1976 Fall ’23 Class Letter

Hello Classmates:

We hope the fall of 2023 finds you all well!

One of the earlier memories for Ripon freshman in 1972 was attending their first college football game in town at Ingalls Field – proud home of the Ripon Tigers and shared with Ripon College. The field was built in 1888 and pretty much looked it. Within the month, Ingalls will be home to the Ripon Red Hawks no more. Thanks to a generous gift from STEVE HOPP ’83, Hopp Stadium is set to open during Family Weekend on September 30, but a grand opening celebration will be held October 21. The $8 million project is being built on the former lower Sadoff field and will host Ripon football and soccer games for many years to come. The stadium is across Union Street from the Willmore Center and has seating for 2,000, as well as appropriate locker and concession facilities.

Meanwhile….work on the Franzen Science Center continues, funded with much help from MARK FRANZEN ’83 and JANICE HEINZ FRANZEN ’83, the $25 million project will give Ripon state of the art facilities for the sciences. It is scheduled to open in 2024.


The news from fellow classmates is about what one might expect from a class approaching its 50th Reunion. It is set to happen June 2026, dates to be released soon. Retirements, grandchildren and reminiscences rule the day.

In their own words:
JEAN JANES ’76: “I’ve left Chicago after 23 years and moved to Appleton, WI. Not quite retired yet; I’ll continue working remotely for JLL with occasional trips back to the HQ in Chicago.”

BETSY CARLSON KRIZENESKY ’76: “There will probably be a lot of retirement announcements this year. I just retired from 24 years of teaching Russian at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and am very much looking forward to a trip this fall to the Republic of Georgia, a country where Russian is widely spoken despite being wildly different from Georgian. Dr John Radomsky was my beacon and his daughter, Roxie, is still a close friend of mine.”

PEGGY ZAREK ODDO ’76: “Hello, I am 68 years old, single, living in a lovely golf community in Prospect Heights, Illinois. I have two awesome kids, Anthony (38) and Monica (34). Anthony lives and works in Bainbridge Island off the coast of Seattle, Washington, and Monica is a trauma ICU nurse in Jacksonville, Florida. Her husband, Sean, recently obtained a position with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a defensive coach. My mom is 100 years old and lives alone, but has wonderful caretakers that come and go (and of course me and my siblings do that as well). I teach dance strength, yoga, tap and I have my own personal training business. I play piano for the seniors at various nursing homes in the area. I travel when I can, especially to see the kids. I am living in a suburb of the greater Chicago area and there’s lots to do: Cubs games, Ravinia, outdoor music festivals. Plus, I do keep in touch with my sorority sisters from Alpha Delta Pi. I think I’ve written enough. I hope this will all fit in the space allotted.”

HUGH WHIPPLE ’76 and MARGARET WIFF WHIPPLE ’76: “We’re very boring. Nothing new to talk about that would be worth being on your report. Will hopefully see STEVE BINKLEY ’76 at The Concours d’ Elegance on August 27th. Looking forward to our 50th if we live that long. A surprise is in order which we’ll let everyone know at The Golden R Dinner. Meanwhile stay safe and well.”

MICHAEL VERKUILEN ’76: “Great to hear from you. My news involves another grandchild (third) late last year, but my first granddaughter! She’s a beauty, too. Started this year with a two week Panama Canal cruise with some extended family. Quite the adventure, especially for it being my very first cruise. Looking forward to a September Walt Disney World trip with more family, including all three grandkids. My oldest son will be joining us from his home in Tokyo, too. Otherwise, enjoying good health and continued semi-retirement. Hope you are, as well.”

PETER TUZ ’76 made only one trip to Germany to visit daughter and grandchildren. “I am probably one of the few members of the class of 1976 to still be working. But when your job involves talking to interesting people and visiting mostly interesting places, why retire?” Hoping for another European trip before 2023 is out.

Michele ’76

Peter ’76