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Treasure/The Keefe Herbarium

herb photo

Every issue, we invite one member of the college community to share their delight in an object found on campus. Here, Larry Scheich (Chemistry), associate dean of natural sciences, speaks to the Keefe Herbariumm. This plant specimine, obtained from a reverend of the Norbertine order, reminds him of the Norbertine scientists who helped establish science educaiton on the SNC campus.

The Rev. Anselm Keefe, O.Praem., Class of 1916, had an extensive global network of people with whom he exchanged plant specimens. He garnered samples from all over the world, some of them first collected well before his own lifetime. No one really knows how large his collection is, or how valuable it might be. Most of it has lain untouched since the days Keefe himself, along with his students, made a last effort at cataloguing it.

Collections of this magnitude of pretty much anything are not common for a college of this size. It’s a testament to someone’s will to spend that much time and effort at work in a particular field of science. And the effort was clearly focused not just on his own scientific growth but as a way to share information with his students – which is still what the college is about.

We want to honor not just Keefe but all the Norbertine scientists who laid the foundation for science education on our campus. People don’t always understand that connection between faith and reason. Even though we move forward in science, it’s the efforts of those men that underlie the sciences at St. Norbert.

July 3, 2015