1968- Fall ’20 Class Letter

Peter Uhrig ’68

Phone: (512) 374-0768 / Mobile: (512) 762-1479 / [email protected]

Dear Classmates:

“May you live in interesting times.” The origins of this expression are unclear but few of us can doubt that these are indeed interesting, as well as challenging and even scary times. We have all surely felt the effects of COVID-19 to some degree or another. My sincere hope is that none of you or your loved ones have been or will be sick with this virus.

Note about the Spring 2019 Class Letter: Because of COVID-19 distractions, some class letters (including ours) did not go out or get posted to the “R Connections” website (https://www.ripon.edu/rconnections/). Our full spring letter should now be found there.

Classes were set to resume on Monday, August 17. Reunite Ripon is a roadmap for the 2020-21 academic year. It is comprised of the policies, procedures and guidelines to ensure a safe return to campus and in-person learning. Faculty, staff and administrators spent the summer planning for this return while ensuring the safe preservation of Ripon’s learning community and personalized education. It is a result of studying the best practices from other colleges and universities, collaborating with local health providers and procurement of sanitizing and personal protective equipment to allow for the in-person experience. There will, of course, be changes to the way students learn, work and socialize.

Ripon Professor of Biology Mark Kainz has been working as a contact investigator for COVID-19 for Winnebago County Public Health near Ripon. He interviews people and gives them guidelines to help limit the spread of COVID-19. “We’re not the COVID cops,” Kainz said. “We’re actually on people’s side. We want to help the community and the individuals in it be healthy. While I’m sure it’s not on the top of anybody’s list to get called by a contact tracer, we’re actually trying to help you.”

1968 Classmate News:

RICK KAMMEN ’68 of Hilton Head, South Carolina has been selected by The Best Lawyers in America for inclusion in the upcoming 27th edition in the field of Criminal Defense.

ALAN RATTRAY ’68 of Mentor, Ohio writes, “Working hard with our several businesses trying to keep them all afloat.”

SCOTT MATHOT ’68 of Loudon, Tennessee writes, “Karen and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this year and taking the whole family for a week on Turks & Caicos…Yikes!”


JEANIE SAKRISON VELARDE ’68 died of leukemia in June 2019. She was an accomplished quilter whose work has been shown in national juried quilt shows. Two of her quilts have been chosen to be included in an inspired-by-Elvis quilt exhibit at the Library of Congress.

SUSAN SMITH AMACHER ’68 of Lake Shore/Nisswa Minnesota died June 3, 2020. At Ripon, she participated in music and theatre, was a member of Alpha Chi Omega, and later was a member of Partners in the Legacy. She earned a master’s degree in theatre at the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D in economics from the University of Virginia. She had a passion for theatre and music, sang in church choirs, and played the piano. She taught in public schools in Virginia and Oklahoma. Her husband, RYAN AMACHER ’67, died in 2016.

DIANN WATERBURY GRAEBER ’68 of Bonita Springs, Florida, died Oct. 17, 2019. At Ripon, she majored in English and was a member of Alpha Phi. She was an educator, manager, advocate, supporter and volunteer. She lived for many years in Connecticut. Survivors include her husband, CHARLES W. GRAEBER ’68; and two sons.

It has now been over 52 years since we graduated, but I think we remember the world we were entering as we left the comfort of the Ripon campus. 1968 was also a year filled with challenges, unrest, and new beginnings. I look forward to the good things waiting for us just around the corner.

Best Wishes,

Peter Uhrig ’68