recognizes alumni who have rendered outstanding service to the university.
Name: Norman Eckstaedt
Major: Business Administration
Home: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Employer: The Pines and The Red Circle Inn
Job Title: Owner
NORMAN ECKSTAEDT ’80 earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from VU, after which he embarked on a career in the hospitality industry. He spent two decades in the management and ownership of a pair of establishments before purchasing The Red Circle Inn in Nashotah, Wis. in 1993 and The Pines in Hartland, Wis. in 2000. It was at this juncture in Eckstaedt's career that he and his wife, Martha, began hosting "Valpo Dinners" at his restaurants; events that became popular with Wisconsin-area alumni. Over time, Eckstaedt's generosity and gracious hospitality became legendary, as his guests were routinely presented with hors d' oeuvres, cocktails, dual-course entrees, and desserts with value far exceeding the prices they had paid for tickets. In 2008, the university's Wisconsin-area 150th Anniversary Celebration was held at Eckstaedt's The Red Circle Inn, an event that set the attendance record for all regional 150th celebrations. In addition to his commitment to VU, Eckstaedt also has supported local communities, serving as a founding board member of the Nashotah Community Charity Dinner, the Lake Country Hospitality Group, the Taste of Lake Country Festival, and the Annunciation Church Golf Outing. In 2007, Eckstaedt and his wife received the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Neighbor Award for Wisconsin and, in 2008, the couple was honored with the Outstanding Restaurateurs of the Year award from the Milwaukee Chapter of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.