Page 1

ROCKY NOW Vol. 4 Issue 2

Fresh news every day at

February 2009

Rocky Now: Keeping our friends and supporters informed about what’s new and exciting at Rocky Mountain College

All about our students “Inspiring” is one word that friends and family of Kori Wilkerson use to describe her. “Courageous” is another. This excep tional Rocky student never lets obstacles deter her from enjoy ing life and learning. Since coming to Photo: Dave M. Shumway, Rocky this fall, Kori RMC has immersed her self in class work, Kori Wilkerson perchoir and theatre. It formed in the RMC Theatre production of was a dream from “Once Upon a when her grand mother was attend - Mattress.” ing classes. Kori and her grandfather would play Frisbee on the green while they waited. “I loved the campus, the historic buildings and I knew this was where I wanted to come to college,” she said. Rocky Mountain College may not have any student with more pluck and determination than 19-year-old Kori Wilkerson, a freshman studying business and music, who hopes some day to write her own songs, produce her own CD and engage in one of her passions -- traveling. It has not been easy for Kori. Paralyzed from the waist down -- the result of injuries from a car accident when she was 13 months old -- she had barely started learning to walk when she had to learn to use a wheelchair. As a teenager, she faced a series of surgeries to correct a curving spine. “My whole life has been around ablebodied people, but I believe that if I want to do it, then do it. I don’t see my wheelchair as a barrier. I wasn’t going to let all those medical issues hold me back,” she said. At Rocky, Kori continues with the same (More Kori, please turn to back)

CENTENNIAL CANDLELIGHT Still glowing, after 100 years: The tradition of the College’s first meal

It was a dreary January day in 1910 when the students, staff and faculty gathered to share their first meal on the campus of Rocky Mountain College. They had spent the day loading their trunks and furniture onto hay wagons to move into the new buildings. Horses and humans labored in the slush and mud. That evening they gathered for their first meal on campus. The menu was sparse. Some cold meat, boiled potatoes, beans and doughnuts. There were not enough forks for everyone so some had a choice of a spoon or knife. The electricity was not working, so they ate on FEBRUARY 12, 2009 ✮ 5:30 P.M. ✮ GREAT HALL✮ rough bare boards with canPLEASE CALL 406-657-1005 TO RESERVE SEATING dles flickering here and there. That candlelight dinner became a legacy for the College to celebrate each year, BY VICKI DAVISON commemorating its meager DEVELOPMENT OFFICER beginnings, but signifying its ALUMNI RELATIONS & ANNUAL FUND spirit in the face of adversity. This year will mark the cenAs the director of the newly-structured tennial celebration of that first alumni relations office, I am excited to begin candlelight dinner. working with all of you to build a larger, The Centennial Candlelight more cohesive network of alumni with the Dinner will be held Thursday, College. Our alumni are among our greatest February 12, 2009, in Prescott resources. Hall, beginning at 5:30 p.m. As I begin working on alumni events, I Reservations are required due want to introduce an important support to limited seating, according to group -- our Alumni Association Board. Vicki Davison, RMC alumni Many of you may not know about this relations and annual fund board or the important work it is doing, but director. Please call 657-1005 I hope as we strive to build relationships, you will recognize their to reserve seating. service and be inspired to help with programs beneficial to your There will be two awards Alma Mater. This group will be invaluable to me. They include presented during the evening. Ron Sovey, a 1964 RMC grad(More Alumni teams, please turn to back) uate, will receive the RMC

100th Candlelight Dinner

Alumni relations teams go to work

All about Alumni


(More Candlelight, please turn to back)

