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Happy 50th Birthday to Us!

Knightlife MagazineHalf a century on, a lot of things have changed. In the 50 years since St. Norbert launched its first college magazine, the alumni world has gone from black and white to color; hot metal has gone to offset lithography; Knight Life has grown from its original 12 pages to its current standard 36. Your magazine has changed its name once, its format three times and its design at least seven times.

Its mission, though, remains the same. It has always been this: to connect alumni friends with the college they once called home. The mix of content is essentially unchanged, too. Since the very first issue, there’s always been news of faculty research; new developments in technology (“the IBM 1130!”); fundraising, facilities, athletics; a nascent calendar of events; and, of course, a busy section of alumni notes.

Revisiting the May 1967 issue even reintroduces us to old friends in their younger selves: Dudley Birder (Music Theatre), for instance, whose 90th birthday is celebrated in this current issue gets a mention on page 9 of the May 1967 issue – “cited by the De Pere Chamber of Commerce for his cultural contributions to the community.” Fondly remembered campus figures appear in the 50-year old pages, too, among them Neil Webb, newly named as the college’s first administrative vice president. (He would become president of the college six years later). And, people like Bill Bohné (Art) (whose sculpture in wood was shown in the 53rd Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors show, page 7); Mel Nicks (honored on page 8 as Man of the Year by the Wisconsin Catholic Interscholastic Athletic Association); and the Rev. Anselm Keefe, O.Praem., Class of 1916 (whose collection of more than 13,000 plant specimens is the subject of an article on page 10 – and more recently, was celebrated in our Summer 2015 Issue).

The name change from Knight Life to St. Norbert College Magazine would come in 2002, when the periodical committed to four-times-per-year publication, 32 pages and something close to its current format – with news of the college in front, a slate of features in the middle and alumni news in the back. But issue and volume numbering have continued essentially unbroken to the present day, which is why we can say as we deliver this latest issue, Happy Birthday to us!

Back in the day
We had fun digging in our first issue. We found people we knew, and people we wish we had known:

Alumni 50 Years Ago
Alumni Notes has run consistently since the first issue of this magazine. In May 1967, we included word on alums stationed in Vietnam (Col. Kenneth Simmett ’41Capt. Norman Jarock ’58, Lt. Robert O’Brien ’64, 1st Lt. Robert Roix ’64, 1st Lt. William O’Connor ’65, Lt. Alan Skaleck ’66, Jack Francis ’67) and with the then six-year-old Peace Corps (James ’63 and Lynne Luicia ’61 Poprocki in Micronesia and Roger Burbach ’65 in Peru.) The issue noted changes of address from alums with years of graduation dating back as far as the early years of the 20th century (William Sanders ’14); and news of some other old friends: the Rev. Rowland De Peaux, O.Praem., ’48, recovering after a car accident, and college trustee George Hartman ’64, sharing his Connecticut and Wisconsin addresses.

We found out more about our origins:

Naming Rights
“The public relations committee of St. Norbert College has chosen Knight Life as the name of the new magazine which is received by alumni, parents and friends of the college. Two alumni, Reverend Simeon Adriansen, O.Praem., ’57 and Leonard W. Swift ’52 selected the same name and will split the prize, each receiving a $50 savings bond. While there were many variations using the word Knight in the more than 125 entries, the judges felt that Knight Life best fit the purposes of the publication.” – May 1967

We enjoyed insights into life at St. Norbert in the late sixties; technologically aware, theologically inclusive, student-focused, life-affirming – Catholic, Norbertine, liberal arts!

$64,000 Question
“Acquisition of a new $64,000 computer by St. Norbert College promises far-reaching changes in curriculum, teaching and research methods.” – May 1967

Ecumenical Theology
“Greatly increased opportunities in career positions in Catholic theology for laymen … has focused attention on St. Norbert’s theology department which is designed and ready to meet those needs. ‘I believe we are making one of the most serious efforts in the country,’ L. J. Fedewa, assistant professor of theology, said. ‘Aside from its course offerings … perhaps the single most striking aspect is the ecumenical nature of its faculty. Included on the staff is a full-time Protestant theologian, a Canadian Baptist doctoral candidate of the University of Iowa. Also, a Jewish rabbi who received his Ph.D. degree from Hamburg University, Germany, teaches part time.’” – Knight Life, May 1967

Student Note
“Bill Scott, St. Norbert freshman who worked the public-address microphone for home basketball games, is the son  of Ray Scott, television announcer for Green Bay Packer games.” – Knight Life, May 1967

Sweet Sixteen
“Sixteen is the magic number for Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Held of Manitowoc. In February they welcomed Kathryn Ann, their 16th child, to the family. Ten sisters and five brothers attended the baptism ceremonies which were held at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Manitowoc. With the new baby came the carrying out of a family tradition. She was baptized in her father’s baptismal gown which is now 45 years old. … sponsors for the baby were a sister, Patricia, 17, and a brother, James, 15. …

“Mealtimes for the Helds is like a family banquet with two large tables set up in the kitchen and the usual hustle and bustle that goes with a meal, only a little bit more. ‘Upon arriving home from school the girls peel potatoes, set the table and help prepare dinner,’ Mrs. Held said. ‘The children all chip in with the work so things usually go smoothly,’ she added.” – Knight Life, May 1967

July 1, 2017