2006 – Spring ’21 Class Letter
Greetings, Class of 2006!
Fifteen years? Is that math correct? Technically, yes. It has been 15 years since we all graduated from Ripon on that rainy afternoon in 2006. (Of course, 2020 often felt like it could have accounted for approximately six of those 15 years).
We’ve all faced unique challenges over the past twelve months, and Ripon College has been no different. The College is happy to report though, that Ripon has come through the past year and is in a great position! The incoming freshman class looks to be larger than anticipated, and, against the odds, Ripon has been able to maintain in-person classes throughout the pandemic. For many of us, the small class-environment was one of the most important reasons why we chose Ripon, and not only have they been able to maintain in-person classes, but they’ve done so while avoiding any virus outbreaks, reporting an approximately one percent positivity rate among its population. This is no small feat, but it was accomplished in great part due to the support it has received from alumni like yourself!
There are a few unique ways (in addition to the Ripon Fund) that you can support the College right now, including the virtual #OneDayRally on April 28th, and we are also working to put together a class gift in honor of our Fifteen-Year Class Reunion. Be on the lookout for updates regarding #OneDayRally.
Speaking of updates, we’ve come to the realization that solely using Facebook to collect class updates from you all seems a little dated…how 2011, right? Feel free to continue sharing your updates with us via social media, of course, but we’ve also implemented a shared document that we can all add to whenever the mood strikes us in real-time! We’re looking forward to hearing from you, and we are especially looking forward to seeing you, whether virtually or in-person, for what is sure to be a memorable 15-year Class Reunion celebration during Alumni Weekend.
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.
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.
JILLIAN BURRIS BLAZIEWSKE ’06‘s little peanut turned one in February. Worth celebrating ☺.
POOJA CHAWDA ’06 is a project manager at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Her role is focused on analyzing regulatory landscapes to support the development of policies and strategies mandated by the Climate Law and Community Protection Act, and driving engagement for emerging efficiency, electrification, and carbon valuation policies. As part of her role, she is advancing the New York State decarbonization agenda by contributing to the state’s roadmap to electrification in the built space, a critical element of which is ensuring that low- and moderate-income/disadvantaged communities in New York have access to clean and affordable energy.
JEFFREY DODSON ’06 of Ripon, Wisconsin, is the Pastor of First Congregational UCC Church of Ripon, Wisconsin, as of July of 2019. He bought a home in Ripon in August of 2020.
HAYLEY DOYLE ’06 of Minneapolis, Minnesota, got a second dog and a fish! She also began taking piano lessons.
JEN MILLEN EVEN ’06 of Dubuque, Iowa, won her second 100-mile race in October. Let’s just take a moment to think about how ridiculous of an athletic feat that truly is.
ED HANSEN ’06 of Tallahassee, Florida, and his wife, Megan, welcomed their second child, Nathan Brooks Hansen, into the world in January. It’s been a wild year, but one terrific silver lining has been being able to spend more time at home with the boys and observe their frequent developmental milestones. Here’s hoping that things calm down enough to bring the boys on their first trip to Ripon soon.
VICTOR MAGNUS ’06 of Wautoma, Wisconsin, writes “I returned last August from a deployment to Ukraine where I served as an operations sergeant’s major advisor. I was recognized for my efforts and received a medal from the Ukrainian Land Forces Cross of the Land Forces Commander for my contribution to the development of military cooperation between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the U.S. Armed Forces. It was an interesting mobilization and it allowed me to see parts of Europe and experience a multitude of amazing cultures. You can find more information on the mission by looking up JMTGU on Facebook. I am approaching 21 years in military service and unsure if I am ready for retirement. Civilian profession – I am preparing to start a hiring process for part-time help in my insurance agency! So that means I will grow from having only myself in the office to having additional help which is exciting and a bit scary all at once. JACKI WEISS MAGNUS ’05 and I keep busy with the children’s schedules and our own. This year we will be celebrating our 16th year of marriage!”
TOM HANLON ’06 of Planet Earth says, “After three years in Austria, I moved back to the U.S. in July. Then, I turned around and started a Navy Reserve deployment in October – currently enjoying life under COVID-19 lockdown in Jordan.”
AMBRE NEUSER-GAJEWSKI ’06 of Appleton, Wisconsin, got a new job this year and was promoted after a couple of months to a trainer position. She moved to a larger (beautiful) apartment, got a new car, and is excited that she gets to spend three weeks in Florida for her company to train a new class. 2020 has been good for her!
ALISON NOWAK RISSE ’06 of Slinger, Wisconsin, writes “It has been a crazy year for us all, but one wonderful thing to celebrate and share is that we’re expecting our second child this fall. Also, we will be celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary this summer. I am still happily employed at Amcor in the Fox Valley as a Raw Material Procurement Supervisor where I will be celebrating my eighth year with the company this fall.”
ANDY SHILT ’06 of Appleton, Wisconsin, was envious of TIM PETERS ’06 of Eagle, Wisconsin, and joined the minivan club. He went all-in for the dual TV upgrade.
JAKE VANDAALWYK ’06 of Green Bay, Wisconsin, currently works at Associated Bank as the Director of Enterprise Risk Management and is happily married to ROZ KORF VANDAALWYK ’04 with two children, Beckett and Kinley.
COLLIN WEST ’06 of Deforest, Wisconsin, and his wife, Stephanie, welcomed a new addition to the family in November! Looks like someone is enjoying life as a big sister ☺
Take care, be well, and go Red Hawks!
NICOLE KLAAS HANDS ’06
ED HANSEN ’06
ANDY KITSLAAR ’06