By Correne L. Morgan
A memorial dedication for the late Stan Hollmann occurred on the afternoon of July 20, which would have been his 60th birthday, as rays of warm sunshine radiated over the Southwest Tech campus in Fennimore, where the ceremony took place.
A special rock, tree and bench have been made into an area of reflection near the Kramer Administration Building. On the rock, a plaque reminds passers-by of the man who impacted college staff, students and alumni during his 38 years of service at the local technical college campus. Hollmann retired in 2009 as the vice president of administrative services and chief financial officer at Southwest Tech. He passed away on Jan. 24, 2011.
At the memorial dedication, the college’s new president, Dr. Duane Ford welcomed a group of more than 40 of Hollmann’s friends, colleagues and family members. Dr. Richard “Dick” Rogers, who was president of Southwest Tech from 1988-1999, also spoke, injecting a bit of humor into his kind words about Hollmann.
Rogers remembered his friend as “slightly opinionated” and “frugal with his money,” a description that brought laughter to the crowd.
“Stan was dedicated to Southwest Tech, loyal and trustworthy. His work ethic, thoughtfulness and financial expertise were a perfect blend for this college. He helped to put Southwest Tech on the map,” Rogers said. “Stan also had a sense of humor and was susceptible to my jokes.”
Rogers added that when Hollmann took over as CFO, the college had about $200,000 in reserves. “When I retired,” Rogers stated, “Stan had that up to about $1,500,000. He could do a lot of things with little money.”
Following the short speeches, Carol Rogers read a poem, “The End of a Perfect Day,” by Carrie Jacobs-Bond. Concluding the ceremony, Hollmann’s wife, Bev Loy, and family unveiled the red granite rock to the crowd.
Paul Cutting, Southwest Tech agribusiness instructor, is responsible for obtaining the rock.
“Stan was born in Medford, in the Dorchester area, where the glacier went through. I was born on a farm in northern Wisconsin, where the glacier went through,” Cutting said. “When I heard about the plans for Stan’s memorial, I knew I would just have to wait for a large rock to pop up on my property in Chippewa City, where I still farm part-time. I sent pictures of some other rocks, but they were too big. I was patient, and when this beauty came up, I knew if Stan had been there he would have laughed and said it was perfect.”
In addition to the red granite rock, Southwest Tech Instructor Jim Broihahn and his Building Trades-Carpentry students were asked to make a unique cedar bench to add to the memorial.
“I have to imagine that Stan would have loved the fact that our students were directly engaged in this project,” Dr. Ford added.
The entire Building Trades-Carpentry class was involved in the design of the bench, according to Broihahn, though just a few had their hands in the building process, which took about two or three days.
“For Stan, we wanted to make a manly bench, one built to last and that isn’t going to be blown away in a storm,” Broihahn stated. “The students were excited to be involved.”
A Japanese lilac tree, Hollmann’s favorite, was also planted in the memorial area.
The plaque (on the rock), donated by Southwest Tech staff, reads: “In Memory of Stan Hollmann, 38 years of dedicated service to Southwest Tech.”
Overall, the memorial dedication was a moment of remembrance about Hollmann and his legacy. Dr. Ford said the area is dedicated to Hollmann’s memory and his work on behalf of the students of southwest Wisconsin.
A scholarship fund in Hollmann’s name has been established by his wife, Bev. Additional donations to the fund are encouraged. Contact Heather Fifrick at 822-2366 for more information.