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About Carthage

The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences

The David A. Straz, Jr. Center houses two of Carthage’s most important academic buildings. The north end holds the A. W. Clausen Center for World Business. The south end is home to Carthage’s new Science Center, completed in 2015.

The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Natural and Social SciencesIn the middle you will find an airy, two-story atrium; a Starbucks; faculty offices; state-of-the-art classrooms; and the Wartburg Theatre, the principal performance space for our main stage theatre productions and dance shows. 

Building History

The building now known as the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences was first constructed in 1962. Then called the Library-Auditorium-Science Building, it was the first academic building built on Carthage’s Kenosha campus. LAS housed all classrooms, as well as faculty and administrative offices. Its auditorium was home to Chapel services, recitals, concerts and theatrical productions. The College even staged the annual Christmas Festival in the LAS atrium.

In the early 1990s, the building was extensively renovated. It reopened as the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences in 1995. The building was named for the Honorable David A. Straz, Jr., who served as a Carthage Trustee from 2011 to 2018, and as Chairman of the Carthage College Board of Trustees from 2014 to 2018. Ambassador Straz passed away Nov. 18, 2019, at the age of 77.

Scores of Carthage alumni and friends turned out for the Oct. 14, 1995, dedication ceremony, held during that year’s Homecoming festivities. The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured rousing music by the Carthage Pep Band, a colorful display of flags by the Navy’s Training Command Special Flag Unit, and responses of gratitude to Ambassador Straz from then-state senator Joseph Andrea, then-Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, and then-publisher of the Kenosha News Howard Brown.

“I believe strongly that the independent liberal arts college plays an extremely important role in shaping the future of this country,” remarked Mr. Straz at the time.

Following the dedication, then-President F. Gregory Campbell unveiled a portrait of Mr. Straz, painted in egg tempera by renowned Canadian artist Istvan Nyikos. The painting now hangs prominently in the atrium of Straz Center.

Impact and Recent Renovation

Science Center at nightThe creation of the Straz Center, in many ways, launched the transformation of the Carthage campus. Shortly after its creation came the N.E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center (2001) and Hedberg Library (2002). The A.W. Clausen Center for World Business opened in the north wing of the Straz Center in 2004.

In 2014-2015, Carthage embarked on a major renovation of the 70,000-square-foot David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences, including a new 35,000-square-foot wing to the south and east, embracing the center’s lakeside location. The new Science Center opened in August 2015. The renovations increased classroom and laboratory space by 40 percent, and provides new ways for students and faculty to collaborate on forefront research.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • Our athletes rank up some impressive stats. So does our fitness center. The N. E. Tarble Athletic and Recreation Center (better known as the TARC), is home to a 16-lane swimming pool, 200-meter indoor track, two racquetball courts, an indoor rock climbing wall, and a 5,000-square-foot fitness center.

    • Carthage fields 24 NCAA Division III sports, including basketball, football, lacrosse, volleyball, and water polo. Our varsity teams play in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin — regularly taking home hardware from one of the nation’s toughest Division III conferences.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …