[Inside UW-Green Bay / November 2005 Issue] [Inside]

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Notes from 2420 Nicolet


Powerful connection:
Donors and students

  Our students on average

'Who are the Kresses?'
  Kress Center facts

The Haevers keep gift

Baer family invests in students

Lieb volunteers for alma mater, children

[Campus News]

Bayfest news

Aldo Santaga Stadium

Social Work students in Guatemala

Hurricane relief efforts

Faculty and staff news


Alumni news:
  Coffeehouse comeback
  Alums doing a capitol job
  Mouse in the house
  Lambeau Cottage
  Environmental research

Where on campus?

Alumni notes

[Inside Archive]

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For complete issue, click: INSIDE – NOV. 2005 (PDF)

Stories from the Annual Report Issue / November 2005

Notes from 2420 Nicolet …

The benefits of being irresistible

Bruce and Cyndie Shepard.Greetings!

Once upon a time, when I was a candidate for the chancellor's position here, I was asked if I knew the magic formula for successful fundraising. My reply was that there is no one recipe, there are no shortcuts. The secret to successful fundraising is to create an institution that is irresistibly worthy of support.

Five years later, with record philanthropic and volunteer support for our academic enterprise, it is at least arguable that UW-Green Bay, more than ever, is becoming that irresistible force.

If that sounds a bit boastful, consider this month's groundbreaking for our student sports and events center, made possible by $10 million in private, matching gifts. Consider also this fall's Scholarship Dinner, by far our most successful to date. (That's me, above, in rare black-tie style, with Cyndie). These two milestones weren't isolated accomplishments.

The Phase II academic side of the capital campaign is off to a solid start. Annual giving has never been higher. We are finalizing plans for three new named professorships.

These sorts of gains accrue to rising institutions, and your University fits the profile. We have popular programs, a growing academic reputation and first-rate facilities.

Most of all, we have good people. Success always starts there. I invite you to browse these pages to meet some of these remarkable people students, community leaders, alumni, employees, and nearly 2,500 contributing partners who are coming together to make this University increasingly hard to resist.

With so many options, these days, to engage with so many organizations, we are genuinely grateful that many of you stay connected to UW-Green Bay. Thank you for helping us "Connect learning to life."

[Bruce Shepard signature]

Bruce Shepard


Powerful connection …

In important ways, Melissa Detert is a typical student. A native of Northeast Wisconsin, she is first-generation college with big plans to help shape our community. Her UW-Green Bay education gets a boost from generous local families who fund scholarships, learning initiatives and in the case of Jim Kress and his family foundation campus-life projects that make the University complete. The powerful connection between donors and students is our top story, Inside UW-Green Bay.

Melissa Detert.
Melissa Detert, 20

Junior Psychology and Human Development, Appleton

My parents are helping with tuition and school loans. I take care of my living expenses. The money I make during the summer goes toward living expenses and some goes toward buying books.

I chose UW-Green Bay because the campus life and student involvement were appealing, as was the friendliness of all the people we met at Preview Day. The faculty and staff have been very helpful and open. I wanted to be far enough away from home to be independent, but close enough that I can go home if I need to for the weekend.

My father attended a few years of technical school in Appleton but I am the only one in my family to attend a four-year university. My younger sister is looking into taking classes at the tech school starting next semester.

Future plans? I am working on getting an internship with the Brown County Department of Health and Human Services, working with troubled teens and kids.

* * * * *

Bailey Ogrin.
Bailey Ogrin, 23

Senior Business Administration (finance), Buffalo Grove, Ill.

My parents pay my tuition, so all I'm responsible for are my living expenses. I think that the number of kids whose parents pay tuition is a big change from years ago. My Dad paid his whole way through college himself, as was the case for most of my friends' parents who went to college.

I haven't had a house phone for two years. I rely strictly on my cell phone.

A lot of underclassmen probably spend too much time...sleeping in too late...not using every day to its potential. I did it when I was younger so I can say that. The key is to have a good balance. College can be very stressful if you don't get out between work sessions. But it's very easy to fall into a trend where fun becomes the priority.... That's when school becomes the most stressful because it's like you look up and the semester is over.

I was very lucky to have landed a solid internship the summer after my junior year. I interned for H&R Block financial advisors and after two summers they offered me a job.

* * * * *

Ashley Moreno.
Ashley Moreno, 22

Senior Human Development and Psychology, Little Chute

Having a job is a necessity for me so that I can afford to pay for my own education and living expenses. I think about debt and get nervous when I think about the student loans I have accumulated thus far. It is scary to think I am so young but already have a debt looming above me. However, when I keep things in perspective, the education I am obtaining now will be well worth the money spent.

