscing. The two were shocked when Dick Rankin ’65, the vice president of student life at the time, recognized them strolling through Main Hall.

“We couldn’t possibly look the same as we did 25 years ago, yet we were greeted as if we had just left,” remembers Nancy. “It was then that we decided Lauren was making a great decision.”

Cara ’11, the second of the Tazioli children, is currently enrolled at St. Norbert. Neither her parents nor her sister pressured her to enroll but, “listening to their experiences over the years did influence my choice,” says Cara. “There’s a bond between all those who have attended St. Norbert. All ages of alumni are proud to have attended.”

Cara, who’s studying business and English and plays on the women’s soccer team, is not looking forward to having to leave when she graduates in two years. But she says, “I’m grateful to be returning home to a family that continues to make St. Norbert an important part of their life.”

For Nancy, it is the people who keep her and her family coming back.  For the Fallon and Tazioli families, “St. Norbert College is a road well traveled,” she says.

A family tradition
Julie (Gonnering) Schwehr ’96 began the St. Norbert tradition for the Gonnering family when she enrolled as a student in 1992 after graduating from Xavier High School in Appleton. For Julie, it was important that she continued her education in a Catholic school system that wasn’t very far from home.

The small school atmosphere appealed to the rest of the family and eventually Matthew Gonnering ’98, Sarah (Gonnering) Voss ’05 and Rachel ’06 followed suit.

“There was never pressure to attend St. Norbert College from my family,” says Rachel, the youngest of the Gonnerings. “St. Norbert, to me, was ideal. I had the perfect mix of social involvement, leadership experience and challenging academics.”
Connie, the mother of the four, was thrilled when each of her children independently decided on the college. The working relationships the students formed with their professors was something that particularly impressed her.

The Gonnering family is already grooming the next generation. Connie hopes that her grandson, Hunter Schwehr, the son of Julie and Troy Schwehr ’96, will be a future Knight. “He’s 10 and we’re working on him next,” says Connie.

Do you have a legacy story of your own? Contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at We'd love to hear from you.

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