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