2001 Fall ’23 Class Letter

Hello Class of 2001,

I find myself thinking back to our time at Ripon College more than ever. We both have kids in high school and are starting to have conversations about what life looks like after graduation. The wisdom we think we have is usually met with eye rolls and sighs, but we still try!

One life lesson that I, and I’m sure many of us, have forgotten is “Work Hard, Play Hard”.  Some of us mastered that during our time at Ripon, but could use a refresher course now that we are in our forties and have many competing responsibilities. When we receive class updates, they are usually about achievements in our professional lives. We would like to challenge you to also share the things you do to “Play Hard” – the things that bring you joy, help with your work-life balance, and give you a sense of fulfillment.

With this in mind, we would like to highlight upcoming Ripon College events and accomplishments of faculty that inspire us. For other Ripon College news, please go to ripon.edu/news.

Kurt Dietrich releases biography of AL JARRAU ’62
Professor of Music Emeritus Kurt Dietrich recently published an authorized biography of jazz/pop vocalist AL JARREAU ’62, entitled “Never Givin’ Up: The Life and Music of Al Jarreau.” Jarreau is the only person in history to win Grammy Awards in three different categories: jazz, pop and R&B. He recorded more than two dozen albums over three decades and was renowned for his ability to sing many styles, including scat singing and taking on the character of guitar and percussion, all with his versatile and soulful voice. He acted on Broadway in the hit musical “Grease” and appeared on the television programs “New York Undercover” and “Touched by an Angel.

Jarreau majored in psychology at Ripon. When he first moved to California he worked as a rehabilitation counselor for the state of California. He did musical performances on the side until his singing career took off.

Kurt Dietrich taught at Ripon for 39 years. He graduated from Lawrence University, received his master’s degree from Northwestern University and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Ripon, he directed the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble, taught brass instruments and a variety of music courses.
If you’d like to learn more, you can do so here.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at Ripon College Oct. 1
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will return to Ripon College Sunday, Oct. 1, for its annual appearance on campus. The free performance will be presented by the Caestecker Fine Arts Series and the first family of Ripon College, President Victoria N. Folse and Dick Folse. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is Wisconsin’s largest cultural organization and is among the finest orchestras in the nation. Since its inception in 1959, the orchestra has found innovative ways to give music a home in the region and develop music appreciation and talent among area youths. The full-time professional musicians perform more than 135 classics, pops, family, educational and community concerts each season in venues throughout the state.

It will begin at 3:15 p.m. in the field house of Willmore Center, corner of Thorne and Union streets. No tickets are required, and admission is free and open to the public.

Megan Gannon completes ultramarathon
In July, Associate Professor of English Megan Gannon participated in High Lonesome, a challenging100-mile ultramarathon race. “The High Lonesome 100 is a high-flying Colorado mountain race transecting the southern end of the expansive Sawatch Range,” organizers state. “Starting and ending at the base of Mount Princeton, the loop course takes runners along soaring ridges, through idyllic meadows and remote basins, across five alpine passes and through two ghost towns. Runners will be treated to 27 miles of the National Scenic Continental Divide Trail and 35 miles of the classic Colorado Trail. This course is wild, tough and relentless. …”
To read more about Gannon’s experience, click here.

In other amazing news, Ripon College will be adding a new Engineering program and its first ever Masters degree program in Exercise Science!

Ripon College to Offer Engineering Program
Ripon College is launching its first engineering program to coincide with the opening of the new Franzen Science Center in 2024. John Sisko, Ripon College Vice President and Dean of Faculty, stated “We are making curricular expansions to meet the educational needs of current and future STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students. The physical needs of the engineering program as well as state-of-the-art facilities for all of our science programs were integral considerations throughout the entire design process for the new science center.”

As part of the engineering program, the College also is establishing an Engineering Advisory Board, comprising regional industry partners. This advisory board will help optimize Ripon’s engineering program to best suit the technical needs of the region, offer internships and co-op programs to students and ultimately help create a path to employment for graduates.
You can learn more about the Engineering program here.

Ripon College to Offer Master’s Degree in Exercise Science
Ripon College will launch its first master’s degree program in exercise science in the summer of 2024. The Masters curriculum will be a 15-month program. The new program will offer three areas of specialization: Physiology, Sports Management, Sports Psychology. A 4+1 program will allow Ripon College undergraduate students to begin taking the graduate-level courses in their senior year and complete the master’s degree in just one additional year after receiving their bachelor’s degree.
To learn more about the Master’s Degree, click here.

Finally, we would like to send a big THANK YOU to all who have supported Ripon College this past fiscal year. Because of your support, Ripon had its second largest fundraising year ever!  For more information on the importance of your donations and fiscal priorities of the College, visit ripon.edu/forever-ripon.

Keep in touch,

Dante ’01

Nicole ’01