1974 Fall ’23 Class Letter

Happy Fall, everyone!

It’s been a very busy summer, and I can’t believe I am already writing our Fall Class Letter. ANDY MACLEOD ’76 and I have been on the go since spring with a number of road trips and another riverboat trip on the Mississippi. We also took a trip to Starved Rock to see the spring waterfalls, and we have another booked for next month, which will include a boat trip on the Illinois River. We’re hoping to catch some of the fall colors along the river and bluffs.

Now the excitement continues as I begin to plan our 50th Reunion – can you believe it’s almost here? It will be held, as always, during Alumni Weekend, June 20-23, 2024. (Yes, DO mark your calendar!) Classmates CHRIS OVERLY WALLACE ’74, JANE RUNKEL FREDERICK ’74, LYNN GRIFFIN ’75, GEORGE BOOTHBY ’74, and SCOTT DICKS ’74 joined me on our first Zoom planning call, along with AMY GABRIEL GERRETSEN ’04 of the Alumni Office last week, and we began sketching out what our grand celebration will look like. We would love to have more of you join us, as “many hands make light work”, and will ensure our celebration is a reflection of all of us.

Specifically, we would like to have a few folks help gather photos and memories for a memory book, which will then be put together for us by the Alumni Office. We’d also appreciate a few folks to help plan our Sunday morning memorial service. This involves suggesting music and readings for the service, and anything else you deem appropriate. This can be decided in the spring, but starting now gives plenty of time for consideration.

Last, but not least, we would welcome anyone who could assist with organizing our class gift. This is a very important component of our celebration, especially in light of the ongoing Forever Ripon campaign.

The Forever Ripon campaign is a $75 million effort to expand access through student affordability and innovative programs, enhance our facilities and strengthen our institution through the Ripon Fund. This campaign will prepare Ripon for the celebration of our 175th anniversary in 2026, adapt to an evolving higher education landscape and ensure a Ripon College degree is relevant for generations to come. To date the College has raised over $61 Million.

Our class is perfectly positioned to take a leadership role for all other alumni groups, as the newest Golden R class of alumni. And as always, any gift, no matter the size, is important to the future of our Alma Mater.


PATRICIA CHANDLER MAYER ’74 took some time out recently for knee replacement surgery. It went well, and I can report she is back in the pool and back to living her best life. Bring some of that energy along with your winning smile to the reunion next summer, Tricia!

I know lots of us have been downsizing and clearing out our old “stuff” – for me, it’s an ongoing process- so I would ask that you set aside any Ripon photos and memorabilia you come across. Your photos, along with photos of your treasured memorabilia will be priceless additions to our memory book!

JANE RUNKEL FREDERICK ’74 has been cleaning out her attic and much of her lovely home in preparation for redecorating and window replacement. Daughter Sarah, and her boyfriend Kyle, spent a week or so lending a hand. But the BIG NEWS is – Kyle proposed, Sarah said yes, and now JANE will be helping them plan their wedding! No details yet, but stay tuned. And of course, all the best to the happy couple.

KIM KOBRIGER ’74 writes that he just returned from an Alaskan cruise, and he says you can’t believe the beauty of Alaska unless you see it for yourself.

CHRIS OVERLY WALLACE ’74 says she is going on an Alaskan cruise next year, so I am hoping to hear more about glaciers and polar bears in the future – and maybe some pictures!

I am very sad to report we lost our classmate, DENNIS PORDON ’74 on July 10, 2023. DENNIS worked for more than 40 years in investment banking. He was also a man of deep and abiding faith, and was an active and devoted member of his church for over 30 years. You may recall that DENNIS was preceded in death by his wife, JEAN UETZMANN PORDON ’77, in 2017. They are survived by one son and one daughter, as well as JEAN’s sister and our classmate, JOAN UETZMANN LEROY ’74. Our sincere condolences go out to the entire family and all their friends.

Finally, a note about reunion housing. On-campus housing will be available and I understand there are now houses you can rent in Ripon if you have a large group. Blocks of rooms are being set aside at The Heidel House and Cobblestone Suites, and if you really want a walk down memory lane, the old Davis Hotel on Watson Street has been completely remodeled and is now called the Mapes Hotel.

Room Blocks:

 Meanwhile, please reach out to your Ripon friends and urge them to meet you on campus for Alumni Weekend next June. It promises to be a wonderful experience where we can share our family news (and grandchildren photos), reminisce, and just bask in the warmth of old friendships. You will be hearing a lot from me and the Alumni Office in the coming months so be sure we have your current contact information. You don’t want to miss any of it! I truly look forward to seeing you all.

Be well and happy,

Jan ’74

P.S. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the reunion command at the Alumni Office with questions or suggestions. Better yet-join us! Just like the Reunion: the more, the merrier!