This June will mark the end of President Rik Warch’s 25 year tenure at Lawrence. To commemorate his presidency, Warch will give a Farewell Tour that includes fifteen different cities across the country. The tour began this month in Naples, Florida and will end in Minneapolis in May. Warch will give a valedictory address at each event. In an interview with The Lawrentian, he called his speech a “predictable presidential pitch” that encourages alumni to continue their support of Lawrence, but the added that tour is more than just that.
For Warch, the tour has been an opportunity to see some old friends. “It’s fun,” he said, “I’ve met a lot of people over twenty-five years…and I can thank them for their support.” Both young and old have come to greet Warch thus far. Approximately one-hundred people came to his speech in Naples. He commented that it is especially fun to see the younger alumni at the early stages of their careers.
Warch noted that in his speech he quotes the former chairman of the board of MIT who said that it can often be difficult for people to support institutions that can sometimes seem impersonal, but that it is important to remember that we are a part of these institutions, and we need to care about them. Warch says at Lawrence the contributions of alumni have increased from 25 percent of the total number donating to 50 percent over the past twenty-five years. “That level of commitment is important to a college like ours,” said Warch.
He also noted that his wife, Margot, will be accompanying him on the tour, except for the west coast. This marks the only time Margot has traveled with him outside of Wisconsin on school business.
In his speech for the tour, Warch says, “One of my favorite quotations comes from Robert Frost, who wrote: ‘Don’t join too many gangs. Join few, if any. Join the United States and join the family….But not much in between unless a college.’ It was my great good fortune to join Lawrence.”
Warch will give his final speech as president on June 17 at Lawrence. The tour is open to alumni, parents, and friends of the school. The full schedule is available online at http://www.lawrence.edu/alumni/farewell.shtml.