Campus Stories

Campus Stories

The Campus Stories Oral History Project is a multi-year project designed to collect the memories of UW Oshkosh alumni, faculty and staff as a way of helping document the past sixty-five years of campus history.

By conducting oral history interviews, we are able to engage the past by tapping the unique and very personal perspectives of people who experienced it.  When interpreting the events, lives and ideas of the past,  historians make use of original records created by individuals from earlier times.  Conducting oral history interviews allows us to go beyond these records and ask new questions, discover new interpretive angles, and recover fascinating untold stories untold.

In 2021, UW Oshkosh will turn 150 years old. In that Sesquicentennial year, much focus will be made on our institution’s rich history.   To help celebrate and interpret that history, UW Oshkosh will use the Campus Stories Oral History Project.  Doing so will hopefully help us fill in holes in our institutional history and, equally important, allow individuals tied to the campus to get their perspectives recorded in their own words.  

If you are interested in sharing YOUR campus story, please visit:

To listen or review the transcripts of over 90 oral history interviews already completed browse by name or subject or search the abstracts below.  

Abigail Martin
Abigail Martin, a Mequon, WI native, majored in journalism and minored in history at UW Oshkosh from 2010-2015. Martin started her career at UWO as an education major, and her choice of university was based on the education program’s good reputation as well as Oshkosh’s proximity to Mequon and relative affordability. She changed her major her sophomore year after realizing that teaching was not a good fit for her. In this interview, Martin reflects primarily on how college taught her to navigate relationships and learn life skills. She was a strong student who struggled with finding worthwhile friends before hitting her stride after becoming involved in the History Club, where she served as Secretary, Vice President and President. Martin discusses her role in starting the traditional History Department Bowling with Professors event, her relationships with History professors, and her experience being interviewed for Wisconsin Public Television’s Oshkosh Hometown Stories episode. Martin reflects on her positive memories of dorm life, going to farmer’s markets on the weekends, nannying, and watching the 2011 Super Bowl. She also reflects on the bar and party scene in Oshkosh. Martin currently works full time as a nanny, and she argues that she uses the communication skills she learned as a journalism major to market herself and the research skills she learned as a history minor to stay up to date on child development news in order to be a competitive job candidate.
Alan Christian
Alan Christian was born in Florence, WI and attended high school in Deerfield, WI. He studied biology at UW Oshkosh from 1986-1992. Christian chose UWO for a number of reasons: his parents were alumni, he was attracted to the business program (although he would later opt for biology), and he had attended football camp at the university as a senior in high school and liked Coach Ron Cardo. Christian admits that he did not handle the responsibility and independence of his freshman year well, and he spent much of his time partying. This changed when his low GPA threatened his ability to play sports, and he quickly worked to make school a higher priority. In this interview, Christian discusses his favorite professors and locations on campus, his memories of the party scene, and his relationships with his friends who were all either football players or fellow biology majors. He finished college with a strong academic record and went on to graduate school. Christian now teaches at a university in Boston and is very impressed with the strides UWO has made to remain a relevant and innovative university.
Alison Fett
Allison Fett, a native of Waukegan, IL, studied radio/TV/film at UW Oshkosh from 2002-2004 and returned in 2005-2007 to receive her Master’s in education leadership. Fett spent her first year playing women’s basketball at Bemidji State University in Minnesota before transferring to UWO her sophomore year to be closer to her family. The university appealed to her because she admired women’s basketball Coach Pam Ruder and loved the campus, Athletics Department, and academic life. This interview is a comprehensive discussion of Fett’s successful and varied experiences with UWO. She discusses the RTF program, which she credits for teaching her life principles and how to communicate with others, and she expresses deep appreciation for the university’s athletic community, which she praises for their adherence to excellence and tradition. Fett discusses the rigorous training schedule and the lessons about resilience she learned while playing at UWO. After graduation, she worked for the Milwaukee Bucks as a salesperson for a year and a half before accepting a NCAA Women and Minority Internship sponsored through UWO. The internship enabled her to travel around the country and paid in part for her graduate degree. While completing her degree, she served as an assistant to UWO Athletic Director Al Ackerman and helped bring the first wildly successful Relay for Life program to Oshkosh. She currently works at Verve Credit Union in a position she loves and is proud to be part of the Oshkosh tradition.
Amanda Betts
Amanda Betts, a journalism major from Mukwonago, WI, studied at UW Oshkosh from 2006-2009. She chose Oshkosh because of it’s affordability, compactness, and Journalism Department. Betts was an active high school student who continued her involvement at the college level through positions as a campus tour guide, cheerleader, PR Intern for the EAA, Advance Titan OSA reporter, and co-president of the Society of Professional Journalists, among other things. She speaks about the experience of attending college and graduating during the Great Recession and discusses how she made efforts to diversify her talents in order to be a competitive job candidate. Betts credits extracurricular activities and her willingness to take risks for her later career successes. She also shares memories of residence life and her favorite classes, and she reflects on the relationship between the campus and the outside community. Betts compares it to living in a bubble and argues that this was especially apparent during the 2008 presidential primaries where she perceived there to be a lack of political knowledge on the part of the students. Betts is an active member of the UWO Alumni Board and currently helps to advise the interactive web management program.
Amanda Sunila
Amanda Sunila, a Menomonee Falls, WI native, attended UW Oshkosh from 2007-2011 to complete her Bachelor’s in human services and then stayed from 2011-2013 to complete her Master’s in education leadership. Sunila is a first generation college student from a tight-knit family whose parents supported her decision to pursue higher education. She chose UW Oshkosh for its nursing program but switched majors to biology when she realized the coursework was not a good fit for her. Sunila was an extremely active undergraduate who worked as an Odyssey (new student orientation) leader, helped to coordinate Speakers Series and volunteerism events, and was a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. It was through her extracurriculars and relationships with Greek Life and Volunteerism office advisors that she realized her true passion was helping people and that her skills lay in communication and advising. Sunila shares her memories of her favorite classes, meeting her husband, the roommate selection process, and her favorite past-times at UWO, including going to Appleton to shop. She currently has a job in an admissions office for another university and expresses a deep appreciation for her time at UWO because it allowed her to take risks and learn about herself.
Amy Anaya
Amy Anaya was born and raised in the Fox Valley and attended UW Oshkosh from 1980-1985 as a Spanish major with a psychology minor. She returned from 1988-1989 to receive her Spanish language teaching certification. Anaya did not come from a family that valued higher education, but she was inspired by an influential teacher in high school to pursue a college degree. Her guidance counselor suggested that she consider studying Spanish because she excelled at the subject. Anaya credits this piece of advice for changing her life. In this interview, she discusses her campus memories, including her experiences with the foreign language department, the local bar scene, Reeve Memorial Union and campus food, and dating. Anaya met her husband at UWO and, at the time of this interview, teaches Spanish in the Iola-Scandinavia school district.
Andrew Delponte
Andrew Delponte, a Lomira, WI native, studied broadfield natural sciences secondary education at UW Oshkosh from 2008-2011. Delponte shares detailed memories of growing up in a small, rural farming community and credits his hometown’s emphasis on education for his decision to attend college. Delponte was always interested in teaching science and chose UWO because of its reputable education program. He attended UW Fond du Lac for a year and half, where he played soccer and was involved in student government, before transferring to UW Oshkosh in 2008. Delponte found it hard to become involved as a junior, and he spent the rest of his undergraduate career focusing on his classes, in which he excelled, and spending time with friends. He received a competitive teaching position right out of college in Union Grove, WI, where he is working at the time of this interview. Delponte laments the current lack of enrollment in the education program which he argues is because teaching is no longer perceived of as a worthwhile job. Ultimately, he credits his time at UWO for teaching him how to accept life as it comes.
Andrew O'Shaughnessy
From Bedfordshire, England, Andrew J. O’Shaughnessy made his way through Oxford and taught in Texas before coming to the UW Oshkosh History Department in 1990. In this two part interview, Andrew discusses the history department and his colleagues from his 13 years at UWO. He covers course loads, faculty expectations, and his time served as the Department Chair after receiving tenure. He left UWO to work at the University of Virginia in 2003.
Angel Liddle
Angel Liddle was raised in Kenosha, WI, and studied criminal justice at UW Oshkosh from 2000-2005. Since 2017, she has worked as the Office Manager for Facilities Management at the university. In this interview, Liddle reflects on her childhood in Kenosha, discussing how the diversity of the city shaped her outlook on life. Although neither of her parents attended college, she was encouraged by her family from a young age to strive toward education. She entered UWO as an undecided student and struggled with her coursework despite flourishing socially. In this interview, Liddle shares memories of events like 9/11, and she details her experiences as President of the American Indian Student Association, including the challenges and triumphs of bringing the first inter-tribal pow wow to campus in fifteen years. During Liddle’s junior year, she decided that she wanted to become a probation officer in order to help the struggling members of her community in Kenosha. She changed her major to social work before finally deciding on criminal justice. She excelled in her coursework and made the Dean’s List her final semester. Although Liddle ended up with a successful career in sales and later management, she credits UWO for helping her build lasting relationships and putting her on the right path in life.
Ann Kunkles-Jones
Ann Kunkle-Jones grew up in Rosendale, WI and studied history and anthropology at UW Oshkosh from 1986-1990. She speaks at length about her family history and the experience of growing up in Rosendale. Kunkle-Jones shares stories of her favorite professors and reflects upon her relationships with professors in the Anthropology and History departments. She discusses one instance where she was compelled to report sexist behavior on the part of a history professor. Kunkle-Jones also speaks about campus past-times, including going downtown or driving to Appleton to shop. After graduation, she attended a Master’s in counseling program in Virginia and worked at a few other UW campuses before accepting a position as an Academic Advisor at UW Oshkosh in 2005. She shares her thoughts on the changes she has seen come to campus since 1986, especially the increase in school pride, and finishes with a brief discussion of the adoption of the University Studies Program.
Bill Bukowski
William "Bill" Bukowski was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids. He attended the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh for three years before transferring to Mankato State University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree. He continued his education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, receiving his Master of Fine Arts. After 40 years of teaching Art at Bethany University in Mankato, Minnesota, Bill retired. While attending the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, Bill worked with the Advance Titan, the student newspaper, mainly as the artist of Augmento and provided other illustrations. While working on Augmento, he worked with Mark Gruenwald, who helped develop the comic.
Brett Goodman
Brett Goodman grew up in Whitefish Bay and Bayside, WI, and studied marketing at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1967-1971. His family expected him to pursue higher education, but he was unsure of what he wanted his career path to be, and he chose WSUO on impulse. Goodman is thankful for his choice and shares a plethora of warm memories of the university in this interview. He discusses his experiences on the swim team, his role in the founding of the marketing fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon, his involvement in a Ford Motors marketing contest, and his favorite business professors, particularly Clifford Larson, the Dean of the School of Business. Goodman frequented the bars for social purposes but was not a big drinker, and he spent much of his time studying or with friends in Reeve Union. He reflects briefly on the political climate on campus at the time and shares his perceptions of events like Black Thursday and Kent State. Goodman would go on to complete his MBA at UW Madison and currently works at the UW Milwaukee Graduate School of Business. He is an active member of the Alumni Association and the Chancellor’s Advisory Board.
Brian Schaefer
Brian Schaefer, a Kaukauna, WI native, studied social work at UW Oshkosh from 1992-1996 before returning to complete his Master’s in education leadership from 1999-2001. He chose UWO because he wanted to stay close to home and was already familiar with the campus because his girlfriend was a student. Schaefer originally studied psychology but struggled to pass a required course, so he switched to social work. He reflects on the program and discusses an internship with the Fond du Lac Juvenile Court, a life changing experience that helped him to realize that his true passion was coaching. Schaefer played volleyball throughout his undergraduate and graduate careers at UWO. He discusses his experiences traveling and bonding with the team and writing pieces for the Advance Titan. Schaefer was a talented and distinguished player who also worked as an Assistant Coach while attending school. Upon graduation, Schaefer coached at UW Green Bay before returning to UWO and completing his Master’s. In 2004, he accepted the job as Head Coach of the UWO Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams and has lead both to multiple conference and national championships. Schaefer discusses his relationships with his players, his coaching style, his recruitment philosophy and the changes that he has seen on campus in his long, successful career.
Brooke Tabbert
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Brooke Tabbert, a native of Wittenberg, WI, studied political science with a pre-law emphasis at UW Oshkosh from 1996-2002. Tabbert was an active student who had already set her sights on studying music education and playing volleyball at UWO while in high school, but a sports injury her senior year changed her path. She still chose Oshkosh because her older sister was an alumnus, and she used her lifelong interest in the law and politics to inform her choice of major. Tabbert was an extremely social and involved student. She was a member of the College Republicans and later became the State Executive Officer for the State College Republicans Organization, and she was an active member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Tabbert’s sorority ties and experience, including a tenure as a Panhellenic delegate and as the Vice President, enabled her to run for and win a position as an OSA Senator. She credits her involvement and the Greek Life community for giving her a strong support system after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer her freshman year. In this interview, Tabbert also reflects on her favorite professors, having debates with fellow students in her upper-level political science courses, the bar scene, the 2000 Presidential election, 9/11, and meeting her husband. She is extremely thankful for her time at UWO and is active in alumni events - her wedding reception was even held at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.
Caitlin Kling
Caitlin Kling, a Neenah, WI native, studied biology at UW Oshkosh from 2011-2015. The eldest of the family and a first generation college student, Kling remembers feeling like a trailblazer. She chose UWO because of the convenience, campus, and University Honors Program (UHP). Kling was a dedicated and involved student who was active in the UHP, Golden Key Organization, National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Pre-Med Club, tutored for statistics, worked as a CNA, and volunteered at Mercy Medical Center. She discusses Residence Life, including navigating roommate problems, and she shares her memories of the 2012 Presidential election and seeing the comedian Bo Burnham perform. Kling believes that UWO taught her to challenge herself. She is thankful for her time at the university.
Chantel Mitchell
Chantel Mitchell was raised in River Falls, WI, and majored in human services with a minor in criminal justice at UW Oshkosh from 1993-1997. Mitchell, a first generation college student, had dreams of becoming a marine biologist but, under pressure from her parents and then boyfriend, forewent the opportunity to study at the University of Hawaii in favor of attending UW River Falls. Craving more independence from her family, Mitchell ultimately moved to Fond du Lac, making her the first member of her family in three generations to leave River Falls, and finished her studies at UW Oshkosh. In this interview, Mitchell reflects on life as a commuter student, campus party culture, the burgeoning LGBTQ rights movement, and her experiences as a human services major. Although she entered with the intention of studying criminal justice, she realized early on that human services, with its emphasis on helping people, was a better fit. Mitchell was an active student who was involved with the cheer and stunt team, the Human Service Organization, and the Alpha Delta Omega honors society. She completed three internships, including one with Save the Manatees in Florida, where she was able to combine her love for marine biology with her passion for helping others. Mitchell credits Oshkosh for helping her grow emotionally, socially, and academically, and she has had a successful career as a trauma response and prevention coordinator.
Christopher Welch
Christopher Welch was born in Minnesota and raised in Ripon, WI. He attended UW Oshkosh from 2009-2013 and studied biology with a healthcare emphasis. Welch’s family was strongly connected to the medical field and valued education highly, so Welch knew from the beginning that he wanted to ultimately attend medical school. He started his college career at St. Norbert, but transferred to UW Oshkosh to save money and experience a higher level of student-professor interaction. Welch was an active, career-oriented student who served as President of the Chemistry Club for two years, worked as an organic chemistry lab technician, did research with Dr. James Paulson on leukemia, and held a position as the head intern of the Clean Boats Clean Waters initiative which worked to educate people on the Lake Winnebago chain about invasive species. He speaks about his fond memories of Demolition Night, a Chemistry Club event in which members essentially lit things on fire for science, as well as his experiences playing soccer, performing at Open Mic Nights in Reeve Union, and studying computer science as a hobby. Welch enjoyed his time at UWO because he believes that the university did a good job teaching him the general scientific and ethical principles important for a well-rounded life. As of this interview, Welch is currently finishing his residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Cindy Fruhwirth
Cindy Fruhwirth, a Fond du Lac native, attended UW Oshkosh from 1980-1984 and graduated with a degree in art and a degree in business. Fruhwirth was a motivated high school student with an intrinsic drive to succeed. She was not raised in a family that valued higher education, and she applied for colleges at the last minute after she realized she would not be satisfied with her well-paying union job at a local grocery store. Fruhwirth started at UW Fond du Lac with a major in graphic design and transferred to UW Oshkosh where she studied art and then, after realizing she disliked the subjectivity of the art world, business. She was an active and committed student who did well in her classes, worked her way through college, tutored for math, and was involved in student government and Christian youth groups on and off campus. She shares her memories of dating, including meeting her husband whom she married her senior year, and living on campus. After graduation, Fruhwirth worked in the UWO Admissions office from 1984 to 1986, and has worked in the Academic Advising office since 1999 where she created the Peer Advising Liaisons (PALS) program. She credits college for introducing her to the broader world and believes that it helped her to be more mature and independent.
