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In a Class by Himself

This year for the first time, an alumni presenter will be among those taking part in Alumni College. C.J. Hribal ’79, author and Marquette University professor, will offer a lecture on the art of mystery in fiction.

Hribal joins St. Norbert professors (some of them SNC alums, too!) on the faculty of the annual event that draws alums back to campus for a weekend opportunity to reconnect with their student selves – as well as with classmates and favorite professors.

This year, the curriculum of one-hour classes offered April 4-5 includes Howard Ebert ’74 (Religious Studies) on “God and Suffering: Contemporary Perspectives”; the Rev. Jim Neilson, O.Praem., ’88 (Art) on “Art and Essential Identity”; Alexa Trumpy (Sociology) on “Everything Isn’t as It Seems: How Common Sense Fools Us”; and much more.

Lifelong learners
Lunch with President Tom Kunkel, dinner and a culinary demonstration with Chef Dan Froelich (Dining Services) plus a campus tour round out the two-day event.

John Richter ’62
and his wife Sharon (a University of Illinois grad) have attended all but one Alumni College since the program’s inception. John says the event gives them an opportunity to revisit their college experiences; get a taste of what college life is like today; and rub shoulders with SNC leaders, faculty, parents and fellow alums:

“The selection of classes is difficult,” he says. “There are so many interesting and impressive options. In the eight years we have attended, we have received a taste of music, history, literature, science – as well as international, business, religious and social topics, many of which we did not have the opportunity or interest to take in our college days.

“The presentations have been overwhelmingly stimulating and relevant. The warm, friendly reception we have received during the classes, meals and social functions is what keeps us coming back.”

Joyce Calderon ’65 is another regular. She says Alumni College is one of the best kept secrets in the area: “It's so much fun to reconnect with other alumni – there’s a great feeling of commeraderie. The classes are incredible. And it's so pleasant to just sit back and learn without worrying about taking a test! Everybody gets a passing grade in alumni college. The social aspect is also so pleasant ... a warm reception the night before, delicious food and usually a luncheon speaker, entertainment or both.”

Hribal attraction
As a student at St. Norbert College, Hribal and his classmates learned from Bob Boyer and Ken Zahorski (English, Emeriti) that the purpose of all literature was “escape and recovery.” (“Escape: an opportunity to leave our lives so that we could momentarily enter into someone else’s. Recovery: a coming back into your own life afterwards, bearing back with you some elemental truth about how to live the life you actually have. Literature does this through mystery.”)

At Alumni College, Hribal in his turn will take “Please Release Me: The Art of Mystery in Fiction” as the topic of his lecture. He’ll take a look at how writers create mystery in fiction, paradoxically often by giving away up front what lesser writers try to keep hidden until the end.

Feb. 4, 2014