APPLETON - Richard Warch, the second-longest serving president in Lawrence University's 165-year history, died peacefully at his home in Ellison Bay, Saturday morning, Sept. 14.
According to a Lawrence University news release, Warch's death at the age of 74 followed a battle with thymoma cancer.
Lawrence's 14th president, Warch led the college from July 1, 1979 until his retirement June 30, 2004. His 25-year presidency was second in length only to Samuel Plantz (1894-1924).
He succeeded Thomas Smith (1969-79) as president after serving as dean of the Lawrence faculty and professor of history for two years (1977-79). Nearly one-third of the college's 20,000 living alumni graduated from Lawrence during Warch's presidency.
Known affectionately as "Rik" to many, Warch was a gifted writer and articulate speaker who advocated passionately on behalf of the residential liberal arts college model of education and the the virtues of liberal learning. More than two dozen of his university convocations were compiled for the book "A Matter of Style: Reflections on Liberal Education," which was published in 2012.
Arguably his proudest legacy was the establishment of Björklunden, Lawrence's 425-acre "northern campus" in Door County, as an integral part of a Lawrence education.
He initiated an adult summer seminar series in 1980 and in the mid-1990s proposed a program that would guarantee every student an opportunity for a Björklunden experience. The result was a highly popular interdisciplinary weekend seminar program that saw more than 1,600 students participate in 125 separate seminars during the 2011-12 academic year.
A memorial service will be held at Lawrence on a day and time still to be determined.
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