The distinguished professor at Clemson University will address issues related to the environment, social justice and bringing nature into the urban experience on Thursday, April 12, 2018
Grand Rapids, Michigan – February 22, 2018 – The Wege Foundation will host the 22nd Wege Speaker Series on Thursday, April 12 at 4pm at the Aquinas College Performing Arts Center.
This year’s speaker is Dr. J. Drew Lanham, ornithologist, conservationist and distinguished professor at Clemson University. Dr. Lanham is a widely published scientist, author and poet with work appearing in numerous academic and literary journals. His latest book, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, is currently available from Milkweed Editions. Dr. Lanham is also a member of the National Audubon Society and Audubon South Carolina boards, along with several other environmental organizations. His research at Clemson University focuses on songbird ecology.
In Dr. Lanham’s book, The Home Place, he relates his love of nature and the world around him as a child growing up in Edgefield County, South Carolina. As his passion for the environment takes flight, Lanham asks what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity”—to find joy and freedom in the same land his ancestors were tied to by forced labor, and then to be a black man in a profoundly white profession.
“Birds and people need the same air, same water, same soil,” said Dr. Lanham. “When we agree on that fact, then conservation becomes the inclusive and intensely caring, loving, selfless thing that it is meant to be.”
Lanham’s presentation will provide insights into assuring equitable access to nature and outdoors experiences. “Dr. Lanham’s work directly relates to The Wege Foundation’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Mark Van Putten, President and CEO of The Wege Foundation. “It is our hope that all individuals and families, no matter their background or economic status, can enjoy the benefits of nature and the environment.”
Partners for the 22nd Wege Speaker Series event include:
- Aquinas College
- City of Grand Rapids
- Grand Rapids Public Schools
- Grand Rapids Urban League
- Latina Network of West Michigan
- LINC UP
- Michigan Audubon
- NAACP Greater Grand Rapids Branch
- Sierra Club Michigan Chapter
- West Michigan Environmental Action Council
- West Michigan Latino Community Coalition
The Aquinas College Performing Arts Center is located at 1703 Robinson Road S.E. in Grand Rapids. The public is invited and the event is free. A book signing will follow. Limited seating; register at aquinas.edu/wegespeaker
More information at wegespeakerseries.com
The Case for Justice at the Ends of the Pipeline
Intergovernmental Affairs Spokeswoman for the
indigenous Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Alberta, Canada
Thursday, April 21, 2016 / 4 – 5 pm
Aquinas College Performing Arts Center
Followed by a reception
Throughout the Great Lakes region, oil flows via pipelines and railroads from Canada to destinations throughout the American Midwest. This April, Crystal Lameman is coming to Grand Rapids to shed light on the devastating environmental and human impacts of tar sands mining at one source in Alberta, Canada. Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, will speak about her Nation’s legal fight to defend their homelands against the over-development of thousands of fossil fuel extraction sites. Join us and learn about how our demand for these resources is destroying the ecosystems that have sustained indigenous families for thousands of years and threatening our collective future.
Lameman is the Intergovernmental Affairs and Industry Relations Treaty Coordinator and Communications Manager for the Nation.
RSVP by April 11, 2016 to aquinas.edu/wegespeaker
Peter Wege’s grandson Andrew Goodwillie used the occasion of Earth Day to remember his grandfather when he introduced architect Edward Mazria as this year’s 19th annual Wege Foundation Speaker. “To ‘Grampie,’” Andrew told the crowd at Aquinas College’s PAC, “every day was Earth Day, not just one day a year.” Andrew went on to say about Peter M. Wege, who died in July 2014, “My grandfather dedicated his life to making West Michigan and the world a better place. He inspired us all.”
Goodwillie introduced Mazria’s talk on an international movement to reduce carbon emissions from buildings by saying, “Grampie never met a building he didn’t want to turn into a green building.” In 2006 Edward Mazria founded Architecture 2030, a think tank created to accomplish exactly that.
Since half the energy used in the U.S. is consumed by buildings, Architecture 2030’s mission is to reduce by 50% the amount of fossil fuels in the built environment by 2030. The long-term goal is to reach zero emissions from buildings by 2050. Because 75% of all greenhouse gas comes from urban centers, the 2030 movement targets cities, with Seattle having been the first.
In the nine years since Mazria launched Architecture 2030, eight more cities have signed on with pledges from both the public and private sectors to meet the 50% reduction by the 20230 deadline. The day after Mazria’s Wege Lecture, the city of Grand Rapids voted to begin the process that will make it a 2030 city by the end of the year. (See related news article.)
By 2030 today’s 7.2 billion people will be joined by 1.1 billion more, mostly in cities. Constructing enough new space to house that many more people is equivalent to adding another New York City every 35 days. “We must lock in our energy needs,” Mazria emphasized, “because if we stop emissions now, over time the planet will be able to reabsorb the carbon.” Architecture 2030 intends to help Earth make that happen by cutting energy used by buildings in half within fifteen years.