Connie Weiss
Connie Weiss was raised in Fond du Lac, WI, and studied radio/TV/film with a fine arts minor at UW Oshkosh in the 1980s. As a young child, Weiss’ parents divorced and she was raised by her single mother, an experience that brought the two closer together and taught Weiss independence and resilience. Her lifelong dream was to go into television, and her mother was a strong source of support. Upon graduation from high school, Weiss received her Associate’s degree in communications from UW Fond du Lac, where she developed strong relationships with her professors and discovered a newfound confidence. She brought this confidence to UW Oshkosh and led an active social and professional life on campus. Of her undergraduate years, Weiss reflects on her relationship with RTF program founder Doc Snyder. She also discusses an incident in which she was abused by her boyfriend. Although she successfully dealt with the situation on her own, and believes the overall experience to be empowering, she discusses the changes in attitudes toward and the increase in resources for domestic violence and social justice she has seen on campus since the 1980s. Following her graduation, Weiss had a successful career in video production in Milwaukee. She moved back to Fond du Lac with her husband to start a family and care for her sick mother, an experience that changed her outlook and brought her even closer to her lifelong faith. Weiss is currently an active Lutheran pastor and campus minister at The Gathering Place, a role that she loves and is passionate about.
Corrine Kiedrowski
Corrine Kiedrowski was born and raised in Ettrick, WI, and majored in criminal justice with a sociology minor at UW Oshkosh from 1985-1992. Kiedrowski grew up in a poor, rural area, and she wanted to do more with her life than stay in her hometown. She chose UWO because it was as far away as possible from Ettrick while still qualifying for in-state tuition. Kiedrowski quickly found a community with Greek Life at UWO. She is a founding mother of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority and shares her warm and vivid memories of Greek Life, including events like Homecoming, Winter Carnival, and Greek Week. Kiedrowski also speaks about the bar scene in Oshkosh. She is currently a social worker and discusses her career path and her perceptions of working with people who are mentally ill. Ultimately, Kiedrowski is happy that she went to UWO.
Courtney Rinka
Courtney Rinka, a Waukesha, WI native, attended UW Oshkosh from 2006-2011 to complete her Bachelor’s in journalism and then returned from 2012-2014 to complete her Master’s in education leadership. Rinka was not pressured by her family to attend college, but her older sister pursued higher education and she decided to follow in her footsteps. She chose UWO because she had friends attending the school. Rinka was undecided until her junior year when she declared journalism as her major because she saw it as an outlet for her creativity. She was an extremely active and involved student who joined the Breese Hall Government as a freshman and went on to become a Community Advisor (CA) in North Scott as well as the Music and Comedy Committee Chair and Vice President of Public Relations for the Reeve Union Board (RUB). Rinka discusses her experiences as a CA, including her relationship with her residents, programming, and handling disobedience like underage drinking. She also shares her memories of RUB, including details about planning events for up to 1000 people. Rinka reflects on unique campus experiences, including going to an Obama campaign event during the 2008 election and participating in an Alternative Spring Break trip. She ultimately chose to go through the Oshkosh Placement Exchange program and ended up receiving a graduate assistantship with RUB. Rinka credits UWO for helping to build her character.
Craig Cady
Craig Cady, a native of Wisconsin, graduated from UW Oshkosh with a Bachelor’s degree in biology in 1976 and a Master’s degree in biology in 1985. He credits his parents with teaching him the value of compassion and education, and, upon graduating high school, he was encouraged to pursue higher education. Cady began his academic career at UW Fond du Lac with an interest in sociology and welding. He took a biology class on a whim and fell in love with the field. A voracious learner, Cady transferred to UW Oshkosh because of its diverse biology department, affordability, and proximity to his home in Green Bay. In this interview, Cady shares vivid memories of his study abroad experience in Mexico, and he reflects on his favorite professors and classes. He remembers UWO as a politically active, vibrant campus, although he admits that he was a serious student who spent much of his time in the lab or library. Upon graduating, Cady worked odd jobs before returning for his Master’s at the encouragement of his then girlfriend and future wife, a fellow biology student. He credits Oshkosh for giving him a wide, diverse base of knowledge in biology and offering crucial support early in his career. Cady went on to receive his PhD from the University of Arizona and currently works as a professor at Bradley University.
Cynthia Huebschen
Cynthia Huebschen, an Oshkosh, WI native, attended UW Oshkosh from 1976-1980 to complete her Bachelor’s in psychology and then stayed from 1980-1983 to complete her Master’s in library science. Huebschen was a good student who was expected by her family to pursue higher education, but she would not have received the opportunity if her father had not died when she was 16, enabling her to pay for tuition with his social security money. She chose UW Oshkosh because it was close to home, and she pursued a degree in psychology because it had always interested her. Huebschen shares her memories of the Psychology Department, her experiences with casual sexism on the part of professors, dating on campus, and the controversy over the St. Patrick’s Day parties that forced the university to change the academic calendar to ensure that St. Patrick’s Day would fall during spring break. She was not active in the bar scene and spent much of her time with friends or reading. The most valuable aspects of this interview are Huebschen’s discussions of race relations, administrative politics and the ways in which campus has changed physically and administratively since the 1980s. After graduation, she accepted a position at Polk Library and has worked there since 1987.
Cynthia Thorpe
Cynthia Thorpe was born and raised in Hortonville, WI and studied English and political science at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1968-1972. This interview is a thorough and comprehensive discussion of the political climate on campus during the Vietnam War. Thorpe was an active member of the Young Democrats and the anti-war scene. She shares her thoughts on growing up in a rural community and living on campus, but the most valuable contributions are her reflections on topics ranging from campus drug culture in the late 1960s to feminism. She discusses student politics, the contentious relationship between the campus and outside community, how the draft impacted the university, and race relations on campus in detail. Thorpe was a participant in anti-war protests and teacher’s strikes, and shares her memories of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, Black Thursday, the 1968 Presidential primaries during which she worked for Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign, the Chicago Riots, Kent State, and the Sterling Hall bombing at UW Madison. Thorpe credits college for teaching her critical thinking skills and concludes the interview with a brief discussion of her thoughts on the 2016 Presidential primaries.
Dan Vandenburg
Dan Vandenburg, a Freedom, WI native, has been working in the IT Department at UW Oshkosh since 1976. Vandenburg was inspired to become a computer programmer after watching science fiction shows as a child, and he completed schooling at UW Green Bay and the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College before accepting a job at UWO. He discusses what programming and computer services were like at UWO in the late 1970s, and he reflects on the way things have changed in the ensuing decades, including how the campus community’s expectations of the IT department have evolved, what software is used, and how things are organized administratively. Vandenburg shares his memories of Y2K and the controversy surrounding St. Patrick’s Day Parties. Finally, he shares his impressions of the university in 2016. Vandenburg expresses the belief that the university is less conservative and more willing to take risks than it has been in the past, pointing specifically to the University Studies Program and the push for sustainability as examples.
David VanLieshout
David Van Lieshout grew up in Kimberly, WI, and went to school in Appleton, WI. He attended Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1965-1968 to complete his Bachelor’s in history and then stayed from 1968-1970 to complete his Master’s in the same field. In this interview, Van Lieshout offers a comprehensive and balanced view of life at UWO in the 1960s. He shares his memories of orientation and move-in, and he reflects on life in Breese Hall, which he remembers as being an active and vibrant community. He was a strong academic achiever who worked closely with history professors like Justin Walsh and Fred Schofsmeyer and ended up presenting academic papers at history conferences in the Midwest. Van Lieshout played basketball and football intramurals and broadcasted the Titan basketball games on WRST. He discusses campus drinking culture, Winter Carnival, and Homecoming. He also reflects on the racial climate on campus at the time, including his personal relationships with people involved in the Black Thursday incident, and he speaks on the double standards for men and women on campus. Van Lieshout finishes the interview with a broad reflection on college culture itself in the 1960s, the Free Speech Movement, physical and population changes to UWO in the decades succeeding his time at the university, the price of college, and the old academic calendar.
David Weidemann
David Weidemann, a Columbus, WI native, attended the Wisconsin State College Oshkosh from 1961-1966 to complete his Bachelor’s in math with a minor in physical education and then returned from 1966-1968 to complete his Master’s in counseling. Weidemann was born and raised on a dairy farm, and he pursued higher education after realizing he did not want to inherit the farm from his father. He shares this thoughts on campus life in the 1960s, including discussions of race and gender relations on campus, alcohol policies, the relationship between the campus and the city, and residence life. Weidemann was an active student who was an Residence Advisor in Clemens and Breese Halls, a track star, a football player under Coach Bob Kolf, and a member of the Student “O” Club and a local fraternity called Periclean. He reflects on the ways in which campus changed physically during his time at UWO, including the building of Polk Library and Gruenhagen Conference Center, and shares his memories of events like the Kennedy assassination. Weidemann accepted a position in the Admissions office UWO in 1966 and would remain there until he was promoted to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs office in 1975, a position he would hold until his 2000 retirement.
Dean Moede
Dean Moede, a Milwaukee, WI native, majored in economics with an accounting emphasis and a law emphasis at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh from 1961-1965 before serving as a Business Operating Manager at Reeve Memorial Union from 1966-1986. Moede was raised in a multicultural community in Milwaukee, and his upbringing taught him how to relate with people who were different than him. He was the first of his family to attend college, and he chose Oshkosh because he wanted to explore different fields and learn the independence that comes from living away from home. Moede was an active student who ran track, served in student government, sang a capella, and participated in the fraternity Sigma Tau Gamma. He paints a vivid picture of a vibrant campus community that was growing rapidly and full of spirit and pride. Upon graduation, Moede was hired by the Reeve Memorial Union. He discusses how the expanding population and rising racial and political tensions were dealt with from an administrative standpoint, and he shares his views on and memories of Black Thursday. Moede believes that the campus unrest was caused by outsiders who were unwilling to work with President Guiles and the administration. Tensions ceased following the end of the Vietnam War, but the campus still had trouble attracting black students, which Moede attributes to problems starting at the high school level. Although he left the Union in 1986, Moede is still an active member of the UWO alumni community and loves the university.
Debra Daubert
Debra Daubert grew up in Wausau, WI and studied art with a museology emphasis at UW Oshkosh from 1973-1977. Her family valued education highly, and she was able to live off campus with her grandmother and older brother, also an Oshkosh student, while attending school. Daubert’s interview is comprised mostly of brief, fun anecdotes about her experiences at UWO. She reflects on campus drinking culture, including the notorious St. Patrick’s Day parties, and shares stories of escapades that she and her friends got into as undergraduates. Daubert argues that she made the most meaningful connections on campus with her professors. She is thankful to UWO for giving her professional connections and support, including a museum internship that changed her life.
Denise Corner-Sciano
Denise Corner-Sciano, a Cedarburg, WI native, studied education at UW Oshkosh from 1976-1981. Corner-Sciano grew up in a small town and chose UWO because she felt that UW Madison was too large. Her parents were educators who stressed the importance of education but had limited means, so Corner-Sciano worked herself through school. She waitressed on the weekends and served as a Community Advisor (CA) her junior and senior years. In this interview, Corner-Sciano discusses her favorite courses, least favorite professors, and campus drinking culture. She speaks about her experiences as a CA in detail, including dorm programs she put on, dealing with troublesome residents, navigating being a CA in the early years of coed floors, and handling St. Patrick’s Day as a CA. Corner-Sciano also shares vibrant anecdotes about her beater of a car and meeting her husband on her first day on campus. She enjoyed her time at UWO but feels as though as a female she wasn’t given the tools to decide what she really wanted to do while growing up. Corner-Sciano believes that the most important lesson a college student can learn is how to effectively balance all of the things that life throws at you.
Denise Roseland
Denise Roseland grew up in Rothschild, WI, and majored in journalism with a minor in business at UW Oshkosh in the 1980s. Although neither of her parents attended college, hard work and persistence were highly valued by her family, learning was important in her community, and Roseland knew from a young age that higher education was necessary for her future career. Upon graduating high school, she attended UW Center Marathon County to finish her gen eds and save money before transferring to UW Oshkosh. Roseland was attracted to the university because of its strong business and journalism programs, and she entered as a business major with a journalism minor before switching gears after struggling in accounting courses. In this interview, Roseland reflects on the struggle of transitioning into independence. Finding a balance between work and play proved to be a challenge, but Roseland enjoyed her coursework and was an active student. She discusses her favorite classes and professors, the experience of living in a diverse dorm like Fletcher Hall, and she shares details of her involvement with the PRSSA and Women in Communications organizations, Residence Life, and the UW Oshkosh Public Relations Office, among other things. Ultimately, Roseland argues that her experience at Oshkosh taught her that no mistake is fatal, and she is thankful that the university gave her a place to learn and grow.
Diane Wetherbee
Diane Wetherbee, a native of Beaver Dam, WI, studied journalism and economics at UW Oshkosh from 1974 to 1977. Wetherbee was a first generation college student from a working class family. Her parents, although highly supportive of higher education, were unable to support her financially, and a lack of access to information and resources meant that Wetherbee was unable to get the financial aid that she qualified for. Saddled with the burden of paying for school, Wetherbee worked to limit expenses and graduate in three years. She picked up an economics major to complement her journalism major because of its potential to make money (in addition to an interest in the subject), and she worked multiple jobs on campus, including as a Resident Assistant in Webster Hall. Although Wetherbee spent much of her time working, she was still able to play. She was a reporter and editor for the Advance Titan, and she discusses her experiences on campus, including memories of St. Patrick’s Day, bar and concert culture, meeting her future husband, bowling on campus, and watching Saturday Night Live. Wetherbee wishes that she had known more about financial aid because she would have stayed longer or gotten more involved. She ends with words of encouragement for current students, advising them to enjoy their time while they have it and take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.
Donald Wolter
Donald Wolter served as the first Director of Facilities Management at UW Oshkosh from 1970-1995. He grew up outside of Milwaukee, WI, fought in the Korean War, and received a degree in chemical engineering from UW Madison. Wolter worked at various plants and factories early in his career, and he came to Wisconsin State University Oshkosh in 1970 after being laid off from his job in a munitions factory following the close of the Vietnam War. In this interview, Wolter discusses the hectic state of facilities on campus - which had never had a devoted manager - upon his arrival, and he details various aspects of his long career, including working with employees, handling budgets, and having to deal with power outages, fires, and St. Patrick’s Day. For much of his career, Wolter was in charge of custodial work for most buildings, groundskeeping, parking, and the University Police. He reflects on his relationships with various chancellors, shares his thoughts on the controversy regarding Chancellor Wells, and he muses on the city of Oshkosh, including its racism and relationship with the university, which he believes has improved over time. Ultimately, Wolter has fond memories of the university and remains connected to the community.
Dorothy (Dot Ruta)
Dorothy (Dot) Ruta, a native of Waukesha, WI, studied elementary education at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh, graduating in 1960. Ruta knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher, and she was encouraged by her parents to seek out higher education because they themselves were unable to do so. She attended Oshkosh because she had personal connections there and knew that they had a good education program. Ruta arrived in Oshkosh at a time of great campus expansion. Although there were ongoing discussions about the college becoming a university, such a transformation seemed far-fetched - Ruta even remembers laughing when one of her professors told her about it! For Ruta, the Oshkosh campus was a small, bustling community of about 1400 students. She shares her memories of putting on campus plays, playing tennis with her friends, living in Radford Hall and Pollock House, going to beer bars, student teaching, and more. Ruta still has a close connection to the campus - her granddaughter, Lindsay, is a current student - and she is very impressed with how the university has grown. She encourages students to have fun and take advantage of what they can while they are here.