College life is fun but challenging at the same time. Numerous hours go into studying and sometimes there is not enough time in a day to accomplish everything on my "to-do" list. To stay sane though, I make sure to find time for myself and pursue interests outside of school like running or hanging out with friends.

As my undergraduate career comes to an end and I reflect on my college career, I have really enjoyed my time being a student. There were days that went on forever, but in the end the time just flew. I have learned so much, developed into a much stronger person, and made lasting friendships along the way. The experience has been priceless!

* * * * *

Ben Birkinbine.
Ben Birkinbine, 23

Senior Communication,

People always talk about the stress of growing up, then they talk about a mid-life crisis. They never tell you about the "Graduating from College" crisis. Where do I fit in? Do I abandon my dreams because I don't have the money to do so? These are unfortunate realizations...it's incredibly nerve-racking.

I'm pretty involved in school. I edit the opinion page for the Fourth Estate and volunteer for the Green Bay Film Society. I also work at the Attic Books and Coffee. Best job ever-I get to talk to people about books and drink coffee.

My cell phone is my only phone, so I couldn't live without it.

I think college has become another necessary step on the long road to the middle. People expect to go to college, but there is a lot of variation in the motives of the students here...I think that if "higher education" is going to retain its title as "higher education," we need to hold students responsible for truly higher learning....

* * * * *

Our students on average

• Were born July 17, 1984 (median age of about 21)

• Work 12-15 hours per week during the school year

• Participate in a co-curricular activity (the largest is intramurals, drawing 1,000 participants per semester)

• Live on campus, or formerly lived on campus (53%)

• Are female (ratio of nearly 2:1)

• Have a computer (90%) in their room; 50% have a laptop

• Are online in their residence halls as late as 3 a.m. (a few years ago, most were "offline" by midnight)

• Have a grade-point average of 3.07

• Have completed or will complete an internship (58% of graduating seniors)

• Are "first-generation" college in the sense that neither parent holds a bachelor's degree (true for 66% of students)

• Are "first-generation" and first in family to have any university experience (42%)

Sharing the inheritance:
For Kress family, true legacy is spirit of giving

Sometime in fall semester 2007, an out-of-town freshman lining up for a concert, convocation or basketball game will glance up, see the name in lights outside UW-Green Bay's sparkling new student sports and events center, and ask:

"Who are the Kresses?"

If someone tutors the newcomer with "prominent local family," that would be an acceptable answer. Mentioning "Green Bay Packaging" would be a bonus. To earn full credit, though, would require an essay of bluebook-busting proportions to accurately describe the family legacy of paper-industry innovations and community good works.

"Their actions set a terrific example for our students, in so many ways," says UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard.

George Kress. Start with entrepreneurship. Family patriarch George Kress invested his life savings in a small manufacturing plant in 1926 and a few years later transitioned to a relatively new product, corrugated boxes. Business took off when interstate commerce did, making relics of heavy, costly-to-ship wooden crates.

Continuous innovation would be another chapter. The family's small business didn't stay that way for long, with technical advances beginning in the 1950s setting the stage for sustained growth. Today's operations employ 2,500 skilled workers in 14 states. Annual sales top $800 million.

Perhaps the greatest lessons, though, involve philanthropy. The latest Kress project, the lead gift for UW-Green Bay's events center, is only one of many community-changing contributions.

Jim Kress."We get a lot of satisfaction out of doing this," Jim Kress says, simply.

Jim Kress became company president and director in 1963 when his father, George, stepped down and began devoting more time to community affairs. Jim followed a similar path three decades later when his own son Will took over as CEO. Jim remains company chairman but has taken a more active interest in the family's George Kress Foundation, which distributes more than $2 million annually to local civic and charitable organizations.

It is an affectionate inside joke, Jim hints, that family tradition calls for the younger generation to keep the elders in spending money for myriad charitable causes.

"I used to say, 'I raise the money and my father gives it away,'" recalls Jim, now 76. "At the time, I would tell him we'd have more to give away if we reinvested in the company. Will could probably say the same thing, today.

"It means more to me, now," concludes Jim, "to give something back to the community."

Closeness to his hometown's University of Wisconsin can be traced through geography (Green Bay Box Company's first site was on what is now University Avenue, not far from the present-day campus) and family history.

George Kress, a legendary patron of the arts, was director in 1988 when the foundation announced the first local contribution to Weidner Center programming and followed up with a series of generous gifts. Jim, like his father a proud UW graduate, helped raise private funds for the new Green Bay campus and served as a director for the Founders Association. Jim and his wife, Julie-Anne, have been acknowledged for their long-term philanthropic efforts. Jim's daughter Meg is a UW-Green Bay graduate, and son John, current foundation president, took a special interest in the sports and events center plans.

