Alumni College: In the Northwoods

Alumni College 2019: On All Things Wisconsin

May 30 - June 2
Red Crown Lodge, 3852 U.S. Highway 51 N., Arbor Vitae, WI 54568
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This year’s Alumni College retreat presents you with the chance to join fellow alumni and friends in learning about topics relating to Wisconsin’s past, present, and future from a team of UW faculty members and experts. Opportunities await to take field trips and attend presentations about the state’s changing climate, the development of tribal courts in Wisconsin, the transformation of today’s media landscape, and the U.S. public policy-making process. Choose from the multiple website tabs below to learn more about this informative, all-inclusive weekend getaway in the beautiful Wisconsin Northwoods.

Attendee Information

What can I expect?

In addition to staying at a private retreat, this exclusive weekend getaway includes all meals, presentations by UW faculty, relaxation opportunities, and more. Guests will meet UW faculty at the start of the trip through lightning talks, during which each speaker will provide a brief introduction of themselves. For more information on each day’s activities, please see the full schedule on the next tab.

Cost per person

$650 Commuters (Does not include lodging)
$995 WAA members (Includes lodging for three nights)
$1050 Nonmembers (Includes lodging for three nights)


Full Schedule

This schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Thursday, May 30

3–5 p.m. Arrival and check-in at Red Crown Lodge
5 p.m. Welcome reception
6:30 p.m. Dinner
8 p.m. Lightning talks with UW–Madison faculty
8:30 p.m. Campfire and s’mores (optional)

Friday, May 31

7–8:30 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. Talk by Steve Vavrus MS’92, PhD’97, senior scientist at the Nelson Institute for Climatic Research
10:30 a.m. Talk by Larry Nesper, professor of anthropology and American Indian studies
12 p.m. Lunch
1:30–3 p.m. Ojibwe Cultural Center and Federal Boarding School Complex (optional)
3 p.m. Afternoon free time with trip to Minocqua and recreational activites available at Red Crown Lodge (optional)
5 p.m. Pontoon rides and cocktails (optional)
6:30 p.m. Dinner
8 p.m. At your leisure

Saturday, June 1

7 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. Yoga (optional)
10:15 a.m. Talk by Kathleen Culver ’88, MA’92, PhD’99, assistant professor, James E. Burgess Chair in Journalism Ethics
12 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. Talk by Susan Webb Yackee, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science
3 p.m. Afternoon free time with trip to Minocqua and recreational activites available at Red Crown Lodge (optional)
5 p.m. Reception
5:30 p.m. Talk by Russ Feingold ’75
6:30 p.m. Dinner
8 p.m. At your leisure

Sunday, June 2

8:30 a.m. Brunch
11:30 a.m. Checkout

Program Information

It’s time to learn like a Badger again! This program offers once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities you don’t want to miss. Read on for more information about each speaker, the speech topics, and field trips.


Steve Vavrus MS’92, PhD’97

Senior scientist, Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research, Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies

Vavrus’s research addresses several key aspects of climate change, including the role of polar regions, the behavior of extreme weather, regional impacts around Wisconsin and the Great Lakes, and the origin of human-induced climate change. He addresses these questions using computer climate models, which provide both quantitative estimates of future change and insights into the physical causes.

Larry Nesper

Professor, UW-Madison’s Department of Anthropology and American Indian Studies

Nesper’s research is in the area of Great Lakes Indian law and politics, largely in the federal Indian policy era of Self-determination (post-1960s), but he also has ethnohistorical interests in the region. His general interests are in institutional development, and he is currently working on a research project on the development of the tribal courts in Wisconsin.

Kathleen Culver ’88, MA’92, PhD’99

Assistant professor and James E. Burgess Chair in Journalism Ethics, UW–Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication; director, Center for Journalism Ethics

Long interested in the implications of digital media on journalism and public interest communication, Culver’s research focuses on the ethical dimensions of social tools, technological advances, and networked information. In her work, she combines these interests with a background in law and free expression. Culver also was the founding education curator for MediaShift and was a visiting faculty member for the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Susan Webb Yackee

: Director, La Follette School of Public Affairs; Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science, UW–Madison

Yackee’s research and teaching interests include the U.S. public policy-making process, public management, regulation, administrative law, and interest group politics. She has published articles in a number of journals, including the American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, British Journal of Political Science, and Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Field Trips

Field trip details to be announced.

Red Crown Lodge

Red Crown Lodge is a corporate retreat in Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin, that was established in 1922 by Standard Oil. Located on Trout Lake in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, the lodge has served as a meeting facility for more than 80 years. It offers spacious guest rooms and opportunities for body-and-mind enrichment.

Questions? Contact Stephanie Wallace ’05 at or 1-608-308-5528.

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