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St. Norbert College to dedicate Ariens Family Welcome Center

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From St. Norbert College, August 30, 2011
by Mike Counter,, (920) 403-3089

The new Ariens Family Welcome Center at St. Norbert College will be dedicated on Friday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. on campus. The ceremony, to which the public is invited, will be held on the patio area of the Welcome Center, or inside, in the event of rain. The Ariens family will be in attendance.

The Ariens Family Welcome Center, located on Third Street next to the Mulva Library, doubles the size of the existing admission facility with a new reception rotunda, presentation room, gallery and offices. It was made possible through the generosity of Michael and Mimi Ariens. Within the Welcome Center, a new Office of Communications has been created through a gift from Ed and the late Sally Thompson. The building will also house the Roland and Helen Murphy Office of Admission.

"The Ariens and Thompson families have been extremely generous to St. Norbert College for many years, and this exciting project is just the latest outstanding example," said St. Norbert College President Thomas Kunkel.
"The Ariens Family Welcome Center allows us to dramatically enhance the initial impression we make on visitors to our campus, especially prospective students and their families. And we know from experience that the initial impression is crucial in a student's ultimate college decision. So this project is an important strategic addition to campus."

Kunkel said the Ariens Family Welcome Center project also enhances St. Norbert because, for the first time, it brings under one roof the college's enrollment and communications teams, totaling about 25 professional staff and over 30 student employees.
"It is truly a dream come true. This facility will allow us to more fully tell the St. Norbert College story to those who are visiting campus," said Bridget Krage O'Connor, vice president for enrollment management and communications at St. Norbert College. "It will be a magical place to start your journey into the St. Norbert College experience. And with the Thompsons' generous gift, it will also be a brilliant place for our admission and communications teams to creatively work together."

Construction on the Welcome Center began March 1, 2011.

Architectural design was provided by Chris Renier of C. Renier Architects, Inc., De Pere, Wis. The construction was led by Oscar J. Boldt Construction, Appleton, Wis.

Michael Ariens, who attended St. Norbert College for three years to study pre-engineering before earning degrees at M.I.T. and Indiana University, has been chairman of the board of the Ariens Company since 1992.

Mimi (Murphy) Ariens graduated from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana in 1955. She serves as president of the Ariens Foundation, established in 1967.

Mike and Mimi raised nine children, six of whom attended St. Norbert College; their granddaughter Meghan is a current St. Norbert student.

In 1991, Mike and Mimi received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from St. Norbert, the highest distinction the college can bestow upon meritorious citizens.

Ed and Sally Thompson have been among St. Norbert College's strongest supporters. They conceived and funded the Thompson Marina, home to the very popular summer concert music series Knights on the Fox. In 2006, the Thompsons received Honorary Doctor of Humane Laws degrees for their efforts on behalf of St. Norbert College.
Mr. Thompson is president of Thompson Management Associates, a business consulting firm. He currently is a member of the St. Norbert College board of trustees.

Mrs. Thompson taught grade school in California, Georgia and New Jersey. She served as the president of the Green Bay Service League and on the Heritage Hill Foundation. She passed away in August 2010 following a long illness. A St. Norbert College scholarship has been established in her name to honor students committed to community engagement and service.

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