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Wanda Peterson Hollensteiner

Class of 1954

Awarded in 2009
At Large Award

The summer of 1953 Wanda Peterson and her roommate Vonny DeMarche were a year away from graduation and wanted to see Europe.  They headed for the continent, equipped with British-bought Raleigh bicycles, and set off on a 1,000-mile journey of challenge, fun, and discovery.  Fifty-six years later, Wanda Peterson Hollensteiner still embraces life with the joie de vivre that can power a summer’s worth of peddling and exploration.  She brought that spirit to her work as the mother of five children, to the decades she spent teaching and adjudicating piano, and to her partnership with her husband James Hollensteiner.

One expression of this couple’s enthusiasm for life is the way they have given back to those around them.  Wanda served Beloit College on its Alumni Executive Board and through the Alumni Parents Admissions Program.  The couple sent two of their children to Beloit, including a graduate of the class of 1983.  No sooner had they presented a naming gift in Jim’s honor to his alma mater of DePauw than they established one in Wanda’s name at Beloit—the Wanda Peterson Hollensteiner Gallery which will be dedicated later today as the first climate-controlled exhibit space in the history of the Wright Museum of Art.  Their generosity has placed a piano in a local public library, supported the historical society of their Montana homestate, aided medical and faith-based outreach, and funded the musical arts of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where Wanda has served as a board member.  As gardeners with an orchard, this couple knows how to embrace the gifts of the world and share the bounty of the harvest with others. 

The Alumni Association of Beloit College is honored to recognize Wanda Peterson Hollensteiner through the presentation of this Distinguished Service Citation during the fifty-fifth reunion of her graduating class.