Eamon McKenna
Eamon McKenna grew up in Ashippun, WI and double majored in secondary education and Spanish with a minor in history from 1999-2004 at UW Oshkosh. McKenna was an involved and competitive student who ran track in high school and was the valedictorian of his graduating class. His dream school was Notre Dame, but the school’s high tuition rates and McKenna’s own passion for college track led him to choose UWO, which had made strong efforts to recruit him. McKenna speaks at length about his career as a college track runner, including his positive relationships with his teammates and head coach John Zupanc as well as his experience winning nationals his senior year. He shares his memories of 9/11, the 2000 Presidential election, the Final Four Badgers' game in 2000 (and ensuing riots), and reflects on campus dining, residence life and his favorite professors. After graduation, McKenna received his Master’s in Multicultural Education from UW Milwaukee and taught in the Neenah school district before returning to UWO in 2012 as an assistant coach. He is currently the head coach of the men and women’s cross country teams, and he credits UWO for teaching him how to be a confident, passionate leader.
Eileen Hammer Housfeld
Eileen Hammer Housfeld, a native of Marytown, WI, studied English and journalism at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1965-1969. Growing up, Housfeld wanted to become a Spanish teacher, and she attended WSUO because her mother was an alumni of the school when it was known as the Oshkosh Teacher’s College. Housfeld was a serious student, and in this interview she details her perspective on the multitude of cultural changes that came to campus in the 1960s. She reflects on the physical changes to the campus, and she shares her memories of student political activity, bar culture, and more. Housfeld was active in the Young Republicans organization, and she was a writer for the Advance Titan. During her senior year she found a job at Oshkosh’s newly established liberal alternative to the Northwestern, The Paper, as the journalist in charge of covering the university beat. It was this position that gave her a firsthand account of Black Thursday - she was one of the few white people in the room with the Oshkosh 94 when they were arrested. Following her graduation as one of the first members of the university’s journalism department, she continued to work for The Paper until it folded in 1970. Housfeld went on to write for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has had a successful career as a PR consultant.
Ellen Becker
Ellen Becker, an Oshkosh native, majored in elementary education with a minor in library science from 1964-1968 at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh. Becker lived with her parents and worked at the Oshkosh Public Library while attending school; it is for this reason that she refers to her university days as a “continuation of high school.” She was part of a sorority, but she argues that her involvement was nothing unique because Greek Life was part and parcel to the college experience at the time. The most valuable contributions of Becker’s interview are her detailed discussions of education courses, student teaching, teacher certifications and the teacher job market in the 1960s. Becker also shares her memories of food on campus, athletics, campus buildings, including houses that were used for classes that have since been torn down. She finishes the interview with a discussion of her career and her opinions on Act 10. Becker thinks that Oshkosh was and is a great school, and she enjoyed her time at the university.
Ellen Eisch
Ellen Eisch was born and raised in Wausau, WI, and majored in human services with a business minor from 1982-1984. Eisch began her college experience at UW Marathon County before transferring to UW Oshkosh, the university that her sister attended, in order to experience college life. Eisch shares a number of vivid memories of campus and party culture in the early 1980s. She had a very active social life and was admittedly not serious about school, although she was involved in Residence Life as a CA and as the Vice President of USRH. Eisch discusses her experience as a CA on the third floor of Donner Hall, including her relationship with her residents, dorm culture and visitation rules. She remembers her college years as being a time of freedom. In her final semester, Eisch completed an internship with the city of Oshkosh and obtained a job immediately after graduation. She credits UWO for teaching her independence.
Erica Spicer
Erica Spicer was born and raised in Cambridge, WI and studied human services and music at UW Oshkosh from 2006-2012. Spicer was a very involved student in high school and maintained that level of involvement at UWO, accepting positions in the Career Services, Alumni and Dean of Students offices as well as acting as a tour guide during her six years on campus. She shares memories of living in South Scott Hall her freshman year and spending time in the Arts and Communications building with other music majors. Spicer’s interview is comprised mostly of her reflections on the campus community, which she perceived as safe and versatile, and discussions of memories like meeting her husband and Obama’s visit during the 2008 campaign. She laments the way that technology has changed current student’s experiences, and she believes that most important thing college taught her was to stay true to herself.
Erik Ernst
Erik Ernst, a native of Racine, WI, studied journalism at UW Oshkosh from 1998-2002. Ernst fell in love with writing while in high school, and he chose UWO because of the campus’ welcoming community. When reflecting on his college experience, Ernst lists three things as being the most important: meeting his wife, writing for the Advance Titan, and being involved in Residence Life, first through Hall Government and then as a Community Advisor. In this detailed and thoughtful interview, Ernst discusses his experience with the journalism department, which at that time was struggling to keep up with the technological change of the new millenium, and reflects on touchstone cultural and historical moments, including the Columbine shooting, Y2K, and 9/11. Ernst’s memories of 9/11 on campus, including the immediate uncertainty, the experience of going to war, and the support that students and administrators gave servicemembers, are recounted at length. Spurred by the feeling that students – who grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood – were adrift and scared following the attacks and needed a familiar voice to comfort them, Ernst spent his senior year chasing an interview with Fred Rogers. After months of work, he was able to interview Rogers for the Advance Titan, an encounter that is shared in detail. Following his graduation, Ernst struggled to find a job in a world where print media was dying and accepted a position with Wisconsin Public television instead. Ernst is proud of his degree, and he expresses admiration for UWO.
Eugene Winkler
Eugene Winkler, a native of Chilton, WI, studied education at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh from 1955-1959. As a child, Winkler loved school, but it was unusual at the time for people in his family or community to attend college. After graduating high school, Winkler joined the army instead. While stationed in Germany, Winkler fell in love with the history of the country and decided that he wanted to become a teacher when he came back to the States. With funding from the GI Bill, Winkler enrolled at WSC Oshkosh. He discusses the physical layout of the campus as well as surrounding bars and restaurants, and he shares detailed memories of the social scene and campus community, including what it was like to be a veteran on campus, dating, required courses, professors, dances, and more. Winkler was a photographer for The Advance, and he reflects on the experience of living through the early Cold War, racism within Oshkosh, gender roles in the 1950s, and the cultural changes in professional dress and expectations that he has seen over the years. After graduation, Winkler went on to have a long and successful career in education. He married a fellow alumna, taught at Oshkosh West for 29 years, and has since started a scholarship fund with his wife to aid current students with high tuition costs. At the end of the interview, Winkler has an interesting discussion with Jarett Mack, the student interviewer, regarding the state of the university at the time of the interview, including budget cuts, the Foundation controversy, and the university’s treatment of professors.
Gerald Carpenter
Gerald Carpenter was raised in Northeast Wisconsin and studied library science at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh from 1962-1965 before accepting a reference desk position at Polk Library, which he held from the mid-1970s to the early 2010s. Carpenter started his college career studying mathematics at St. Norbert College but transferred to Oshkosh after realizing that he could not pay the tuition rates at St. Norbert and that he was not well-suited to STEM fields. He discusses his decision to study library science, the specifics of the program at the time of his enrollment, the process of textbook rentals in the 1970s, and his experiences driving a mobile library around to local communities. Carpenter reflects on the differences between St. Norbert and Oshkosh, the relationship between the campus and the outside community, and the ways in which library technology has changed over the course of his career. He offers his thoughts on former head librarian Helen Wahoski, as well as former Chancellors Guiles, Birnbaum and Penson. Carpenter also shares his memories of the Kennedy Assassination and Black Thursday. He is grateful for his time at UWO, both as a student and a staff member, and is thankful that he was in a position where he was able to develop relationships with students and faculty. Carpenter believes that UW Oshkosh is a great school and finishes with a lamentation about the impact of Governor Scott Walker’s budget cuts.
Gerry Gonyo
Gerry Gonyo, an Oshkosh, WI, native, studied economics at Oshkosh State College from 1959 to 1964. A self-described “official townie,” Gonyo’s ties to Oshkosh are intimate and far-reaching - his father was a long-time employee of Wisconsin Axle who started the city’s first credit union, his uncle was chief of police, and his mother, aunts, and uncles, were all graduates of the Oshkosh Normal School. After graduating high school, Gonyo was encouraged by his family to take advantage of the opportunity in his own backyard: the college. Gonyo was a commuter student whose experience at OSC was limited by transient existence on campus, but he was still involved in activities, and his relationship with the city gives him a unique perspective of a campus on the verge of expansion. He was the vice president of the Economics Club and active in the Delta Kappa fraternity, and in this interview he discusses Titan Court, the building of Reeve, life in rooming houses, the early Cold War on campus, the relationship between the town and gown, and more. Although Gonyo liked his professors and classes, he struggled in school and took a year off before returning and graduating. After graduation, he took his wife, whom he had married his senior year, and moved to Racine, WI to start a long career with the Jewel and Osco Drug company. Gonyo is actively involved in the alumni community due to his connection with the city and university, and he is amazed at how the university has grown.
Ginny Moore-Kruse
Ginny Moore-Kruse, an Oshkosh native, majored in English secondary education with a minor in speech and library science from 1952-1956 at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh. Moore-Kruse speaks at length about how gendered expectations for women in the 1950s and a lack of access to information about higher education impacted her career path. She admits that college was seen as taking out an “insurance policy” because of the presumption that she would ultimately become a housewife. Despite these barriers, Moore-Kruse was an active leader on campus. She directed theatrical productions for her sorority, Alethean, and her volunteerism through the campus Methodist youth ministry, the Wesley Foundation, gave her the opportunity to visit the United Nations and Washington, D.C. Moore-Kruse shares colorful stories about campus life in the 1950s, including smoking in class and playing Sheepshead between classes. She graduated first of her class and went on to have a successful career as an influential librarian at UW Madison.
Gretchen Herrmann
Gretchen Herrmann, a Kenosha, WI native, studied graphic design at UW Oshkosh from 1980 to 1986. Herrmann had a unique college experience that was marked by tragedy. She was raised in a large, close-knit family that was decimated with the sudden loss of her mother at age sixteen, her father’s remarriage to a woman who Herrmann did not like, and then her father’s subsequent diagnosis of terminal cancer at age eighteen. The familial unrest created a difficult situation that Herrmann was determined to escape. She studied music at UW Parkside before transferring to UW Oshkosh where she changed her major to graphic design, a field in which she excelled. Herrmann was forced to transfer to and from UWO and UW Parkside as her father’s health waxed and waned. She was eventually able to obtain her degree shortly before her father passed away; he was well enough to attend her graduation ceremony. Herrmann speaks mostly about her journey, but does reflect on the “quaint” nature of the UW Oshkosh community as well as party and hook-up culture on campus in the 1980s. She makes reference to the lack of education about sexual assault, and how she is thankful that there is more awareness and accountability now. Herrmann went on to have a successful career in graphic design. She believes that UWO as a whole is a good school, but admits that she did not feel it prepared her well for her field due to tensions between the fine arts and graphic design departments.
Heather Cambray
Heather Cambray grew up in Sun Prairie, WI and majored in business administration with an emphasis in human services and a minor in Spanish from 1992-1996. Cambray was a bright high school student who, although ambitious, was unsure about what career she wanted to pursue. Her choice of college and major were all due to a series of coincidences and impulsive choices. Cambray was an active and involved student who hosted a radio show on WRST called “Weather with Heather,” was a member of OSA’s Segregated Fees Committee, actively participated in the University Scholars Program, and held a CA position in North Scott Hall. She shares her memories of meeting lifelong friends, including her husband, contracting mono one semester, and handling the riots in the 1990s as a member of hall staff. Her interview is in-depth and notable for her sense of humor. Cambray went on to have a successful career in human services and is thankful for her time at UWO.
J. Mark Madison
Dr. J. Mark Madison was born in Illinois but grew up in Wisconsin. His father taught in the English Department and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. His mother taught high school in Appleton. Around tenth grade, he became close friends with Mark Gruenwald, a Marvel comic book artist. Dr. Madison received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Carleton College, his Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School, did his internship and residency at Washington University in St. Louis, and did his fellowship in pulmonary disease at the University of California, San Francisco.
Jake Timm
Jake Timm, a native of Manawa, WI, studied radio/TV/film at UW-Oshkosh from 2004-2010 before finally receiving his degree in 2013. Timm chose UWO because he wanted to work in sports broadcasting and knew the university had a good RTF program. He was an active and social student who was politically aware and involved on campus. In this interview, Timm reflects on his relationships with fellow students and how social media, especially Myspace and Facebook, was used on campus in the 2000s. He speaks in detail about his memories of and how people on campus reacted to the Red Sox winning the World Series in 2004, the impact of 9/11, Saddam Hussein’s death, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, the 2007 financial crisis, the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections, and the earthquake in Haiti. Timm is especially focused on how social media usage impacted his knowledge of events. He also discusses his involvement in TitanTV, which he managed for a year, and the National Broadcasting Society, which he served as President of for two years. Timm hosted a TitanTV show called “Inside the Locker Room,” won awards from the National Broadcasting Society, including “Member of the Year,” helped host the annual Ataxia-Telangiectasia telethon, and interned at WBAY in Green Bay for two summers. He currently has a job in his field working for the city of Oshkosh, a place he loves and considers home.
James "Myles" Teteak
Myles Teteak is from the small, rural town of Rhome, TX and studied marketing at UW Oshkosh from 2008-2012. Teteak wanted to play football in college, but was uninterested in the immense size of Texas state colleges, or the elitist, upper-class culture of the smaller private colleges in Texas. He had ties to Wisconsin as his grandfather had played for the Green Bay Packers, he was attracted to the size and culture of Oshkosh, was impressed with Coach Pat Cerroni, and knew that the business program was prestigious, so he made the decision to travel 1200 miles away from home for college. Teteak struggled his first year, so he committed himself to building his study skills and was a balanced, successful student. He bonded with his professors, especially marketing professor John Depies, and he worked to fully experience college life while still doing well. In this interview, Teteak reflects on his experiences, including bonding with the football team, memorable football games, and Oshkosh bar culture. He discusses the political climate on campus during Obama’s first term from a conservative perspective and shares memories of the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections. Teteak was an active, popular student who worked as a campus tour guide and recruiter for the football team. A chance meeting with the father of a prospective student who happened to be the Vice President of a Fortune 500 company based in Chicago yielded an internship which turned into a well-paying job upon graduation.
James Chitwood
James Chitwood, a Blue River, WI native, served as the Director of Residence Life at UW Oshkosh from 1981-1999 and then proceeded to serve as the Interim Dean of Students (1999-2000), the Dean of Students and Executive Director of Residence Life (2000-2006) and the Dean of Students (2006-2009) before his retirement. Chitwood comments on campus drinking culture, St. Patrick’s Day Parties, and the riots in the 1990s from an administrative angle. He discusses his experiences with Greek Life on campus, running the Department of Residence Life, redesigning the Odyssey new student orientation program, and helping to establish the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner. Chitwood also shares memories of the 1982 Blackhawk Commons Fire. This interview is thorough, comprehensive and offers a unique perspective of the administrative side, of campus life.
James Fischer
James Fischer was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and majored in zoology with a geology minor from 1968-1970 at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh. Fischer began his college career at UW Milwaukee but transferred because he hated commuting two hours by bus, especially in an era where bus strikes were common. Because of population pressures on the university, Fischer was forced to live a few blocks off-campus in East Hall. Fischer shares vivid accounts of his dormitory, including discussions of his roommates (a few of which were members of the counterculture) as well as parties, pranks and other college antics. He reflects on campus drinking culture, dating, the bar scene, the reputations of the various residence halls on campus, and his favorite professors, especially Dr. Jacob Shapiro who he remembers for being outspoken about contraceptives and sex education. Despite Fischer’s youthfulness, he was a dedicated and serious student who had his own lab in Halsey where he studied insects with Dr. Gene Drecthra. He shares memories of Kent State, Black Thursday and anti-war protests. Fischer graduated and joined the military, where he worked as a medic in Thailand, and eventually pursued a career in IT.
James Trantow
Jim Trantow, a business major from Manawa, WI, Bob Steidl, a business major from Menasha, WI, Dick Bidwell, a speech major with a radio/TV/film emphasis from Menasha, WI, and Cindy Oerter, a biology major with a chemistry minor from Scandinavia, WI, all attended Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1965-1969. They share general memories of growing up in small Wisconsin towns during the 1950s, including thoughts on the racial compositions of their communities, and reflect upon campus life prior to widespread adoption of computers, but the most valuable contributions of this interview are their recollections of Greek Life. Trantow, Steidl and Bidwell were all members of the Delta Kappa fraternity, and Oerter was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority. They share stories of hazing ceremonies, parties, and drinking and drug culture at WSUO. Trantow, Steidl and Bidwell explicitly compare their experiences to the film Animal House. The group also comments on the political atmosphere of campus, and they share their thoughts on the Vietnam War, the Kennedy Assassination, and Black Thursday. They were not a part of the counterculture and have a conservative perspective on the events of the late 1960s.
