Westbrook Steele - Memories by Megan Murray Wilholt
Westbrook Steele arrived in Appleton in 1928 to assist Lawrence College in its ambitious reorganization program. He left twenty-seven years later as President Emeritus of the Institute of Paper Chemistry, the graduate school to which he had contributed enormous amounts of time, energy, and plain, old-fashioned sweat. Steele was no stranger to educational experiments. He had spent more
than twenty years as general manager of National Systems, a company that directed the reorganization of schools and colleges. His record boasted the successful restructuring of more than seventy educational institutions. Steele’s contributions to the Institute are legendary. It was he who persuaded local paper manufacturers to donate equipment for the original pulping laboratory. He convinced allied industries to furnish the money needed to complete the Institute’s first building, and, in one of his final acts as the Institute’s President, arranged the acquisition of the Dard Hunter Collection of paper and paper-related artifacts. Institute alumni will forever remember the welcoming tea party held each September in the Steeles’ home and the cheerful holiday parties for all the Institute children hosted by Mrs. Steele each Christmas. During Steele’s retirement celebration in September of 1955, Dean Harry Lewis, a longtime colleague and friend, aptly summarized Steele’s Institute of Paper Chemistry experience:
His dreams have been realized in a very real way.