1977 – Fall ’21 Class Letter

1977 – Fall 2021 Class Letter

Class Agent: 

ALAN LAWRENCE ’77/P’08/P’14 

(920) 422-2347 / [email protected]

Dear Classmates,

2021 was once again a deviation from normal thanks to what COVID has been doing to our world. In 2020 it caused the cancellation of our annual Alumni Weekend, but this year we managed to schedule two events. The first was mostly virtual, on the traditional weekend in June. The second was mostly in-person on a date in August that had been hoped would be safer.

Despite living only 70 minutes from Ripon, I missed the August event. I’ve been busy, and it was a rainy weekend. But, MARYJO MACSWAIN ’77 and JEANNIE BLACK ’77 attended, as they usually do. They contributed this description for us:

“Alumni Weekend 2021 was a blast despite the rain, which wasn’t forecasted until a day or two before. However, the College did an amazing job of making last minute changes from all outdoor activities to protect people from the rain and storms, as well as implementing excellent COVID mitigations. There were lots of people attending, plenty of activities to enjoy, and even about ten different tents for the Saturday dinners and activities. Unfortunately, the rain moved the dinners inside but that ended up being well done! The new food service was terrific and provided great meals and options. The Service of Remembrance on Sunday morning was well attended as we remembered our classmate, BIRGIT ABROMAITIS RETSON ’77, and others. The College did a great job in every area, especially considering the circumstances of a devastating storm in Ripon the week before, COVID procedures, and the rain that changed plans. We weren’t able to attend graduation (for the Class of 2020), but we heard it went very well. Attendance wasn’t nearly as high as previous years but it seemed like a lot of 50-year alumni and many younger ones, too.”

Next year, during Alumni Weekend in June we are celebrating the 45th anniversary of our class graduation. In turn, our class will be meeting for our 45th Reunion celebration the weekend of June 23-26, 2022. As the Class Agent, I have a role in this planning, but I really would like a committee to help me. If you are interested in helping, then please write to me.

Here are notes from two of our classmates:

HARRY QUINN ’77 of Bel Air, Maryland, writes “Things are going fine for SUE LAMBERT QUINN ’79 and me here in Maryland. Our son, Michael, has three children, one of which lives with her mom here in Maryland so that we get to see her often. Kela is eight and she keeps us on our toes. Mike lives in Missouri and has two boys, one about 22 months old and the other almost four months. We went out to see them in late March. I am still working for the Science and Technology Corporation managing our Department of Defense work. The work is great and keeps me busy. I manage the finances, do some program management, deal with the customers, and hire scientists, engineers, and others when I can. For fun, I do some photography, mostly underwater, but some above. The underwater photography I do in the Caribbean, mostly around St. John in the USVI. St. John is my happy place. Our daughter is my hiking and snorkeling buddy! Earlier in June, we went up to the New York Finger Lakes region to sightsee and visit wineries.”

ANDREA MORRIS ’77 of La Habra, California, writesI am retiring this July after 36 years in the NICU. I do get to go out on a high note as I am receiving the Mentor of the Year award from my national organization, the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. While leaving the clinical side of care I am continuing to teach in the NICU CNS program at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Looking forward to traveling, both nationally and internationally along with other fun things like remodeling the home (groan).”

And, about myself, ALAN LAWRENCE ’77/P’08/P’14. I’ve retired and my wife decided we don’t need to live in Appleton, Wisconsin anymore. Within a few months we decided that we could move, and then what we needed in a new community. Ultimately, Roanoke, Virginia was selected. It will be an interesting new chapter for us. We bought our “new” house last month and are frantically packing up for our move. So, this Class Letter is briefer than normal.

We also have two deaths to report from our classmates.

STEPHEN C. SNYDER ’77 of Cameron, Wisconsin, died Jan. 31, 2021. At Ripon, he majored in biology, participated in the Wilder Field Station several times and began an interest in radio work. He received a degree in forestry from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He worked for more than 40 years as a forestry technician for Rusk County and as an announcer for WWIB Radio for 41 years. He enjoyed the outdoors and fishing, racquetball player, his faith, and performing as a keyboardist and singer.

BIRGIT ABROMAITIS RETSON ’77 of Williamsburg, Virginia, died May 11, 2021. At Ripon, she majored in English and was a member of Alpha Chi Omega/Alpha Gamma Theta. She later was a charter member of Partners in the Legacy. She received a degree in nursing from George Mason University. Survivors include two sons, including PHILIP RETSON ’15, and one daughter.

The other day, I received a letter from Ripon’s Vice President and Dean of Faculty, John Sisko. He was inviting me to make another gift to help support and enhance Ripon College by making a gift to the Ripon Fund. This is always a worthwhile endeavor.

I’d like to highlight a couple of points from Dean Sisko’s letter: “Ripon College is a student-first and student-centered school. The College is dedicated to providing a premier, immersive and accessible liberal arts education. Ripon College is a tier-1 national liberal arts school; it is a best-value school; and it is a top college for social mobility. But Ripon College is much more. For those of us with experiences of Ripon, the College quickly becomes part of our own internal understanding of who we are: who we are as individuals and who we are as members of a community.”

Please send news about yourself either to the College or to me to be shared in our next Class Letter. We’d love to hear from you.

Remember that your financial help is very important to help keep Ripon a competitive and quality institution. Your donations are important every year. Your participation is very important.

Always for Ripon,