Life at Ripon — Clarence Sanon ’15

Chapter 4: Reflections of a Red Hawk

 [Editor’s Note: Clarence Sanon ’15, Rachel Detrie ’15, and Kaitlyn Welzen ’15 are writing rotating monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their senior year experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life At Ripon!]


As I close the chapter of my life titled, “The Wonderful World of Ripon College” and turn off the Alma Mater soundtrack on my record player, I am reminded of all my friends, professors, staff, and mentors that have helped me write this portion of this symbolic book. The memories that I have of Ripon were not all good, but they were all necessary in my development. Developing simultaneously as a scholar and a citizen of the world has helped to shape my view of others and my duty to the world in any way that I can. To me, a citizen of the world has to be able to look at their profession and honestly say they are benefiting or helping society move in a better state than their predecessors, otherwise, what is the purpose of it all? What is personal success atop a society with famine, poverty, illness, and lack of resources? Personal success should reflect the success of the many and success should not be measured by some homogeneous ideal. Ripon taught me that we measure achievement by the progress of the institution as a whole. When the communication department received the Rex Mix award for being the best department amongst “small colleges” (the definition of small included schools three or more times bigger than ours) it was not only an achievement for Drs. Jody Roy and Steve Martin, but for the entire institution and students past, present, and forthcoming.

Continuing Ripon’s legacy of paying it forward, I will be attending the same master’s program for communication as Dr. Martin at Colorado State University. Honestly, this opportunity at this prestigious program was incredibly surprising to me. I was offered a full ride into their program the year after they were just given the distinction as the best master’s program for communication in the nation. This path not only allows me to continue learning from amazing scholars as I did in Ripon, but to be able to use my passions to support my work. I am both nervous and excited to be able to start this new journey. The summer has given me time to reflect and look at what I have done and what I want to continue to do. Everything leading up to this moment has been enjoyable, challenging, but is not the precipice. This past year has allowed me to connect with alumni, faculty, and staff in ways that allowed me to see the College in a different perspective. An institution like this, despite its faults, has benefitted me and countless others in ways unimaginable. However, this does not mean that we should be complacent. There are students on campus who are emerging leaders and are passionate about the school and quality of life for students. As alumni, what we can do is support them in their endeavors and challenge the status quo. We have to really ask the students what they want and how it can make the institution better.

Essentially, my work as a student is neverending. My work as a civil servant is neverending. I’m still looking for my niche, but I know that my future has much in store. Together, we can change the world. There is power in unity as well as in education. Seeing as this is my last blog in this manner, I want to give thanks to all who have helped me achieve what I have thus far. Ripon has taught me countless lessons which I will never forget—lessons of forgiveness, modesty, embarrassment, hard work, striving for greatness, love and compassion. Red Hawks, although from different nests, fly together. Thank you.

Till the moon rises again,

Clarence Sanon ’15

Related Posts

Detail of "Limpet," by James. B. Thompson

Exhibit of last works by James B. Thompson ’73 available to view online

“Tide Charts: Ebb and Flow,” an exhibit of mixed-media artworks by James B. Thompson ’73, is on view through Feb. 25 in Western Oregon University’s […]

Howard Dayle Balliett '39 and Marilynn Bruns Balliett '41

1941 attack on Pearl Harbor: Howard Dayle Balliett ’39, Marilynn Bruns Balliett ’41 were there

Dec. 7, 1941, was declared “a date which will live in infamy” by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the Empire of Japan’s attack on […]

Ethics Bowl Team members Caitlin Marsch, Caroline Flesch and Ethan Ripp

Red Hawks beat Badgers in regional ethics bowl

Ripon College competed in the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl at Northern Illinois University Nov. 13. Caroline Flesch ’23 of Delevan, Wisconsin; Caitlin Marsch ’24 […]

Play rehearsal

Ripon College presents theatre production ‘Everybody’

“Everybody,” by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a modern adaptation of the classic play “Everyman,” will be presented Dec. 8 to 11 in Benstead Theatre, C.J. Rodman Center […]

Clarence Sanon