Peter Wege, former Chairman of Steelcase Furniture from West Michigan, was pushing the world to go green long before ideas about sustainability had gone mainstream. Peter believed strongly that economic development linked to ecological awareness was the path to a more livable future. His book entitled Economicology outlines a philosophy that mandates the need to think about how we treat our environment in everything that we do.
Our Cape Eleuthera Foundation Grand Rapids board members led by Dan Devos, David Green and Dr. David Verdier helped make the introduction to Peter early on in the development of The Island School. Chris Maxey remembers that first opportunity to meet Mr. Wege. "He listened to me talk about our need to model smart, ecologically sound systems so that young people could learn through living in a place that was committed to respecting our environment; suddenly he pounded the table with his fist and he said, 'This is what we need!'"
In those critical early years, Peter Wege through the Wege Foundation provided generous leadership gifts of over $1 MM that helped us invest in renewable energy and build the first solar powered hatchery and wet lab in the world. Through Steelcase Mr. Wege gifted green, recycled-material furniture that remains in use at Cape Eleuthera Institute.
Although Mr. Wege never visited our campus, we were honored to be able to participate in the annual Econimocology Conference at Aquinas College. It was good to be able to present our work along side the big universities and know that Mr. Wege was proud to be able to help us model a more sustainable way of living.
"Every time I look across our seascape and see the wind generator spinning above the casuarinas I think of Mr. Wege and his leadership and his generosity. He will never be forgotten at Cape Eleuthera." -Chris Maxey