We are saddened to report that two beloved members of the Lakeland family, Lew and Gerry (Matzinger) Schmidt, were killed Wednesday in an auto accident near their home outside Elkhart Lake. Lew was 80, and Gerry was 79.
A leader in Lakeland's creative arts division, Lew, a 1958 Lakeland graduate, served as Lakeland professor of music education and director of bands from 1982-98. During his tenure, the band program and music education curriculum were considered among the best in Wisconsin. He was also chair of the creative arts division.
Gerry, who also attended Lakeland as a student, worked as a secretary and support person in both the office of the president and general counsel, as well as for the alumni relations and advancement offices.
Lew and Gerry were married on June 7, 1958.
Lew taught music in Wisconsin schools for 41 years until he retired in 1998. Prior to his 16 years at Lakeland, he spent 25 years in the public school system, the last 16 of which were as head of the department and high school band director at River Valley High School in Spring Green, Wis.
Lew grew up on the Lakeland campus, as his father, Clarence, taught religion at Mission House.
Lew won numerous awards and honors during his long career. During Lakeland's Sesquicentennial celebration in 2012, he was inducted into the Arts Department Wall of Distinction. In 1986, he received the Outstanding Service to the College Award. In 1996, he was named to the Sheboygan County Music Wall of Fame at the Fountain Park band shell in Sheboygan.
His Lakeland accomplishments include a concert band tour of Czechoslovakia in 1990, a performance in France in 1994 and performances at Wisconsin Bandmasters Association conferences in 1988 and 1993.
Lew taught at Lakeland's Music Camp beginning in the 1960s and served as camp director from 1984-98. He served as a field representative and consultant for the Wisconsin School Music Association, and served as an adjudicator and clinician many times.
In 2014, he served as a guest conductor for a piece during the fall Lakeland Band concert.
Lew received his master's degree in music education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago in 1963, and later was awarded an honorary doctorate from VanderCook. He was also longtime conductor of the Kiel Municipal Band. He served on the alumni relations board of directors for both Lakeland and VanderCook, and was also a member of VanderCook's board of trustees, including service as board chair.
Lew played many years in the Blaster's Golf Classic, and the Rev. Clarence T. and Mary C. Schmidt Scholarship is named for Lew's parents.
Senior art major spotlighted in year's first student exhibit
The work of Lakeland University senior Amanda Bagnall-Newman will be featured as part of the first Lakeland Senior Art Student Portfolio Exhibition for this academic year.
An opening reception will be held Friday, Nov. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the Bradley Gallery, located in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on Lakeland's campus.
The exhibit, which will feature works created by Bagnall-Newman during her time at Lakeland, will be on display until Dec. 9. The Bradley Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, when the university is in session. Attendance at the reception and admittance to the Bradley Gallery are both free and open to the public.
The senior art show is a requirement for all Lakeland art majors. Students gain the experience of having their own exhibit, and are responsible for planning the show, putting the public relations together, hanging their work and any other details.
Bagnall-Newman will be on hand to discuss her work. In addition, The Fret Set II, a jazz duo featuring guitarists Dave Sullivan and Dave Kirk, will be performing live music.
Bagnall-Newman will graduate this December with a bachelor's degree in art with a graphic design emphasis and a minor in communication.
She is currently visual media editor for the Lakeland University Mirror, creating videos, photos and graphics for this online publication. She's also served the Mirror as website manager and layout manager. She has been graphic designer for United Methodist Church of Sturgeon Bay and Jacksonport, Wis., and is a freelance graphic designer who has worked on a variety for projects for clients.
She's done a pair of internships, one for the Door County Adventure Center that included developing a social media-focused marketing campaign, and one for Lakeland's Student Success and Engagement Team that had her creating print and digital marketing materials.
Bagnall-Newman was born and raised in Wisconsin's Door County area, and she said the beauty of that part of the state has always been a source of inspiration.
"Rarely am I found without a sketchbook in my possession," she said. "Inspiration is hidden around every corner, so I am constantly illustrating whatever thought comes to me. There is beauty to be found everywhere; in the texture of tree bark, white caps of a wave and the cream being poured into your coffee. As a designer, my eyes have developed to pick up on these subtle beauties found throughout a typical day which has allowed me to reflect them into my work."
Faculty artwork is focus of first Bradley Gallery exhibit
Original work by members of Lakeland University's art faculty will be in the spotlight as Lakeland opens its 2016-17 Bradley Gallery season.
An opening reception will be held on Friday, Sept. 16, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on the Lakeland campus. The show will run through Oct. 28. Attendance at the reception and admittance to the Bradley Gallery are free and open to the public.
The Bradley Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, when the university is in session.
Among the artists will be Lakeland's two full-time art faculty members, longtime Associate Professor of Art and Bradley Gallery Director Bill Weidner and Monique Brickham, who's in her first year as an assistant professor of art.
The program's three adjunct faculty will also be featured. Denise Presnell-Weidner, who recently retired after serving as a full-time faculty member, and longtime adjuncts Pat Robison and Mark Weber will display their work.
Weidner came to Lakeland in 1989 and has helped lead development of the university's art program and taught virtually every studio art class in the major. He also served as an instructor of art at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center for several years.
He has previously taught at Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Mich.; Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, Wis.; Louisiana State University-Shreveport; Northwestern State University of Louisiana; Natchitoches, La.; Benedictine College; Atchison, Kan.; The Mercersburg Academy; Mercersburg, Pa.; and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The winner of numerous awards, Weidner's work has been featured in dozens of art exhibits over the years. His work is currently represented in River Edge Galleries in Mishicot, Wis., and he has previously been represented in galleries in Madison, Milwaukee, Elkhart Lake, Wausau and Northfield, Mich.