"I think John was very impressed by the financial commitment our students made to this project," says Steve Swan, assistant chancellor for university advancement, "and both he and his father appreciate how it will transform the campus."

While outsiders may marvel at the family's generosity, insiders know it is woven into the foundation, family even corporate fiber.

Green Bay Packaging's early embrace of recycling was a positive far beyond the company. The main mill reached 100 percent use of recycled fiber by 1991 and led the way with a move to a closed-loop water system. Jim Kress made no attempt to patent the closed-water technology, however, even sharing the expertise for the good of the industry and the environment. A Canadian competitor facing government shutdown, St. Laurent Paperboard of Montreal, was able to keep its mill open as a result.

Recognition for that sort of corporate citizenship abounds. The company received honors from the state DNR, the national Isaak Walton League and the White House, which awarded it the 1992 President's Environment and Conservation Challenge Award.

There has been personal recognition, too. Last month, Jim was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame. He and his late father, inducted the year before his death in 1997, are the first father-son duo.

Another honor is awarded only by the cold eye of the marketplace. There, too, Green Bay Packaging is a winner. The high-quality, low-cost producer is the largest privately held corrugated manufacturer in the United States.

To hear Jim tell it, though, the recognition that matters most is local, subtle, and even internal: The recognition by private citizens that they can build a better community through civic support of education, the arts, healthcare...whatever they choose.

"The Green Bay area is a great place to live and raise a family," he says. "We have excellent schools and high-quality public facilities. We always find a way to get things done, for the next generation."

* * * * *

Kress Events Center image.
Kress Center facts

• Groundbreaking Nov. 1, 2005; completion fall 2007

• Total cost $32.5 million

• Lead gift by Kress Family Foundation

• Funding sources: UW-Green Bay students ($15 million in student fees over course of the project), community donors ($10 million), state of Wisconsin ($7.5 million)

• Central area with seating capacity of about 4,000, new and improved facilities for running, racquet sports, intramural sports, cardiovascular and aerobic activities

• Site for important campus events such as commencement, summer orientation, student career fairs, festivals, multicultural activities

Pier group: Couple keeps gift in-house

Tom and Judy Haevers.Tom and Judy Haevers know all about being college students, and helping college students. Now that they have the means to offer additional help, they will.

The couple has made a sizeable estate gift that will be used to set up the Tom and Judy Haevers Scholarship Fund for students at UW-Green Bay.

The Haevers have a long and unique relationship with the UW System, the local campus and its students. The Green Bay natives started their college careers at the original location of UW-Green Bay on Deckner Avenue.

Each holds a UW degree Tom from Stevens Point, Judy from Oshkosh and Tom went on to make higher education his career. He worked six years as a counselor at UW-Fox Valley before accepting the position that would, in effect, make him "landlord" to tens of thousands of UW-Green Bay students over the years. He served 21 years as UW-Green Bay's director of Residence Life before retiring in 2001.

Both are first-generation college students who recognize the tremendous value of higher education for the individual and for society. When the time came to decide the primary beneficiaries of their assets when the sailing enthusiasts make their final voyage in this life, they chose future UW-Green Bay students.

"I have spent my career working with, and appreciating college students and recognizing what their success means to the future of our community and society," Tom says. "We chose the particular areas of emphasis for scholarships because those are academic areas we have direct ties to and very much appreciate the fine and applied arts, education, and government. We decided to make the scholarships renewable due to our belief that continued efforts and success should be rewarded."

Until that time, they will spend their summers on their sailboat "Glissade" (a graceful dance step), visiting the beautiful harbors of lower Michigan. Naples, Florida is their winter destination an area that matches their desire to be surrounded by natural beauty, open water and the arts.

While they expect to enjoy the good life for years to come, the planned gift at this time in their life, they say, seems appropriate.

"The thought of establishing scholarships is something that I had contemplated for a number of years," Tom said on behalf of the couple. "Judy and I have both been very fortunate in our lives. We want to show our appreciation for all of our blessings via the scholarships. It is a way for us to give back to our community."

"UW-Green Bay provides the kind of family atmosphere that makes you want to work there. I would encourage all employees to strongly consider remembering UW-Green Bay when doing their estate planning. It provides a special feeling knowing that you are contributing to a very worthwhile cause."

Baer family bullish on investing in students

Patricia and Fred Baer.It's important for Patricia and Fred Baer to see a return on their investment and the fruit of their labor. That's precisely why they've given generously to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay since 1970.

They say they realize the dividends with every student and alumnus they meet, every success story with roots in a University education, every connection between campus and community.

