2000 – Spring ’23 Class Letter

Class of 2000,

This will likely be my (ANDRE MIKSHA ’00) final letter to you as Class Agent. CHAD CLEVELAND ’00 and NICK PARSONS ’00 have stepped forward to serve you for years to come. I am in their debt for taking on this work and look forward to Chad and Nick taking class agency to the next level.

First, be sure to add a pair of dates to your calendar: There will be a special giving event in conjunction with inauguration weekend, April 20-23, to celebrate Ripon’s 14th President, Victoria N. Folse, and the exciting momentum happening within our campus community. This event will be an extension of the #OneDayRally brand and experience. Alumni Weekend 2023 will take place June 22-25, 2023. While it’s not a significant reunion year for our class, the recent loss of several classmates makes our continued connection all the more critical. There are room blocks at Heidel House in Green Lake (Book here) and at Cobblestone Suites in Ripon (Call 920.748.5500). There will also be rooms available on campus starting in April.

Last fall my letter reported on the loss of JODI MISSAK FULTON ’00 in May 2022. As I relayed via email this winter, though, we lost two more classmates: DAN PACER ’00 and ERIN VASCONCELLES ’00.

DAN PACER ’00 passed away on November 29th after a three-year, courageous battle with cancer. You probably remember Dan as majoring in business management and playing baseball for Gordie Gillespie, the same coach Dan’s father had played for in college. He received a master’s degree in e-commerce technology from Depaul University. He was a senior web developer for Stats Inc. in Chicago and for americaneagle.com. He enjoyed all sports, including Cubs games, Bears games, golfing and playing on summer softball teams. He ran numerous half-marathons and completed the Chicago Marathon in 2017 for charity. He loved science and technology, animals cooking and trying new recipes.

ERIN VASCONCELLES ’00 passed away on January 22nd. After Ripon, Erin went on to earn her Master’s degree and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Bowling Green State University and to serve as a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Lead and Training Coordinator at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Erin had many clinical interests including the treatment of anxiety and depression, interpersonal relationships, and identity-related concerns. As no surprise to us, her peers describe her approach as warm, client-centered and strengths-based. Erin, too, was an avid sports fan: Duke University Basketball, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Blues, and, of course, her beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Her most precious and memorable times were sharing her tickets with her family and friends. She loved all Broadway Shows and was fascinated by orchids, becoming an expert in those flowers and a member, president, and trustee for the Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis.

We also lost two of our class’s professors: Mary Williams-Norton and Evelyn Kain.

Professor Williams-Norton passed away last fall after a battle with metastatic breast cancer. She retired in 2012 after serving in the Physics Department for thirty-seven years as both professor and, of course, department chair.

Professor Kain passed away in late December, having taught at Ripon for twenty-eight years. She was the Helen Swift Neilson Professor of Cultural Studies and performed with Collegium Musicum, Ceresco String Band and the college choir for decades.

In happier news, the Ripon College Board of Trustees just authorized plans to move forward with a $35 million strategic infrastructure plan which will address the renovation and expansion of Farr Hall of Science, a new on-campus stadium, and upgrades to residence halls. The first phase will prioritize a $24.5 million investment in the science center and an $8.5 million investment in the campus stadium, both of which are projected to break ground in the spring of 2023. Planning for upgrades to the residence halls has commenced and the College hopes to finalize plans within the next year.

Here’s to hoping that the updates and pleas from Chad and Nick will be more uplifting and less tragic.

Red Hawks forever,

Andre ’00