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October 2017


Dear Abbot Pennings,

With SNC being around for so long, are any campus buildings listed on the historic registry?

Reilly March ’20


My dearest Reilly,

Your question gives me special pleasure since I have just recently learned that the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places (WSRHP) has added the St. Norbert College Historic District to its list. Who would have thought the little college I founded almost 120 years ago would find its way onto a historical registry? Not I, for certain!

Nor is this our only such honor. In 1989 Main Hall, erected in 1902, was named to the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Secretary of the Interior on the basis of its age, architectural significance and, I’m proud to say, its importance to the history of the community and higher education.

Dear Reilly, as you yourself will have observed, our campus architecture is quite intriguing with its various buildings representing styles that, as the WSRHP notes, include High Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Neoclassical Revival, as well as the contemporary style so well-realized in our newer buildings. “St. Norbert College has a rich history,” notes the organization. “It was home to the St. Norbert Priory, later the St. Norbert Abbey, the first permanent home of the Norbertine order in the United States. ... Additionally, from the time it was founded in 1898 until 1964, when the nearby UW-Green Bay campus was established, St. Norbert College was the only degree-granting institution of higher learning in the northeastern part of Wisconsin.” Dear me, yes, indeed. 

As I gaze upon campus and note its expansion since my time as president, I could not possibly feel more delight. Those who have followed in my footsteps take special care to honor the rich history of our beloved campus home. Even those from afar can see that our mission is embodied in these bricks and mortar.

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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