Spring 2009 | Finding the balance
Seven-figure gifts put athletics complex on the fast track
|Don Schneider ’57
By Mike Dauplaise ’84
If the ideal philanthropic gift helps fulfill the vision, purpose and passion of both donor and recipient, then
Don ’57 and
Pat Schneider have hit the bull’s-eye.
The couple’s recent gift of $4 million toward the construction of a new outdoor athletics complex for the Green Knights will serve as a lasting symbol of Don Schneider’s commitment both to his alma mater and to matters of health and well-being. At the same time, it maintains the momentum of giving that sustains St. Norbert College.
The new facility, planned for a Lost Dauphin Road site just a step away from campus, will be named the Donald J. Schneider Outdoor Athletics Complex.
“This is a story about a wonderful man and a great opportunity for St. Norbert,” comments
Wayne Lubner ’71, a friend of the Schneider family and senior leader at Schneider National Inc., one of the largest transportation and logistics companies in the country. “It’s a great statement about a family and a man who has some deep beliefs about what’s important in life.”
The lead gift provides a welcome boost to the project’s fundraising efforts, increasing the amount pledged to more than 61 percent of the $12 million needed for the project.
“What a great way to honor Don and his life,” says
Phil Oswald, who, as vice president for college advancement, was one of the team of people who helped the Schneider family with arrangements for their gift.
“This complex will help us attract student-athletes that we may not have been able to draw before, and it will enable our students to get all of their needs met on campus.”
The Schneiders’ gift is especially significant given the challenging current economic climate, yet it illustrates the willingness of benefactors to build on the momentum generated by other gifts, such as the donation from
Miriam ’69 and James Mulva for the new library.
|Rendering of the Donald J. Schneider Outdoor Athletics Complex
A career of excellence
After graduating from St. Norbert in 1957, Schneider spent time in the military before earning a master’s degree in finance from the Wharton School of Business. He returned to Green Bay and began working for his father’s small but successful transportation company, and taught finance and business administration courses at St. Norbert as an adjunct instructor through much of the 1960s.
“Don was an excellent teacher and a very bright individual,” says
Bob Kramer (Emeritus, Business), who became chairman of the business department in 1964. “He knew his finance inside and out, and got along very well with the students.”
Lubner was a student during Schneider’s time as a teacher, but it wasn’t until later that the two became close friends through the business. Lubner describes Schneider as a tremendous competitor with an enjoyment of racquetball and running. His strong belief in the benefits of staying fit carried over to his business. Although Schneider is now retired, Schneider operating centers across the country are still equipped with exercise rooms for use by drivers and other company associates.
“He worked very hard at [his fitness],” says Lubner. “He was a guy with a full-time career, but he always managed to work toward keeping himself very fit and encouraged people around him to do the same thing. He’s a very motivational guy when it comes to fitness and health.”
Schneider’s close relationship with St. Norbert extended long beyond his teaching career. He was elected to the board of trustees in 1978 – a post he still holds – and the college bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1999. In between, he received the St. Norbert College Distinguished Achievement Award in Business in 1979 and the Alma Mater Award in 1991.
“Don is a wonderful supporter of the college and is still such a positive force in our lives,” Lubner says. “He’s really been a beacon of light around how leaders should be accountable to their communities and the places they have served.”
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