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Lakeside retreat extends possibilities for study and recreation at the college’s northwoods sanctuary

Rankin Lodge
The new Rankin Lodge at Camp II overlooks Otter Lake.

St. Norbert College’s scenic waterfront views extend beyond the banks of the Fox River. Drive two hours north to discover the college’s timbered sanctuary, 700 feet of shoreline on a pristine lake seven miles from Wabeno, Wis.

The new Rankin Lodge, at Camp II on Otter Lake, is named for Richard Rankin ’65, retired vice president of student life. It serves students, faculty and staff as a retreat center, study outpost and resort.

The property, once the site of Lumber Camp #2 of the “Big Pine” logging days at the turn of the 20th century, has served as a college outpost for nearly 20 years. Frank and Agnes Wood and Jack and Mary Rose Fitzgerald gifted the land and its original cottage to St. Norbert.

In 2004, the cottage was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

“The original cabin was very, very rustic,” explains John Seckel ’96 (Student Affairs). “There was no indoor plumbing and it had a well-handle at the sink. The lodge is much more modern. It’s a house.”

The lodge sleeps 25 people and is available to college organizations and departments. Four boats are stored on the property for the use of visitors. “It’s very nicely secluded with lots of recreational space,” says Seckel, who coordinates reservations and maintenance at the lodge. “There is a hiking trail that passes through the property and the lake has a good population of fish. It provides an opportunity for students to learn and grow in a northwoods setting.”

Joel Mann (Philosophy) chaperoned a winter outing at the lodge for a group of students primarily from the honors program. The overnight was unstructured, but proved valuable in building cohesion, he says. “It was nice to interact with the students outside of a classroom setting. They didn’t have anything they were supposed to do or accomplish. I wasn’t supposed to have taught them anything.

“They ended up asking me plenty of questions. I was pleasantly surprised how much they were processing ideas from the classroom, even when they were in this setting where they didn’t have to think about it.”

The property traces back to Mike Quinlan, the grandfather of Agnes Wood and Mary Rose Fitzgerald, and the Menominee Bay Shore Lumber Company. The couples purchased it in 1971. Between the two families they have 15 children, so the gift to St. Norbert was the best option for its future, says Frank Wood. (The college sets aside weeks for members of the Wood and Fitzgerald families to use the lodge.)

“It’s 37 acres of some of the most beautiful land in the state of Wisconsin,” says Frank. “We really looked upon this place as stewardship and are very happy with what the college did with it.”

Summer 2010 Magazine

Web extraLook here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current St. Norbert College Magazine (PDF).

Text ExtraThe education of a freshman president
Reflections by President Tom Kunkel in Trusteeship magazine.

VideoJohn M. Perkins speaks
The civil rights statesman interviewed on campus.

VideoPaul Tagliabue opens Sport and Society conference
The former NFL commissioner delivers his keynote address.

GalleryCommencement 2010
A gallery of images from “a ridiculously fine day” in May.

GalleryGwen Ifill’s Commencement address
The journalist and newscaster spoke to the Class of 2010.

VideoOn the road
Images and reflections from a sabbatical journey undertaken
by Brian Pirman (Art).

Text ExtraThe Yogurt Man Cometh
A chapter to enjoy from this travelogue in Turkey, recounted by author Kevin Revolinski ’90.

GalleryThe faculty in action
Professors as educators: teaching, advising, demonstrating, mentoring and working with students.

Story ideas? Your ideas for future magazine stories are most welcome. Write to the editor with any suggestions or comments.

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