Ditka - Purple Tie

Purple Tie Dinner June 9th , 2018


John Siegel ‘71

Affiliate Sponsors

Old Colonial Inn, Mike and Mara (Pindell) Davis ‘78


Fair Oaks Farms


God Bless Da Coach!

Da Coach looks good with a purple tie! Although it took a few months to find his cell phone number, I had contacted Coach Ditka back in December of 2017 and he immediately agreed to help St. Joe’s.  He had 6 years of good memories (mostly) from his days in Rensselaer.  He mentioned that Rensselaer was the ideal place to have an NFL preseason training camp at the time because of its “uniqueness” – which we all think meant that it was in the middle of nowhere and the Bears players could not get into much trouble.  Several long time Rensselaer folks remember the days of the Bears eating and drinking beer at Kanne’s (soon to be Rafferty’s) and in fact our own Dr. Tom Ryan was told to serve Iron Mike “pitchers of beer.” Coach did not charge for his June 9th appearance here and he was a fantastic speaker and very charming as well – certainly a “different” perspective than the one  we admired on the Bears sidelines.  His wife Diana was wonderful also and very helpful. The Purple Tie dinner grossed over $100,000…… a huge amount for a 1st time event.  As you probably already know, the proceeds will go to renovating Schwieterman Hall, the first dorm we will use to house students at the renewed St. Joe.  Schwieterman Hall can also be used for generating revenue by housing hundreds of guests for seminars, classes and other activities before we reopen in Rensselaer.

Many Pumas of the sold out crowd were in attendance from Chicago and Indianapolis and several participated by providing auction items. 

Live Auction Items:

            Jimmy ’75 and Rosa Thordsen (Puerto Rico Stay)

            Mike Vallone ’60 (1.5 ounces of gold coins)

            Jim Echle ’66 (Hawaii Stay)

            Bill ’74 and Sally Hogan (Seattle Trip)

            Bill ’74 and Liz ’73 Reagan (Notre Dame Football Tickets)

            Bill and Cheryl ’77 Walker (Pumas Corn Hole Set)

Silent Auction Items:

           John Sweeterman ’74 (Framed Twin Towers Artwork and SJC coffee cups)

            Dick Vallin ’59 (George Halas and Walter Payton autographed photos)

            Mike Vallone ’60 (Diamond Bracelet)

            Lisa Handler ’84 (Union Pier Cottage)

            Renee Egan ’85 (numerous Bears memorabilia)

            Ralph Waldecki ’79 (Authentic Bears Football Helmets signed by Da Coach)

            Ron Kasparian ’08 (Puma coasters, dice, etc.), he also made the Core XI Lamps

            Bill and Cheryl Walker ‘77

We had a fantastic Purple Tie Dinner Committee including:

            Ned Tonner, Co-Chair SJC Board of Trustees

            Mindy Beier ‘96, Co-Chair SJC Board of Trustees

            Sheila (Broussard) Maxwell ’93, Managing Director

            Tracy  ’91 and Chuck Fox, Auctioneer

            Tim ’89, Lana ’87 and Tyler ’15 Conroy, who was the inspiring former student speaker

            Renee Egan ’85, Coordinated the Silent Auction

            Bill Hogan ’74, SJC VP

            Michael Kohlman, SJC CIO

            Julie Hesson, SJC Fellow

            Michelle Searer, former Alumni Director

            Tom O’Brien ‘69

            April Fendt, SJC Office Assistant

The Purple Tie Dinner Committee will be meeting on Monday, July 2nd at the Fair Oaks Farmhouse, 6:30 pm to review the 2018 PTD and plan for 2019.  It is a lot of fun. Let me know if you want to join us. Even if you cannot be a Committee Member we could still use items for next year.  If you can provide a Live or Silent Auction item for the 2019 Purple Tie Dinner, please contact me directly. In particular, we need tickets to high profile sporting events, vacation trips and air flights. Puma items were well received also.

Many St. Joe alums may not be aware of the relatively new attraction one exit north of Rensselaer on I – 65.  Fair Oaks Farms is  led by Michael McCloskey, Gary Corbett, Julie Basich, Michael McCall and Lucinda Coffman ’97 and they have big plans to make Fair Oaks Farms the #1 farm activities related attraction in the USA.  They already have over ½ million visitors annually and with a new hotel, restaurant, museum, tours and café,  Fair Oaks Farms will continue to grow and have a major impact on the area.  Most importantly, Fair Oaks Farms is a major supporter of the return of SJC and they provided all  of the meals for the inaugural Purple Tie dinner free of charge!  This is fantastic news and allows us to generate much more funding for the renovation of Schwietermann Hall.  Therefore, Indy and Chicago Pumas…. when you are driving  north or south on I – 65, make sure you stop by Fair Oaks Farms and let them know how much we appreciate this incredibly generous contribution.

Finally, if you want to still contribute to The Purple Tie Dinner before July 1 go to www.SaintJoe.edu  IWANTTOHELP and hit the donate link.  You can give to the Purple Tie Dinner and/or The Phoenix Project.  We will be ranking and recognizing all of the donors of the Phoenix Project since February 2017 and  The Purple Tie Dinner, sometime in July.  If you have donated and prefer not to be mentioned by name, please let me know.


Bill J. Hogan, Ph.D.
Vice President for Advancement of the Phoenix Project
Saint Joseph’s College
1027 S. College AVE
Rensselaer, IN  47978
Cell:  219.869.0894
Email: bhogan@saintjoe.edu