Centennial Candlelight / from the front Alumni Association Outstanding Achievement Award. Dr. Lawrence F. Small will receive the RMC Distinguished Service Award. “This year we will be honoring two exceptional friends of Rocky,” said Ms. Davison. “Their generous contributions of time and talent, as well as their support of students, faculty and staff, exemplify the spirit of giving that makes Rocky such an excellent institution.” Mr. Sovey is retired from John Deere International where he was the Director of Wage Administration, establishing all the wages for John Deere in North America. He has been an avid supporter of his Alma Mater. Mr. Sovey helped establish the Larry Pretty Weasel Endowed Scholarship. In addition to

this generous gift, he also made a 10 year pledge to the Annual Fund, and joined the RMC Quarter Back Club in support of Rocky football. He is a current member of the RMC Board of Trustees. Dr. Small came to RMC in 1959 as a professor, and was named president in 1966. He served as president until 1975 when he returned to teaching, retiring in 1990. He served from 1984-1990 as executive director for the Montana Association of Churches. He was also founder and chair of the RMC Institute for Peace Studies. In addition to other books, Dr. Small authored a two volume college history, “Courageous Journey,” and “Pathways to the Present.”

Mr. Sovey and Dr. Small

Alumni teams/ from the front Rod Svee, RMC ’69, President; Richard Allen, RMC ’91; Vice President; Pete Taylor, RMC ’85, Secretary; Sven Eklof, RMC ’69 comprise the Executive Committee. Additional board members are: Chris Bingley, RMC ’96; Tina Denny, RMC ’08; Marie Eckhardt, RMC ’02; Jerry Fox, RMC ’74; and Lacey Kraft, RMC ’98. I also want you to know that we have a large alumni relations support team. These are people, in the photograph to the right, who work well together to plan, schedule, promote, and orchestrate alumni events. They will be instrumental in communication, providing alumni services, and responding to your requests. They include: Front row (l-r): Obert Undem, director of planned giving; Shari VanDelinder, director of development; Vicki Davison, annual fund and alumni relations director; and Margia Pretlow, publications coordinator. Back row (l-r) Justin Rehklau, development accountant and database manager; Deb Faw, development office manager; Kathy Sabol, assistant to the president for development and strategic marketing, and Dan Burkhart, director of news and information. (Not pictured: Bob FitzGerald, director of major gifts, who focuses on alumni and friends in Western Montana.)


Kori/ from the front concentration and discipline that have helped her succeed in the past. She maintains a better than 3.0 GPA, sings in the choir and has appeared in the RMC Theatre production of “Once Upon a Mattress.” Kori came to Rocky after an arduous period when she had a difficult recovery from several surgeries, with complications that almost killed her. She not only endured the agony of the recovery, but managed to graduate with her high school class on time. That’s not surprising for someone who once was a member of the cheer squad (“I could do everything but splits,” she jokes), edited her high school newspaper, and this past summer went “wild” in Africa on a safari. Those who know her say she is delightful, funny, courageous . . . and most of all, inspiring. That’s our kind of student.

Candlelight celebrated in Kalispell SUBMITTED BY BOB FITZGERALD, RMC ’65

The food was delicious and plentiful, the conversation animated and the family feel in the elegant home on Flathead Lake of Ron Tjaden, RMC ’69, combined for a warm evening of fellowship and fun. This was a celebration of the RMC Candlelight tradition similar to many being scheduled away from campus. Appropriately, this centennial year a vigorous effort is being made to make sure alumni and friends who cannot come to Rocky for the traditional candlelight dinner convene closer to home. RMC President Mike Mace, RMC Board of Trustees member and alum Ron Tjaden, RMC Development

officer Bob FitzGerald, RMC ’65, and RMC Admissions counselor Scott Kunz, RMC ’94, hosted the dinner for some 20 friends and alumni on January 25, 2009. Among those joining the dinner were Rev. Kathy Young, RMC ’71, Kerrie More, RMC ’93, Sue Paulson, RMC ’68, and Lynn (Swan) Stanley, RMC ’70, along with two potential Rocky students. “We had so much fun it was tough to pull ourselves away after almost four hours,” FitzGerald said. The family setting reminded the alums that even after so many years they feel that strong connection to Rocky. The separation of time and distance are no match for the family that Rocky Mountain College continues to be for so many alumni.

Rocky Now - February 2009  
Rocky Now - February 2009  

RMC newsletter for the college community.