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March 2016


Dear Abbot Pennings,

“Here on campus, I live in Victor McCormick Hall – VMC. Who was Victor McCormick and why was the hall named after him?”

Sam Holt ’18


Dear Sam,

Thank you so much for your interesting inquiry. There is no doubt that many of my readers have passed through this dormitory, which was dedicated in 1963. I wonder how many of them recall what must now be a little-known fact, that this building was originally named Wilten Hall. The name was most appropriately bestowed upon the finished building to honor Wilten Abbey in Austria, from which the first Norbertine missionaries to Wisconsin originated.

This early name for the new building was a fitting commemoration of these fine men, who first lighted on these shores as long ago as 1843. Fitting, too, was the decision two years later to rename the facility to honor Victor McCormick. Mr. McCormick was a Green Bay area attorney who bestowed numerous major gifts upon our beloved college. His munificence assisted with the realization of Mary Minahan McCormick Hall (named in honor of his mother) and the Dr. John Minahan Science Hall (named in honor of his uncle). 

I must note with all due gratitude, too, that the land upon which St. Norbert Abbey resides was also gifted from Victor McCormick. 

As we speak of Victor McCormick Hall, it would be remiss of me not to reiterate a point of pride that our hometown Green Bay Packers choose to reside in the residence hall during their summer training camp. This tradition of quite long standing has endured for all of 58 years, to be precise. 

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898. 

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