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.
In 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.
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
The 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.