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Minutes of the regular meeting of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System: February 6, 1987
(1987)

Tribute to Regent Ben R. Lawton and installation of portrait,   pp. 2-5


Page 3

Board of Regents Meeting 2/6/87 
Interviewer:   "This past president of the Board ofRegents lives in
a 
modest home in a, modest neighborhood on the edge of Marshfield, 
When we drove up to your house, I thought 'this is interesting, that 
the renowned Ben Lawton, famous surgeon, president of the Board of 
Regents, lives in this quiet, rather modest neighborhood.' 
Regent Lawton:""This reflects my philosophy of life.     AllI ever
have 
demanded, moneywise, is that I make enough money so that I don't have 
to worry about money. And that's always been true.. 
Interviewer:   "Growing up, money was a worry for the Lawton family.
   He 
was a milkman and a carpenter, working his way through school. He owes 
everything, he says, to the university. 
Regent Lawton:   "My own career is an example of accessibility. Were
it 
not for this University System, I might still be delivering milk, 
because I went tothe university with absolutely no visible sign of 
support.. 
Interviewer:   "I guess I'm interested in your views on education, why
it is important for the future of this state to have the kind of system 
it does. 
Regent Lawton:   "Well, we're getting back to the same 
terminology--accessibli*ty.. I think it's crucial.. At this time in our 
state's economic development, which has had so much hypeIthat it's 
coming out of our ears, economic development is a buzz word.     To ignore
education, though, as a huge part of that would be shortsighted indeed. 
Interviewer:   "I want to ask you to imagine for a moment that the new
governor was in the room here.   What kind of passionate lecture would 
you give him about preserving the university?. 
Regent Lawton:   "I would emphasize the points that I have Just made
regarding economic development. I guess I would also prevail upon his 
and my common background of small-town origin--the fact that I was born 
within ten miles of where he was born. I was born in Hillsboro. So I 
would appeal to that a little bit too. 
Interviewer:   "Ben Lawton wants to be remembered as a doctor who 
performed over 30,000 surgeries.   But mostly, he wants to be remembered
as a teacher. What are you proudest of, in your career? 
Regent Lawton:  ."In my career--this is excluding my family.   In my
career     uess my accomplishents as ateacher f       the most part.   I'm
fnigathstime the hundreds of students that have crossed my path 
are calling me, writing me, and this is very gratifying. .. 
Intrvewe:   It is not onyformer students who have come calling. 
Former governors, senatorsI and congressmen have all stopped byfor a 
last visit." 
- !3: 


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