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St. Norbert College Receives a Major Gift from the Schneider Family: New Business Building to be Built

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From St. Norbert College, June 8, 2023
by Mike Counter,, 920-403-3089

The most visible corner of the St. Norbert College campus, along the banks of the Fox River, will soon be the location of the Donald & Patricia Schneider Family Hall, thanks to a lead gift from the Schneider family.

The new building will be the home of the Donald J. Schneider School of Business & Economics, and it will go up on the current site of the college’s Pennings Activity Center, the former Pennings High School. Work will begin on the project this winter, and the new Schneider Family Hall will be completed in time for fall classes in 2025.

“We are honored and humbled by this significant gift from the Schneider family, and we continue to be thankful for their deep commitment to advancing our students and so many others throughout our community,” said Thomas Kunkel, interim president of St. Norbert College. “Their gift will help St. Norbert College strengthen its central role in the northeast Wisconsin business community, and it will spark many new opportunities for those who live, learn and work here.”

The Donald & Patricia Schneider Family Hall will be a “signature, showcase building,” Kunkel said, situated on a high-profile location at the western end of the Claude Allouez bridge, a point that thousands of vehicles and pedestrians pass each day. The 45,000-square-foot, multi-use facility will include classrooms and workspaces designed for contemporary learning, space for executive education and conferencing opportunities, and a connected terrace for gathering along the Fox River. It will be home to the college’s undergraduate and graduate business and economics programs, including data analytics and a new sports management program that launches in the fall.

Miron Construction is the general contractor; Workshop Architects of Milwaukee is designing the building.

The gift from the Schneider family advances St. Norbert College's Support What Matters campaign. The $125 million fundraising initiative, timed to align with the upcoming 125th anniversary of the college, focuses on preserving, enhancing and amplifying the things that make a St. Norbert education unique.

In addition to Schneider Family Hall, Kunkel also announced that one of the campus’s most venerable academic buildings, Boyle Hall, will be undergoing a major renovation. This work will be done in several phases, and the initial piece will focus on enhancing classrooms on the building’s first two floors. Built in 1917, Boyle Hall was one of the first buildings on the St. Norbert College campus. Today it hosts the college’s humanities and social sciences disciplines, including theology, history and education.

The Pennings Activity Center began life in 1923 as Nicolet High School, becoming part of the West De Pere School District. In 1959, it was purchased by the Norbertines and renamed Abbot Pennings High School in honor of St. Norbert College’s founder, Abbot Bernard Pennings. Upon its closure, St. Norbert College purchased the building and land, and it has occupied it since.

The legacy of Nicolet/Pennings High will be memorialized in Schneider Family Hall, and the college will soon announce plans for a public recognition of the building this fall before it is razed.

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