As the founder of St. Norbert College, and having a prime seat in the center of campus throughout the years, I, Abbot Bernard Pennings, hold the answers to many of your burning questions about the college. .

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Submissions from 2021

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How long has the college presented its annual Festival of Christmas?, Mackenzie Ciske '17

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What inspired the creation of the beautiful Shakespeare Garden on campus?, Breanna Cisler '23

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I am wondering specifically about Commencement during 1918-20. Were there ceremonies, and if so, how were they conducted?, Carl Graf

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When was the iconic arch constructed? And what happened to the missing leaf on the right side of the arch?, Laura Lear

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I’ve noticed a newly constructed archway on campus that marks the path leading into Old St. Joseph Church. What is its significance?, John Marquez

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The landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars made me wonder: Have any SNC alumni been to space?, Paul Meske '72

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What happened to the ropes course on campus?, Bob Rickards

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The latest issue of the St. Norbert College Magazine named eight U.S. Norbertine communities, which included the Norbertine Canonesses of the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph and the Congregation of Norbertine Sisters. Who are these Norbertine women, and how did their communities come to be?, Molly VanDeelen Tollefson '07

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I read that plans to commemorate the Norbertine order’s 900th anniversary included the opening of a new abbey building in California. What is that abbey’s history, and its relationship to SNC?, Sarah Vandenhouten '21

Submissions from 2020

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I’m so proud of my fellow students and our faculty members at SNC as we’ve transitioned to online learning amidst the COVID-19 crisis. I was wondering, Abbot, how unprecedented are these times? Has St. Norbert College ever experienced anything like this before now?, Porter Beilfuss '22

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St. Norbert College is well known these days for its great dining options. But I've heard stories from our alumni about how that wasn't always the case. Is it true that students once protested the cafeteria food?, Eric Blumreich

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May I ask, have any SNC alumni had the opportunity to serve the pope?, Mike Brennan '99

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Is it true that the college supplies the Christmas tree for Lambeau Field?, Brett Buboltz '08

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I am the proud father of two sons who both attended St. Norbert College. Is it really true, as I have heard, that at one time 11 brothers from the same family studied at the college?, Kevin DeCleene '12

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Is this class making history in the way it is straying from Commencement tradition?, Rachel (Gonnering) Sonnentag '06

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I was strolling through campus when I noticed that we’re not the only ones abiding by the mask requirements. St. Norbert of Xanten is, too! Who is responsible for this? Will the other statues be getting masks, too? I’d hate for them to feel left out!, Megan Leisgang '21

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We think of you as such an unfailing source of wisdom on the life and history of your beloved college. Dear Abbot, is it possible that you have ever found yourself in error?, Nick Meisner

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Abbot, do you happen to know what musical was the first hosted at St. Norbert College?, Katy Verheyden '21

Submissions from 2019

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I heard the Children’s Center on campus is celebrating its 50th anniversary soon. How did the center come to be?, Victoria Bain Vrba '20

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Are there SNC ties with the family of William Minahan, the Green Bay resident who died on the Titanic?, Anna Dennuci '20

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I know the Packers and St. Norbert have a close relationship that goes back years, but I was curious, who used the green and gold colors first?, Erika Ditzman '21

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The albino squirrel is a bit of a celebrity here on campus. I was wondering, is there only one, or have we had a few of these little creatures who have made their home here at the college?, Mitchell Gray '21

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Who was the first SNC student to study abroad, and where did they go?, Stephen Lin '18

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Every time I walk past the Alumni House on campus, I can’t help but wonder about its history. Has it always been a place for alumni to gather?, Maggie McFadden '20

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I was wondering, Abbot, what was campus like before campus-wide WiFi was available, and when did the campus finally offer campus-wide Wifi?, Jillian Reynolds '19

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I heard St. Norbert is home to a collection of dried plants that contains tens of thousands of species. Is this true? If so, where did all those plants come from?, Emily Schiltz '20

Submissions from 2018

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What happened to the Coffeehouse, and what stands in its place today?, Anna Marie Abell Olson '76

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I’m hearing rumors that there is an echo chamber on campus. Are they true? Where is it located?, Amanda Beck

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Merry Christmas, Father Abbot! Is it really true that SNC students once had to study for their final exams right through Christmas?, Kyra Kronberg '20