Jamie Cowling
Jamie Cowling, a native of Green Bay, WI, studied psychology at UW Oshkosh from 1976-1981. Cowling was a social, involved student who loved the sense of freedom that came with college. Although she struggled to balance all of her responsibilities her first semester, she eventually hit her stride and thrived on campus. Cowling was an active member of the Reeve Union Board, first as a Publicity Committee member and later as Treasurer. She reflects on her time spent in the Union as well as the logistics of event and concert planning. She was a “little sister” for Delta Sigma Chi and participated in Homecoming events with the fraternity. Cowling reflects on how information was shared on campus before the advent of emails. She also shares a number of colorful anecdotes, including a story about hanging out with an eighty-year old that she met at Molly’s who smoked marijuana out of his pipe. Cowling believes that what she learned most at college was how to interact socially with others. She now works in organizational psychology and remembers her time at UWO fondly.
Jane Wypinszynski
Jane Wypinszynski, a native of New Richmond, WI, attended Ball State University in Muncie, IN for communications and accepted a teaching position at UW Oshkosh in the early 1980s before retiring in 2014. During her tenure on campus, Wypinszysnki served as the President of the Senate of Academic Staff and as a Student Academic Affairs Officer. She was an engaged member of the campus community who brought UWO national media attention when she and fellow staff member Debbie Gray Patton fought to award honorary doctorates to the Mercury 13 female astronauts. Wypinszynski discusses her reasoning behind doing so and details the process of obtaining the honorary doctorates, including meeting the surviving members of the Mercury 13. She reflects on the changes that she has seen come to the university in her decades of service, including changes in how the university treats academic staff and the adoption of the University Studies Program. Wypinszynski is proud of her time at UWO and believes that the biggest change she has seen come to campus has been the university’s willingness to recognize that it is a quality institution that can change people’s lives for the better.
Janet Alley
Janet Alley, a native of Fontana, WI, studied elementary education at UW Oshkosh from 1968-1970 before returning to finish her degree from 1974-1977. Alley’s first two years at UWO were a period of immense national upheaval, and she was a participant in the anti-war movement who discusses her relationship with Black Thursday and shares memories of protesting in Washington, D.C. She reveled in the freedom college granted but admits that she was not ready for the responsibility and, after changing her major from elementary to music education and struggling to keep up with her peers, she dropped out. Alley spent four years in the workforce before realizing that she needed a degree to achieve her goals. She returned with a renewed sense of purpose and worked while finishing her degree in elementary education. In this interview, Alley discusses dorm life in Donner Hall, the social landscape of UWO, her favorite professors, computer technology on campus, changing attitudes toward gender roles, the campus marching band, the Ski Heilers club, and Oshkosh bar culture. She was passionate about the music scene and spent her free time attending dances at the Union and seeing bands downtown. Upon graduation, Alley struggled to find a job in her field due to market competition. She eventually accepted a position as a computer programmer, which she loved. Alley currently works as a substitute teacher and feels a strong connection with the university and the city of Oshkosh. She visits every Homecoming.
Jason Hubbard
Jason Hubbard, an Oshkosh, WI native, attended UW Oshkosh from 2005-2010 to complete his Bachelor’s in human services and then stayed from 2010-2012 to complete his Master’s in education leadership. Hubbard’s grandfather was a Reeve Union employee, and Hubbard shares his memories of growing up on and around campus, including recollections of St. Patrick’s Day Parties and the riots in the 1990s. He chose to come to UWO because of the familiarity of the campus, and he reflects on campus parking, his favorite professors, and physical changes to the campus landscape like the construction of Horizon Village. Hubbard followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and spent his tenure at UWO working in Reeve Union, both as a building manager and later as a graduate assistant to the Titan Underground and Reeve Union Board. He discusses programming for the campus, including for music festivals like Wisco and ByeGosh Fest, as well as the development of the Titan Night program. Hubbard laments what he perceives as a changed atmosphere and loss of engagement on campus following state budget cuts in the early 2010s.
Jay Jones
Jay Jones, a native of Wild Rose, WI, studied history at UW Oshkosh from 1987-1994 before returning in 1998-1999 to complete his Bachelor's in Education. Jones was from a small farming community, but he understood that he needed an education if he wanted to get a job that paid well. He decided to teach history and chose UWO because he didn’t mind the school’s reputation as a party school. Jones shares his memories of campus social life, including playing cribbage and watching TV, college sports, Packer games, drinking culture, and the bar scene. He worked at UPS and joined the ROTC program after his first year. His mobilization for Desert Storm never materialized because he was not qualified for his army job. Still, Jones was forced to take semesters off here and there because of his military service at home. He reflects on the gender differences in the education program, specifically the large numbers of women as opposed to men when he started in 1987 versus the increase in men by the time he received his teaching certificate in January of 2000. After graduation, Jones got married and started a family. He now lives in Poysippi and works in Wautoma, WI.
Jean Kobin
Jean Kobin was born in Racine, WI and raised in Wauwatosa, WI. She attended UW Oshkosh from 1976-1980 and studied marketing with a German minor. Kobin came from a poor family and did not expect to attend college, but she was a stellar student and her mother worked hard to support her aspirations. Kobin excelled academically during her time at UWO and was heavily involved in Residence Life. She served as the President of Stewart Hall her freshman year, and then went on to serve as an Resident Advisor in Stewart and Nelson Halls. Kobin was also a pompom girl and an active member of the Women in Business club. She shares memories of the culture shock of coming to campus from a less affluent family, her experiences programming for Residence Life, thoughts on campus drinking culture, and recollections of Homecoming. Kobin reflects on how technology has changed the college experience, and she discusses her own experiences with telephones and typewriters while at UWO. She credits the university for helping her to come out of her shell and meet new people.
Jennifer Mihalick
Jennifer Mihalick has served as a chemistry professor at UW Oshkosh since 1993. She grew up in a suburb of Rochester, NY and speaks at length about her own college experiences in New York, but the most valuable contributions of this interview are Mihalick’s discussions of her duties and responsibilities as a professor. She talks about the classes that she teaches, the research that she completes and the committees she serves on. Mihalick is actively involved in undergraduate research, and she works with other faculty members and undergraduate students to complete projects. She is passionate about helping students succeed, and she takes great care to foster positive relationships with students. Mihalick reflects on gender disparities in STEM fields and discusses the increased gender equity she has seen in chemistry both at UWO and more broadly. She believes the university is moving in a great direction and credits the University Studies Program for helping UWO stay relevant and innovative.
Jessica King
Jessica King, a native of Fond du Lac, WI, studied political science, history, and international studies at UW Oshkosh from 1993-1998. Both of King’s parents were disabled, and, although they supported her emotionally, they were unable to care for her in other ways, and she was designated a ward of the state when she was 15. After graduating high school, she was hired at a juicebox factory in Rosendale, WI, but she was dissatisfied with her circumstances and wanted more out of life. Unsure of what to do, King attended a preview day at UW Oshkosh that included a talk by international studies department chair Dr. Ken Grieb in which he promised to make prospective students “the best in the world” if they joined his program. Inspired by Dr. Grieb’s challenge, King enrolled as an international studies major at UW Oshkosh. In this detailed and comprehensive interview, King remembers UWO as a vibrant and welcoming community. She was an extremely accomplished student: an avid Model UNer, the president of her sorority, and a student activist who served on OSA’s legislative committee and lobbied on behalf of students at Oshkosh Common Council meetings. In this interview, King shares memories of Winter Carnival, studying abroad to places as varied as New York, London, and Bangladesh, campus controversies like the beer riots, and more. Following graduation, King attended law school and traveled the country before returning to Wisconsin to care for her aging parents. She settled in Oshkosh and, with the help of former Chancellor John Kerrigan, found work as a bankruptcy lawyer. King has since worked as an adjunct professor at UWO, been active in local politics, and served in the state senate. She credits UW Oshkosh for changing her life.
Jim Rath
Jim Rath, a native of Two Rivers, WI, studied political science at UW Oshkosh from 1970-1976. He was raised in a family that placed a strong emphasis on education, and he chose UWO because he liked that it was a smaller, more regional school. Rath had entered the university with plans to study education, but ended up choosing political science because it interested him. He speaks about his favorite political science professors, including Zillur Khan and Charlie Goff. Rath was an involved student who was active in the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, which he remembers for the sense of community it gave him, OSA, which he recalls being an explicitly political experience, and the Reeve Union Board. He reflects on the racial and political climate on campus immediately after the unrest of the 1960s, and he shares an anecdote about being at the Draught Board, the old beer bar in Reeve Union, the night he and others received their draft numbers. Rath also discusses the changes that have come to campus since his college days, including the new buildings, the increased tuition, and the more egalitarian gender norms. Rath would go on to have a long, successful career with the Wisconsin Public Service. He is heavily involved in alumni activities and is still active with Delta Sigma Phi at the national level. Rath is extremely grateful for his time at UWO and feels indebted to the university.
Jim Simmons
Jim Simmons is a political science professor at UW Oshkosh who has served since 1989. He taught at a number of different institutions around the country before accepting a position at UWO because he and his wife fell in love with the city of Oshkosh. Simmons reflects on the changes he has seen come to the campus and the political science department during his tenure. He believes that the campus is more attractive than it was when he first started, and laments the fact that the class sizes have grown while the department has shrunk. The department, however, is more scholarly and collegial than it was in 1989. Simmons shares memories of political events that have happened on campus and discusses his experiences as President of the Faculty Senate, including fighting to keep tenure in place at UWO and helping to create the environmental studies program. He thinks that UWO is a great school, but worries about the impact of Governor Scott Walker’s budget cuts.
John Baker
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) John Baker was raised in Antigo, WI and majored in philosophy with math and computer science minors at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1970-1973. Baker joined the army after his high school graduation and spent a year in Vietnam before being stationed in Kansas in 1969, where he met his wife. After he got out of the service, the young couple moved back to Wisconsin so Baker could attend school. He chose WSUO because he felt as though the university was more conducive to the life of a married student than UW Madison. Baker remembers his university experience as being very easy, especially compared to his time in the army. He was primarily interested in computer programming and discusses his experiences doing IT work in the army. Computer science was not a fully-developed major yet so Baker took it on as a minor and chose philosophy because he was attracted to its emphasis on logical reasoning. Baker enjoyed his time at Oshkosh and reflects on his favorite courses and professors. He was a student editor for the Wisconsin Review literary magazine, and speaks about the process of creating the layout and choosing which submissions would be published. Baker also discusses his own published poetry. He was not deeply involved in the campus social scene because he was married, but he does discuss fishing and attending concerts on campus, including a Blood, Sweat and Tears show. Baker would go on to have a successful career in IT.
John Marx
John Marx, who considers Greensburg, PA to be his hometown, studied journalism and radio/tv/film at UW Oshkosh from 1969-1977. Growing up, Marx was not the most devoted student, but, upon graduating high school in 1968, he realized that he had two options: go to college or be drafted. For Marx, the choice was clear. He enrolled in Wisconsin State University Oshkosh, the choice of the school being random as he had never been to the state and had few ties to the Midwest. Marx was an adventurous and offbeat student, and in this interview he shares vivid memories and anecdotes of the young journalism department, his favorite professors, the anti-war movement, Oshkosh conservatism, and working for WRST. After a few years of going to school full time, Marx went part-time and worked on the side as a taxi driver and at the Buckstaff Company. In 1974, he became involved as a media writer for a local state assembly campaign, and, in 1975, with seven credits left until graduation, Marx moved to Madison to work in the state capitol. Although he ended up leaving the position, his foray in Madison lay the path for his future. He returned to Oshkosh and graduated in 1977, and he went on to have a long career in the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Marx’s final piece of advice is “if you are not entirely sure what you want to do, just go get a good liberal arts education at Oshkosh and you can’t go wrong.”
John Strous
John Strous was born in Columbus, OH and raised in Juneau, WI. He studied biology at the Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1968-1972 and went on to obtain his Master’s in biology from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1982 before returning to the university in 1991 as the Medical Technology Program Director, a position he still holds. Strous’ father was a large animal veterinarian, and Strous knew from a young age that he wanted to go to medical school. He decided to attend WSU-O and study biology. In this interview, Strous reflects on his undergraduate years. He attended the university when it was bursting with students, many of whom were trying to avoid the draft, and he lived in East Hall, which he remembers as being a “big fraternity.” Strous was an Resident Advisor for three and a half years, and he shares anecdotes about watching the anti-war protests on campus. Upon graduation, Strous realized that he did not have the grades necessary to be accepted to medical school. He decided to go to graduate school at UWO in order to better his GPA and took a job at Mercy Medical Center on the side. While at Mercy, Strous realized that he enjoyed the Medical Technology aspect of his job and completed a one year internship at the hospital in order to become a Medical Technologist. He became the Medical Technology Program Director at UWO in 1991 and has been committed to maintaining excellence in the program since.
Joni Ledzian
Joni Ledzian, a Pewaukee, WI native, studied nursing at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh from 1972-1975. Ledzian always knew that she wanted to be a nurse and received a tip from a friend of someone she babysat for in high school that the future of nursing lay in four year degrees. Armed with this information, she attended UW-Eau Claire for a year but transferred to UW Oshkosh after realizing their nursing program was too competitive. Ledzian recalls her memories of living in the dorms, working as a waitress and a desk worker in a residence hall to pay for school, and she discusses the 1974 tornado that hit Oshkosh. She believes that UWO prepared her well for nursing in the real world, and she has had a long, successful career in her field. Ledzian recently retired and says that her biggest piece of advice to current students is to persevere if you really want something.
Joseph Aronson
Joseph Aronson, a native of Winneconne, WI, studied religious studies at UW Oshkosh from 2006-2010. Aronson came from a farm family that placed a strong emphasis on education; both of his parents are UWO alumni, and his initial goal after graduating high school was to study computer science like his father. He discusses his experiences living on a substance free floor in Fletcher and going to college so close to home, and he reflects on how the compactness of campus isolates students from the greater Oshkosh community. Aronson became involved in CRU, then called the Campus Crusade for Christ, a Christian student-led ministry on campus his freshman year. CRU quickly became his home and helped him to realize that his true calling was in ministry. Aronson switched his major to religious studies, interned with local pastors and led services on campus before graduating, starting a family and accepting a position with the Oshkosh Community Church, which he loves. A large part of this interview involves the discussions between Aronson and interviewer Bryan Carter, a current political science/theatre double major and active member of the fraternity Delta Sigma Phi, as they discuss growing up, local churches, their personal experiences with CRU, Greek Life, and the meaning of hard work.
Joseph Peters
Joseph Peters was raised on a farm in Reedsville, WI and studied microbiology at UW Oshkosh from 2011-2013. Peters graduated high school in 2003 and joined the military soon after because he was attracted to the benefits offered, especially the opportunity to travel. Upon his release, he completed a semester at UW Madison but dropped out because he was unhappy with the university’s undergraduate program. Peters took a semester off before receiving his Associate’s degree from UW Manitowoc in microbiology. He decided to attend UWO for his Bachelor’s degree because of the school’s cutting-edge microbiology program and strong undergraduate support network. Peters did very well academically and built strong relationships with his professors and fellow students. He spent most of his time in Halsey and felt isolated from the general campus population because of his status as a nontraditional student, although he did become involved in Model UN. Peters now works at Schreiber Foods. He believes that UWO was perfect for him, and he expresses his concerns about Governor Scott Walker and the funding of UW schools.
Judith Shwonek
Judith Shwonek, an Appleton, WI native, studied English secondary education with a French minor and music focus from 1958-1962 at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh before returning for her Master’s in education in the early 1970s. Shwonek reflects on her childhood in the 1950s, including the racial climate in Appleton, WI. Her parents were not supportive of her decision to pursue higher education because they perceived it as a waste of money for a woman, who would ultimately be a housewife, to go to college. They were proud of her, however, when she received her degree. Shwonek paid for her schooling herself by working in the summer. She shares memories of dorm and campus life, including her activities on the Union Board as well as going to dances and dating. Shwonek discusses the strict rules for women in dormitories, and she describes her college experience as one that was full of guidelines and rules governing behavior. Shwonek was married her junior year, and she recalls the difference in treatment from professors following her marriage. Overall, she believes that UWO was and is a great school and she has fond memories of her experience.