Weidner's work in this show includes nine sculptures, two pastels of the figure, a painting from the Golden Section Series and several figure studies all completed in the last two years.
"Work on sculpture has certainly dominated my studio time over the last two years," Weidner said. "And this is a big shift for me since my entire career as an artist has been dominated by the production of paintings."
Brickham is leading the graphic design portion of Lakeland's art major, and comes to the university with a wealth of classroom and professional experience. For the past three years, she has worked as a graphic designer at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., and she's worked as a freelance designer since 2005, serving a lengthy list of clients. She also worked in design roles at Convergent Marketing in Appleton, Journal Community Publishing Group in Waupaca, Wis., and at the Appleton Post Crescent.
She has a master of fine arts degree in graphic design from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a web design certificate and a web development certificate from Fox Valley Technical College and a bachelor's degree in communication and the arts with a graphic design emphasis from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. She is also an Adobe Certified Expert in InDesign, one of a small handful of people in the state with this credential.
Presnell-Weidner came to Lakeland in 1989 as a member of the faculty and co-director of the Bradley Gallery with her husband, Bill. She served as chair of the Creative Arts Division and helped lead development of the graphic arts emphasis within the art major. A prolific professional painter, printmaker and pastel artist, her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions regionally, nationally and internationally. She is represented by professional art galleries in Milwaukee, Mishicot and Elkhart Lake.
Her pieces in this show are oil on canvas, oil on polyester, digital print/mixed media and ink monotype.
"I've come to realize that my artwork is the visualization of my inner psychology," Presnell-Weidner said. "It (my artwork) tells me things about myself that I had forgotten about or shows me there's a lot more to me than I have been paying attention to."
A veteran of more than 40 years in commercial graphics markets, Weber brings a diverse background to the classroom, having owned and operated a graphics business, worked as senior graphic designer for Kohler Co., assistant creative director at a local agency and graphics manager for Rust E&I managing 70 offices nationwide (identity, advertising, print, tradeshows, and promotional items), and represented two digital offset print firms as a sales and graphics manager.
His pieces in this show represent illustrations, graphic design, and print production management.
Robison is the owner of Two Fish Gallery in Elkhart Lake, and he is also a longtime instructor at the JMKAC.
Lakeland mourns death of longtime supporter Terry Kohler
Terry Kohler, a dedicated supporter of Lakeland University whose impact was felt across a wide range of his professional and personal interests, died Tuesday. He was 82.
In May of 2001, The Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust gave $1.5 million to the Lakeland's endowment fund, which at that time was the largest single gift in the institution's history. The Trust is named for Terry's parents, former Wisconsin Governor Walter Kohler Jr. and his wife, Charlotte.
The gift funded Lakeland's Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust Professor of Business and Economics, a position held by Scott Niederjohn, dean of the School of Business and Entrepreneurship, since its creation. The gift also established the Charlotte and Walter Kohler Distinguished Business Lecture Series.
"Terry Kohler will be remembered as one of the true giants of this community," said Niederjohn, who got to know the Kohlers through his position and his work managing the Kohler Lecture Series. "He made his mark on state and national politics, the business community, the sailing industry and through his philanthropic and conservationist efforts.
"He always had a soft spot for Lakeland. He and Mary are certainly among the most significant supporters the institution has known over its long history. He helped Lakeland secure internationally known speakers while also supporting many other programs to enhance the experience for Lakeland students.
"Lakeland will miss Terry. I'm proud to continue to serve Lakeland in this position named for the trust, and the institution is so grateful for his many years of support."
A 32-station computer lab in the Harold G. Laun Center for Business and Technology is also named as a result of a gift from The Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust. Terry Kohler also financially supported student scholarships and experiences and Lakeland's aviation program.
Terry Kohler served as Lakeland's first Businessman in Residence in the late 1970s, launching a program that invited high-level executives to campus to lead sessions with students and offer them real-world lessons and networking opportunities.
At the time of the Trust's gift in 2001, Terry Kohler said, "As the first Businessman in Residence at Lakeland, I remember clearly the student commitment to learning about the economic world. The private enterprise system held an allure for them in that academic environment that was very edifying to me. Lakeland demonstrated its ability to interest and educate its students in the ways of the marketplace."
This past spring, the Kohler Business Lecture celebrated its 15th talk. Series speakers have included some of Terry's personal contacts, including former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and noted publisher and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes.
Lakeland graduate returns in new athletics role
Leslie Laster, a two-time Lakeland graduate and a member of the university's Athletic Hall of Fame, has been named Lakeland University's first director of student-athlete development. Her first day at Lakeland is Sept. 12.
Laster, who received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Lakeland in 1998 and her master of arts in counseling from Lakeland in 2010, will work with various areas of the campus community to ensure student-athletes have the tools and resources necessary to succeed in the classroom and in personal and professional development.
She will focus primarily on first- and second-year student-athletes, but will provide overall support and guidance as necessary to support retention and graduation of all student-athletes. She will report to the dean of students and work closely with the director of athletics.
Laster will also advise Lakeland's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), work on enhancing Lakeland's game-day experience and coordinate with the Lakeland alumni office to engage alumni in mentoring and networking opportunities with student-athletes.
Laster returns to Lakeland after working more than 15 years with young people, primarily in counseling roles in the Sheboygan Area School district. She most recently was a counselor at Horace Mann Middle School.
She came to Lakeland as an undergraduate from Iron Mountain, Mich. The former Leslie Jerks was a two-sport standout, earning numerous honors in both basketball and volleyball. She was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
Laster lives in Sheboygan with her husband, Santino Laster, a 2005 Lakeland graduate, and their three sons.