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2011 Winter Issue 7 (February 25, 2011)

The gift that keeps on giving

February 25, 2011
By Devin Daugherty

Carleton made a newsworthy appearance in the Feb. 16 issue of the Star Tribune. Though the Trib caught on about four months after we reported it, they did a feature on the new wind turbine that has been made possible by 1976 graduates Richard and Laurie Kracum of Chicago. It began as a 30th anniversary gift from Richard to Laurie, in lieu of jewelry or a vacation. The Kracums are the latest huge donation from the vastly generous network of Carleton alums.

The College has been recognized several times by the media in recent weeks for the power of alumni donations. At the beginning of the month, US News and World Report named Carleton the second most loved school in the country, earning the college national recognition and an excellent stat for admissions tour guides. This ranking was based solely on the percentage of alumni who donate, so “most loved school” may be a slight stretch but, we’ll take it. Now, the sheer magnitude of the Kracum’s generosity has caught statewide attention in the Tribune.

The article concluded by saying “Kracum, who grew up in the Twin Cities, noted the turbine also will be dedicated to his older brother David, a college alumnus, who died in September 2008.” The windmill “will have a nice impact on their carbon footprint going forward,” Kracum said. His wife, a board member of American Rivers and other environmental groups, said the turbine will be a gift that keeps on giving, as long as the wind blows.”

While it is definitely true that the new wind turbine will have a big impact on the college’s carbon footprint, the Trib got their closing fact wrong. Wind turbines shut off when winds get too strong, as they often do in the Minnesota plains. A  more scientifically accurate last sentence would have been “...as long as the wind blows at a medium pace so that the turbine can function at maximum capacity.”

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