Winchester Academy will soon have new leadership.
Ann Buerger Linden will replace Dr. David Hathaway as the academy’s executive director this summer.
A volunteer organization which began offering adult education in Waupaca in 1991, Winchester Academy hosts about two dozen programs annually.
Topics range from astronomy to microbiology, ancient history to current events, environmental concerns and educational issues, art and literature, opera and jazz, war and peace.
“I think the diversity and quality of the programs are outstanding,” Linden said.
She and her husband, Vance, began attending Winchester Academy programs in 2009, shortly after moving to Waupaca from Phoenix, Ariz., in December 2008.
Vance has since joined Winchester’s Board of Trustees.
“I’ve been involved vicariously since then, suggesting program ideas through him, attending pre-program dinners, serving coffee and cookies at programs and making donations to Winchester silent auction fundraisers. We’ve also sponsored one or two speakers each year,” Linden said.
A Wisconsin native, Linden earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Marquette University in Milwaukee.
She subsequently worked as a project engineer and estimator in Minneapolis from 1980-84, before moving to Phoenix.
Linden has more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry as a project manager, general contractor, developer and consultant. She has worked extensively on institutional, commercial and municipal projects, including recreational centers, office buildings, laboratories, factories and campuses in five states.
“I think my written communication skills, organizational and planning skills learned in project management and budgeting experience will all come into play in my role as executive director,” Linden said.
Hathaway, a retired physician who was medical director of the Fox Valley Regional Dialysis Center from 1974 to 1994, became Winchester’s executive director in 2004.
His prior experience included being medical director of the LaSalle Clinic in Neenah from 1977 until he retired in 1998, as well as teaching medical ethics at Lawrence University in Appleton in 2001 and 2003.
“When I took over, everything was still done with handwritten notes. I introduced email and a website to Winchester,” Hathaway said. “I thought I was avant-garde back then. Now, with the new technology, I’m feeling obsolete. The older you get, the less patience you have.”
In addition to bringing Winchester Academy into the digital age, Hathaway believes his biggest accomplishment has been improving the organization’s communication with the general public.
A 1953 Waupaca High School graduate, Hathaway lived in King, where his father was a physician at the Wisconsin Veterans Home.
“I believe it is a privilege to provide some service to this community,” Hathaway said. “I have enjoyed participating in Winchester Academy’s vision of adult education and getting to know so many people.”
Linden described the Board of Trustees as one of the academy’s greatest strengths.
“The Board of Trustees has really excellent members that devote a lot of talent, time and energy to the organization,” Linden said. “Many board members have wonderful connections throughout the area that result in some great programs.”
Linden’s vision of the future includes a more dynamic website and possibly a Facebook page to encourage more interaction with the community.
“With improvements in technology, there may be an opportunity for live broadcasts of programs that could reach more community members or be recorded for later viewing,” she said.
Linden said she believes in a Total Quality Management philosophy of continuous improvement, making small changes over time to reflect the development of new technology and the changing demographics of the community.
“As vacancies occur on the board, I would encourage the nominating committee to seek out a new generation of candidates to continually renew the energy of those guiding the program,” Linden said.
She also noted some of Winchester’s recent programs have garnered capacity crowds, so one future consideration may be to ensure the venues are large enough for the audience.