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Ground to be broken for transformed Union, Welcome Center this spring

Michels Commons
Michels Commons

The college has received a $7-million-dollar gift from the Michels family to transform the school’s Sensenbrenner Memorial Union into a state-of-the-art commons and dining facility.

Other major gifts from the Ariens and Thompson families are to fund a significant expansion of the current admissions building on Third Street.

Construction on both projects begins this spring.

Michels Commons will include a ballroom, reception spaces and outdoor patios. In addition, Ruth’s Marketplace – named in honor of Ruth Michels – will reinvent the college dining hall as a health-conscious food court. Dale’s Sports Lounge – named after Dale Michels – will be a casual dining and gathering space with multiple large-screen televisions and other amenities. A two-story atrium will create a dramatic “front door” onto Third Street for the cafeteria/union complex.

The Michels family has long been a part of the St. Norbert College community. Ruth and the late Dale Michels sent three of their four children to St. Norbert College, including Pat ’81 (now a college trustee), Tim ’84 and Kevin ’89. Michelle Michels ’12 is the daughter of Pat and Melanie (Blahnik) Hortsman ’84.

“St. Norbert College is extremely grateful to the Michels family for this generous commitment,” says President Tom Kunkel. “The family wanted to make sure its gift would dramatically improve the student experience at St. Norbert College. This gift will touch literally every student here. It will be transformational.”

Construction of Michels Commons will be completed by May 2012. The Sensenbrenner Memorial Union was built in 1961, and received a 5,600-square-foot addition in 1994. It houses the college’s primary kitchen and food preparation areas, the current cafeteria, and various spaces for receptions and meetings.

Ariens Family Welcome Center
The significant expansion of the current admissions building is set to be completed before this fall. This revitalized resource will be named the Ariens Family Welcome Center in recognition of the primary donors behind the $1 million project, Mike and Mimi Ariens. Mike is a former board chair, and the couple sent six of their children to St. Norbert. Their granddaughter is Meghan Martell ’12.

The project’s highlight will be a welcome rotunda to be built just west of the existing admissions building. Kunkel says: “This feature will dramatically enhance the initial impression we make on campus visitors, especially prospective students and their families. Most of our visitors today approach campus from the west and thus arrive quite literally at our back door.”

A further major element of this project is the Ed and Sally Thompson Office of Communications, named in recognition of donors who have also contributed significantly to the vision for a building that will house the college’s enrollment management and communications teams under one roof.

The Welcome Center will also house the existing Roland and Helen Murphy Admission and Visitor Center.

Spring 2011 magazine

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

VideoMaterials from Minahan Stadium find new expression
Bill Bohné (Art) transforms reclaimed materials into pieces that speak to many storied decades.

VideoIt’s a question of football, and a question of history
Kevin Quinn (Economics) interviews the Green Bay Packers’ former general manager Ron Wolf.

VideoA Day to Celebrate
Each spring research partners on campus share their work at an event that is abuzz with scholarly achievement.

Text ExtraPaired offerings
The college’s partnerships with other institutions expand options and academic opportunity.

Text ExtraIce cubed
Blogging about their research in Antarctica gives St. Norbert geologists a way to share their findings – and their experiences.

Text ExtraRitual in relationships
University of St. Thomas professor Carol Bruess ’90 makes the study of interpersonal communication her scholarly business.

GalleryFarm work, personified
A photography project by Elizabeth Groshek ’11 stands as testimony to the work of her family’s farming community.

VideoSisters in learning
Norbertine sisters from Slovakia join student singers to enrich worship at St. Norbert Abbey.

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

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Office of Communications

Phone: (920) 403-3557
Fax: (920) 403-4010

St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181
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