1988–Spring ’18 Class Letter

Kathy Wade
[email protected]

David Jonas
[email protected]

Spring 2018

Greetings classmates from Kathy!

Every year around this time, I start planning my summer events. While summer is short here in the Milwaukee area, there are a ton of events. In Milwaukee, you have to try hard to NOT find live music outdoors every night from June through August. Summerfest is one of my favorite events. In my opinion, there is not much better than live music, outdoors, with a great group of friends!

My second favorite event has become Alumni Weekend. I have attended almost every Alumni Weekend since 2008. My terms on the Alumni Board were great because I was able to volunteer to “work” events. The work was difficult: talk to people about the College and maybe (usually) drink a beer. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Besides the class reunion dinner, I really enjoy the welcome reception on Friday night at the Hughes House. Saturday is full of events. The State of the College presentation is very informative. Saturday ends with an All-Alumni Dance. Music, outside, dancing, and hanging out with great people all take me to my happy place! It is an extra special bonus that it is at the College, one of my much loved places.

I hope that as you put together your calendar for the summer that Alumni Weekend is at the top of it. It is June 21 through June 24. Our reunion dinner is on Saturday, the 23 in West Hall at 6:00 p.m.! I hope to see you all there! Please check out the full agenda at www.ripon.edu/alumni-weekend.

I do want to throw a challenge out there. Last year, the Class of ’87 CONTROLLED the dance floor at the All-Alumni Dance. In the previous years, the DJ starts playing more recent music as the night progresses, but, because of their domination, he kept playing mostly music from the 80s! It was so much fun! I hope we can continue that dominance and keep the music in the 80s! It is the best after all!

The second challenge I have for you is increasing our class gift. On Saturday of Alumni Weekend, we will be presenting a check to the College as our class gift. At our 25th Reunion, 21% of our class participated in contributing to the class gift. Our current participation rate is below 10%. It would be wonderful if we could increase our participation level to 30% as it is our 30th Reunion! Please consider making a gift of $30 or more before June 30. All gifts from our class count towards the participation, no matter the designation.

Class Notes:

ZEV BARNETT ’88 of Aurora, Colorado, shared, “Looking forward to seeing any old folks that make it to Ripon in June! I’m busy still running my homeless outreach called Peanut Butter Plan, and spending most hours of the day building a global CBD business and brand called Maven Hemp.”

LYNN PROBST BENAVIDES ’88 of Waterford, Wisconsin, wrote, “Thanks for reaching out, David and Kathy. I am dumbfounded by how fast time flies. I truly feel as if the days at Ripon College are a few years in the past not 30!
During these past 30 years, I have enjoyed a wonderful teaching career in the Waterford Graded School District. I have enjoyed teaching 5th grade, 4th grade, and currently 3rd grade. I have also been blessed with a wonderful family. My husband Chris and I have 5 children. Our oldest three have successfully graduated and have followed their career dreams—educator and electricians, while our two youngest enjoy sports and activities in the Waterford area.
As I get older, I am nostalgic for the warmth and relationships that existed during my Ripon College Days. My children love to hear the stories of my escapades, my academic growth, and my friendships at Ripon. I hope that one of my two youngest daughters will follow in my footsteps and attend Ripon College.”

ALLISON JANISCH CHRISTOPHE ’88 of Zurich, Switzerland, shared, “Nothing really to report. Loving living in Zurich.”

BRAD MCDONALD ’88 of Milbank, South Dakota, wrote: “Been strange not having twins at Ripon as my sons, ALLWIN MCDONALD ’17 and SETH MCDONALD ’17 graduated last May. It was me who cried at graduation. Back in 1988, I just wanted to get out of there and meet up with MIKE PIERSON ’88 and go fishing. Unfortunately my youngest is avoiding touring Ripon for next fall – too much family history.

Retirement is going fine. I wanted to retire at 50, was able to do it at 49 1/2, who can say that? I expect motor home shopping will commence when the youngest daughter moves out this summer.

I have been steadily unloading my backlog of stuff; we have way too much. My next project is selling our 1970 Mercury XR7 convertible. It is Ripon red in case anyone in the market for a classic.

I don’t find myself without things to do. I’m writing as a columnist for the Watertown Public Opinion. I was runner up for the best column in South Dakota last year so maybe I can make a run for the gold this year. Writing the best column in South Dakota is sort of like being the toughest Muppet, but it’s not bad for a chemistry major with an MD degree though.

I published a novel entitled Curse of Panther Creek under my pen-name, Olaf Danielson, in October.

I also put out a field guide for the Birds of St. Martin, FWI that actually went to print one hour before Hurricane Irma hit the island, destroying much of what I had written about. It is a pretty book, but it became out of date the moment it was printed. Oh well…I could have been there when it hit, I was scheduled to fly in four days later……..our house……….destroyed.

I expect a much more enjoyable project, Confessions of a Pike Whisperer, to be up on Amazon in April. This chronicles my fishing adventures (under the name Olaf, of course) and also includes 100 pages of exploits of my record birding year in 2016. I think I’ll be featured in Wisconsin Outdoors Magazine in May, give or take an issue. I think that will beat my last interview on “Animal Talk.”

I’ve added attending the Finnish wife carrying championships and ringing a cow bell at the alpine events at the 2022 China Olympics to my bucket list and now have 27 things left to do before I wrap this life up; hopefully I have many years to do it. I’m still looking to add to my list. Ideas appreciated”

CHARLES NAILEN ’88 of Arlington, Virginia, shared, “I have been working at the State Department for 4 years already. As I write this, I am in a hotel room in Johannesburg, South Africa, finishing up a 3 week training stint. I will be going to Manila for 3 weeks in May as well. We also had to move in January due to water damage in our apartment from a busted water pipe. We just moved to another apartment in the same complex. Our new address is:

Chuck Nailen
3000 S. Randolph St. #169
Arlington, VA 22206
In Closing

If you have had any changes in your address, email or snail mail, please let the College know by going to www.ripon.edu/update-contact-info/.
David and I would really enjoy seeing you in June! I know many of us keep in touch through social media but seeing you face to face would be so much more fun!