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I’ve heard that SNC is the only Norbertine college in the world. Can that really be true?, Letty Mundt '19

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Just how does a Norbertine community go about selecting an abbot?, Julianna Nett '21

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The bronze sculpture of the Conversion of St. Norbert placed on campus last fall has a female figure kneeling near St. Norbert. Who is she, and what does she represent?, Magdalene Rabby '58

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What are your thoughts on SNC graduates decorating mortarboards in preparation for commencement ceremonies? There were quite a few clever ones this year!, Tom Rogers '85

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March 2018 Question: Dear Abbot Pennings, How is Father Gene Gries doing these days?, Catherine (Schmitz) Jacobs '56

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Is it true that classes at SNC ended earlier than anticipated one year?, Jared Simon '12

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You have resided at St. Norbert College for a very long time! It must seem strange to look back on your arrival in Wisconsin. Do you remember much about those days?, Gene Walsh '53

Submissions from 2017

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Why haven’t I seen the latest albino squirrel on campus?, Dan Decker '20

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What is the digital commons?, Nicole (Dunbar) Poley '14

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My classmate Kathleen Fayard ’06 and I went to the Marytown Shrine in Libertyville, Ill., and saw a small bone relic of St. Norbert there. How many relics of our college patron, around the world, are venerated in such a fashion?, Casey Golomski '06

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Why is there no 1974 yearbook?, Christi Hansen '74

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I’m curious, why are we the Green Knights?, Aleksandra Kaminski '19

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Exactly how many students have graduated from St. Norbert College? Do most of them still live in the area?, Zach Krysiak '20

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With SNC being around for so long, are any campus buildings listed on the historic registry?, Reilly March '20

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Rumor has it there is a Matchbox car embedded in one of the walkways on campus. If this is true, where might I find it?, Cathryn Siolka '19

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With Brian Bruess becoming our eighth president in July, I’m wondering who led the college after yourself, and before President Kunkel. Can you share?, Abigail Stewart '19

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I heard that the Norbertines started WBAY-TV. Is that true?, Ivy Summers

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How do you feel about the college today?, Claire Westlie '13

Submissions from 2016

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I’ve noticed that near the dates on several campus buildings is the inscription D.O.M. What is the significance of that?, Jenna Decker '18

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While visiting the crypt in the abbey, I noted that you yourself – if I may be so bold – are to be found buried there alongside Abbot Killeen. There is an empty area next to the two of you. May I ask who will be buried there?, Sue Dewane Vine '66

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What do the ropes on the graduation gowns mean?, Julimar Garcia '18

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I have noticed on more than one occasion that many individuals, when passing the outdoor statue of St. Norbert, will touch his big toe. Close examination of the statue clearly shows that his toe has been touched by many, as the surface of his toe is worn smooth. Is there some special reason people do this?, Carl Graf

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The college sure has a lot of brick buildings. I’m wondering how many bricks make up campus buildings. Any estimate?, Steve Hofacker '15

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Here on campus, I live in Victor McCormick Hall – VMC. Who was Victor McCormick and why was the hall named after him?, Sam Holt '18

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Do you know how the college acquired the green neon grocery sign that hangs in the critique room in the Bush Arts Center?, Anja Marshall '17

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Why was St. Norbert College never made a University?, Jerome Moscinski '63

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I have heard that there is a connection between Archmere Academy and the Empire State building. Can you tell me if this is so?, Bernard Olejniczak '53

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I wonder if you remember the Green Hornet?, Kim Pierce '76

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Have you ever heard of any ghosts in the Pennings Activity Center?, Colin Waas '19

Submissions from 2015

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The 2016 Olympic Games are already making headlines. Have any of our alumni ever competed in the Olympic Games?, Jonathan Carroll '17

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Are there any freshman-year rituals today?, Rich Gausselin '61

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How do you celebrate Christmas?, Fiona Hehir '18

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How did the St. Norbert College arch come into being?, Sarah Kick '17

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I heard that Main Hall is not the oldest building on campus. Can that be true?, Benjamin Lepak '16

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How was it possible that all of St. Norbert College was once housed under one roof, in Main Hall?, Andrea Liebelt '10