Three generations of the Wege family meet with architect Edward Mazria after he gave the annual Wege Lecture at Aquinas College. From the left, Peter O’Connor, husband of the late Peter M. Wege’s granddaughter Sara holding their baby Peter Charles; Mary Goodwillie Nelson, Wege’s daughter; Edward Mazria and Andrew Goodwillie, Mary Nelson’s son who introduced Mazria at the Wege Lecture.
Gift to establish the nation’s first collegiate economicology program as envisioned by Peter Wege
Aquinas College and the Aquinas College Foundation today announced a $2.5 million gift from the Wege Foundation to establish the first-ever economicology program at the collegiate level in the nation; which the late Peter Wege envisioned for Aquinas. Peter Wege coined the term economicology to define the balance necessary between the economy and ecology. He believed in the importance of educating the public about how a prosperous economy depends on maintaining a healthy environment.
“The Wege Foundation has long been a generous friend and supporter of Aquinas College,” said Juan Olivarez, Aquinas president. “With this gift, Aquinas will honor Peter’s memory by pursuing his vision of developing a comprehensive economicology program centered on educating the leaders of tomorrow and taking active steps to promote these concepts. We are extremely grateful to the Wege Foundation for supporting Aquinas College with this generous grant.”
The money from the Wege Foundation grant will establish and develop Aquinas’ economicology program through six major areas. The main focus will be on creating and establishing a position for a dean of science and sustainability. Once selected, the dean will develop and implement a program for economicology at Aquinas.
“This deanship will be an integral part of setting the path for the future of academia at Aquinas,” said Gilda Gely, Aquinas provost. “Aquinas has set goals for this program focused on education, community and infrastructure, and this grant and the individual hired will help guide us as we develop the program around these pillars.”
Other areas to be funded by the Wege Foundation grant include:
• maintaining an academic master plan that best responds to the College’s strategic plan
• planning improvements for existing science facilities, including development of the Institute for Economicology
• further refining a plan to save energy through new construction and retrofitting existing structures
• creating and endowing a discretionary leadership fund, which promotes and recognizes innovation
• establishing a self-reinforcing green revolving fund that will support changes made to campus buildings and facilities that save energy and generate cost savings
The main principles of economicology include economics, environment, ecology, ethics, empathy and education, and directly relate to Aquinas’ culture, curriculum and values.
“Mr. Wege’s dream for Aquinas College was that it would be the ‘best Catholic liberal arts college of its size in the country,’ and he truly believed it is possible,” said Ellen Satterlee, CEO of the Wege Foundation. “I’m convinced that this grant will continue to move Aquinas College toward fulfilling Mr. Wege’s dream. The money gifted by the Wege Foundation will allow the College to begin weaving Mr. Wege’s philosophy of economicology into the fabric of its culture – so that it becomes part of the identity of Aquinas.”
Aquinas College has a long-standing relationship with the Wege Foundation. Throughout his lifetime, Peter Wege supported and advocated for Aquinas College. He helped Aquinas purchase its current campus and served as a trustee for 13 years. In 1959, he took a leave of absence from Steelcase Corporation to serve as a business consultant for the development campaign and construction of Aquinas’ Albertus Magnus Hall of Science. Additionally, he contributed to a number of on-campus projects including the Wege Student Center, named in his honor; the Jarecki Center for Advanced Learning; and the Aquinas College Performing Arts Center.
Through the years, his work for Aquinas was recognized in a number of ways, including the following awards and recognitions: an honorary degree in 1959, Distinguished Service Award in 1975, Norbert J. Hruby Emeritus award in 1991, induction into the Aquinas College Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Reflection Award in 2011. The annual Peter M. Wege Pro Am golf outing is named in his honor.
About the Aquinas College Foundation: The mission of the Aquinas College Foundation is to advance the College’s reputation, growth and prosperity and to identify and secure the resources necessary to fulfill the mission and vision of Aquinas College. The Foundation Board of Directors will primarily focus on growing the College’s endowment and supporting current and future capital campaigns.www.aquinas.edu/
The 30th annual Aquinas Emeritus Award went to a husband and wife who in their individual ways have demonstrated the highest standard of honoring family, community, and always, always young people. The 2013 winners Dave and Linda Mehney exemplify the Emeritus values of “ leadership, generosity, and spirit of service.”
Dave Mehney has taken entrepreneurship to a whole new level. Long known as a risk-taker, Dave made his first leap of faith in 1966 when he started selling Kawaski motorcycles. That went pretty well – including his own airplane – so he decided to try selling Skytron lights for hospital operating rooms. Financially a good move, for sure. But Skytron was also a show of respect for Dave’s father Dr. Gayle Mehney, a renowned Grand Rapids ophthalmologist.
The fearless skier on snow and water next took on Great Lakes Marine keeping West Michigan equipped with jet skis. But one more venue intrigued him: how about developing Thousand Oaks and building homes all around it? From selling motorcycles to running a golf course is almost a natural progression for Dave Mehney!
