1985 – Spring ’21 Class Letter

1985 – Spring 2021 Class Letter

Greetings, Class of 1985!

“Thriving in the face of adversity”

We are Ripon warriors! We face adversity head-on! We endure! We persevere! We encourage! We don’t give up! 

When I face adversity, I go through different phases, depending on the adversity (frustration, anger, perseverance, acceptance, facing situations head-on, moving on). I do a lot of self-talk, meditation, praying, focusing on my positive energy rather than the negative energy that brings me close to that “rabbit hole.” All in all, I believe adversity builds our strength and endurance for all the ups and downs our life journey presents to us.

Reflecting thoughts that have helped me thrive during adversity, especially this past year include:

Adversity can be turned to opportunity simply by adjusting our perception and our attitude. (Gayle Lynne Goodwin)

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind not with it. (Henry Ford)

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. (Mahatma Gandhi)

I asked fellow classmates how they thrive during adversity. I received the following from JEANNE TOMLIN GERBSCH ’85 and MARK MIHALIK ’85, respectively.

COVID-19 Challenges:

“I’m a school psychologist for a suburban elementary population. My school district has had in-person school every day since July 30. The precautions taken include masks, plexiglass screens between me and students, and lots of cleaning. Personally, I’ve been trying to eat and sleep well while also going for daily walks. We have had both students and teachers contract COVID-19 and whole classrooms have observed quarantine, but all have recovered to return to school. Our governor in Indiana has not prioritized teachers so there is still no plan for them to be vaccinated which is frustrating. I take it one day at a time and dream of travels we’ll make when it is again safe to do so.”

~Jeanne Gerbsch

“For me it was simple. I decided to retire! As a manager, I found it increasingly difficult to effectively manage remote employees. To me, the best thing about being a manager was interacting with my team – in person! As great as technology is, and the convenience of zoom, teams, etc., to me, nothing can replace in-person interaction. I really struggled with losing that, and was no longer enjoying my career. I was fortunate to have been in a position where retirement was an option. As such, my last day of work was 12-31-2020.  No regrets thus far!” 

~Mark Mihalik

And so, in the face of adversity, may you find the endurance and perseverance to ride the waves of conflict. I’m confident adversity will strengthen you as you ride life’s roller coaster!

Good news regarding Alumni Weekend! 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 RUTH ANNE GERO ADAMS ’85, a 2020 Distinguished Alumni Citation Winner; 2020 and 2021 reunion celebrations including our 35th 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, my legacy, ERIN BARRIE ’20, graduated in the Ripon College Class of 2020!  🙂

In closing, may I suggest you face adversity one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time! Whatever it takes to get you to the “other” side.

Stay healthy! Stay safe! Be good to yourself!

HEATHER MCFADDEN BARRIE ’85/P’20

(262) 628-1377 / [email protected]

Your 1985 Class Agent