Julian Flavin
Juliana Flavin was born in Springfield, OH, and raised in Menasha, WI. She attended Wisconsin State University Oshkosh and studied elementary education in 1971 before dropping out to raise her young daughter. Flavin returned to complete her degree from 1980-1983, during which time she became involved in the administration of the campus Women’s Center. She discusses the welcoming community the center provided for her as a nontraditional student and a single mother, and she shares memories of putting on events like a women’s film festival as well as meeting Gloria Steinem and Bella Abzug. Throughout her time at UWO, the Women’s Center struggled with a lack of funding and support from aspects of the campus community. Flavin recalls multiple instances in which she received anonymous hate mail. Despite this tension, she expresses her deep appreciation for the Center and UWO in general. Flavin believes that campus has changed for the better and that there is now a greater concern for student safety on the part of the administration. She finishes the interview with a discussion of her career as a teacher and a lamentation about the state of public education in Wisconsin.
Julie Vandehey
Julie Vandehey was born in Indiana and grew up all over the Midwest, graduating high school in Neenah, WI and studying journalism at UW Oshkosh from 1989-1994. Vandehey chose UWO because, following her high school graduation, she was unsure if she wanted to study journalism or education, and she knew the university had stellar programs for both fields. She ultimately chose to study journalism. In this interview, Vandehey discusses living in the dorms, the bar and restaurant scene, tuition, her favorite professors, the beer riots, and campus life. She worked at the Advance Titan and completed an internship at a local radio station, WPKR. Vandehey is still connected with the friends she made in Oshkosh, and her advice to current students is to be flexible with their future.
Karen Reiter
Karen Reiter, a native of Belgium, WI, worked at Polk Library from 1977-2014. Reiter graduated from UW Whitewater in 1974 with the intention of teaching, but she accepted a job at Polk Library after being unable to find a permanent position as a teacher. In this interview, Reiter reflects on the changes that she has seen come to the library over the years. She discusses technology, including the switch from card catalogs to online catalogs, and she details various cultural changes, including moves toward greater professionalization on the part of the library staff, the loss of smoking lounge, and what she perceives as a greater recognition from campus administrators of the library’s crucial role in student lives. Reiter reflects on the library’s reputation over the years, and she shares anecdotes about working on campus. During her long career at the university, Reiter worked with OSA to broaden library collections, and she served in leadership positions on the Council of Classified Staff, a role that she took very seriously. Although she is now retired, she is still involved with various charities and organizations, and, at the time of this interview, she serves as the co-president of the local American Association of University Women chapter. Reiter has a great deal of pride in the university, and she believes that students and alumni should feel that pride as well.
Karen Sykes
Karen Sykes was raised on a dairy farm near Poy Sippi, WI, and studied elementary education at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh from 1959-1963. Although neither of her parents had a high school education, Sykes was encouraged by her mother to attend college and take advantage of opportunities that she, herself, was unable to. Sykes, who had a lifelong interest in becoming a teacher thanks to a highly influential second grade teacher, received a small scholarship to Oshkosh and was able to pursue her dreams. Once she arrived on campus, Skyes blossomed into an active student who was heavily involved with her sorority. She discusses rushing, event planning, bringing in speakers, participating in Winter Carnival and Homecoming, and doing her best to promote women’s activities on campus. While in school, Skyes worked for Miles-Kimball, painting Christmas cards, and she also served lunch at the Campus School. She credits Oshkosh for teaching her to be a lifelong learner, and she encourages students to enjoy their time on campus while they can.
Kelsey Hartman
Kelsey Hartman, a Wisconsin Dells, WI native, studied marketing with an emphasis in web presence management at UW Oshkosh from 2008-2012. Hartman chose UWO because she wanted to attend a school with a good business program that would also allow her to play sports. She was an active member of the women’s basketball team, and she discusses how athletics impacted her college career, including her schedule, choice of friends and experiences. Hartman also shares her thoughts on the business program at UWO and the classes that she took. Overall, she found the campus to be extremely welcoming and had a wonderful experience at UW Oshkosh. Hartman believes that UWO is one of the best schools in the state and is only getting better.
Ken Bales
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Ken Bales was raised in Racine and Burlington, WI. He attended UW Oshkosh from 1968 to 1970 before serving in the military and returning from 1975-1979 to complete his Bachelor’s in psychology and his Master’s in career counseling. Bales was attracted to UWO because he had family in Oshkosh and liked the increased professor-student interactions. His first three semesters on campus were spent studying sociology and getting into shenanigans with his friends in Gruenhagen Hall. Bales discusses pranks, St. Patrick’s Day, drinking and dive culture in Oshkosh, Residence Life and Greek Life, including the reputations of particular fraternities. He also discusses the counterculture spirit of the late 60s, his memories of Black Thursday, the racial climate and composition on campus, and he shares an anecdote about protesting at a George Wallace rally. Bales was drafted in 1970 and spent two years as a medic in Vietnam before leaving the service in 1972. The job market was poor, so Bales rejoined the military and was stationed in Germany with his young family. Upon his return to civilian life in 1975, Bales re-enrolled and studied psychology. He discusses the changes to campus between 1968 and the late 1970s, including more egalitarian gender norms, increased drug usage and decreased student involvement in social and political issues. Bales attended graduate school at UWO and has had a successful career as a prominent juvenile delinquent counselor. He has taught occasionally as an adjunct professor at UWO and discusses the politics of academia, grant-writing and internships.
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O’Brien, a native of Wisconsin Rapids, WI, studied history and political science at UW-Oshkosh from 1978-1981. O’Brien wanted to go to college after graduating high school, but could not afford it so he joined the Air Force. He was stationed in Thailand on a Bright Light Team searching for POWs in Vietnam before his time at UWO. O’Brien attended UWO on the GI Bill after leaving the service and discusses the experience of coming to campus as a veteran and trying to adjust to life outside of the military. He played baseball, was a Community Advisor in Fletcher before he was notoriously fired for throwing what amounted to a wild party as a dorm program, and worked as campus security. O’Brien discusses St. Patrick’s Day parties, his favorite coaches including swim coach Jan Moldenhauer and baseball coach Russell Tiedeman, and shares an anecdote about hunting and trapping while in school. After graduation, he went into the Navy as a naval aviator and had a long career as an officer in the military before retiring as the Commanding Officer of Seal Team 3. O’Brien worked for a defense company and did active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan before officially retiring in 2016. He currently serves on the UWO Alumni Board and works for veteran’s rights on campus.
Kristina Flores
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Kristina Flores, a Kaukauna, WI native, majored in marketing at UW Oshkosh from 1999 to 2004. Flores always loved writing and knew early on that her greatest strengths were in communicating with others. She chose UWO because she liked the university’s close proximity to her hometown, and she came in as an education major with hopes to teach English. Flores quickly realized that a life as an English teacher was not for her and changed paths to study marketing. She was a social butterfly and extrovert who loved the college atmosphere and was able to balance partying and studying well. Flores’ advice to current students is to network and build relationships with your professors.
Kylie Hodges
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Kylie Hodges was raised in Madison, WI and studied radio/TV/film and Spanish at UW Oshkosh from 2007-2011. She currently lives in Hollywood, CA and reflects on the impact Midwestern values had on her upbringing. Hodges chose UWO because a friend from high school was attending. She was an active student and social butterfly. Hodges discusses her struggles with her first roommate, campus use of Myspace, her participation in the AT Telethon, her experiences working with TitanTV and her activities with the Gamma Phi sorority. In her final years, she did an internship with the TV show Wipeout in Los Angeles, and she moved there shortly after graduation. The bulk of this interview is devoted to a discussion of Hodges’ post-college career, including her experiences driving the Wienermobile for a year, traveling to Chile, and working for HGTV. She is currently a writer for the TV show Flip or Flop and finishes with a spirited and opinionated discussion of the pros and cons of the entertainment industry.
Lin Schrottky
Lin Schrottky, an Oshkosh, WI native, received a Bachelor’s degree in special education at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh before returning in 1984 to work in Polk Library, a position she held until her retirement in 2017. In this interview, Schrottky reflects on her long life of service to the Oshkosh community. She attended WSU-O at the urging of her parents, who placed a high emphasis on education, and she was an active and involved student who made many close, lifelong friends. Of her undergraduate years, Schrottky discusses her own personal perceptions of the Black Thursday incident as well as her close relationship with history professor Dr. Edward Noyes. Upon graduation, she taught special education and subbed for a few years before realizing teaching was not for her. Schrottky worked at the Oshkosh Public Library retroforming their database from card catalogs before accepting a similar position at Polk Library in 1984. She quickly became an indispensable member of the staff who made do substituting other positions before being hired permanently in 1990. Schrottky discusses her experiences at Polk, including how changes in technology have impacted libraries, her relationships with professors, her experiences working with other universities through the Interlibrary Loan program, and all of the strange and interesting people she’s met.
Linda Rondeau
Linda Rondeau was raised in West Allis, WI and studied journalism at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh, graduating in 1972. Growing up, Rondeau was not interested in attending college, but she was pressured by her parents to do so. She attended WSUO with the intention of studying international relations, but she switched gears to journalism instead after being turned away by the head of the international relations department because she was not interested in going to graduate school. Despite her initial hesitancy toward college, Rondeau quickly revealed herself to be an active and social student. She was active in the Gamma Phi Beta sorority and lived on Titan Court. In this interview, she shares memories of dorm life, classes, student politics, a study abroad trip to Russia, parties, and the Greek community. Rondeau discusses her personal memories of Black Thursday, and she shares interesting reflections on campus race relations. Her advice for current students is to take advantage of any opportunity that comes their way.
Linda Weyers
Linda Weyers grew up in Little Chute, WI and majored in journalism with an English minor at UW Oshkosh from 1976-1980. Weyers was raised by a hardworking single mother, and, although she was a bright student with a supportive family, she had little access to information about college while growing up. In high school, she was encouraged by her school guidance counselor to apply for colleges at the last minute, and she chose UWO as one of her choices because of its proximity to home. Weyers entered as a journalism major after becoming interested in the field following the Watergate scandal, and she quickly began to thrive after arriving on campus. She was an intelligent and serious student who loved her classes and was active with the Advance Titan and in student government. In this interview, she shares general memories of campus, dorm life, classes, and partying. Her advice for current students is to follow your heart and look for ways to express your values and passions in the real world.
Liz Sangbusch
Liz Sangbush grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee and studied journalism at UW Oshkosh from 1985-1989. Sangbusch came from a family of Marquette University alumni, and she was expected to follow in their footsteps. Following her high school graduation, however, Sangbusch was unsure of what she herself wanted to do. Pressured by her mother into attending college, Sangbusch was able to push back and make her own decision on where to go - and she chose UWO. Sangbusch entered as a business major, but struggled in her accounting courses and switched to journalism instead. She was an outgoing student who remembers UWO as being a relaxed and social place. In this interview, Sangbusch shares anecdotes of friendships, living in North Scott, going to house parties, and being involved in Hall Government. She credits the university for helping her grow, meet new people, and experience new things. Sangbusch is proud of her alma mater and believes that college taught her how to be a lifelong learner. She went on to receive her MBA from Marquette University and is still involved with the campus, in part due to her daughter being a student at the time of this interview.
Louis Marohn
Louis Marohn was raised on a farm west of Oshkosh and studied speech and English at Wisconsin State College from 1958-1961. Marohn came from a close-knit farming community where many of the adults did not have a high school education, let alone a college degree. Eager to explore the world beyond the farm, Marohn enrolled at the closest higher education institution he could find at the encouragement of his teachers and parents, who wanted him to follow his dreams even if they involved leaving home. Although he was initially nervous about the size and activity of the college, Marohn quickly found a place for himself at Oshkosh. He roomed at a boarding home next to Reeve, worked in the bookstore, participated in the Drama Club, served as student body president, and was heavily involved in his fraternity, Lyceum. In this interview, Marohn recounts Oshkosh during the golden age of student life. He discusses football games, formal dances, Greek Life, theatre, bar culture, dating, life at the university on the eve of expansion, and more. Following graduation, Marohn turned down teaching jobs in favor a long career in the Navy. He ultimately credits Oshkosh for helping him realize there was more to the world than his family’s farm, and he is still involved with his fraternity and the Alumni Association.
Luke Venne
Luke Venne was born in Milwaukee, WI and attended high school in Oconomowoc, WI. He studied history at UW Oshkosh from 1998 to 2005. Venne was an outspoken student but a learning disability limited his academic success, and he only pursued higher education because he wanted the opportunity to play football at the college level. He chose UWO because he had family in the area, and he decided to study history because he had always enjoyed in the subject. Venne shares his memories of his favorite history professors, especially Dr. Stephen Kercher, and his college life, including his part-time jobs and friends, but the most valuable contributions of this interview are his detailed discussions of the football community at UWO. Venne discusses how the relationship between the administration and the football team has improved since 1998, how the team has come together over the years, how football’s athletic schedule impacted his college career, his best football moments, his experiences as a student coach and his memories of Coaches Ron Cardo, Phil Meyer, Pat Cerroni and Defensive Coordinator Gary Simonson. Venne is currently employed as UWO’s Offensive Coordinator and finishes the interview with a discussion of his career goals and an expression of his deep appreciation for the university, campus community and the city of Oshkosh in general.
Lynn Allar
Lynn Allar, a native of West Allis, WI, studied social work at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1969-1973. Allar was an active student who was a member of the Bowling League, volunteered at a state hospital and in a local 4H program, worked in retail and lifeguarded during her time at UWO. She shares her memories of spending time bowling, listening to music, watching movies and renting tandem bicycles in Reeve Union. Allar reflects on Residence Life in detail, including her relationships with her roommates, RAs, her experiences with women’s curfew rules and an incident where the heating in Evans Hall failed in the dead of winter and she was forced to move. Drinking and drug culture on campus, including St. Patrick’s Day parties, are discussed. Allar also speaks about the anti-war protests and racial tension on campus; although she missed Black Thursday, she discusses the continuing impacts of the event. She shares her memories of seeing Muhammad Ali speak and Johnny Cash perform. After graduation, Allar went on to have a successful career in social work and currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Mallory Janquart
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Mallory Janquart was born in Lake Villa, IL and raised in Menominee, MI. She completed her general education requirements at UW Marinette before transferring to UW Oshkosh where she studied medical technology from 2004-2008. Janquart chose UWO because she was interested in the Medical Technology program. She lived in a single room in Stewart Hall her freshman year before moving off-campus to live with her now husband. Her focus while at UWO was finishing her degree so she does not have many memories of the social scene, but she did work on campus as a Peer Advising Liaison in the Undergraduate Advising Resource Center. Janquart speaks in detail about the Medical Technology program, including courses and internships, and she reflects on discrimination faced by women in STEM fields. She thought that UWO did a great job preparing her for her career and currently has a job in her field at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Appleton, WI.
Marc Nylen
Marc Nylen, a native of Algoma, WI, has been involved with UW Oshkosh in some capacity since 1987. As a child, Nylen attended the private St. Lawrence Seminary Catholic boarding school in Mt. Calvary, WI, an experience which gave him a lifelong interest in community, education, and the Spanish language. He chose UWO because of its world-renowned foreign language faculty and studied Spanish from 1987-1991. In this interview, Nylen shares warm memories of his undergraduate experience, including finding role models in his dorm, Donner Hall, being involved in OSA and Residence Life, meeting helpful professors, serving as a hospice care worker, and volunteering at Father Carr’s Place 2B, a homeless shelter in the city. Following graduation, Nylen took a year off to travel before coming back to UWO and working as an Assistant Residence Hall Director while finishing his Master’s. During his graduate career, he studied abroad in Guatemala teaching English. Once he received his degree, he began to work for the Department of Residence Life. Nylen discusses the transition from staff to student, highlighting role models who helped him along the way. He is currently the Director of Gruenhagen Conference Center, and he finishes the interview with a discussion of the pride he feels for the city and university.
Mariah Haberman
Mariah Haberman grew up on a farm outside Evansville, WI, and studied journalism with an emphasis in advertising and public relations and a minor in Spanish from 2006-2010 at UW Oshkosh. Haberman was an active and involved child and began to realize in high school that her greatest strengths were in writing and communicating. She chose UWO because the school had a good reputation and was a few hours away from home. Haberman was a good student who was active in the Honors program, played intramural volleyball and was on the dance team. She loved her journalism classes because she enjoyed being surrounded by people who were just as curious about written communication as she was, and she discusses her favorite professors, especially Dr. Stephen Kercher of the History department. Haberman worked hard, bartended on the side, spent a lot of time studying in the Journalism department, studied abroad in Fiji, Australia and New Zealand her junior year, and competed in beauty pageants. Upon graduation, she worked as a temp for a while and eventually found a position with a Madison, WI based media production. Haberman thanks UWO for giving her a strong sense of confidence.
