Tower, music ring tribute to UW-Green Bay’s first chancellor

GREEN BAY — The memory of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s founding chancellor, Edward Weidner, will ring loud and clear on campus beginning this summer.

A 35-foot tall carillon dedicated to Weidner’s memory will be installed at the triangular knoll where two primary pedestrian paths — one from Residence Life, one from the Kress Events Center — converge just outside the University Union.

A dedication ceremony is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, June 6, the second anniversary of Weidner’s passing. An invitation-only reception will follow.

“Ed’s love of music made the selection of a carillon for a memorial especially appropriate,” says his spouse, Marge Weidner. “In recent years when we traveled, we always made a point to visit the local universities, and we admired some very beautiful carillons. When we dreamed about what our campus didn’t have, often a carillon would come up in conversation.”

Ed Weidner played the violin in his youth. His appreciation of carillons dates to the 1950s, when he was a faculty member at Michigan State University. His daughter Nancy Weidner Larson recalls enjoying the carillon as the Weidner family strolled the Lansing campus.

The three-sided, bronze-coated tower at UW-Green Bay will be topped by a 36-inch single bell shell (for aesthetics only). More than two hundred Flemish bell harmonies and eight bell chimes will be programmable to operate daily or be set for special ceremonies. The electronic carillon also comes with a 61-note keyboard for recording, an eight-bell package of liturgical bells and a microphone input.

The carillon will be installed with 420 pre-recorded melodies, with room for additional selections. At least some of the music will be Weidner favorites including his University’s alma mater and fight song.

Music Prof. Cheryl Grosso composed a chime melody that will be played on the hour, every hour. Notes from the theme will repeat at the quarter- and half-hour intervals.

Site work will consist of brick pavers, a dedication plaque, and a bench where visitors can enjoy a campus view.

The project was made possible with private memorial gifts. Weidner was the University’s first employee and driving force, serving two decades as chancellor, from 1966 through 1986.

For a preview of Prof. Grosso’s chime melody click here.