Marian Lorenz (‘44 BS HEC) had a couple of good reasons to establish a charitable gift annuity with the University of Wisconsin Foundation.
One was that the income she receives beats investment devices such as certificates of deposit. The other was that she could benefit the School of Human Ecology at the UW-Madison, which gave her the tools for a successful professional life.
“Certificates of deposit aren’t paying anything much at all right now,” she said from her home in Mesa, Arizona. “I thought, ‘Why wait?’ This way, I get a good source of income, and the University and the students benefit. So I called up (Senior Director of Development) Bonnie Bruce, and she helped me make it happen.”
In her time on campus, Lorenz acquired a core of values that has never left her.
“I was at the University during World War II,” she said. “I learned skills that served me through a lifetime working in foods and nutrition, and we all learned great lessons about patriotism and service.”
I learned skills that served me through a lifetime working in foods and nutrition, and we all learned great lessons about patriotism and service.
Lorenz was born in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, and after high school she attended what was then the Stout Institute (and is now the UW-Stout, still renowned for its food service and management curriculum). She had her sights set on the state’s flagship institution, thanks in large part to seeing the impact of the Wisconsin Idea – the notion that the knowledge and expertise generated on campus should serve the people all across the state and beyond.
“I always wanted to attend the University in Madison,” she said. “My mother benefited so much from the whole Extension program, where they would share the expertise from the University with people all around the state. After seeing what she gained from that teaching, my goal was to enroll some day at Madison. And I did!”
While her studies kept her busy, Lorenz was a member of the Phi Omega Pi sorority, which was active through the ‘40s and whose members were later accepted into Delta Zeta. She also was a member of the Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society for top students in family and consumer sciences.
“I remember during the war, we used to go to the USO dances at the Union on Sunday afternoons,” she said. “We would bring cookies and visit with the servicemen.”
After graduation, Lorenz started her career with a year’s internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. She then became the dietitian at Atterbury Military Hospital in Indianapolis, where she met her first husband. He was a patient who had returned from service in Italy.
“I was in charge of special diets, food for diabetic patients, things like that,” she said. Once she got married, “that was the end of my military career.”
It’s hard for any of us to imagine what is going to happen in the future. One thing I do know, the University and its students will be a big part of it.
Moving to California, she became the registered dietitian at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. Eventually she rose to be the food service supervisor for the Long Beach Unified School District, overseeing a central facility that supplied student meals to 75 schools.
“At the time, I was just working,” she said. “Now that I look back at it, I think, ‘How did I do all that?’”
Thanks to the UW-Madison and the school where she learned her profession, Lorenz lived a life of service. She’s happy to do her part to help future students. In addition to her charitable gift annuity, she also has made a bequest to benefit the School of Human Ecology.
“The UW-Madison is keeping pace with what’s happening in the world and charting new avenues of discovery,” she said. “It’s hard for any of us to imagine what is going to happen in the future. One thing I do know, the University and its students will be a big part of it.”