Mark Faby
Mark Faby, a military kid who spent his childhood moving around before his family settled in Waukesha, WI, studied marketing at UW Oshkosh from 1976-1980. Upon graduation from high school, Faby felt lost. He attended UW Waukesha before dropping out, and only attended UWO after his older brother suggested that he could secure Faby a job at his company if he got a business degree. In this interview, Faby paints a vibrant picture of his career at UWO. He lived in Fletcher Hall, then a place for nontraditional housing, and worked at a record store at the Fox River Mall in Appleton. Faby discusses the party, drug and drinking culture on campus, including St. Patrick’s Day, Mingle and Tingle events, and the bar scene. He was an active member of Reeve Union Board who booked concerts at the Draught Board, the beer bar in Reeve Union. Faby shares his detailed memories of meeting the country and blues musicians he worked with, including Jerry Jeff Walker and James Lee Stanley. He reflects on helping to establish the first ByeGosh Fest and seeing William S. Burroughs speak on campus. Faby also discusses the College of Business, including his classes and professors. He feels as though he did not appreciate what he was learning at the time but that he did learn the skills necessary to be successful in his career. Faby’s advice to current students is to be true to yourself and not “take crap from anyone.”
Mary Jo Kruegar Rasmussen
Mary Jo Kruegar Rasmussen, a Kaukauna, WI native, triple majored in speech, political science and economics at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh from 1956-1960. Rasmussen’s parents both had a sixth grade education but valued learning and were supportive of her decision to pursue higher education after her high school debate coach suggested that she should consider attending college. She received a full ride scholarship and chose Oshkosh because of the university’s excellent debate program. Rasmussen discusses the limited student support network in the late 1950s, including the lack of academic counseling and the existence of only one dormitory, Radford Hall. She was an excellent student who excelled academically and was involved in the Alethean social sorority, worked as a tutor, volunteered for the Kennedy campaign in 1960, and was an active member of the debate team. Rasmussen recalls the experience of being one of the few women debaters both at UWO and nationally. She believes that her participation in the university’s speech, political science and debate programs helped her prepare for her successful career as a community outreach specialist and later as the head of the Northern Virginia Community College. Rasmussen is now retired and thinks that UWO is a great school that serves its students well.
Matthew Eldred
Matthew Eldred, a Stockbridge, WI native, studied English at UW Oshkosh from 2000-2005. Eldred came in as a business major, but his grades were lackluster and he switched to English after realizing that was what he was passionate about. He believes that the most important part of college is finding the balance between studying and having fun. Eldred struggled at first to find that balance and was almost placed on academic probation, but he was eventually able to finish strong. In this interview, he reflects primarily on his social life, including playing video games with friends after the Xbox came out, throwing parties, meeting his wife, the bar scene and Pub Crawl, and seeing the band Everclear play at Kolf. Eldred also discusses his memories of 9/11. His favorite part of college was meeting people from different places and seeing them grow to be strong members of the community. Eldred believes that UWO taught him how to be more mature and independent, and he currently has a successful career at a local credit union.
Melissa Hunt
Melissa Hunt, a Kenosha, WI native, majored in urban and regional studies with a business minor at UW Oshkosh from 2000-2005. Hunt chose UWO because she wanted to stay in Wisconsin and liked the location and compactness of the university. She came in as an education major before switching to business and finally urban and regional studies thanks to Professor Michael Brady, who she credits for helping her realize her passions. Hunt was an active student who served as the Vice President for the Rainbow Alliance for HOPE, played rugby and held internships with the Boys and Girls Club, the City of Oshkosh, the City of Ripon, and the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce. In this interview, Hunt reflects on her experience as a lesbian at UWO, her changing views of religion during her college years, and the conversations regarding race, gender and LGBTQ issues that were prominent at the time. She also discusses popular music, her favorite courses, her use of technology and social media, including AIM Messenger and Napster, the bar scene, and her memories of 9/11 on campus. Hunt’s internship with the Chamber of Commerce, which had her involved in planning downtown concert series among other things, turned into a job opportunity upon graduation. She is currently an executive member of the Alumni board and is happy to still be involved in the UWO community.
Michael Brady
Michael Brady grew up in Wauwatosa, WI and studied accounting at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1967-1971. Brady was an athletic and rebellious teenager whose sole reason for attending college was to avoid the draft. The son of two UW Madison alumni, Brady had connections to the flagship campus but was discouraged from going there by his parents, who were unimpressed with the level there of student radicalism. Ironically, he attended Oshkosh at its most radical time. In this interview, Brady shares detailed and vivid memories of nearly every aspect of campus life. He discusses physical changes to the campus, the local bar and restaurant scene, technological changes, classes, classrooms, athletics, parties, student politics, riots, and more. Although Brady claims that he was “there to have a good time and stay out of Vietnam,” he was a student leader who worked as a Resident Assistant for two years, helped found the Delta Upsilon fraternity, and served as a student voice on the Governor’s Commission on Education, the body responsible for incorporating the Wisconsin University System into the University of Wisconsin system proper. Looking back, Brady is proud of how the campus has grown and has a great deal of fondness for his alma mater.
Michael Flanagan
Michael Flanagan was born and raised in Pickett, WI, a small village 12 miles away from the city of Oshkosh. After graduating high school, Flanagan realized that the only way he could avoid the draft was to pursue higher education. He attended Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1966-1971 and studied psychology. Flanagan speaks about the bar, music, antiwar and drug scenes at WSUO during this period, but the most valuable contributions of this interview are Flanagan’s recollections of the racial climate on campus, eventually culminating in Black Thursday. Flanagan’s closest friends at WSUO were all members of the African American community. He shares detailed memories of the events that led to Black Thursday, the day itself, and the aftermath of the incident. Black Thursday and the coinciding loss of a close friend overseas in Vietnam led Flanagan to seek psychological counseling. He took some time off in 1969 to work at Neenah Foundry in order to pay for school and obtain some peace of mind. He returned the following year and finished strong academically. After graduation, Flanagan traveled and made plans to attend graduate school but ended up returning to Wisconsin to care for his sick grandmother. He accepted a job at UWO as a math tutor, a position that he currently holds, and was also the Director of the Multicultural Education Center for over a decade. He finishes the interview with a reflection on the development of the Black Student Union and the Center for Equity and Diversity.
Michael Lizotte
Michael Lizotte is currently a staff member at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte and a former staff/faculty member of UW Oshkosh. Lizotte was raised in a blue collar Massachusetts town and speaks at length about how class differences and perceptions impacted his upraising. He received a full ride scholarship to the University of Massachusetts, where he studied a new major called environmental science, before continuing onto Virginia Tech for his Master’s and then the University of Southern California for his PhD. Lizotte completed postdoctoral work with NASA before accepting a position at UW Oshkosh in 1994. He was attracted to UWO because of the surrounding blue collar community and his ability to empathize with students from working class backgrounds. While at UWO, he helped to develop the environmental studies major and minor and worked with the administration to write a Sustainability Plan. Lizotte discusses the process of developing a major and his relationships with his students. He spent three years away from campus directing research at an oceanography institute in Maine before returning to UWO as academic staff, during which time he helped to develop the Environmental Research and Innovation Center. Lizotte reflects on changing student demographics, women in STEM, and watching Oshkosh change from a conservative, Rust Belt city to a more liberal college town. He ultimately left UWO following the imposition of Scott Walker’s budget cuts and his failure to be promoted permanently to Sustainability Director of the university.
Michael Utech
Michael Utech, an Oshkosh, WI native, graduated with a major in political science and minor in journalism from UW Oshkosh in 1972. Utech graduated high school in 1963 and enrolled at Wisconsin State College Oshkosh as an accounting and psychology double major. He struggled with school and left after his first semester, enrolling in a technical program at the Oshkosh Institute of Technology instead. Utech was unable to finish this course as he was drafted in 1967. He served in Vietnam and returned home in 1969, re-enrolling at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh as a political science major shortly thereafter. Utech was a conservative and politically active student, and in this interview he shares his thoughts on local and student politics in Oshkosh during the late 60s and early 70s. After returning to campus, Utech felt unwelcome by the anti-war student movement as a veteran. He soon found a home with the College Republicans and the Advance Titan, and, in his three years at WSUO, he made a name for himself by running for the Oshkosh City Council and working for local politicians. Utech discusses campaigning, candidates, the political makeup of the city, St. Patrick’s Day, and more in this detailed and colorful interview. After graduating, Utech served on the Winnebago County Board. His advice to current students is to study hard, think ahead, and understand that you don’t need a college degree to be successful.
Michelle Kampa
Michelle Kampa, a West Allis, WI native, studied psychology at UW Oshkosh from 2000-2004. UWO was not her first choice but was the most economically and geographically feasible, plus she had family ties to the area - her father grew up right off campus, and her aunt and uncle were alumni who had been active on campus in the 1960s. Kampa came in as a music education major and loved her program, but she struggled in her classes and had a difficult time adjusting to college life. After becoming a Community Advisor in Nelson Hall her sophomore year, Kampa realized that she her true passion lay in student affairs and switched her major to psychology. Although this decision was difficult, it was ultimately the right path for her to take. Kampa’s CA position transitioned into a Leadership Development Specialist position through Residence Life her junior year. Of her undergraduate years, Kampa discusses her experiences with Wind Ensemble and partying at Ripon College. She completed graduate school in Illinois before returning to UWO to serve as a Hall Director in Nelson Hall from 2006-2009 and North Scott from 2009-2010. Kampa’s ultimate goal was to work in academic advising, and she worked in the Undergraduate Advising Resource Center from 2010 to 2014 advising business students. She currently holds an advising position at the Milwaukee Art Institute. Kampa credits UWO for teaching her how to take risks and set goals, and she still maintains contact with former students.
Michelle Muetzel
Michelle Muetzel, a native of Broadhead, WI, attended UW Oshkosh from 1999-2003 and completed a self-planned major that focused on environmental policy and sustainability. Muetzel chose UWO because of the university’s affordability, compactness and innovative music business major; she had intended to study music and wanted a job in the industry. After failing to get into the music program, she realized that what she was really interested in pursuing was environmental advocacy. The environmental studies major had yet to be developed, so Muetzel worked with the administration and professors across disciplines to create her own unique path of study. She was a politically engaged and socially conscious student who was involved in art organizations, the campus Green Party, and WISPIRG (a public policy interest group). Muetzel helped to lay the groundwork for UWO’s Fair Trade certification, campaigned locally against water pollution, and ran for the Oshkosh City Common Council during her junior year. She shares her memories of the 2000 Presidential election, her favorite professors and the classes she took that had the greatest impact on her worldview. After graduation, Muetzel accepted a job with the campus Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC). She expresses her pride in UWO and believes that the university has begun to build an identity as a quality institution focused on sustainability and research.
Mike Elter
Mike Elter, a native of Milwaukee, WI, studied journalism at UW Oshkosh. Following his high school graduation, Elter entered the Navy and then drove truck for seven years before a back injury gave him the opportunity to attend university through the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation program. In this interview, Elter’s natural good humor shines through as he discusses writing for the Advance Titan, working with fellow students, dealing with fundamentalist protesters in front of Polk Library, and taking courses with his favorite professor, Dr. Wendell Beane of the religious studies department. Elter was the advertisement production manager and then design editor for the Advance Titan, and he speaks at length about the work that went into those positions, the impact of technological change on journalism, and the experience of reporting on campus events and controversies. Since graduating, Welter has worked a number of interesting jobs across the world, including as a Public Affairs Officer on a U.S. airbase stationed in Japan and as the owner of his own public relations company. He went on to receive his Master’s in Public Relations from the University of Memphis, and he is currently semi-retired.
Mohsen Rad
Mohsen Rad was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and studied history and political science at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1961-1967. Rad was part of an exchange program developed by the Iranian government to promote Western education. When he first arrived in Oshkosh, he could not speak English and knew nothing about the university. Despite his initial culture shock, Rad did well at UWO. He shares his memories of friends, dating, going to bars, playing basketball, and participating in the International Relations club. Rad did well academically, although he maintains that he would have done better if he had been speaking his native language. He had planned to study chemistry, but after befriending a political science professor, who also rented him a room in his house where he lived for the majority of his college experience, Rad decided to switch majors. He reflects on the lingering paranoia regarding communism in America in the 1960s, the anti-war scene and also comments on American politics in 2016. After graduation, Rad reluctantly returned to Iran only to come back to Oshkosh with his family in 1986 following the revolution. The university gave Rad a job in residence life, which he greatly enjoyed. Rad expresses his appreciation for American meritocracy and believes that UWO is one of the best and most beautiful campuses in the country.
Norbert Hill
Norbert Hill, Jr. was born and raised in Detroit, MI and moved to the Oneida Nation with his family when he was 16. Hill enrolled at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh in 1964 to avoid the draft and proceeded to complete his Bachelor’s in sociology and anthropology in 1969 and then his Master’s in counseling in 1971. He was involved in Greek Life, student government, the Union Board, and played football, and he shares colorful memories of campus life, including Winter Carnival and the campus party culture. Hill’s interview is full of vivid recollections of UWO in the 60s, but the most valuable contributions are his thoughts on his experience as a Native American on a primarily white campus. He was not outspoken about his identity, but he was highly critical and unafraid to comment on the inequity and racism that he experienced, even if that meant standing up to professors. Hill also shares his thoughts about Black Thursday and the general campus racial climate at the time. He feels as though UW Oshkosh opened up a door for him, and he has proceeded to have an extremely successful career as a businessman and advocate, serving as, among other things, the Chairman of the Board for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Director of Education for the Oneida Tribe.
Oscar Mireles
Oscar Mireles, a native of Racine, WI, studied sociology at UW Oshkosh from 1973-1978 before finishing his degree in 1996. Mireles came from a large family; his parents were migrant workers, and four of his older brothers were already attending UWO by 1973. Mireles did not take school very seriously, but he was a socially conscious student who was close with professors and well-known on campus. He worked in the Multicultural Center, through which he traveled to conferences in places like San Antonio and Atlanta, and served as President of Chicano Unidos, an organization that promoted cultural events and recruited Latino students to UWO. He also led a successful campus boycott of Gallo wine in a show of solidarity with Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers Union. Mireles discusses his relationships with Professor Vincent Lopresti, who he credits for teaching him how to write effectively, Dr. Don Martin, who acted as a mentor, and Dr. Peter Remender, for whom he had a role as an actor in Remender’s Washington Heights simulation course. Mireles also speaks about his social life on campus, including going to jazz concerts, playing intramural sports, the bar scene, St. Patrick’s Day and dating. He worked odd jobs in campus food service, disability advocacy and at the Winnebago County Crisis Hotline. A few credits short from graduating, Mireles accepted a position with the United Migrant Opportunity Services as a case manager. He finished his degree 19 years later, and has had an active life of advocacy and service to his community.
Paul Westrick
Paul Westrick, a psychology and pre-med major with a chemistry minor who attended UW Oshkosh from 1970-1974, grew up moving all over the state but graduated high school in Menomonee Falls, WI. As a child, Westrick spent many long months in hospitals due to pneumonia and a leg injury; the experience had a lasting impact, and he decided that he wanted to study medicine as an adult. Westrick had intended on attending UW Madison, but the radical nature of the campus protest movement, culminating in the Sterling Hall bombing, led him to WSUO instead. Westrick was a driven student who focused on his academics. He discusses his favorite professor, Dr. Timothy Crimmins, his courses, his experiences as an Resident Advisor on a diverse floor, the general attitude toward the war and draft, use of technology within the classroom, drinking culture, and Greek Life. Westrick finished his undergraduate years with a 3.6 GPA - very good, but not good enough to get into medical school. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a cancer researcher at UW Madison instead and ended up having a long career in hospital administration. Westrick believes that college is the only time in a person’s life where you can devote yourself to learning and spending time with others who are going through the same life experiences as you are, and he advises current students not to waste their opportunity.
