Tag: Bjorklunden

Former President Curtis Tarr Dies, Led Consolidation with Milwaukee-Downer, Oversaw Acquisition of Bjorklunden

Curtis Tarr, who served as Lawrence University president from 1963-69, died Friday, June 21 of natural causes at his home in Walnut Creek, Calif. He was 88.

Curtis Tarr served as Lawrence University’s 12th president from 1963-69.

An American historian and economist, Tarr came to Lawrence as the college’s 12th president at the age of 39 from Stanford University, where he was the assistant dean of the humanities and director of the summer school, a position that included faculty relations, financial affairs and advising undergraduates. Earlier in his career at Stanford, he served as assistant to the vice president and provost and assistant director of the summer school.

A striking 6-foot-7-inches tall, Tarr led the college during one of the most significant events in Lawrence’s history —the consolidation with the all-women’s Milwaukee Downer College in 1964— as well as one of the most turbulent times in the nation’s history as student protests over the Vietnam War erupted on campuses across the country.

He earned praise for his handling of the negotiations that led to the successful consolidation with Milwaukee-Downer and helped ease the potentially difficult transition for Milwaukee-Downer faculty, students and staff to Appleton.

He also successfully managed to keep student unrest from engulfing Lawrence, where he made student responsibility a priority. His administration worked with faculty and students to adopt a demonstration policy, establish dormitory regulations, expand campus social life and create a governing council that represented all factions of the Lawrence community.

Expanded Overseas Opportunities

Under Tarr’s leadership, academic offerings at Lawrence enjoyed a broader dimension. He oversaw the establishment of an overseas study center in Germany and an association with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. A master of music education program in the Conservatory of Music was added to the curriculum.

President Tarr (far left) lays the cornerstone for Trever Hall in October, 1963, one of a half dozen campus buildings he dedicated during his tenure.

He also dedicated numerous buildings during his tenure, including Trever Hall, Youngchild Hall of Science, the Lawrence Bowl (later renamed the Banta Bowl), the Landis Health Center, Kohler Hall and Jason Downer Commons.  In addition, Memorial Chapel underwent an extensive remodel and North House was converted to Mursell Education Center. Lawrence acquired its “northern campus,” the Bjorklunden Estate outside Baileys Harbor in Door County, in his presidency.

Tarr nurtured a lifelong interest in art and literature. He spoke French, played the flute and amassed a beautiful collection of his own pen and ink drawings, drawn with creative detail throughout his life. Beginning in 1964, he diligently maintained a daily journal, which can be found in the Lawrence University library.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, who died on his birthday last September, enjoyed hosting parties for the faculty at their home. Mrs. Tarr, a concert pianist who often entertained guests by playing the grand piano in the president’s residence, was instrumental in the development of the conservatory of music.

Tarr loved to travel by all means of transport. He had visited every U.S. state by age 25 and traveled to 70 countries on business, government assignments and for pleasure during his life. He hiked 800 miles of the Appalachian Trail, bicycled widely and paddled his canoe in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. He also flew light planes throughout his life and once broke the sound barrier in an F-4 fighter jet piloted by Chuck Yeager.

Reformed the Military Draft

Active in politics before coming to Lawrence—he ran for Congress in California and served on the state Republican Central Committee— Tarr returned to public service after leaving Lawrence, holding three presidential appointments in the Nixon administration during the Vietnam War: Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, where he worked on the transfer of arms and equipment to the government of Vietnam as American units withdrew from combat; director of the Selective Service System, where he sought equity to the drafting of thousands of young American men by instituting a lottery system based on birthdays that were picked on national television.; and Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, where he had responsibility for military programs with foreign nations.

President Tarr Tarr passes the gavel to the new Student Senate president, Craig Harris ’68 on February 7, 1966, while outgoing president Mark Saltzman ’66 looks on.

Following his service in Washington, D.C., Tarr became vice president of Deere & Co. in Moline, Ill.  Retiring after a decade at Deere, he became Dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson School of Management at Cornell University.

He left Cornell in 1990 to become vice president of Intermet Corporation, in Atlanta, Ga., an international automobile parts manufacturer, where he oversaw foundries in Germany and Sweden.

