Honoring a newspaper man at heart

The Harold Maier Student Journalism Endowed Fund is a tip of the cap to a full life

Long before he served as the highly influential chairman of the Green Bay Redevelopment Authority, Harry Maier was known throughout the community as the business reporter for the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Harry’s lifelong passion for sharing news extended to another of his many “retirement jobs” as a writer for St. Norbert College and advisor to Thomas Kunkel during Kunkel’s original tenure as college president.

It is in the spirit of that career and a relationship with the college that was still going strong when Harry passed away in 2018 at the age of 90 that his daughter, Martha Maier, worked with the college’s Advancement team to establish the Harold Maier Student Journalism Endowed Fund. The fund provides financial support for the SNC Times newspaper and further development for students who have an eye toward a career in journalism.

“We already had the Harry Maier Community Service Scholarship — I’ve always contributed regularly to that — and I wanted to do something more in my dad’s memory at the school,” Martha explains. “St. Norbert was just so important to him and I wanted that to live on, because that is exactly what he would want.”

Martha and the Advancement team began formulating ideas for a fund that would focus on journalism and the school paper. Harry’s college experience began with two years at St. Norbert College before his Norbertine advisor convinced him that transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Madison would better serve his journalism aspirations. Harry worked for the Daily Cardinal student newspaper in Madison while earning his degree before embarking on the newspaper career that would define his pre-retirement life.

“I thought the school paper was a really good connection with my dad because it was such a meaningful part of his college experience,” Martha says. “The timing is right now to focus on journalism. It seems things are eroding in some areas of the news, so to be able to support that when newspapers are struggling and journalists are losing jobs is so important.”

Mark Glantz (Communications and Media Studies) sees the benefit of the Harold Maier Student Journalism Endowed Fund in his role as faculty advisor for the SNC Times. Tops on his wish list are multiple equipment needs as the publication evolves from solely a print edition to digital formats.

“After that, I see opportunities to send students to conferences so they can link up with people from other small colleges,” Glantz says. “It will enable us to improve the paper as well as help individual students expand their horizons if they decide a journalism career is right for them.”

The continuation of a family legacy
The fund is the latest connection in the unique Maier family relationship with the college, and an example of the variety of ways in which donors and their families can support initiatives that are important to them. Not only was Harry not a St. Norbert graduate, neither were any of his children. However, three of his grandchildren are SNC alumni (Katy Maier ’09, Allie Maier ’16, Nicole Maier ’18), and the college also posthumously awarded Harry an honorary baccalaureate degree.

“When he worked at St. Norbert, people thought he graduated from there, but he never did,” notes Harry’s son, Tom Maier. “He had so many roles at the college that the titles took up his whole business card.”

Tom recalls a conversation he had with his father concerning the future of the Harry Maier Community Service Scholarship. Harry would get a report about who the student recipient would be and give some remarks at the spring presentation banquet. He knew he wouldn’t be able to do that forever.

“He was so proud of that scholarship,” Tom says. “As we were driving to campus for the banquet, he said, ‘Tom, some year, someone’s going to have to present the award for me.’ I figured it would be another 10 years.”

However, it was only two years later that Harry passed, shortly after retiring yet again following 25 years on the Green Bay Redevelopment Authority. It was the Wednesday prior to the awards banquet weekend. Tom took his father’s place at the microphone, battling through his emotions with assistance from his daughter, Allie, and together they kept the Maier tradition intact.

Boundless energy and an ever-present smile
Amy Sorenson worked with Harry in the president’s office and now inhabits his former workspace as special assistant to the president. She says Harry’s connections to the business community that he fostered as a reporter were invaluable to the college, particularly as a founding member of the CEO Breakfast committee for which he would recruit potential speakers.

“Harry was so full of energy. I still think sometimes that he’s going to come bounding around the corner,” Amy says. “He loved the St. Norbert College culture and the people here in general. He felt a commitment and dedication to community, and loved the community aspect of the College. He was never without a smile on his face, and was passionate and interested in so many things. Harry was an example of living fully.”
Are you interested in supporting St. Norbert College? Explore our Support What Matters website to learn more about the college’s current campaign and options for contributing to this effort.