Alumni Spotlight - Debi (Andersen) Rieflin '79

Name: Debi (Andersen) Rieflin

Hometown: Mt. Pleasant, SC

Graduation Year: 1979

Where are you now? My husband, Ed, and I raised our four children (now adults) in the Charleston SC area, and that’s where we call “home”.

What are you doing? Having retired from flying the C141 and C17 after 32 years of Air Force service, I am now an airline pilot.

What is your favorite Wooster memory? Don Quixote Day, and what it represents.

What impact did your Wooster education have on you? Without a doubt, Wooster ``formed” me. I didn’t realize nor appreciate it during my four years I attended, but I’ve been reminded of the impact in so many ways throughout my life, since. As a college student, I was well prepared for rigorous academics. As a young graduate, from the self-help experiences in followership, teamwork and leadership, I confidently pursued an Air Force career. As a spouse, I was reminded of the imperative of being humbly willing to compromise individual wants for the good of the team. As a parent, with Wooster’s boarding program closed and the impossibility of commuting from SC every day, I sought for our children as close to a Wooster learning environment I could, one with enthusiastic faculty which absolutely included and celebrated diversity. As a participant in our 40-year reunion this past fall, with 30 of our class of 72 in attendance, I had a most memorable and unifying experience. Honestly, we ALL left feeling good! Now, as COVID has changed everything for everyone; some more negatively than others, our class has seized the opportunity to continue to support each other, from each according to ability - to each according to need, through semi-weekly Zoom check-ins and continued individual correspondence. I, for one, have truly benefited from these regular connections, and I intend to continue staying in touch with my ‘mates, my Wooster family!

What advice would you like to share with current Wooster students? Attending Wooster is a very unique privilege. The tenets upon which Reverend Aaron Coburn founded it, remain true and well-intentioned. You are learning the value of being "gentle, generous, truthful, kind, and brave.” You will see that those traits will serve you well today, and as you face unknown challenges ahead in a changing world.

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