1975 – Spring ’21 Class Letter

1975 – Spring 2021 Class Letter

Greetings, Class of 1975!

To gather or not to gather – that is the question – like so much of COVID-19 pandemic life for the past year! I certainly would like to gather, and the good news is I now have information to share about this summer’s Alumni Weekend plans. Alumni Weekend 2021 will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen with two distinct summer weekends of Ripon alumni programming for us. No matter how you’d like to connect, virtually or in person, the Office of Constituent Engagement is developing a variety of activities to continue to follow CDC, Fond du Lac County and College guidelines in both June and August. Full schedules, lodging, and programming details will be posted soon to www.ripon.edu/alumni-weekend.

JUNE 2021

  • In honor of our June Alumni Weekend traditions, virtual alumni programming will be held Tuesday, June 22 through Saturday, June 26, and will include: an alumni town hall, R Connections webinars, affinity socials, a summer book club, and special recognition of the 2020 and 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees. 
  • The only in-person event, the Doc Weiske ’50 Memorial Golf Scramble, will be held off-campus on Friday, June 25

AUGUST 2021

A combination of virtual and in-person Alumni Weekend programming will be held the first week of August. We will continue to evaluate the state of COVID-19. If circumstances change at the local and national level and we need to cancel in-person programming, that decision will be made and communicated by July 1, 2021.

  • Virtual programming will be held Tuesday, August 3 through Saturday, August 7 and will include: a reunion-focused alumni town hall that also previews the new academic year, additional R Connections webinars, the summer book club capstone, and the traditional “That Was Then” storytelling session. 
  • In-person, on-campus programming will be held Friday, August 6 through Sunday, August 8 and will focus on alumni awards recognition including for our very own JON FASANELLI-CAWELTI ’75, a 2020 Distinguished Alumni Citation Winner; 2020 and 2021 reunion celebrations including our 45th Class Reunion, and will feature other outdoor events like Rally Run and prairie walk.
  • Additionally, the Class of 2020 will officially be welcomed to our alumni community with a special commencement ceremony.

In personal news, I’m enjoying my new job as editor of twice-a-month and monthly news magazines and relish any time walking on the beach with my husband or hanging out with my grandkids (Matthew is 4 ½ and Amaris is 3 ½, he loves LEGO fire engines and she loves to toss a ball, so much fun!), but I’d like to see all of you, too!

In California, we have seen COVID-19 cases decline rapidly since the Christmas holiday. This makes sense. A contact tracing study in New York State of 46,000 cases found 74% came from private family or social gatherings (and my guess is masks were not worn). But California’s vaccine rollout has been slow and confusing with shortages, and people have different opinions about whether older people (65 and up, like us) should get the vaccine first (because the death rate is higher for people age 65 and up) or whether teachers should get priority so children can get in-person instruction.

Ripon College started classes virtually on January 25 after campus-wide testing and then the small number of cases and low positivity rate of .26 percent allowed in-person instruction to begin. The campus dashboard shows zero percent of isolation and quarantine beds in use as I write this. Updates are posted at https://www.ripon.edu/coronavirus-information/.

Despite the challenges, the campus reports good news on the admissions front: A 30% increase in deposits by incoming freshmen, a 40% increase in athletes three times more students from the four-county area surrounding Ripon, about even between men and women, with 35% first-generation students, which is up slightly.

I will say I am looking forward to our Class Reunion the first weekend in August, and so is RICK ESTBERG ’75 our Ripon Jeopardy host. He emailed me before a Zoom call in which we received updates on Alumni weekend saying, “This year I don’t think we can be stopped!” Hopefully, we get to see many of you at our Class Reunion on Saturday, August 7.

Also, #OneDayRally will take place on April 28 to generate support for Ripon College. The goal is to get 2,021 people to give (How did they pick that number?!!). You’ll see updates on Facebook throughout the day. The theme will focus on how things change, but overall stay the same, and how Ripon College is thriving in the face of adversity. Alumni leaders will be promoting this day with t-shirts and stickers so now you’ll know what #ODR means!

Here’s the class news. Please email me at [email protected] to submit more news anytime you have anything to share!

BILL BRADBURN ’75 of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been designated an Indiana Artisan because of his crafted writing instruments. He is among 221 visual and food artists in 56 counties whose work carries the prestigious designation. You can read a feature story on Ripon College’s website here.

“My desire is to design and make writing instruments that blend utility and beauty,” Bradburn says. “Owners might transcribe to-do lists and manuscripts, lecture notes and love notes, symphonies and sympathy letters. Only writing tools crafted with great care can fully honor their owners and what they will record. Quality and uniqueness are keys to the work. I want the owners of my writing instruments to have complete confidence in the quality and durability of their purchases. They know that they will not see an identical design anywhere else; their writing instrument is distinctive.”

See his work at penchant4.com. Email him at [email protected]. At Ripon, Bradburn majored in drama.

DIANA “DUSTI” AUSTRING ’75 emails from New Zealand: “I’m still relishing my personal sanctuary space here on Waiheke (Aotearoa / NZ) and have now lived at the same actual address for over 21 years! This from the gal who’d never lived in any one town longer than three years, and attended 13 schools before coming to Ripon for three years.

