1977 – Spring ’23 Class Letter

Dear Classmates,

46 years ago, this spring, many of us were enjoying our final semester at Ripon College before graduating. The Class of 2023 is currently in this position, finishing their final few weeks before the May 14th commencement ceremony. Some will continue on to graduate studies, most will enter society, as college graduates, ready to enter the workplace. Fortunately, employers are hiring, which has not always been the case. But it is always the case that a Ripon College graduate has received a good education and would make a good employee.

The new Class of 2023 proudly become Alumni of Ripon College, joining a distinguished group that includes our class and others since Ripon’s first graduating class of four women in 1867. In 2009 and 2014, I proudly attended Ripon’s graduation ceremonies for two of my daughters. I have seen that some of you also have shared your college with your children. Every alum parent I’ve met has been proud to share their school with their children or grandchildren. There are 19 Legacies of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents and great grandparents that are calling Ripon home this year.

After graduation we’ve all gone where life takes us, sometimes returning briefly, and sometimes only able to remember Ripon. Every summer we have the opportunity with Alumni Weekend to return and mix with our classmates, and also with members of other classes. There is a lot that makes us alike and makes us all happy to have been part of Ripon’s history. Alumni Weekend is June 22-25 this year. Any year is a good time to visit, but our next special emphasis will be our 50th Reunion in 2027.

More information about the event and activities occurring during Alumni Weekend will be available at alumni.ripon.edu/alumni-weekend soon. There are room blocks at Heidel House in Green Lake (Book here) and at Cobblestone Suites in Ripon (Call 920.748.5500).

Alumni of all classes also do their part to help keep Ripon College financially viable and affordable to students. Please help as you can. Last year, more than 48% of our classmates contributed something. That’s 67 of us. Our class did well, with third in participation and seventh in dollars. Thank you!

In recent years, we’ve had #OneDayRally as a 24-hour period for donations. It has been fun and successful. This year it is replaced by Ripon Rally Days, 14 for 14, a giving event in conjunction with the Inauguration of Dr. Victoria N. Folse as the 14th President of Ripon College; on April 20-23. 14 ways to give in honor of our 14th president.

In my last letter to you, last October, I told you that I was on the verge of leaving for a European trip. Not to leave the suspense hanging, my wife and I took a cruise to Rome and back, and stayed 11 days in Italy using a VRBO. Now in retirement, it was possible to have a longer trip than while working, so this was seven weeks in duration. I recommend it if you are able. We are living near Roanoke, Virginia, now and hope to explore our new state more. I loved Wisconsin, but Virginia is where the next chapter of our life is based. On January 30th, a grandson was born to my step-daughter, and Ripon graduate, JENNIFER RESCHKE YOCIUS ‘14 and her classmate and husband, MARK YOCIUS ‘14. They’ve moved several times since Ripon as Mark follows job promotions; they now live in Van Buren, Arkansas.

Several of you responded to my plea for information about yourselves. Thanks. Please remember that you can email stuff to me anytime, or just write to the college.

ANDREA MORRIS ‘77: “I had a great 2022. Enjoying semi-retirement. Teaching very part time in the nursing masters program at California State in Dominguez Hills. Got to visit my fifth and sixth continents with a trip to Brazil, Argentina, and Antarctica. Amazing is truly a word for Antarctica. And got to do some citizen science projects there. More trips planned for this year and just in general enjoying not going to work every day.

JOHN COLWELL ‘77: “I can contribute that as of 12/2022 I have stepped down, after five plus years, as the President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA.org). I served one partial term and then two full terms, which is the longest time anyone has served as President of NACBA. It was a true honor and a privilege to work with my fellow Board of Directors in the advancement of the rights of consumer and small business bankruptcy debtors. I remain as a member of the Board of Directors as the immediate past President.”

ELENA KEZELIS ‘77: “Thanks for reaching out. I think we all enjoy reading what others are doing, but we forget to update information about ourselves. Retirement is lovely, as is my latest title: “Grammy”. My husband and I became Florida residents several years ago (but kept our house in Springfield, Illinois, for summer visits) and are traveling again post-pandemic whenever he’s not golfing and I’m not babysitting the little ones. We hiked Acadia last year, explored Costa Rica with National Geographic in March, then we are taking a longer trip through western Europe and Iceland this summer. I’d love to catch up with anyone who might be in the vicinity of our home in Fort Myers, Florida.”

J.J. VAN NAME ‘77:  [Now “J.J.” but was “Jeannie” during her Ripon years.]: “I had a challenging bit of interaction with ROB MEYER ‘78 last year when he was sick, and some challenging years before that as well. He was a force….  The good news is he was a total free spirit, and he had a lot of adventures and loved his world of radio and his animals and travels. (Rob died on November 22, 2021).”
J.J. wrote this life synopsis: “Moved from a lifetime in Philadelphia, my beloved home city with incredible historical Green Space, a 1740’s farm house, wildlife… largest city park in the world…to the Bay Area in 2018, Oakland California, a whole wide world of green space… mountains, ocean, redwoods, eucalyptus, evergreens, fruit trees, wildlife, birds. Came for the Shakespeare and the Women’s community. Have made a life in the theatre since leaving College, much of which has been Shakespeare, and a wonderful stint Off-Broadway in New York with great reviews and fun caricatures in The New Yorker. Have rekindled a close friendship with my cTwo women holding stuffed animalsDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceollege roommate, BETSY BAER ‘77, in Chicago, went to see her in October on Lake Michigan and did some sea glassing together, both of our hobbies!

The photos are me and Betsy back at Smith Hall at Ripon, roommates, probably sophomore year. And then on the beach, Lake Michigan looking for beach glass which is naturally tumbled pieces of different colored softened, broken glass. I am on the left with the long dark hair. Betsy has the short curly hair.” (I enjoy Then-and-Now pictures.  ~Alan)

EDWARD MORRELL ‘77 of Northfield, Illinois: “My wife and I are now married 45 years and still chasing adventure. One family is still the center of our life- four grown kids and five grandchildren. Working a bit less and more gardening and beekeeping!”

Notes provided by the College:

The college provided notes on two more classmates, both of whom had interesting articles about them.

DAVID EGGERT ‘77 of Appleton, Wisconsin: Ripon College Connection Brought Eggert Back to Serve Community: “Eggert, a West Bend native, spent his undergraduate years at Ripon College, where he studied medicine and was a member of the basketball and tennis teams. In 1974, during his sophomore year basketball season, he blew out his knee. His orthopedic surgeon was from Neenah, and that doctor became his mentor. At that point he decided, “Not only do I want to do medicine, but I want to be an orthopedic surgeon.” When Dr. Eggert was looking for a community in which to expand his orthopedic practice about 10 years ago, he knew Ripon was where he needed to be.”

PARKER VIVODA ‘77 of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin: Middleton Trio Enter Wrestling Hall of Fame: “Vivoda wrestled in high school as a heavyweight. He wrestled freestyle for the Wisconsin National Team. At Ripon College he was a three-time football letter winner and captain, and a four-time letter winner and two-year captain of the wrestling team. He also was a three-time NCAA Division III national qualifier. Vivoda graduated in 1977 and began his career coaching and teaching in Glenwood City. His team won the conference championship in 1979, then he left Glenwood City to move to Middleton in January, 1981.”

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,


Alan ‘77