In retirement, he served on numerous boards, including that of Morehouse College, State Farm Insurance Corp., Banta Corp., and Bethesda Home in Savannah, Ga., the oldest children’s home in the United States.  During his lifetime, he was recognized with five honorary doctoral degrees.

Born Sept. 18, 1924 in Stockton, Calif., Tarr saw combat in World War II as a member of General George Patton’s Third Army in Europe, earning three battle stars. After the war, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University. He returned to Stanford to earn a Ph.D. in American history in 1962.

He is survived by his wife Kay (Katherine), Walnut Creek, Calif., two daughters, Pamela Tarr of Los Angeles and Cynthia Tarr (Cliff Hugo) of Sonoma, Calif., a grandson Ace Buckley, Sonoma, and two sisters Muriel Kurtz of Eugene, Ore., and Marian Schreiter, Sacramento, Calif.

A memorial service is planned July 21 at 2 p.m. at San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, 902 Danville Road, Alamo, Calif. Condolences can be directed to Kay Tarr, 3711 Terra Granada Drive #3B, Walnut Creek, CA  94595.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.


Discover the Stories Behind the Beauty, Culture of Spectacular Scandinavia

Space is still available for an exciting Björklunden-sponsored exploration of spectacular Scandinavia led by Lawrence University geologist Marcia Bjornerud.

The 14-day adventure — Aug. 22 – Sept. 5, 2013 — includes stops in Iceland, Norway and Sweden, where participants will discover how the geology, landscape and climate of the region shaped the history, technology and political philosophy of these naturally beautiful Nordic countries.

Check out the trip’s complete fascinating itinerary here.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Lawrence Earns Energy Rebate for Björklunden Wind Turbine

Mark Breseman '78, director of Björklunden (far left), and former Lawrence President Rik Warch, current chair of the Björklunden Advisory Committee, accept a rebate check from Bill Plamann, energy advisor for Focus on Energy, and Kevin Pitts, account management consultant for Wisconsin Public Service (far right).

Lawrence University recently received a $200,000 rebate from Wisconsin Focus on Energy and Wisconsin Public Service for a 120-foot tall, 50-kilowatt turbine installed at Björklunden, the college’s 425-acre “northern campus” outside Baileys Harbor. Lawrence’s first investment in wind energy, the $400,000 turbine is expected to generate enough electricity to cover nearly one-half of the electrical needs of the 37,000-square-foot lodge on the estate.

An independent study project undertaken by Steve Schnorr ’10 was the impetus for the turbine, which became operational in  early December.

“This project was only possible thanks to a massive collaborative effort by students, faculty, alumni, staff, the development office and facility services,” said Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and Stephen Edward Scarff professor of International Affairs and current chair of the campus’ Green Roots initiative. “It’s a fantastic symbol of our long-term commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.

Summer Seminar Focuses on Public Art

Taking a page from its popular Bjorklunden Summer Seminar Series offered in Door County, Lawrence University will sponsor a two-and-one-half-day seminar on public art July 19-21 on its Appleton campus.

“Public Art: Process and History” will feature three classes led by members of the Lawrence art and art history department. The classes will start at 8:30 a.m. each day in the Warch Campus Center.

Sculptor Rob Neilson, associate professor of art, opens the seminar with the class “Contemporary Public Art: Purpose, Process, Product and People.” The class will include a trip to the Appleton Art Center and a stop at a local downtown establishment for wine and conversation.

Elizabeth Carlson, assistant professor of art history, presents “Public Art in the 20th Century.” The class will include an afternoon field trip to the Paine Art Center and Gardens in Oshkosh.

Michael Orr, professor of art history, concludes the seminar with the half-day class “Public Art in Renaissance Florence.”

Participants can attend either as commuters or as residents, with housing provided in Lawrence’s Hiett Hall. A light breakfast and a lunch are provided each day. Seminar cost is $200, with an additional charge for housing if needed. The fee includes transportation and admission passes to the two art centers.

Class size is limited with a registration deadline of July 9. To register or for more information, contact Lori Vosters, 800-283-8320, ext. 7019 or lori.a.vosters@lawrence.edu.

Extending the Reach: $5 Million Campaign Targets Lawrence University’s “Northern Campus” at Bjorklunden

Lawrence University officials today (8/5) announced a $5 million fund-raising campaign to enhance facilities and programs at Björklunden, the college’s “northern campus” in Door County.

