By Joan Tanji
Ten years ago, Dave and Sue Wegge of Green Bay, Wisconsin paid a poignant visit to Mid-Pacific’s campus. “It was one of the most memorable and meaningful times for us,” recalls Dave. Sue’s father, Dr. Melvin Fredlund, taught mathematics and science at Mid-Pacific as a young man from 1929 to 1932. After three years in Hawai‘i, he sailed back to the Midwest, received a medical degree, and opened a family practice in Minnesota. In 1950, Melvin tragically succumbed to Polycystic Kidney Disease, leaving behind a young wife, two sons, and his one-year-old daughter Sue.
Dave explained how important it was for Sue to get to know the father she never knew. “Your team at the time of our visit, provided Sue with a copy of her father’s handwritten application letter that the school kept in their Archives. This was the first time my wife learned of her father in his voice. It was an emotional experience reading that letter.”
On June 30, 2021, Dave and Sue returned to Mid-Pacific for their 50th anniversary, this time with their children and grandchildren. After a self-guided, drive-by tour of the campus, the family spent time in the Institutional Advancement (IA) office combing through photos, yearbooks and more of her father’s handwritten letters from the school’s archives, in addition to a 1931 Mid-Pacific school catalog.
“It was such a positive experience to be [back] at Mid-Pacific Institute to see where my Dad spent some years of his young adult life and feel a closer connection to him,” says Sue. “I loved being able to share all of those things with Dave and our children and grandchildren as well.” Shannon Cleary, vice president of institutional advancement, shares the sentiment. “The Wegge’s presence brought both our history and our future to light,” as the Wegges expressed their hope to maintain their relationship with Mid-Pacific in meaningful ways in the years to come.