Patricia's fondness and appreciation for UW-Green Bay was a natural, given the commitment to local public higher education made by her father, L.G. Wood. History shows that Wood, former president and CEO of Paper Converting Machine Co, Green Bay, worked quietly but diligently behind the scenes in the early 1960s. He reworked his own schedule to free one of his top officers, Rudy Small, to do whatever it would take including frequent phone calls from work and trips to Madison to convince legislators to move forward the plan for a regional university in Green Bay.

Through the years, Patricia and Fred, who took over for his father-in-law as president and CEO of Paper Converting in 1969, carried on the philanthropic wishes of L.G. Wood, but by their own accord.

The Baers have given generously and continuously to UW-Green Bay over the years to the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts and donation of its beautiful 3,702 pipe Wood Family Organ; to the student scholarship fund, and most recently, to plans for two named professorships one in education, one in business administration.

They have been Founders Association members for more than three decades. In 1991 they received UW-Green Bay's Chancellor's Award of Merit for "outstanding contributions to the economic and cultural life of Green Bay and its university."

Patricia, a former teacher, has a soft spot for education. She is moved by the memory of the under-served and underprivileged children she taught in Ohio just after World War II. She remembers a naïve 13-year-old motherless girl, who became pregnant and turned to Patricia for guidance. That early emotional connection made its mark, and Patricia has worked on behalf of improving the lives of women and their families ever since. The Children's Service Society of Wisconsin, the Bellin College of Nursing, the YWCA and UW-Green Bay, among others, have been recipients of her generosity.

"It's important for this community to have a place for their kids to further their education, close by," Patricia said. "The community has benefited from having a trained workforce and the expertise of the faculty that comes with a strong university. We can see the results first hand, and even have a chance to meet some of the students we've been able to help."

Fred and Patricia haven't forgotten about the early days of struggling to put food on their own table. Fred made a small salary at a local grocery store while completing a management degree at Ohio State. They were grateful for dinner provided by the damaged and unlabeled tin cans that Fred was allowed to bring home from the store. "We rarely knew if we were having three cans of green beans or something else for dinner," Patricia recalled.

Later, Fred took over for his father-in-law at Paper Converting, and in his 39-year tenure, led its growth as one of the most successful privately owned companies in Wisconsin. He passed the job on to his son Rick, in 1993. His own life experience of tin can meals, overtime at the office, and weary travel days (Fred estimates 99 trips to the England plant alone) have greatly influenced his giving decisions through the years.

"I worked hard for what I've got, and I want it to be used properly," he said. "The university needed (our support) and it has been worthwhile. I believe from the beginning to now, we've done a fabulous job on the education of our local students. We've had a very fine relationship with the University and we hope to keep it that way."

She volunteers for alma mater, children

Janet Lieb and Phuture Phoenix participants.When Janet Lieb's family relocated to Northeast Wisconsin in 1984, they did something a little different, for them. They stayed.

Green Bay and its University are glad they did. Today, Lieb is a leading advocate and volunteer for the University's highly successful Phuture Phoenix Program, the annual Chancellor's Scholarship Dinner, and any number of community initiatives promoting education and programs for at-risk young people.

"Janet's enthusiasm is catching and she is never daunted by what others may think is hard work," says Cyndie Shepard, who coordinates Phuture Phoenix. "Janet gives her all to what she believes in, and it shows."

Earlier in their marriage, Janet and her husband, Charles, had moved near, far and often because of his military career. In that regard, putting down roots in Green Bay represented a clean opportunity literally when Charles began his long association with PDQ Manufacturing Inc. He is now president of the local company that rose to become the world's leading producer of touch-free car wash equipment.

For Janet, Green Bay brought a chance to pursue a college degree in earnest.

"Before that, I hadn't been in one place long enough," she recalls. "I took courses through the University of Minnesota, San Jose State, a number of community colleges in California...."

Attending part time at UW-Green Bay as a returning adult student "a great experience, I really felt at home with the faculty and the traditional-age students" she earned her bachelor's degree in human development and psychology.

With her own children Matthew, 34, Brandon, 30, and Kristine, 25, now successful college graduates and professionals themselves, she devotes additional energy and resources to Phuture Phoenix duties and scholarship fundraising at UW-Green Bay, and gives of her time to Margaret Schomaker's kindergarten class at Jefferson Elementary School. She has also worked on behalf of Salvation Army youth programs, the Service League's back-to-school store, and the PEO scholarship program for women.

"This program (Phuture Phoenix), encouraging children as young as fifth grade to be excited about education and higher education, is good for our community," she says. "It fits with what I see as a great need."

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