1968 Spring ’23 Class Letter

Dear Classmates,

As we are still in winter it seems a good time to think of the warmer days ahead. This year, those warmer days will include June 22-25, which marks our 55th Reunion, so please, mark your calendars. What a great time to catch up with classmates from our days on campus.


We will again be fortunate to begin our class activities on Friday night at the home of JUDY WILKINSON NEILL ’68 and BILL NEILL ’67, at 617 Hillside Terrace in Ripon. The Neills have opened their home to our class for many years and we want to thank them again for their great hospitality! Our Saturday class dinner will be part of the Golden R  Reunion to be held in the Pickard Dining Room at Pickard Commons, where we will celebrate with the Class of 1963 and all other Golden R Club alumni. The many other events to be held throughout Alumni Weekend, including the Weiske Golf Scramble and a Green Lake boat cruise, will be shared in later communications to you.

There are special room rate blocks at both The Heidel House and the Cobblestone Suites:

Heidel House (Green Lake) – Book online at www.choicehotels.com/reservations/groups/HQ83E1 (may also call)
Cobblestone Suites (Ripon) – Book by calling 920.748.5500 (must call to book)

I hope you will try to attend. Many of us have stayed in touch with at least a few from our class.  If we each contact that group, we could reach a large number of our classmates. If each of us who plan to attend can get one more to attend, we will have a great turnout!


Ripon College again has been placed on national rankings lists of the best institutions for undergraduate education.

  • Ripon is ranked the top school in Wisconsin for promoting social mobility by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking is included in the 2022-2023 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. It ranks 38th among colleges, nationally.
  • Ripon is included in The Princeton Review’s 2023 edition of The Best 388 Colleges. Ripon also was named to its Best Regional Colleges list for the Midwest.
  • Ripon was named to Money Magazine’s 2022 Best Colleges in America and Best Liberal Arts Colleges lists. The list ranks schools that successfully combine quality and affordability, based on factors such as tuition costs, family borrowing and career earnings.

For more information about Ripon and what is happening on campus, visit ripon.edu/news.


JILL SCHIRMER PAYNE ’68 reports, “A big thank you to my brother, Scott, for arranging a family  dinner with Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Martin Short. It was four hours of stories and laughs we will never forget. The next evening, we loved seeing Billy Crystal in his Broadway show, ‘Mister Saturday Night’, all in New York City”.

As reported in my fall 2022 letter, RICK KAMMEN ’68 has written two novels. The first, Tortured Justice: Guantanamo, is soon to be published by Peppertree Press. It will be available on Amazon and most online sellers. His main character, a criminal defense attorney, finds himself involved in a high-profile case that takes him, and his client, into some complicated and dark places.

Another author from our class is GENE KLANN ’68. He has written a book, The Iconic Warrior, which is available on Amazon. It is “a series of fast moving and informative historical fiction novels describing the combat experiences and exploits of protagonist Jean-Paul Debert.” Check online for more details.

And speaking of books, Charles Graeber Jr., son of CHARLES GRAEBER ’68, and the late DIANN WATERBURY GRAEBER ’68, wrote, The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder, which was published in 2013 and has now been made into a movie available on Netflix. See link to a story about the book and author.


SCOTT MATHOT ’68 of Loudon, Tennessee, died September 9, 2022. At Ripon, he majored in mathematics and Physics and participated in athletics. He was a Phi Delta Theta and a member of Alpha Phi Omega. He received his MBA in 1970 from Indiana University and later completed an Advanced Management Program at Harvard University in 1988. He worked in various management roles for Timken Co. until his retirement in 2000, including locations in France, Ohio, and New Hampshire. In retirement, he was an active leader in the Tellico Village community. He also served with the Kiwanis Club. He enjoyed volunteering, boating, watching the Green Bay Packers, traveling and golfing. Survivors include his wife, Karen and three sons.

Jack Powers, Professor of Chemistry from 1957-1969, passed away on October 28, 2022.


Please visit our Facebook group page, Ripon College Class of 1968 (facebook.com/groups/140754113196612/). Information about our College and our class can be found here and additional information about our 55th Class Reunion will be here, as well.

As always, if you have news to share, please send it to me or to Savanah Cousert ’22, Engagement and Communications Specialist in the alumni office at Ripon, at [email protected].

Finally, I want to again thank all of you who have supported the college through the Ripon Fund and #OneDayRally, as well as those who have made other provisions for supporting Ripon. It is this generosity that is allowing Ripon to embark upon exciting new plans including groundbreaking for a remodeled science center and the new on-campus stadium. Our class has shown strong support in the past and for this year, you have until June 30th to donate to the Ripon Fund.

Peter ’68

P.S. There will be a special giving event in conjunction with inauguration weekend, Apr. 20-23, to celebrate Ripon’s 14th President, Victoria N. Folse, and the exciting momentum happening within our campus community. This event will be an extension of the #OneDayRally brand and experience. Stay tuned for more information. We look forward to your participation!