Paulette Feld
Paulette Feld, a Sheboygan, WI native, graduated with a degree in library science from UW Oshkosh in 1979 and has worked at Polk Library since 1980. Feld started at UW Sheboygan before transferring to UWO because it was the only university in the state that offered a Bachelor’s in library science. She focused on her studies and, upon graduation, she obtained a job as a library assistant at Polk. Feld reflects on the technological changes that have come to the university in the past three decades, but the most unique contributions of this interview are her discussions of administrative and state politics. Feld was an active member of the Classified Staff Advisory Council and fought to win a voice for classified staff, including department assistants, secretaries and custodians, on campus. She also served as the President of the Wisconsin State Employees Union starting in 2011. Feld had been an active member since 1985 but assumed the presidency following the imposition of Act 10. She discusses the impact of Act 10 on unions and universities in detail, and she shares memories of protesting in Madison, including giving speeches, and her involvement in the movement to recall Governor Scott Walker. Feld is currently the president of the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and works on campus. Feld is proud of UWO. She expresses her belief that students today are more active than when she attended the university, and she is pleased that the University Studies Program encourages community involvement.
Peter Greeninger
Peter Greeninger, a native of Oshkosh, WI, studied art education at UW Oshkosh from 1986-1990. Greeninger was a talented high school football star with a passion for art. An influential high school art teacher helped him realize that art education was his path, and Greeninger chose UWO because the university had a comprehensive art education program and also offered him a chance to play football. Greeninger was a commuter student who worked at a local restaurant and dated his high school sweetheart, also an education student, throughout his undergraduate years. In this interview, he discusses the relationship between town kids and the university, the bar scene, the art education program, and the football team. Greeninger was especially close with Professor Paul Donhauser, who helped him realize his talent for ceramics, and his best memories of college football involve the brotherly relationships he built with his fellow teammates. Upon graduation, Greeninger married his high school sweetheart and would go on to have a successful teaching and coaching career. The pair of alumni have four children, three of which have also attended UWO at the time of this interview. Greeninger believes that the most important things you can do in college are to build positive relationships with your professors, be smart about money and maintain a strong work ethic. He is proud at the continued success of the university.
Philip Aggen
Philip Aggen was raised on a farm in Central Wisconsin and majored in psychology with a minor in sociology at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1967-1971. Aggen pursued higher education to escape farm life, and he studied psychology because of a life-long interest in how people thought and operated. He was an average student who found it difficult to focus on his studies because of the cultural and political unrest on campus and in the country broadly. Aggen lived in the East Hall dormitory and worked as a research assistant for the Psychology Department. He reflects on the various social cliques and the diversity of the student population, and he shares his own memories of the bar scene, the sexual revolution, drugs and drinking culture on campus. Aggen speaks at length about the insanity of the year 1968, including the Presidential election, assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and the riots on Algoma Boulevard. After graduation, Aggen joined the Air Force to avoid being drafted into the Army. After serving, he received his Master’s in Counseling and worked in various forms of public service before retiring.
Rebecca Hart
Rebecca Hart was raised in Hartland, WI, and studied journalism at UW Oshkosh from 1990-1995. She chose UWO because she was attracted to the campus, location and the journalism program, and she was a studious and social student who was active on campus and did well academically. In this interview, Hart shares her experiences as Sports Editor of the Advance-Titan from 1992-1994. She recalls spending long nights working on the AT in the basement of Radford Hall, and she discusses the process of creating the AT in the 1990s, including the use of primitive computer programs, the challenges of working at a student newspaper, and her favorite features and stories. Hart enjoyed covering Jarrod Washburn, a UWO baseball star who would later play professionally, and remembers the excitement of reporting on the riots in the early 1990s. During her final years, Hart interned at an Appleton Aid Association for Lutherans, which she credits for teaching her about the corporate world, and worked as an intern reporter at a Beaver Dam newspaper, which gave her a taste of the fast-paced nature of daily news. She reflects on how journalism as a field has changed in the past 20-25 years. Ultimately, Hart believes that UWO prepared her well for the real world of journalism and her subsequent career as a corporate writer.
Rick Gilbertson
Rick Gilbertson was born and raised on a farm west of Columbus, WI, and south of Rio, WI. He studied music, art, and dance at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. Rick has had a wide range of professional experience, including teaching dance, singing professionally, and working with the United States Postal Service. While attending the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, Rick roomed with William “Bill” Bukowski. Bill used Rick’s likeness to create a comic strip hero, Augmento.
Rob Richardson
Rob Richardson was raised in Oshkosh, WI, six blocks from UW Oshkosh. He attended the Campus School and later studied Radio/TV/Film, Journalism and Education at the university. Richardson’s campus connections go way back. As a child, he remembers watching the expanding campus add new buildings, and he shares his childhood memories of Black Thursday. Richardson attended Oshkosh area schools before returning to UWO for college due to its proximity to home and low cost. While at Oshkosh, Richardson, a charismatic and easygoing student, was heavily involved in WRST and TitanTV. In this interview, he discusses classes, parties, meeting famous TV stars like William Conrad, streaking, and more. After graduation, Richardson went on to have a successful career in IT, breaking into the field during in a very volatile period in the 1980s and 1990s. He credits UWO for teaching him how to be a lifelong learner, a trait that he believes has contributed to his career successes.
Rob Rudolph
Rob Rudolph grew up in Plymouth, WI and studied journalism at UW Oshkosh from 1972-1976. Growing up, Rudolph was a wild kid with a good sense of humor. College was not on his radar, but his desire to see the world outside of Plymouth and avoid the last days of the draft led him to Oshkosh. He was not the most studious and, after struggling his freshman year, he dropped to part-time status and worked on the side. In this interview, Rudolph shares a series of fond and humorous memories of the city and university. He worked for a private bus line and an excavating company, two jobs that gave him a unique perspective on how the city was expanding in the mid-1970s. Closer to campus, Rudolph was a prolific writer for the Advance Titan. He discusses student politics, including a controversial article he wrote on the misuse of funds by the OSA president, and he reflects on technological change, bar and drinking culture, his favorite journalism courses, and more. Rudolph credits Oshkosh for opening his eyes to the diversity of the human experience and giving him a more global perspective on life.
Robert and Shirley White
Robert and Shirley White came to UW-Oshkosh in 1964 to teach in the Health, Physical Education & Recreation department. Robert also became the basketball coach. During his time as coach, the UWO basketball team became a successful team – scoring three Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships. Robert and Shirley discuss their pathways into athletics, teaching in Columbus, Ohio, famous colleague Bobby Knight, racial demographics in athletics and on UWO’s campus, and memorable players including Dorian Boyland, John Lallensack, and Rob Hayek. Robert retired from UWO in 1994, and Shirley retired in 2005.
Robert J. Snyder
Robert J. Snyder is the son of Dr. Robert “Doc” Snyder, the founder of the radio/TV/film program at UW Oshkosh. Snyder was born in Kansas, but moved to Oshkosh in 1964 with his family. He was essentially raised on campus, and he shares childhood memories of Winter Carnival, football games, protests and riots in the late 1960s, and WRST, where he had his own radio show at age six. Snyder himself studied RTF at UWO from 1978-1982, and he discusses his favorite professors and his recollections of St. Patrick’s Day parties, as well as his involvement in WRST and TitanTV. He ran for OSA Vice President and was deeply involved in various athletics programs because of his role as a reporter and broadcaster. Snyder is still active at alumni events, and his son is currently a student at UWO. He finishes his interview with a reflection on the successful careers of the RTF students that his father taught and that he knew when he was in the program.
Ron Hermes
Ron Hermes, a native of Green Bay, WI, studied history at UW Oshkosh from 1986-1987, and then from 1988-1992. Hermes started his freshman year at UW Madison, but dropped out before completing a full semester. He took time off to work and attended UWO the following year, but took another year off before eventually returning to finish his degree. Hermes was an extremely active student. His involvement on campus began when he joined the Delta Chi fraternity. Hermes discusses how he was attracted to the volunteerism, participation in events like Homecoming and Winter Carnival, the business-logistics side of running an organization and the supportive community of leadership Delta Chi offered. He became the President of his fraternity and would go on to become the founding President of the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), an organization whose creation he spearheaded in order to change the perception of fraternities and help the university cope with changing drinking age policies. His involvement in Greek Life led to his involvement in student government; he served as the President of OSA from 1991-1992 and led a massively successful voter registration campaign designed to quell student unrest over drinking age changes. Hermes reflects on his successes, as well as his relationships with Chancellor Kerrigan and the Dean of Students at the time. He credits his leadership experiences with Delta Chi and IFC as well as the networks he built while Student President for allowing him to start a successful career in state politics.
Roy Hoglund
An Oshkosh native, Charles "Roy" Hoglund went to Oshkosh West High School before he started at the University of Wisconsin -- Oshkosh (UWO). He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1976 and married Paula (Stevenson) Hoglund in 1977. He continued with his studies earning a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington in 1980. His career brought him back to UWO, this time as a professor. At Oshkosh West High School, Roy befriended Mark Gruenwald and stayed good friends with him during their time at UWO and until Mark's death in 1996. Roy still lives with his wife in Oshkosh.
Scott Barr
Scott Barr, who considers Deerfield, WI his hometown, studied criminal justice at UW Oshkosh from 1981-1986. Barr was raised in a very close-knit, religious family where education was valued. He had a lifelong interest in law and an aptitude for criminal justice so he decided to study it in college and chose UWO because it had the top-ranked CJ program in the state at the time. Barr was an intellectually curious and hardworking student who sampled a variety of courses from different disciplines and held odd-jobs throughout his college career. He discusses his favorite courses, including anthropology courses which he argues helped him better understand people, and philosophy courses, which he credits for teaching him how to think and apply concepts logically. Barr was a Community Advisor in South Scott for 3 years, and he reflects generally on campus culture at the time, including the bar scene, his favorite places on campus to study, and the Mounds, an art installation that was the source of many campus myths. He also speaks about St. Patrick’s Day parties, which he believes were not a good representation of the university, and drinking on campus in general. Barr found that UWO prepared him well for law school, but he admits that he did not think about his time at the university until he was asked to come back and speak to current students. He feels deeply indebted to the university and expresses his strong desire for alumni to give back to the campus community.
Sharon Radley
Sharon Radley, a Ripon, WI native, studied art education at UW Oshkosh from 1974-1978. Her interview is broad and multifaceted. Radley speaks about being an art student at UWO, including the struggle of trying to do art while living in a dormitory, her favorite art professors, and the techniques that she learned in her classes. She reflects on campus drinking culture, especially St. Patrick’s Day parties, and shares her memories of an incident where someone drunkenly fell down an elevator shaft. Radley discusses the gender climate on campus during the late 1970s and shares her thoughts on the strict rules women who lived in dorms were supposed to follow, the experience of being in an abusive relationship while in college, obtaining birth control for the first time, and the general lack of education about safe sex and STIs on campus. She believes that technology has completely changed the college experience, but maintains that the most important thing a student can do while in school is network and meet new people.
Sharon Rhode
Sharon Rhode, a native of Fond du Lac, WI, received her Bachelor’s in upper elementary education and her Master’s in counseling from UW Oshkosh. Rhode knew that she wanted to be a teacher, and she chose UWO because of its affordability. In this interview, she discusses her coursework and professors, the process of registering for for classes, her undergraduate love for Titan basketball, and the physical layout of the campus, including the old houses and the quonset huts. Of particular interest are her vivid and detailed memories of Black Thursday and St. Patrick’s Day, as well as her reflections on how being a baby boomer impacted her life. Rhode was a musical student and a member of the marching band. She speaks at length about the music department on campus, including what it was like to be a part of the music community before the Arts and Communications Building was built. After graduation, Rhode decided to pursue her Master’s in counseling. She remembers graduate school as being a difficult experience, with long classes and students that she struggled to connect with. Following graduate school, Rhode had a successful career in education, but she left it after growing ill of dealing with administrative politics and overbearing parents. She went on to work odd jobs, including a position as a manager for Polk Library’s lending library from 2004 to 2008, before retiring. Rhode’s advice for current students is to be flexible and smart with their career goals.
Stephanie Briggs
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Stephanie Briggs, a native of Fremont, WI, studied communications at UW Oshkosh from 1995-1999 before returning to complete her Master’s in counseling with an emphasis in student affairs from 2000 to 2002. Briggs was a first generation college student from rural Wisconsin with intentions to enter the medical field who attended UWO because she was having doubts about her path and wanted a university close to home where she could explore her options. A required speech class helped her to realize that her true passion lay in communicating with others. Briggs declared communications as her major and decided to marry her aptitude for science with her communication skills and work toward becoming a speech pathologist. An active and social student, Briggs spent her undergraduate years spending time with friends, serving as a prominent member of the Nelson Hall government and working as a tour guide in the Admissions office. She discusses hall programming and traditions, her relationships with her residents, participating in Homecoming and Winter Carnival events, and attending concerts and sports games with her friends, including her now husband. Briggs also shares her memories of Princess Diana’s death, the OJ Simpson Trial and 9/11. Upon graduating, Briggs realized that a career in student affairs was more aligned with her personal interests and values. She completed her Master’s degree at UWO and has had an active and successful career in her field. Briggs currently serves on the UWO Alumni Board.
Steven Burton-Karges
Steven Burton-Karges was raised in Oshkosh, WI and studied history at the Wisconsin State College Oshkosh from 1959-1963. Karges’ father was the Chair of the Geology Department at Oshkosh, and Karges essentially grew up on campus; he recalls attending the Rose C. Swart Training School and seeing his father build relationships with students. Karges wanted to be a historian and considered attending other universities, but ultimately decided to complete his undergraduate degree at UWO. He was a campus leader who was active in student government, served as the class president all four years, and was the program coordinator and later president of the Reeve Union Board. Karges enjoyed his time at UWO because of the small size of the campus, which, at that time, numbered only a few hundred students, and the opportunities to develop personal relationships with professors. He reflects on the racial climate of campus and argues that in the early 60s the largest tensions were between the white student population and the Iranian exchange students, and that the tensions were rooted more in cultural differences than racism. This interview offers a clear snapshot of the campus community in the early 1960s. Karges went on to complete his PhD in History at UW Madison and had a successful career teaching at UW Whitewater.
Susan Stansbury
Susan Stansbury grew up in Gladstone, MI, and studied English at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1964-1968. Standsbury’s parents were both highly educated, something that was less common at the time for the small community in which they lived, and she was encouraged to seek out higher education from a young age. A talented debater in high school, Standsbury chose WSUO because of its nationally renowned debate team. She quickly distinguished herself as an active and talented student, devoting her time and energy to activities as varied as debate, Model UN, WRST, Reeve Union Board, and the Advance Titan. A self-described “quintessential boomer,” Standsbury reflects on the experience of studying for a summer at NYU in Greenwich Village, being on campus during Vietnam, student riots, breaking the class ceiling, and more. She credits WSUO for teaching her professional skills, and she has had a long and successful career as a business consultant for the paper industry.
Tabitha Zehms
Tabitha Zehms grew up in De Pere, WI and from 2002-2007 she pursued two consecutive degrees at UW Oshkosh, with an undergraduate degree in Spanish with a minor in philosophy and then a graduate degree in biology with a microbiology emphasis. Zehms, an intelligent student with a voracious appetite for learning, initially entered UW Oshkosh following the suggestion of her father, an alumnus, as a Medical Technology major with an interest in pre-med. Once she arrived on campus, she was swept up in the wide array of possible choices of study - she changed her major multiple times, being taken with music, biology, Spanish, philosophy and more, before finally deciding on Spanish simply because that was the field she had the most credits in. In this comprehensive interview, Zehms discusses campus life and roommates, her favorite classes and labs, and her study abroad experiences in Mexico, London and Austria. While in school, she worked as a Peer Advising Liaison, a lab aid, and she played in a string quartet at special events and weddings. Following graduation, she realized that she wanted to study biology after all, and she enrolled in a Master’s program for microbiology at UW Oshkosh. While in the program, she was heavily involved in the Biology Club and took part in an internship that tested beach and water safety in Door County. Zehms ultimately ended up working in programming, but she believes that what she learned at UW Oshkosh about work and the world was still valuable. She now lives in Boston with her family and is connected to the university and alumni community through social media.
