Rick Tongberg

A couple of months after graduating from GDA, my father passed away and his passing had a profound influence in how I approached college. I attended Denison University along with Jebs Selden and Peter Flaharty. Jebs and I were frat brothers (Delta Upsilon). I tried to continue my soccer career as goalie but, after my freshman year, the coach recruited 3 top goalies clearly signaling my career was over. The only connection I have to soccer today is watching our 3-year old grand daughter play, which is a real treat.

Met my wife, Sue, at Denison our sophomore year and we married shortly after graduating. Jebs was my best man. We recently celebrated our 35th anniversary.

Thinking I was interested in law, I attended law school at the University of North Carolina. After a year, however, I switched to business school and we moved to State College, Pa., eventually receiving an MBA and a PhD in business administration from Penn State University concentrating in marketing ( Sue also earned her PhD at Penn State - in psychology).

Like so many of you, the military was hot on my heels in the late 60's. I thought I'd be able to elude them, being married and continuing to work towards my degrees. Nevertheless, greetings arrived in the spring of 1969. I was fortunate to join the army reserves, spending nearly a year in training at Fort Gordon, before returning to my reserve unit. I was easily the oldest recruit in my training class, as well as having the most number of degrees being half way along in my PhD program.

Upon leaving Penn State, I took a marketing research job at Warner-Lambert in New Jersey. After two years, moved to Miles Laboratories in Elkhart, Indiana. While Elkhart was a great place to raise children, the lake-effect snows finally took their toll and I accepted a position at Brown-Forman in Louisville, Kentucky heading up their marketing insights group. Most people have never heard of Brown-Forman but do know most of their products - Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Bolla and Fetzer wine and Korbel champagne to name a few. They also own Hartmann luggage, Dansk and Lenox china. Working at Brown-Forman gave me (and, occasionally Sue) the opportunity to travel to many countries around the world where our products were actively being marketed. One of the more interesting business trips was to Vietnam -- felt very fortunate I was in a business suit and not a uniform some 25+ years earlier.

Recently, I elected to take early retirement from Brown-Forman. To fill my time and to continue to stay involved with marketing, I decided to become an adjunct instructor at an extension of Indiana University.

Like so many of my fellow GDA classmates, my proudest achievement is having been blessed with two really good children - a son and a daughter. Our son, Chris, received his MBA from Babson College last year. Chris and his wife live in Brookline - Chris works for the Stategic Pricing Group in Waltham and his wife is with MFS in Boston. They are expecting in November. Our daughter, Kim, has a masters from the University of Louisville and is pursuing a career in social work. She has a daughter who is the apple of her grandfather's eye.

Other than Jebs and Peter (at Denison), the only other alumnus I've come across in 40 years is Frank Bond. My daughter worked in Santa Fe for a couple of years in social work and Frank and I got together on a couple of occasions.

My interests include golf, traveling, fixing up our place and spending time with my grand daughter, who I see nearly everyday. I qualified for the Kentucky Amateur a few years back (I assure you it was a fluke). Nevertheless, it was a fun experience playing with all those youngsters who hit the ball 300 yds.

During my first year at GDA, I snapped my ACL ligament playing football. That's why I ended up in soccer. Well, after 42 years, I decided that technology had come far enough to give reconstructive knee surgery a try. Have had two surgeries since December and am still rehabbing.

I am truly amazed by some of the bios I've been reading. While attending GDA, I did not realize our class was so eclectic. All the unique overseas assignments, the sailing enthusiasts, a sheep farm, a charter boat company, interesting military careers, sports agent, the Peace Corps and, especially, those who dropped out of college, then went back to school to earn masters and PhD degrees.

I have never attended a class reunion of any type and am looking forward to seeing my GDA classmates of 1962. Maybe we should take a walk around the Milestone for ole time's sake. Don't think my knee's up to jumping over the garden wall, however.