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Tom Kunkel
A place where love abides
President Thomas Kunkel

I didn’t know my friend Susan Allen, editor of this fine publication, was such a romantic – until she told me about the theme of this issue. It deals with love, in all its incarnations. One particular aspect I might want to address, Susan added helpfully, is why there IS so much talk of love at St. Norbert College, and why I think it abounds here.

As usual she gives me too much credit, as in truth I’m hard-pressed to answer that question. The best I might do would be to say that, in my experience, what we extend to one another we receive in return. Trust begets trust. Talent draws talent. And where there is an environment of love, love flourishes.

I certainly believe that is the case at St. Norbert, where an atmosphere that began with our founder’s call to love one another has been cultivated in succeeding generations by our Norbertine patrons, and today is evident in everything from the emotion of a Common Prayer service to the wall-to-wall weddings that highlight every spring and summer at Old St. Joe’s.

However it came to be, that abiding sense of love is one of the things Deb and I have come to treasure about St. Norbert College.

Fact is, this time of year has always been special to us. On Feb. 21, we celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. (I am tempted to say that we were married when we were 13, but I’m told it’s unbecoming for a college president to fib, at least so blatantly.)

And on Feb. 14, our Valentine’s Day baby, Grace, turned 21. With all four daughters now officially adults, I suppose that means we are officially old.

As we like to remind her, Grace was a challenging pregnancy. About halfway through the usual incubation period she began showing signs of impatience, occasionally sending Deb to forced bed rest even as she was trying to keep up with three rambunctious girls under age 6. At seven and a half months, though, there was no stopping things. The doctors administered drugs to try to forestall a delivery, but to no avail.

Because of those drugs, however, a kind of slow-motion labor ensued. Deb and I watched the clock as it crawled past 9 p.m., then 10, then 11. But along about then, our perspective changed. We began to hope Grace would wait just a little longer, because if she stuck it out past midnight she would be born on Valentine’s Day. And so she did, arriving at 1 a.m. on Feb. 14.

After all the waiting, children are born – and then, as every parent knows, time simply races. You think back and the images flash in your mind’s eye like a quick-cut highlight reel. It’s First Communion and soccer, spelling bees and class pageants, first dates and clothing fights, proms, track meets, crying jags, college, Christmas gatherings, funerals.

And this year, engagements. As you may have heard, Grace’s three sisters are all marrying in a triple wedding ceremony this October. And Grace will be the maid of honor, cubed.

The wedding, by the way, will be at Old St. Joe’s – a most fitting venue, I think, for one more celebration of love.

Spring 2010 magazine

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

Text Extra Too 'Old School’ for our own good?
President Tom Kunkel challenges colleges and universities to embrace new ways of delivering higher education.

Text Extra A new face in the cafe
Steve Pyne (Dining Services), who has Down syndrome, was profiled in this recent article in the student newspaper, the St. Norbert Times.

Audio La Perichole
St. Norbert College Magazine dropped in on a rehearsal for this three-act operetta production, to be staged on campus.

Video More than a photo
A gallery of images from a trip that connected a child in Kenya with his sponsors in the United States.

Text Extra A father’s love
Jeff Kratz ’92 offers a unique perspective on a father’s love.

Audio Words from life
The poetry of Ken Zahorski (English, Emeritus) deals with fathers and sons, phases of life and familiar figures remembered across the years.

Video World view
Gratzia Villarroel (Political Science) speaks with Dean Michael Marsden on international issues and educational opportunities.

Audio Man of property
Joe Jones ’12 sits down with Mike Dauplaise ’84 to discuss an education in entrepreneurism and the launch of Jones’ third business. He is 21 years old.

Text Extra Dick Bennett on Gary Grzesk
The basketball legend remembers his years presiding over the storied defensive career of Grzesk, current coach to the Green Knight men.

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

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