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In your response to last month’s question, you mentioned how much you valued the early domestic staff. Who helped you with the outside work in those days?, Dennis McGuire '61

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Who is the new Hugh Hall named after?, Taylor Miller '16

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In your best estimation, how many graduating students have taken photos with you over the years?, Karen O'Connell '05

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How were students recruited to St. Norbert College in the early days?, Emily Techmeier '15

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May I inquire, what are your spring break plans?, Mackenzie Timmer '18

Submissions from 2014

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What is the proper use of the college’ name? Is it still acceptable to say “St. Norbert’s”?, Matt Christoff '14

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Is it true that St. Norbert College has every indigenous Wisconsin tree on its campus?, Kasey Corrado '13

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I heard the whole college used to be run out of one notebook and a cigar box. Is that true?, John Gallagher '63

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I’ve noticed that every year certain professors are distinguished with either the Leonard Ledvina Outstanding Teaching Award or the Donald B. King Distinguished Scholar Award. I feel sure that King and Ledvina were fascinating men – can you tell us more?, Neil Gloudemans '12

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Is it true that St. Norbert once beat the University of Notre Dame at hockey?, Maggie Hall '15

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How long has St. Norbert offered “alternative spring break” programs?, Kelly (Langenecker) Peiffer '97

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How did the similarity of the Packers and Green Knights team colors (green and gold) come about?, Wayne Leitermann

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In my time here, I’ve noticed several memorials spread around campus. How many are there?, Rebecca Liming '15

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Is it true that women’s basketball coach Connie Tilley has achieved coaching success in other college sports?, Rachel Mueller '14

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Has anyone famous ever stayed at the Kress Inn?, Katie Vanden Avond '15

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Are you familiar with the term “hashtag”? If you had one, what would it be?, Austin Van Pay '17

Submissions from 2013

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Where do students do their shopping these days?, Tom Basche '46

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Where were the science classrooms before JMS was built?, Tim Berto '07

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Who is the Phil in Phil’s, the Ed in Ed’s Cafe, the Ruth in Ruth’s Marketplace and the Dale in Dale’s Sports Lounge?, Danny Carpenter '14

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At graduation, I couldn’t help but notice the ‘bling’ that President Kunkel had on – what is the story behind the medal he wears?, Larissa Dallman '13

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How long has the ROTC program been at SNC?, Jay DeCleene '94

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I was on the college web page and saw this year’s Alumni Awards recipients. Who is the earliest alum to be honored?, Myron "Mike" Hauser '57

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Which fraternity and sorority were the first to be founded at St. Norbert, and which have been on campus the longest?, Elizabeth Krajnik '15

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It’s hard not to notice the colorful line of flags on the back of the Bemis International Center. What do the flags represent, and do they ever change?, Bryant McCray '16

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Which current faculty member has been teaching at St. Norbert the longest?, Kathleen McKitrick '11

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Who was the first Ugly Man?, Sami Quinn '08

Submissions from 2012

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Is one of the existing fraternities on the St. Norbert campus a successor to the Kappa Chi fraternity that existed in the late 1960s? I was a founding member of KX., Quent Below '70

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When was the first St. Norbert College Magazine published?, Brett Buboltz '08

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It was exciting to hear that the De Pere Norbertines recently re-elected the Rt. Rev. Gary Neville as their abbot. How does the election process work?, Jay DeCleene '94

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How many students have graduated from St. Norbert College?, MaryBeth Earle Davich Ascher '71

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Did any former St. Norbert football players ever go on to play for the Green Bay Packers?, Dan King '15

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I was wondering how old is Norby the Knight? Also, when he reaches the end of his fourth year on campus, can he receive an honorary degree?, Holly Nickerson '15

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Was Van Dyke Gym the first gymnasium at St. Norbert College?, Jena Paul '14

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At this year’s Commencement, it was quite a sight to see all the faculty and even staff wearing a cap and gown along with me and my classmates. Has this always been the tradition at St. Norbert?, Samantha Schurhammer '12

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As a student, I have walked past the sculpture of St. Norbert many times between classes. How long has the sculpture been there? Is there particular meaning behind what he is holding?, Colleen Shore '14

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I am wondering if [the Theological Institute] is still being offered, or if there is something akin to that for us old duffers who may want a quick uplift in our spiritual renewal?, Mary Symak