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Portico Fall 2020: A Commitment to Lifelong Learning Lives On

By Maya Fehrs

Don Hartwick, B.Arch ’68, was a passionate lifelong learner. His daughter, Kim Reinsch, remembers, “Dad was always about the constant evolution of learning and asking questions and wondering.” He taught his three children to expect the best for themselves and to value education and community. 

When Don passed away in 2016, his children wanted to honor his legacy in a way that felt authentic to how he lived his life. To daughter Jill Ham, A.B. ’90, establishing a scholarship in his honor at Taubman College was an easy decision. “It’s a way of staying connected to my dad,” Jill shares. “I know we are fulfilling something my dad would be so proud of.” Don’s children, along with their aunt, Dianne, created the Hartwick Family Scholarship to support undergraduate architecture students.

To the Hartwicks, the University of Michigan is more than just their dad’s alma mater — it’s part of their family history dating back to 1914. Don followed his father and grandfather to U-M, a legacy he was incredibly proud of. After he passed, his kids found a letter Don wrote to his father during his first year at U-M, documenting his excitement and pride at experiencing the university he had grown up hearing about. And Don was excited to bring his children into that generational tradition, too. Don’s son, Chad, remembers, “Saturday afternoon growing up as kids was Michigan football Saturday.” 

True Blue: Don Hartwick, B.Arch ‘68, followed his father and grandfather to U-M, a legacy he was incredibly proud of.

After graduating with his B.Arch, Don built a long and respected career practicing architecture in the Lansing area. His kids remember his high professional standards and immense pride in his work. Throughout his life he remained highly invested in his community, actively serving on zoning boards and as treasurer of the AIA Mid-Michigan. Everyone in the family knew that Tuesday mornings were reserved for Rotary Club. He loved his family and went above and beyond to fuel his kids’ passions — whatever they may be. Chad recalls his father, a terrible golfer, taking dozens of books on golf out of the library to encourage his son’s growing love of the sport. 

This idea of fueling others’ passions is a lesson from their dad that the Hartwick siblings wanted to keep alive. Establishing the Hartwick Family Scholarship in his honor at Taubman College was the perfect way to do this, and they’ve found that the experience has affected them all in profound and surprising ways. Says Jill, “This was a way of staying connected to Michigan. I feel like I got out of it so much more than what I gave.” The three siblings have taken opportunities to connect with the students the scholarship supports, taking pride in their work and rooting for their success — the way Don taught them to.

Don’s children describe conversations with their dad on topics he was passionate about as some of the best of their lives. He was thrilled to learn new information — especially when it was one of his kids teaching him something new. His passion for learning and architecture will live on with every student who receives the Hartwick Family Scholarship. As Chad put it, “This is what the man cared about — fueling your passion — so let’s help somebody else fuel their passion.” From its beginnings in 1914, the Hartwick family legacy at U-M will continue.