Duehrings to receive Ripon College Founders’ Day Award

Dave and Karen Stoddard Duehring of Green Lake will be honored by Ripon College with its annual Founders’ Day Award Jan. 27. The award is presented to an individual or organization in Ripon and surrounding communities who exemplifies the ideals behind the creation of Ripon College in 1851.

The ceremony celebrating the 164th anniversary of the College’s founding will be held at 11:15 a.m. in Great Hall of Harwood Memorial Union on the Ripon College campus. A brief historical presentation will be given by Kevin Whiteneir Jr., a senior art history and anthropology major from Chicago, Illinois.

Duehring is a Ripon native and a co-owner of Ripon Drug and Ben Franklin, which have provided a steady presence in downtown Ripon through the years. He started as a pharmacist at Ripon Drug in 1970 as a junior partner and eventually bought into the business. The Ben Franklin store was added in 1978.

He has had a longstanding and strong commitment to the city of Ripon and the students, faculty and staff of Ripon College.

His first major exposure to Ripon College was when he attended Badger Boys State on the campus while he was a high school student. He regularly attends sports and fine arts events at the College, is a member of the Red Hawks Kettle Club of athletic supporters, and has made contributions of various types to the College for more than 40 years.

Duehring also has employed numerous Ripon College students in the past and is proud that two recent graduates and employees — Tiffany Palm ’08 and Josh Besaw ’14 — have gone on to pharmacy school.

“It’s very important to support that interest,” he says. “I make extra efforts, even if there is not a spot for them on the staff, to make room for them.”

In the city of Ripon, Duehring has been a member of the Rotary for more than 40 years and a member of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce and Ripon Main Street. He is a past president of all three organizations.

“To give back is a personal feeling I have,” Duehring says. “I was mentored that way. Two mentors I had in pharmacy were former owners of Ripon Drug — Al Nimz and Robert Evensen. They both stressed the importance of supporting local things and joining groups, being active and supporting the College. It’s important to support the College because of our location. When we first opened here, we said of the College: Our back door is your front door. It’s one of the reasons we decided to build here in the downtown rather than out on Highway 23.”

Karen Stoddard Duehring is a 1972 graduate of Ripon College, a member of Alpha Chi Omega. A sister, Debra Stoddard Jessop ’77, was a member of Alpha Delta Pi. Their mother, Roberta, worked in the Ripon College business office from 1966 to 1978, and their father, Lee, worked at Speed Queen, now Alliance Laundry Systems. “It was a Speed Queen scholarship that encouraged me to attend Ripon College,” Stoddard Duehring says. “Scholarships are such an important way of giving back to an academic community.

“We were ‘classical Riponites.’ It was a nice combination of town and gown for our family.”

She says the Founders’ Day Award is a “distinct honor,” but feels that what she has accomplished is a recognition of the high standards and the classical learning and teaching models offered by the College itself. Stoddard Duehring has taught at the high school and university levels, and formed her own private tutoring business.

“It was the quality of leadership and faculty at Ripon College in all areas, not just my majors of English, American history and teaching, along with an enthusiastic environment that I know made a wonderful difference in my years of teaching,” she says. “My students and faculty colleagues often recognized that ‘Ripon difference.’ I was a Ripon College student who loved learning and college life. I absorbed all the riches Ripon College offered. As it happened, it was a blessing I could share — a special way of giving back!”

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