Bates in Brief College: The man behind the Kroepsch name

David Kroepsch’s uncle Robert Kroepsch ’33 established the signature Bates teaching award. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

David Kroepsch’s uncle Robert Kroepsch ’33 established the signature Bates teaching award. Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

What’s in a Name?
The Kroepsch Award

At Bates, the name “Kroepsch” means great teaching: The college’s Kroepsch Award honors professors who excel in the classroom, such as the recently announced 2013 winner, Loring Danforth, Dana Professor of Anthropology.

To others, the name Kroepsch conjures memories of “Uncle Bob,” a frugal man who served cocktails to dinner guests in his car before heading into restaurants, and a noted higher-education authority who once gave three commencement speeches in one day — and submitted the feat to Guinness World Records.

“Uncle Bob” is the late Robert Kroepsch ’33, LL.D. ’71, who funded the annual Bates teaching award with his wife, Ruth.

Last fall, Robert’s grandnephew David Kroepsch (shown here) visited campus with his wife, Suzanne, to say hello to 2012 Kroepsch winner Kati Vecsey of the theater department.

Robert Kroepsch’s frugality influenced his career. For many years, he headed a consortium of public and private universities in the West that worked to eliminate the wasteful duplication of programs.

“He was really proud that someone at UC–San Diego wasn’t doing the exact same project as the University of Oregon,” David said. “It was very important to him to know that we could make more progress because of that coordinated educational effort.”

While the Kroepsch name is ubiquitous at Bates, you won’t find it in the pages of Guinness. “Uncle Bob found out there’s no category for commencement speeches,” says David. — HJB

The College Facts

Former Dining Services director Christine Schwartz now heads Bates’ new events office.

Off-campus Welcome Events with President Spencer are breaking event attendance records.

Pearson Appointed VP

Photograph by Jose Leiva

Photograph by Jose Leiva

Sarah Pearson ’75 returned to her alma mater last August as the new vice president for college advancement.

In the advancement world, Pearson is considered a leader among leaders. In the 2012 book Making the Case for Leadership, Pearson is one of 10 U.S. advancement leaders profiled, and is singled out for bringing creative strategies to fundraising and engagement initiatives.

Pearson comes to Bates after serving as chief development officer of the Broad Institute of Harvard University and MIT, a leading biomedical research institution.

“Bates alumni around the globe have much to be proud of,” she says. “We are clear about our strengths, passionate about the value of Bates’ distinctive brand of liberal arts education and committed to working together to ensure that future generations will benefit from the shared Bates experience.”