Alumna Stays Up with the Titanic

Sheryl (Rupp) Rinkol’s (’99) interest in the Titanic emerged at age 6 when her grandmother gave her a book on disasters at sea. That interest has grown to titanic proportions in the 30 years since.

As a Nebraska Wesleyan student, Rinkol participated in an independent research project on the ship and did her student teaching in Southampton, the English port from which the Titanic departed.

And, this spring, she joined the 450 people aboard the Azamara Journey, a ship chartered for a Titanic Memorial Cruise. On April 14, exactly 100 years after the Titanic sank, the Azamara floated above to pay tribute. The ship’s whistle marked the moment its predecessor struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. For the next 90 minutes, the names of the 1,503 victims were read. The service concluded with a wreath touching the water at 2:20 a.m., the moment the ship succumbed to the Atlantic.

“I don’t want it to go away,” Rinkol said. “The Titanic deserves attention beyond 100 years. It’s an important part of history.”

As assistant director of NWU’s Cooper Center for Academic Resources, Rinkol is determined to do her part to keep that history alive. In June, she taught a summer course on campus titled “Let’s Talk Titanic: Commemorating 100 Years of the Ship of Dreams.”

“I feel so honored that people were willing to share so much information and so many stories with me on the cruise,” she said. “Now it’s my responsibility to share it with others.”