Warren Loranger: Distinguished Alumnus
The following are remarks given by Professor of Architecture and former Dean Stephen Vogel ’70, ’75 at the School of Architecture’s 50th Anniversary Dinner on Sept. 27, 2013 at the Detroit Athletic Club as Warren Loranger ’51 was presented with the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.
When I became dean in 1993, the first day on the job I was told that I have to meet with alumnus Warren Loranger of the Architectural Engineering class of 1951. This ultimately led to a 20-year relationship with Warren, and like everyone who meets him, I am proud to have his acquaintance, and more so, to call him a friend.
Among other things, Warren is a world traveler, and I have heard his amazing stories throughout the years about his adventures. His approach to life has been an inspiration to me. He refuses to have a book published about his life, but I won’t ever forget what he has seen and done.
Following military service during World War II in Italy (Warren speaks fluent Italian), Warren earned his bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering on the GI bill. He then proceeded to found several companies including Pella Door and Window Company in southeastern Michigan and Detroit Door Company. He grew these companies through hard work and a unique approach to business into multi-million dollar enterprises.
Throughout the years, Warren has remained a strong advocate for his alma mater, especially the School of Architecture. Because of him and his encouragement of other alumni, the 1924 School of Architecture building has been renovated into a premier building for the study of architecture, as attested by deans of our local competing institutions. Because of this, the building was named the Warren Loranger Architecture Building in his honor in 1994 to reflect his ongoing commitment to the School.
For those of you who haven’t seen the building since you graduated, you hopefully can return soon for a visit. I think you will be shocked at the changes that have taken place—as recently as this summer.
Warren was also one of many alumni who committed to the renovation of the Volterra International Residential College, and appropriately, the student lounge is named in his honor.
Warren is most interested in the lives of students and seeing them receive an affordable education. So in addition to building renovations, he has created endowed scholarships for students at the School; three were given this fall, as well as a scholarship for study in Volterra.
Warren’s personal philosophy is “to give back, to help people achieve whatever they are capable of doing.” Through his quiet philanthropic efforts, he has helped hundreds of people in large and small ways.
Warren has a passion for art and painting. When my wife Anita and I visited his place in Florida last summer, we were amazed at the art that covers the walls of his apartments and the corridors and public spaces of the building he lives in. Since traveling less, Warren has taken the time to become an accomplished artist in his own right.
After 50 years, the School decided recently to begin naming alumni of the year. So, because of his generosity, particularly his generosity of spirit, there was no doubt who would be the first recipient—the understated, humble, humorous, rascally, and unique Mr. Warren Loranger. I would ask my friend Warren to stand and accept the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Warren, you will forever be the first recipient of this award.