Happy Trails


Doug Van Berkum and his wife, Linda, are now members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association Hall of Fame after operating Rainbow Trout Lodge in southern Colorado for nearly 25 years.

Doug Van Berkum ’60, ’62 was Northwestern’s alumni director from 1984 to 1995 before trading fundraising for trailblazing. In the mid ’90s, he and his wife, Linda, began operating Rainbow Trout Ranch, a dude ranch located in the Rockies near Antonito, Colo. Now almost 25 years later, the couple have been inducted into the Dude Ranchers’ Association Hall of Fame.

Late spring through early fall, the 77-year-old can be found taking the cowpokes and buckaroos on a hayride, cooking flank steak over the fire, fixing one of the 48 toilets in the nearly century-old cabins, or shooting the breeze with some of the 60 guests at the ranch.

Family is what first drew Van Berkum to ranch life, and it’s what keeps him there. The Van Berkums operate Rainbow Trout with their son, Dave ’92 and his wife, Jane. Their two daughters, both Colorado residents, love to be involved in interior decorating and landscaping projects. Last summer five of their six grandchildren also worked as ranch hands, which was deeply satisfying for the family’s patriarch.

Van Berkum admits the sun may be setting on his days as ranch boss. But he and Linda plan to continue to spend their summers with family and friends at 9,000 feet and 15 percent humidity, enjoying the peace of the Western life. “It’s pretty darn neat,” he says.

Set in Stone


Dennis and Susan Muyskens chose to incorporate the NWC logo into their new home basketball court, completed in November of 2017.

When Dennis ’88 and Susan (Kindwall ’89) Muyskens moved to their Mason City, Iowa, home in 2016, they knew a significant landscaping project was in store.

As they developed plans for new decking and landscaping, they found they could fulfill one of Dennis’ dreams—having a basketball hoop. An old gazebo site offered space for not only a hoop, but also a court large enough for a regulation three-point line. An added bonus: Because the court was to be made of stone pavers, the landscapers offered to include the logo of the Muyskens’ favorite team in the court’s design.

Without hesitation, the Muyskens chose Northwestern’s logo.

“It was an easy choice,” says Dennis. “It’s been a family tradition to go to Northwestern.” Dozens of the Muyskens’ family members are Red Raiders, as are two of their daughters, Corrine Weece ’13 and Haley ’20.

For nearly three days, the landscapers cut and placed pavers to form the logo, eventually completing the entire court with more than 3,000 pavers.

While the Muyskens family enjoys a competitive game of H-O-R-S-E every now and then, it’s the neighborhood kids who seem to enjoy the court the most. “They’re free to use it any time,” says Dennis.

Perhaps their time on the court will pave the way to their being Red Raiders too.

Sailor of the Year


Jean Yusten, who enlisted in the Navy in 2009, was one of four people honored as sailors of the year for 2017.

Before she was named the U.S. Navy’s 2017 Shore Sailor of the Year last spring, Chief Legalman Jean Yusten ’08 adopted a mantra: no excuses.

Based in Naples, Italy, Yusten had excelled within her command, earning honors that eventually qualified her for the Navy-wide Sailor of the Year competition. At first, she wasn’t sure she could win. Then she had a breakthrough.

“I realized I was only limiting myself by my own excuses,” she says.

Military service wasn’t always Yusten’s plan. After graduating with a theatre degree from Northwestern, she began working at a bank call center. “I only lasted three months before I started looking for a new job,” she says.

Yusten saw a Navy recruitment ad targeted toward women and signed up.

At first, Yusten saw it as an opportunity to travel the world and serve her country. Since then, her vision of service has expanded.

“I’m serving every single person who’s around me,” says Yusten, who works with judge advocates on operational and administrative law.

Having won Shore Sailor of the Year, Yusten now has another goal in mind: master chief petty officer, the top enlisted position in the Navy.

“Only one percent gets it,” she says before claiming her mantra. No excuses.

On-Air Honor


Isaiah Twitty, afternoon personality on Omaha’s Power 106.9, was among 20 individuals named to Radio Ink’s 2018 list of Future African-American Leaders in Radio.

In just his third year on the microphone, Isaiah Twitty ’14 was named to Radio Ink’s 2018 list of Future African-American Leaders in Radio. He’s pretty sure the reason is that listeners come to know he’s a lot like them—because when Twitty’s life doesn’t go as planned, it becomes on-air content.

Happy Monday, I hope your Monday isn’t like mine, where I locked myself out of the house and had to stand on the corner like a middle-schooler waiting for the bus.

“It’s not hard for me to relate to people,” says Twitty, who hosts a show on Omaha’s Power 106.9 and is social media director for NRG Media. “It’s all about being natural, being real. We set the standard at our station for what’s cool—and for us, being cool is being yourself.”

Twitty arrived at Northwestern in 2010 planning to study math but switched majors to sport management. An All-American linebacker on the football team, he found himself surprised by positive reactions to his sports broadcast commentary (“I just thought they were being nice”).

With this recent nomination, he knows he’s earned the honor.

“Being in sports, I’m a team player first, but it’s nice to be recognized for being true to myself,” he says. “This shows I’m heading in the right direction.”

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