1979 – Spring ’21 Class Letter

1979 – Spring 2021 Class Letter

Greetings, Class of 1979!

Well, as we get close to celebrating a year under wraps, it’s good to know that we’re all still here living, breathing, and enjoying life as we know it. To my knowledge, we have not lost anyone from our class to the virus. I know it’s funny for us, but, if you’re like me, you’ve been taking advantage of the “Senior Hours” at the local stores. Hey, we worked hard for this. I’m glad to know that we are all still here, still at it.
Here are some Class of 1979 News: 
LAURIE KOMBEREC OSBORNE ’79 of Oakland, California, became Laurie Bartlett on February 22nd when she married her long-time beau, Lyle. From the pictures that were on Facebook, she looks happy. Congratulations to the happy couple.
MIKE ZAHN ’79 of Merril, Wisconsin, has been busy writing and playing songs on his guitar. They are actually pretty good and Mike has an excellent voice. 
JAY KYP-JOHNSON ’79 of Batavia, Illinois, and a couple of DU’s in November launched The Phoenix Student Scholarship at Ripon College. The purpose of the scholarship is to support Students at Ripon who have had to overcome difficult life circumstances in order to continue their education. So if you are so inclined to give to Ripon in addition to the Ripon Fund, consider sending some money for the Phoenix Fund. 
MATTHEW BLAIR ’79 of Lexington, Kentucky, is sounding better as observed on Facebook. Let’s keep him in our prayers.
Speaking of prayers, BETH PALMBACH NEMECEK ’79 of Neenah, Wisconsin, is in need of a kidney. While she did have the successful transplant a couple of years ago, over the winter, COVID-19 struck and, as a result, her transplanted kidney was affected. She is back on dialysis and that is a saving grace, somewhat. We all know we’d rather see her in the same form as she was during our last Reunion. So, if you know of any way to help, reach out to Beth. 
TIM BEAUCHAMP ’79 of Seattle, Washington, had shoulder surgery and, from all indications, he’s doing much better. Rumor has it that he’s supposed to be Russell Wilson’s replacement when he leaves because of that rocket arm strengthened by the surgery. 

KEVIN L. WARMACK ’79 of Chicago, Illinois has had a busy and exciting February. He was featured in the CNO Financial “Associate’s Spotlight” for his comments concerning Black History Month. While the comments were exceptional, the picture that accompanied the comments was even better. KEVIN was dressed in Tiger Woods Red and Black but the Red was a Ripon College shirt with the Traveling Rally Cap. The picture was taken at Pearl Harbor on Saturday, December 7, 2019 while KEVIN was in Hawaii for “work!”

Kevin, along with BLAINE GIBSON ’81, KEN PINCKNEY ’81, and RYAN GAILS ’13, was a panelist on a Zoom call sponsored by the Ripon College Center for Diversity and Inclusion. They discussed our professional lives after Ripon College as black men and answered questions from student interns that delved into subjects like our first steps after graduation; favorite parts of our Ripon College journey among a number of questions. 
COVID-19 Updates:
Classes officially started on January 25 with a mix of in-person, online, and hybrid (part online and part in-person) formats. The weekend before classes started, the entire campus community (all students, faculty, and staff) were required to take a COVID-19 test, which was administered on campus in the Great Hall resulting in a less than one percent positivity rate. 

  • Beginning on February 1, the College began random weekly surveillance testing where approximately a quarter of the College community will be tested.
  • If you are interested in following the plans and procedures for how the College is faring with and tracking the COVID-19 positivity rate, you can visit www.ripon.edu/coronavirus-information/ for more information.
  • For additional Campus news and talking points, you can find more at www.ripon.edu/news/.

#OneDayRally and Ripon Fund Updates:
Ripon’s annual giving day, known as #OneDayRally, will be held on Wednesday, April 28. Please save-the-date for this exciting day of supporting the Ripon Fund and sharing our Ripon spirit. This event has grown to be one of the most active days of virtual engagement for our entire Ripon College family, which means prospective students are taking note of this day, too. All alumni are encouraged to sport their Ripon College attire and post it on their social media platforms. As the day gets closer, you will be hearing from me.
Alumni Weekend 2021:
Alumni Weekend 2021 will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen with two distinct summer weekends of Ripon alumni programming for us. No matter how you’d like to connect, virtually or in person, the Office of Constituent Engagement is developing a variety of activities to continue to follow CDC, Fond du Lac County and College guidelines in both June and August. Full schedules, lodging, and programming details will be posted soon to www.ripon.edu/alumni-weekend.
JUNE 2021

  • In honor of our June Alumni Weekend traditions, virtual alumni programming will be held Tuesday, June 22 through Saturday, June 26, and will include: an alumni town hall, R Connections webinars, affinity socials, a summer book club, and special recognition of the 2020 and 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees. 
  • The only in-person event, the Doc Weiske ’50 Memorial Golf Scramble, will be held off-campus on Friday, June 25

A combination of virtual and in-person Alumni Weekend programming will be held the first week of August. We will continue to evaluate the state of COVID-19. If circumstances change at the local and national level and we need to cancel in-person programming, that decision will be made and communicated by July 1, 2021.

  • Virtual programming will be held Tuesday, August 3 through Saturday, August 7 and will include: a reunion-focused alumni town hall that also previews the new academic year, additional R Connections webinars, the summer book club capstone, and the traditional “That Was Then” storytelling session. 
  • In-person, on-campus programming will be held Friday, August 6 through Sunday, August 8, and will focus on alumni awards recognition, 2020 and 2021 reunion celebrations, and other outdoor events such as Rally Run and prairie walk.
  • Additionally, the Class of 2020 will officially be welcomed to our alumni community with a special commencement ceremony.

Pray for the College and the students. These kids are facing things that we could never have imagined in our years at Ripon. 
As always, it is a pleasure to write to Y’all. Also, when you get news, don’t hold on! Drop me a note so I can make your Class Letter the best!!!
Finally, until the herd immunity is there, wear your mask, wash your hands and get your COVID-19 shot (although I am enjoying a shot of Johnny Walker Red as I write this!!)
Love Always, 
(773) 220-5360 / [email protected]
Your 1979 Class Agent