The campaign will target funds for the expansion of housing and classroom space at the 425-acre estate’s main lodge, the renovation of an artist’s studio built in 1929 by the original owners of the property and the growth of a Björklunden endowment to support ongoing operations.

The campaign will be chaired by Robert Schaupp, president of P&S Investment Company of Green Bay, a 1951 Lawrence graduate and a member of the college’s Board of Trustees.

“Björklunden is a fantastic asset for Lawrence and for the entire Door County community,” said Schaupp. “We have a great opportunity to ensure Björklunden’s future promise through this effort.”

According to Schaupp, more than $1.5 million has already been committed to the campaign.

Joining Schaupp on the campaign’s steering committee will be Oscar C. Boldt, Appleton, chairman of The Boldt Group, Inc.; Spencer Gould, Ephraim, former director of the Reliable Life Insurance Company of St. Louis, Mo.; Gretchen Maring, Ellison Bay, a 1952 Lawrence graduate; Ellsworth Peterson, Sturgeon Bay, former president and CEO of Peterson Builders Inc. and his wife, Carla, a long-time member of the Peninsula Player’s board of directors; Cyndy Stiehl, Ephraim, a 1989 Lawrence graduate and member of the Board of Trustees, Lee Traven, Baileys Harbor, a 1952 Lawrence graduate; and Richard Warch, Ellison Bay, former president (1979-2004) of Lawrence University.

Located on the Lake Michigan side of the Door peninsula just south of Baileys Harbor, Björklunden Vid Sjön — Norwegian for “Birch Forest by the Water” — hosts weekend retreats and seminars for Lawrence students throughout the academic year and week-long adult continuing-education seminars during the summer. In addition, music recitals and small concerts that are free and open to the public are held there frequently. Björklunden’s facilities, including lodging, are available for use by private, public, and corporate groups for conferences, meetings, and special events.

To accommodate increased usage and demand for the facility, Lawrence plans an expansion and extension of the estate’s main lodge that calls for the addition of 10 new bedrooms with lake views, a large multi-purpose room and a new seminar room, a computer room, a mudroom for the sciences and an observation deck for a telescope. Other new features planned include an elevator, additional bathrooms, storage and mechanical rooms and expanded on-site parking.

The expansion will add approximately 20,000 square feet, more than doubling the size of the existing 17,190-square foot, two-story seminar and conference center. The addition will increase summer seminar sleeping capacity from 22 to 44 and school year sleeping capacity from 54 to 104.

Miller Wagner Coenen and McMahon, a Neenah-based architectural firm that designed the current lodge, will oversee the expansion plans. College officials hope to begin construction by the fall of 2006.

The Björklunden estate, which features large tracts of woods, meadows and more than a mile of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline, was bequeathed to Lawrence in 1963 by Donald and Winifred Boynton, a self-taught artist, of Highland Park, Ill., with the understanding that it would be preserved in a way that would ensure its legacy as a place of serenity and contemplation.

One of the estate’s principle features is a small stavkirke — a rustic wooden chapel which the Boyntons handcrafted from 1939-47. The chapel contains 41 hand painted frescoes and numerous carved-wood furnishings and is a popular site for summer weddings.

Björklunden’s original main lodge, which had served as the Boyntons’ summer residence, was destroyed by fire in 1993. A new “lodge,” more than four times the size of the original and accented with decorated ridgepoles that help retain the estate’s distinct Norwegian heritage, was completed in 1996.

Each week during the academic year, groups of Lawrence faculty members and students gather at Björklunden to explore and reflect upon ideas, artistic expressions, and community issues. In the 2004-05 academic year, more than 1,200 students and faculty members, comprising 67 groups, came to Björklunden to study and learn in 30 separate weekend programs.

Popular summer adult education seminars have been offered at Björklunden since 1980. This summer, Björklunden is hosting 30 week-long classes that began late in April and will end in mid-October, accommodating more than 500 seminar participants.

During July and August, the professional classical theatre company Door Shakespeare presents evening pubic performances of “The Comedy of Errors” and Oliver Goldsmith’s “She Stoops to Conquer” at Björklunden.