1971 Fall ’23 Class Letter

Class of 1971,

Here’s to another great year!

It is hard to believe we were starting our freshman year fifty-five long years ago just as the Class of 2027 is doing now. Where did the time go? I remember very well my first few weeks of getting acclimated to classes and the campus as if it was just yesterday. Although there is a large time gap between our start and theirs, the quality of education has not changed in all those years. Through the support of our time, talents and treasures, Ripon College has maintained a superb educational experience.


JOSEPH E. BARES ’71 of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, died April 9, 2023. At Ripon, he majored in chemistry and was commissioned through ROTC. He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He was a research scientist for LORD Corp. in Erie, Pennsylvania, as a Mellon Institute Fellow at Carnegie Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh, and in Cary, North Carolina. He then was a research chemist for Phillips Petroleum and Conoco Phillips until retiring in 2017. He loved sports, participated in baseball, wrestling, bicycling, whitewater rafting, volleyball, running, racquetball and soccer, and coached various teams for more than 50 years. He enjoyed gardening, hiking, traveling and ushering at his church. Survivors include his wife, Floran; and two sons.

JOAN C. BENNETT ’71 of Laurel, Maryland, died March 8, 2023. At Ripon, she majored in French and English. She taught English for a year in France. She then studied at the University of La Verne College of Law and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. She worked for the Port of Oakland in California, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, and the State of California as an attorney. She transferred to the U.S. Navy Reserves and specialized in loading non-nuclear weapons, traveling to Panama, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., and onboard the USS Anzio before reaching the rank of Commander and retiring in 1996. She operated her own immigration law practice in Conroe, Texas, retiring in 2017. She enjoyed church activities, cooking, audiobooks, and gardening. Survivors include one daughter.


Alumni Weekend 2024 is scheduled for June 20-23, 2023.

Ripon College celebrated its second largest fundraising year ever in fiscal year 2023 with almost $19 million in new gifts and commitments. This contributed to Ripon’s “Forever Ripon” campaign reaching more than $61 million — more than 80% of its $75 million goal — by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, with two years still remaining in the campaign.

As we look back at our experiences at Ripon, we can all see the benefits we derived from that special time. In some way, the Annual Fund (now the Ripon fund) assisted all of us. It underwrites all aspects of yearly operations, including but not limited to laboratory supplies, technological innovations, library resources, faculty support, financial aid and scholarships, athletics, opportunities to study abroad, the arts and facilities.

I urge your consideration to increase this year’s gift in recognition of all we have accomplished because of Ripon College. If you gave below the Heritage Society level, consider giving at that level. If you give at one of the society levels, think about increasing your gift annually to eventually elevating to the next highest society.

Jim ’71