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Lee Sherman DreyfusLee Sherman Dreyfus

Heritage Foundation

Lee Sherman Dreyfus

2004 Heritage Foundation Award Winner

The Honorable Lee Sherman Dreyfus, former governor of Wisconsin, was the seventh recipient of Marshfield Clinic’s Heritage Foundation Award. Wisconsin’s 40th governor received the honor during the annual Heritage Foundation Award ceremony Thursday, October 21, at Monona Terrace, Madison.

The ceremony was held in conjunction with a meeting of Marshfield Clinic’s National Advisory Council (NAC), which serves as a consultant to Marshfield Clinic, its Research Foundation and Division of Education. Marshfield Clinic’s Heritage Foundation was established in 1997 to honor an individual who has made significant contributions to the community in government, civic leadership, education, medicine, law or business.

Honoring Dreyfus were Marshfield Clinic Executive Director Reed Hall as master of ceremonies; guest speakers Justice William Bablitch, Stevens Point native, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student, majority leader from 1976-1982 in the Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin Supreme Court judge from 1983 to 2003 and now a partner at Michael Best and Friedrich; Marsha Lindsay, a former Dreyfus student and founder, president and CEO of Lindsay, Stone and Briggs in Madison; John Noel, former student and owner/CEO of the Noel Group with headquarters in Stevens Point; and Monsignor Paul Swain, who prior to becoming a priest served as legal counsel to Gov. Dreyfus and is rector at St. Raphael Cathedral, pastor of the combined parishes of St. Raphael Cathedral and Holy Redeemer, and vicar general of the Madison Diocese.

Dennis Shook, government and politics reporter for the Waukesha Freeman, introduced Dreyfus. Marshfield Clinic President Frederic Wesbrook, M.D., presented the award. Dreyfus, described by Wesbrook as "... an icon of public service," had lived the motto that is etched in the Heritage Award plaque: "...The Honorable Lee Sherman Dreyfus: The man in the Red Vest, who has accomplished much personally and professionally, but always believed in ‘tithing one’s time’ for public service."

Dreyfus, in his comments to more than 100 people who attended the event, recounted entertaining, humorous and touching stories about those who spoke in his honor, several of them former students; and about the circumstances of his life and career. He introduced his wife Joyce and his family; and talked about how the phrase "tithing one’s time" became his family motto as early as the mid-1800s. The motto, he said, appeared in letters written by brothers who came to the United States from Germany. The brothers came to the U.S. "as draft dodgers," Dreyfus chuckled, "but the three youngest volunteered for Lincoln." They strongly believed "that in this nation you tithe your time for the good and the freedom you found in this country."

Dreyfus, who lived in Waukesha until his death in January 2008, had a long history of tithing his time and serving his community, locally and globally. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, returned to Wisconsin and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s degree in 1952 and a doctorate in communication in 1957. In 1967, Dreyfus became the ninth president of Wisconsin State University-Stevens Point until 1972, when he was named the first chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, following the UW System merger. He was chancellor until 1978 when he ran for governor of Wisconsin.

"Our parents did so much more with so much less," Dreyfus said. "They didn’t go south for the winter, had no 401K, no Social Security. The only key goal for them was that life should be better for their children."

Dreyfus praised those values that speak eloquently to the fact that "I owe something to my community. "He has graciously lived those values and demonstrated them by the legacy he has left as educator, governor, leader and friend, "through his passion for making this a better world," Noel said.

Read Lee Sherman Dreyfus' biography.

View the entire award ceremony.

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