“I’ve finally kinda-sorta retired except for the continued casual relieving I do at our local library. There wasn’t a lot of work from March-October, but I’ve been back to 1-2 shifts per week on average. I love spending time working in my yard (quarter-acre with BIG TREES in the front half), playing with my 13-year-old Choc Burmese cat, Bijou (who thinks she’s the bees’ knees when it comes to clowning around), reading, and playing pickleball several times per week (when lockdown permits, of course!) And, of course, still keeping my USANA business going–EveryDay4Life–and taking my nutritionals every day, and haven’t been sick and am still on no meds of any sort. 

“I spent a lovely month in Perth (Australia) with my youngest son and his family (Kris & Tory, and granddaughters Natasha Caroline (5), Sienna Rose (3), and Isabelle Scout (1) from January to February 2020. 

“Then back home for a week before heading to Tombstone, Arizona for a visit with my siblings on the “home turf.” Drove to Colorado (with my sister ROBERTA AUSTRING ’70, who lives in Kodiak, Alaska) the first weekend of March and had a great family reunion with cousins, some of whom I hadn’t seen since the ’60s! That was when everything COVID-19 started hitting the fan up there, but we managed to get through our weekend with no issues among the 30-odd people who descended on one cousin’s luxurious B&B at River House, in Durango, Colorado. 

“Was back quietly enjoying the property in Tombstone when advised by the New Zealand government on the 15th that if I wanted to get back into New Zealand, I should do it ASAP because they were likely to close the borders soon. I managed to change my flight from the 30th to the 19th, and had a surreal trip back home. I arrived on the last day they still allowed returning travelers to use public transport to get home–and was allowed onto the Waiheke ferry only after all others had boarded, being ushered to the top deck all by myself. Didn’t really matter that I was required to isolate for 14 days, as that’s when the first lockdown happened anyway. A friend who returned the next week was required to go straight into managed isolation regardless of living locally, so I was very lucky to get back when I did!

“With COVID-19, we’ve been through two lockdowns (the 1st total lockdown from 25 March-27 April; the 2nd all-but-lockdown from 12-30 August) and are likely to have more as there are still citizens returning from overseas (and far fewer leaving) so many that our population has grown to over five million now. Returnees are isolated/quarantined for two weeks, but there have been a couple of instances of COVID-19 in the community from frontline workers and/or people just out of quarantine who then test positive. So far they’ve been caught and tracked quickly enough, but there’s always a chance… 

“I feel almost guilty to be here with virtually no COVID-19 threats or restrictions at present, and knowing what is going on in the U.S. and so other many parts of the world. Masking is required for public transport, but there are no current gathering or travel restrictions, and life goes on again almost as ‘normal.’ Our ‘Team of Five Million’ stands ready, though, to react quickly should it again be needed.

“I hope that things improve elsewhere and that you will, indeed, be able to have a gathering later in the year.” She’s at [email protected].

LITA KATZ ’75 of Silver Spring, Maryland, emails: “My grandson was born April 15. He and his parents live only about ten miles from us, but because of the blankety-blank pandemic we haven’t been able to get together much. We all isolated for a while when his daycare was closed toward the end of December, so we got together on January third before he went back to daycare and my daughter Sarah went back to work. I hope to get to the reunion in June, and do some other visiting in the Midwest.” She’s at [email protected]rizon.net.

LINDA MOGICATO SASSER ’75 is still enjoying life in Arizona with Carey, her husband of 41 years. Since COVID-19 put a kibosh on her live speaking, in 2020 she began doing webinars, and currently offers some on memory, brain health, and sleep. Linda and Carey stay active by biking, kayaking, swimming, and playing bocce. My son, Scott, is an attorney in California, and daughter Nicole and husband in Orlando are due to give Linda and Carey their third grandson in March. Linda’s book “Brain SENSE: A Guide and Workbook to Keep Your Mind and Memory Sharp” continues to sell on Amazon. She’s able to be reached at [email protected].

MARY ELIZABETH JENKEL DELK ’75 emails from Austin, Texas: “COVID-19 numbers in Texas are dropping and things seem to be getting ‘back to normal’ pretty quickly. We were able to see our grandkids throughout, which helped considerably. We all spent Thanksgiving in Green Bay celebrating my mom’s 90th birthday. It was a real treat to all be together. If any of you find yourselves in Austin, Texas, please call or stop by!” She’s at 763-442-0919 and [email protected].

SCOTT TREMBERTH ’75 emails from Henderson, Nevada: “Glad you’re doing good, Jondi! Stay safe.” He’s at [email protected].

And I have some new emails for classmates.

R.P. ASHLEY III ’75 is at [email protected].

JON FASANELLI-CAWELTI ’75 is at [email protected].

GLEN NESPER ’75 is at [email protected].

LESTER PAGANO ’75 is at [email protected].

ANDY RICHARDS ’75 is at [email protected].

And I’m looking for new emails, if you can help, for STEVE ANDERSON ’75, EDDIE CASELBERRY ’75, BARBARA POTTER DAVIDSON ’75, RANDY GOREE ’75, and DENNIS O’LEARY ’75.

Please stay in touch and let’s hope for the best in 2021!

JONDI GUMZ ’75

H: 831-461-1120 / M: 831-461-5946 / [email protected]

Your 1975 Class Agent