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Fall 2009 | Gateway to Learning

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Tom Kunkel
A special place. A special year.
President Thomas Kunkel

There’s nothing quite like the sensation of being a freshman on a college campus – that palpitating mixture of excitement, adventure, hope, cluelessness, anxiety and naked fear. It had been three-and-a-half decades since I’d experienced those feelings, but sure enough they all came flooding back last summer when I arrived for duty at St. Norbert College.

However, I am happy to report that, just as occurred back in 1973 when I was a new student navigating the University of Evansville, about halfway through freshman year an amazing thing happens. Your legs suddenly stop wobbling, your head stops pounding, your vision sharpens up – and you find you’re actually enjoying yourself.

And then … sophomore year! Is there a better feeling anywhere? Newbie no more, you actually know where all your classes are. Faces and names go together. You’ve figured out the best times to get to the cafeteria. You come back and find that you’re, well, home.

So it is that Deb and I are feeling quite at home as we plunge into our sophomore year at St. Norbert, and we again send out our thanks to all of you for the numberless ways you’ve reached out to us, from shopping tips to gifts of baked bread and homemade jam. That big support group includes you, our alums; our faculty and staff, who work so hard to make this campus the special place it is; the Norbertines, who are not only dedicated men of God but also faithful (not to mention colorful!) friends; and of course, our students, who are the reason we all come together in the first place.

Then there are our donors, to whom this issue is dedicated and whose names appear on the following pages. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And I certainly don’t want to overlook our trustees, who show their passion for St. Norbert College with their time, their counsel, their experience and, in so many cases, their treasure.

For the past six years, the trustees have been led by Patrick Kelly, a ’77 alum and internationally respected businessman. I have also found Pat to be an astute observer of the human condition and a bona fide force of nature. I’m quite fortunate to have had Pat as both a mentor and friend, and his wisdom made my freshman year infinitely easier. If you think a moment about everything that has occurred at St. Norbert since he took over, you begin to appreciate what his leadership has meant to us all. You can read more about Pat on page 5 of this issue, and when you see him please offer him a thanks of your own.

We are most fortunate that another veteran trustee, Bill Auriemma, also a ’77 alum, is following his friend Pat as our new chair. Bill, too, is a highly successful businessman and entrepreneur who somehow makes time in his demanding schedule for his alma mater. With Bill at the helm, more great things await us. Indeed, the trustees and the administration are privileged to build on the fine work of so many dedicated people who have served before us. Examples of their stewardship are evident everywhere you turn on campus.

We recently dedicated the wonderful new Miriam B. and James J. Mulva Library, and it already is a huge hit with students, faculty and the wider De Pere community. If you haven’t seen it, by all means come by, get some coffee at Ed’s Café, pull down a book and settle into one of the countless inviting reading spaces situated around the light-filled building.

Just down Third Street, Gries Hall is teeming with happy new students. Meanwhile, over at the old Todd Wehr library, workers are busy dramatically renovating that space for what will be its third campus incarnation. The renovation will be done in March, and among Todd Wehr Hall’s new features is our relocated bookstore. In addition to being more convenient for students, alums and visitors, the store will offer a broader array of products for purchase, making it easy for you to show your Green Knight pride.

Before long you’ll also be seeing progress on the new Donald Schneider Stadium and Athletics Complex. We’ve raised nearly $9 million in cash and pledges for the stadium so far. While we have several million more to raise, we remain optimistic about dedicating this wonderful new multi-use athletics complex in time for the fall 2010 football opener – it will be played against St. Thomas University.

Of course, equally important if less tangible developments are occurring all over campus. We are fully enrolled for fall, despite the still-wobbly economy. We are putting into place a challenging new Honors Program for our highest-achieving students. We are investing new rigor and challenges into our general education curriculum. And impressive new faculty already are settling into their classrooms.

So I can say with confidence that my sophomore year is going to be an exciting one. But don’t just take my word for it. Come back to campus and see for yourself!

Fall/Winter 2009 magazine

Web extrasLook here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current St. Norbert College Magazine (PDF).

Photo Gallery SNC Day
A gallery of images from the college's biggest-ever open house.

Video Miss Welnick at 103
The college’s oldest alum looks back on more than a century of memories.

Audio Hildegard of Bingen
A Center for Norbertine Studies symposium cast new light on the life of this influential medieval mystic.

Text Extra Game for learning
Paul Waelchli (Library) teaches information literacy through fantasy football.

Text Extra A legacy to celebrate
Meet three families whose ties to St. Norbert have endured across the generations.

Text Extra Adventures in Manila
Laurie MacDiarmid (English) and her daughter chronicle their semester in the Philippines.

Audio The “Twilight” phenomenon
Stephenie Meyers’ series is attracting scholarly attention from, among others, our own John Pennington (English).

Text Extra Keeping track
Jenny Scherer ’10 has been taking her insider’s view of varsity track and field to a national audience.

Photo Gallery The inside view
Gerry Diaz ’04 reports from his new job: covering the Green Bay Packers for

VideoFrom start to finish
The Mulva Library, now open, takes shape before your eyes in this time-lapse sequence of images.

Story ideas? Your ideas for future magazine stories are most welcome. Write to the editor with any suggestions or comments.

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