Tamara Dever
Tamara Dever, a native of La Crosse, WI, studied graphic design at UW Oshkosh from 1987-1991. Dever knew from a young age that she wanted to be a graphic designer, and she chose UWO because the university had the emphasis she most wanted to study. Once she arrived on campus, she excelled in her coursework. She speaks in detail about her favorite professors, especially Dr. Art Pontynen who helped her fall in love with art history, and classes, including a course in which she had to sketch live nudes. Dever reflects on tensions and perceptions between design students, like herself, and fine arts students, and she discusses her experience of the shift from traditional to digital art. Dever worked as a graphic designer for Residence Life, a position that allowed her to learn how to use cutting edge technology, and she used her skills to design t-shirts and logos for ResLife, TitanTV, and, in one memorable instance, a local business. Although Dever was a serious artist, she was also an active and social student. She served on the Taylor Hall government, and she shares vivid memories of hanging out with friends and attending events in Reeve Union. Dever graduated with honors and was quickly hired as an art director for a Madison-based magazine. She ultimately became a book designer, and she has had a long and successful career running her own design company, TLC, which is based out of Texas.
Ted Conrardy
Ted Conrardy, a native of Sheboygan, WI, studied journalism at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh, graduating in 1975. Upon graduating high school, Conrardy believed he wanted to become an art teacher, and he enrolled in WSUO partially because his then girlfriend would be attending and partially because the university had a good art program. Once he arrived at the university, Conrardy excelled in his art classes but was bored by his education courses. Unsure of what to do, he decided to study journalism after he was introduced to the field by working on the Quiver, the school yearbook, which at that time was published in multiple magazines throughout the year. Conrardy was an active and social student, and he discusses working on the Quiver, acting as managing editor for the Advance Titan, and serving on the Reeve Union Board Concert Committee, a position that involved bringing bands like Crosby, Stills & Nash to campus. Conrardy lived in Nelson Hall, which he remembers as a lively dorm packed with diverse students, and he was a member of the Sigma Delta Chi pre-professional journalism society. Following graduation, Conrardy had a long and successful career first in newspapers and advertising and then in production management. His advice to current students is to have fun but always prepare for your future.
Terry Backmann
Terry Backmann, a native of West Allis, WI, majored in journalism and radio/tv/film with a music minor at UW Oshkosh from 1974-1978. In high school, Backmann worked on her school’s paper and knew from then on that she wanted to study journalism in college. When it came time to choose a school, she followed her sister, a fellow UWO student, and came to Oshkosh. Although she was surprised and disappointed by the conservatism and lack of diversity in the city, she made friends easily and liked the university. Backmann was a hardworking and active student who was determined to graduate in four years. She was heavily involved on campus, working for the Advance Titan and WRST as well as serving as the president for Sigma Delta Chi, the journalism honors society, a position through which she brought Walter Mears to campus. In this interview, Backmann discusses the journalism and radio fields in detail, including the respective departments, the impact of technological change, and differences in gendered expectations of appearance for the two fields. She reflects on politics, recounting a story of seeing Ronald Reagan getting protested on campus, and she discusses controversial AT articles, student activism in the 1970s, and the relationship between the campus and city. After graduation, Backmann worked for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for twenty years and is now a financial advisor. She is still close with the journalism alumni community on campus, and she is one of the founders of the David Engels scholarship. She finishes the interview with a discussion on the state of UW Oshkosh, journalism, and politics.
Theresa Cain
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Theresa Cain, a native of Spencer, WI, studied nursing at UW Oshkosh from 1995-1999. Cain was inspired to become a nurse after seeing the positive impact her mother, also a nurse, had on her community. She chose UWO because she was attracted to the size of the campus and received a significant scholarship supporting her studies, but her parents did not understand why she wanted a four year degree and gave little support. Despite this, Cain had a successful career as an active and dedicated nursing student at UWO. She sang choir, worked as a freshman orientation leader and volunteered at the Opera House downtown. Cain discusses her experiences with the College of Nursing, including the competitive and rigorous nature of the program, her relationships with fellow nursing students, her experiences on rotation at a local Salvation Army shelter and at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute, a study abroad trip to France and England, and her clinical experience at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, which she credits for helping her realize which field of nursing suited her best. Cain also reflects on drinking culture in Oshkosh, which she believes supports rape culture, her perceptions of Greek Life, her experiences with a roommate who was in an abusive relationship, and she shares an anecdote about surviving a dorm fire in Donner Hall. Cain credits UWO for opening her eyes to the variedness of human experiences and maintains that attending college was one of the best decisions she has made in her life.
Tiffany Taticek
Tiffany Taticek is a native of Plainfield, WI who studied journalism at UW Oshkosh from 2004-2007. She was raised on a Christmas tree farm, an experience that she believes taught her a strong work ethic from a young age. Upon graduating high school, Taticek was encouraged by her father, a UW Madison alumnus, to attend his alma mater, but she was intimidated by its size and attracted to UWO’s journalism department. While at Oshkosh, Taticek was an active and motivated student. She was involved with the Donner Hall Government, the Reeve Union Board, and PRSSA. Despite her involvement, she struggled with the impersonal nature of her courses and floundered until she came under the wing of public relations professor Julie Henderson. In this interview, Taticek reflects on campus life, meeting her husband, and living through 9/11 and the start of the Iraq War. She credits UW Oshkosh for teaching her the value of responsibility.
Tim Duex
Tim Duex, an Oshkosh, WI native, studied geology at Wisconsin State University Oshkosh from 1963-1967. Duex’s family was deeply embedded in the Oshkosh community and placed a strong emphasis on education, so he knew that college was his path but was unsure of what to study. He realized that geology was his passion, but the university did not introduce the major until his senior year so Duex has the honor of being the first geology major to graduate from Oshkosh. Duex reflects on the population explosion that occurred at WSUO in the 60s, including the many construction projects and administrative nightmares that came with the increase in enrollment. Also of interest are Duex’s memories of running cross country. Duex was an award-winning and record-breaking runner who participated in the sport until a leg injury his senior year put him on the sidelines. He discusses his experiences with the cross country team, the novelty of long-distance running at the time, and his belief that a lack of knowledge about exercise science contributed to his injury. After graduation, Duex attended Rice University for graduate school where he ran track, but he was drafted into the military and finished his degree while stationed in Germany. He was able to use his Master’s degree to get a job teaching in Germany and throughout Europe before leaving the service and obtaining his PhD. He has had a successful career in academia and currently teaches at the University of Louisiana.
Timber Smith
Timber Smith was raised in the Milwaukee, WI area. He began his college career studying library science at UW Oshkosh in 1992, but left after his freshman year to join the military and start a family. Smith returned and completed his Bachelor’s degree in sociology at UWO in 2011 and currently works as a recruiter in the Admissions office. Smith was attracted to the university because he had completed pre-college programs here and was already familiar with the campus. Transitioning was not difficult for him because he was already accustomed to attending schools that had a large white population, and he quickly made friends on campus. Smith was a social student who was active in the Black Student Union and pledged to Alpha Phi Alpha, a traditionally black fraternity. He remembers the supportive and welcoming culture of campus leaders of color and credits Alpha Phi Alpha for teaching him how to carry himself like a “gentleman.” Smith comments upon the racism he experienced in Northeast Wisconsin; he argues that, although he never felt as though his life was in danger, it was not uncommon for him to come across unconscious bias or ignorance. He reflects on how the campus has grown, both physically and demographically, in his long career at UWO, and he discusses his current role at the university as a popular mentor for students of color. Finally, Smith shares an anecdote about seeing Barack Obama speak at UWO while campaigning. He describes the experience as “unifying.”
Timothy VanAsten
Timothy Van Asten, an Appleton, WI native, studied art at UW Oshkosh from 1984-1987. Van Asten started his college career at Fox Valley Center, where he played soccer and did well academically. He continued this pattern of success during his time at UWO. Van Asten was a member of the university’s first soccer team and later became the Assistant Coach. He speaks at length about the team, including his coach, team dynamics, his experiences, and how he balanced being an athlete and being a student. Van Asten’s interview is full of colorful anecdotes about the bar scene, soccer games, dorm life, partying and his favorite professors, including Professor Russ Lowe who specialized in graphic design and commercial art. He never let his active social life get in the way of his academic pursuits, and he offers advice to current students about the importance of developing good study skills.
Tom Fojtik
Tom Fojtik was born in Cudahy, WI and worked in the Department of Residence Life at UW Oshkosh from 1982-2017, including 11 years as the Director. Fojtik received his Master’s degree in social work at the University of Chicago and intended to work with people with mental illnesses but realized that the work was too emotionally taxing. He accepted a position as Residence Hall Director of South Gruenhagen Hall at UWO in 1982 and eventually became the Director of Residence Life in 2006. In this extremely comprehensive interview, Fojtik discusses his role as Director and experiences with Residence Life. He sees his job as being a big picture-oriented, strategic position that includes general oversight of the department and representing Residence Life on campus. He believes that ResLife’s role at the university lays in collaborating with other departments, aiding in student retention, and fostering campus engagement. Fojtik discusses his attitude toward campus drinking policies, which he argues target “obnoxious behavior” not the act of drinking itself, and administrative responses to events like Pub Crawl. He reflects on how the residence halls have changed over time, including increased student and parent expectations, better student support, and better mental health services. Fojtik finds that the most rewarding part of the job is seeing students evolve, and he specifically mentions United Students in Residence Halls as a vehicle for student involvement and growth. He believes ResLife fosters a positive and good environment but worries about the future challenges posed by a lack of resources.
Tonya Peotter
Tonya Peotter, a Green Bay, WI native, majored in education and special education with a minor in health at UW Oshkosh from 1992-1996. Peotter was expected by her family and community to attend college, and she chose UWO because she liked the location and the well-reputed education program. She discusses campus life, including going to classes, her schedule, the party scene, dorm life, and hanging out with her friends. Peotter reflects on her experience of the campus and the city, and she expresses her appreciation for the university and that many wonderful experiences it gave her. Peotter offers a comprehensive discussion of campus life in the 1990s.
Trevor Miller
(TRANSCRIPT ONLY) Trevor Miller was born and raised in Marinette, WI, and studied history at UW Oshkosh from 1995-2000. Miller chose UWO because he was interested in teaching social studies at the high school level and knew that the university had a strong education program. He was an average student who focused mostly on the social aspects of college. Miller loved meeting people from different backgrounds and spent much of his time partying. He discusses the bar scene in detail and shares anecdotes of beer gardens and parties, including an instance where he met his now wife while being arrested at a house party. As his college career progressed, Miller became involved in local politics and shares his memories of interning for Senator Russ Feingold and working for the Democratic party in Green Bay during Clinton’s impeachment. Miller has since had a successful career in Washington, D.C. and, although he has only visited campus briefly since his graduation, he reflects on the physical changes to UWO, including the addition of new buildings. He credits the university for introducing him to new experiences.
Trevor Uitenbroek
Trevor Uitenbroek grew up in Kaukauna, WI, and studied Radio/TV/Film at UW Oshkosh in the early 2010s. Uitenbroek was a hardworking student who completed his gen eds at UW Fox Valley before transferring to Oshkosh because of the university’s prestigious RTF program. Uitenbroek was heavily involved on campus, working for WRST, TitanTV, and participating in Newman Center activities. In this interview, he speaks at length about producing content for WRST and TitanTV. He had his own bluegrass radio show and sports program. Upon graduating, Uitenbroek struggled to find a job, but eventually ended up working for WBAY. His advice for current students is to work hard but take care of yourself as well.
Victor Alatorre
Victor Alatorre, a native of Monterrey, Mexico, has been involved with the UW Oshkosh community in some fashion since 1991. He worked on his Bachelor’s in international business from 1991-1996 before receiving his Master’s in business administration in 2000. Following graduation, Alatorre has worked in various IT roles across departments, including Residence Life, and he is currently the IT Director of Infrastructure and serves on the advisory board for the computer science major. Alatorre first came to the United States in 1990 as a high school exchange student interested in improving his English. He lived with a host family in Slinger, WI, and they encouraged him to stay and attend college in the U.S. He chose UW Oshkosh because it had a welcoming international student support network. Alatorre came to the university with the intention of studying computer science but switched majors when he realized he did not have the logic skills to thrive in his courses. He spent his first year keeping to himself and other Spanish-speaking students, but his experience at UWO changed irrevocably when he joined the fraternity Delta Sigma Phi, which he would later become the president of. In this extremely detailed and comprehensive interview, Alatorre discusses the experience of being an international student, his relationship with his family and Mexico, Greek Life, student leadership, the 1995 beer riots, his career, imposter syndrome, handling funding cuts, student retention, campus IT, and much, much more. In the end, Alatorre advises students of the importance of living in the moment, having faith in yourself, and knowing what is of value in life.
Walt Busalacchi
Walt Busalacchi, a Milwaukee, WI native, majored in social science secondary education with a minor in geography from 1969-1972. Busalacchi was raised in a working-class family where there was no expectation to pursue higher education, but he decided to seek a degree after failing his army physical and realizing that he hated factory work. He attended the Milwaukee Area Technical College to finish his general education credits before coming to the Wisconsin State University Oshkosh. His memories of WSUO are of a vibrant and overflowing campus community energized by social unrest and post-WWII prosperity. Busalacchi refrained from becoming directly involved because he was committed to finishing his education, but he shares his thoughts on the political climate of campus at the time, the relationship between WSUO and UW Madison, and campus protests, including the destruction of Algoma Boulevard. He also discusses the excitement of changes to the university like the construction of new residence halls and the change of name from “Wisconsin State University Oshkosh” to “University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.” Busalacchi’s favorite college memories include listening to records in Reeve Union and celebrating the first Earth Day. The interview finishes with a poignant reflection on the passing of time and an expression of Busalacchi’s wish that he could have experienced the unique events of the 1960s more completely.
William Bartlett
William Bartlett is a native of Oshkosh, WI, who graduated from Wisconsin State University Oshkosh in 1971 with an earth science teaching degree. Bartlett’s connection to Oshkosh runs deep - his father was the general manager of the Oshkosh Trunk company, and his mother is the daughter of William Pollock, one time president of the Oshkosh B’Gosh company. He was raised in the house which is now the Multicultural Education Center, and he attended the Campus Training School. As a child, he remembers the 96 Army Air Corps being stationed at Swart Hall, and he was taught by Louisa B. Scott, whom Scott Hall is named after. Bartlett studied geology at UW Madison, but he left to work for the Shell Oil Company before finishing his degree. He fought in the Korean War and then returned to Oshkosh, bought a farm (which has since been cut through by Highway 41), and started a family. In the late 1960s, Bartlett began to feel restless, and he decided to enroll in WSUO to finish his degree. In this interview, Bartlett speaks at length about his professors and classes, the history of the geology department, going on field trips, and local and national geology. Following graduation, Bartlett realized that teaching was not for him, but he has remained active within the UWO geology community due to his lifelong passion and interest in the field. A $250 scholarship for current geology students, the Bartlett Award, is named after him due to his support of the department.
William Kitz
Dr. William Kitz is the director emeritus of Project Success, a program designed to help UW Oshkosh students with learning disabilities. Dr. Kitz is an Oshkosh, WI native and UWO alumni; he attended the university from 1966-1970 and received his Bachelor’s in elementary education before returning from 1980 to 1982 to complete his Master’s in counseling. As a graduate student, Kitz volunteered to be a tutor for the then year-old Project Success program. He discusses the early days of Project Success, how the program has changed since the 1980s, and the ultimate goals of Project Success. Dr. Kitz is incredibly knowledgeable about learning disabilities and has strong opinions about the political and administrative aspects of running a program like Project Success. This interview is a detailed and comprehensive examination of how Project Success operates and what the future holds for the program. Dr. Kitz maintains that his ultimate goal is to put Project Success out of business because that would mean people with learning disabilities would have obtained the help they need before reaching college.
William Urbrock
William Urbrock, a native of Chicago, IL, was a founding member of the Religious Studies department at UW Oshkosh who taught from 1972 until his retirement in 2004. Urbrock attended college in Milwaukee and Fort Wayne, Indiana before attending seminary school in St. Louis and, finally, studying near eastern languages and civilizations at Harvard University until 1969. Urbrock was teaching at a college in Pennsylvania when he saw an advertisement in the local newspaper calling for qualified persons to help build a religious studies department at UW Oshkosh. Eager to move closer to home, he applied and was hired on what was initially a one semester contract. This one semester contract turned into 32 years. In this interview, Urbrock discusses growing up as the child of first and second generation immigrants in Chicago, his impressions of Oshkosh upon his arrival, working with faculty and students, and establishing the religious studies major. He shares details of administrative changes, including an incident in which he was fired by the outgoing President Guiles and then rehired by the incoming Chancellor Birnbaum following some pointed student lobbying on his behalf. Overall, Urbrock has fond memories of the campus and is still heavily involved with the community, teaching classes in the area and attending university cultural events. He encourages current students to try new things and take advantage of all of the opportunities life presents them.