Meanwhile Linda, busy raising their five boys, found out their Florida babysitter’s living conditions were unacceptable. So Linda did what Linda does. She adopted Susan Mehney who became Dave’s and Linda’s beloved only daughter until Susan’s tragic death in a car accident.
Family is always first for Linda, now including 20 adored grandchildren. But she also did her own entrepreneuring when she started Grand Arabian Horse Farms. It didn’t take long for Linda’s magnificent Arabians to start taking national titles putting her stable on the gold list for sales and stud fees.
Dave and Linda Mehney have never met a young person they didn’t like – or one they wouldn’t help. As the volunteer assistant varsity football coach for East Grand Rapids since 1989, Dave has his finger on the community’s pulse. Kids, families, teachers – everyone knows who the go-to couple is when some student needs help.
Tough as both Dave and Linda are in their separate businesses, this year’s Emeritus winners are pushovers for children.
(**Above photo – Dave Mehney thanks the East Grand High School Madrigals who entertained a full-house audience at Thousand Oaks for the Emeritus banquet.)
During Aquinas College’s Commencement ceremonies May 4, Ellen Satterlee, CEO of The Wege Foundation, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Public Policy. Since 1988, Ellen Satterlee has served as Peter M. Wege’s chief executive running the family foundation he set up in 1967.
Aquinas College said this of their new Honorary Doctorate: Ellen M. Satterlee’s life embodies a commitment to community and service which reflects the mission of Aquinas College and the Dominican charisms.
Well known in the community for her ability to translate Peter M. Wege’s mission into good works, the Dominican’s “charisms” match what Ellen Satterlee does for Peter and The Wege Foundation. Charism is a spiritual grace from God given to individuals for the benefit of humanity.
Aquinas College described her charism this way: Ellen’s lifelong dedication and tireless devotion inspire all those who know her.
A graduate of Aquinas College, Ellen Satterlee served ten years on the Aquinas College’s Board of Trustees. She is currently on the Grand Rapid Symphony Board and a member of the Grand Rapids Economic Club.
During her tenure on the Aquinas Board, Ellen was instrumental in hiring Juan R. Olivarez, Ph.D., as the college’s new president in 2011. Dr. Olivarez’s active leadership led to Aquinas College’s winning the highest national honor a college can earn for its commitment to civic engagement and service. This year Aquinas was named to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Aquinas’s Reflections Award this year went to three people who are not only long-time friends of the college’s, but they are also long-time friends themselves. Pictured here (on the left) at the ceremony September 19 are the three honorees: Ralph Hauenstein, Sister Aquinas Weber, and Peter Wege (seated) with Aquinas President Juan Oliverez.
This annual tribute is called the Reflections Award because the person selected each year “reflects” the values of Aquinas College by leading a life of commitment, vision, service, loyalty, and integrity. To celebrate Aquinas’s 125th anniversary, for the first time the college named three people as Reflections Award winners. Certainly these three 2011 honorees embody Reflections’ noble standards. Their commitments to Aquinas go back more than half a century, and include serving as trustees, inspiring students as teachers, and supporting the Catholic college with generous donations.
*** Kate Pew Wolters, pictured above with Peter, is the granddaughter of Henry Idema who co-founded Metal Office Furniture – today’s Steelcase – with Peter’s father Peter Martin Wege and David Hunting in 1912. These two pictured descendants of the MOF founders look forward to being part of next year’s festivities as Steelcase celebrates a full century in the office-furniture business.
Two generations of Peter Wege’s family turned out in April for the 15th annual Wege Lecture at Aquinas College given by Chris Palmer, the renowned wildlife film producer. Pictured above being recognized in Aquinas’s Performing Arts Center from left to right are: Patrick Goodwillie, Mary Nelson, Jim Nelson, Jonathan Wege, Peter Wege II, Caitlin Wiener, Jessica McLear, Christopher Carter, and Rachel Wege-Lack, Peter Wege II’s daughter, who is shown introducing Chris Palmer to the full auditorium.
Chris Palmer, whose wildlife documentaries have appeared on IMAX, Disney Channel, and Animal Planet, among others, showed clips from his films, including up-close encounters with Southern Right Whales and a wolf pack making a den. In his elegant British accent, Chris Palmer captivated the audience with his animated style and passionate commitment to protecting wildlife.
“I want the world to be preserved,” he told the crowd, “and wildlife films are one way to tackle the problems of the environment. All the films I make are part of a conservation campaign.”
Chris Palmer is a full-time faculty member at American University where he started the Center for Environmental Filmmaking in the School of Communication. In 2009 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Media at the International Wildlife Film Festival.
After his talk, Palmer greeted audience members and signed copies of his new book: Shooting in the Wild: An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom. The accompanying slide-show photographs feature guests at the Wege Lecture and the reception and dinner afterwards.