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Alumni Pride

UW Oshkosh alumni make an impact around the nation and the world. Here is just a sampling of our outstanding graduates.

Emily Akright '09

akright-emily.jpgNursing grad helps wounded in Haiti

Akright went on a trip to Haiti, where she offered aid to victims of the Jan. 12 2010, 7.0-magnitude earthquake that claimed more than 200,000 lives. Read More...



Darrin Anderson ’10 (MBA) Sarah Anderson ’03 and ’08 (MBA)


College of Business alumni couple begins publishing company to honor their son

In November 2009, Darrin Anderson ’10 (MBA) and his wife, Sarah Anderson ’03 and ’08 (MBA), suddenly lost their 3-year-old son, Henry Morgan Anderson, to an untreated and undiagnosed immune deficiency disorder. Read More...


Russell Balda '61

balda-russell.jpgDebunked the "Bird Brain" Myth

As one of the foremost experts on the pinyon jay, alumnus Russell Balda's research has revealed that the species has highly developed mental capabilities in select areas, debunking the phrase "bird brain." Read More...



Corey Baumgartner '02 and MS '05

Corey Baumgartner

2012 Outstanding Young Alumnus

For University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Corey Baumgartner ’02, MS ’05, hard work and diplomacy have fueled his success as a teacher, coach and educational administrator. Read More...



Craig Birkholz '09

birkholz-craig.jpgUWO journalism project preserves fallen officer’s story

Craig Birkholz’s promising future in law enforcement ended in a Fond du Lac residential neighborhood, not the warzones he had dutifully served in and returned home from. Read More...




Clifford Christl '70

christl-clifford.jpg2009 Distinguished Alumnus

For more than three decades, award-winning journalist Clilfford Christl '70, of Green Bay, "didn't care a lick" whether the Green Bay Packers won or lost. He just wanted to report the story. Read More...

Watch Christl's UWO reflections.



Bruce Dethlefsen ‘92

dethlefsen-bruce.jpgAlumnus named Wisconsin Poet Laureate

As a tribute to his published works, literary nominations and honors, and his dedication to poetry, Bruce Dethlefsen '92 was named Wisconsin Poet Laureate by Gov. Jim Doyle which began Jan. 1, 2011. Read More...



Devan Doan ‘10

doan-devan.jpgRecent grad wins bench press world championship

Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in Spring 2010, Devan Doan, the nursing graduate landed a job as a registered nurse in the emergency department at Appleton Medical Center, published a book and, in her spare time, won the gold medal at the International Powerlifting Federation’s Open Bench Press World Championships in Killeen,Texas. Read More...



John Feld '00

feld-john.jpg2010 Outstanding Young Alumnus

In 2010, the Milwaukee Business Journal named him in its “Forty under 40” feature, which recognized dynamic young business leaders.

"UWO opened up a world of oppurtunity to me. I am very proud that my alma mater draws its strength from Midwestern values and large numbers of first-generation college students."



Michael Fredrick '97

fredrick-michael.jpg2011 Outstanding Young Alumnus

Planting the seeds of his career in Milwaukee as a copywriter at several advertising agencies, Michael Fredrick ‘97, UW Oshkosh alumnus, now flourishes as the creative director at Bader Rutter, the largest advertising agency in Wisconsin. Read More...



Amber Genett '98

Amber Genett2012 Outstanding Young Alumna

Creativity combined with critical-thinking skills drive University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Amber Genett’s success in both her career and the community. Read More...




Angelee Hammond '08


Graduation Project opens door to degree

Angelee Hammond left the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh during her senior year due to new familial and financial priorities. In 2008, Hammond decided to come back to UW Oshkosh and started working on the Graduation Project. Read More...



Brenda Hicks-Sorensen '98


2010 Outstanding Young Alumna

A strong educational foundation from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh helps alumna Brenda Hicks-Sorensen ’98, of Fond du Lac, strengthen the region’s economic foundation.

“I enjoyed hanging out in the student lounge area and appreciated it when professors would stop in. I didn’t realize at the time how much I learned during those informal discussions.” Read More...



Alan Hobson '82

hobson-alan.jpg2010 Distinguished Alumnus

As a cancer survivor and Mount Everest “summiteer,” University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Alan Hobson ’82, of Canada, coaches others to conquer their challenges.

“Finish your education and get out there and make a difference ... Your future, the future of your children, and the future of the human race and our earth are at stake.” Read More...


Kylie Hodges '11

hodges-kylie.jpgKetchup with Kylie: Alumna hotdogging across nation

Sometime in the early 1990s, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Kylie Hodges ’11, of Madison, attended an audition for an Oscar Mayer “Sing the Jingle” contest. Hodges may not have won the jingle contest, but today she goes by “Ketchup Kylie” and was one of the lucky few chosen as part of the latest hotdogger team. Read More...


Anton 'Tony' Hopfinger '66

Anton Hopfinger

2012 Distinguished Alumnus

In the world of computational chemistry and chemistry informatics, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Anton “Tony” Hopfinger ’66, of Lake Forest, Ill., is known as a founding father. Read More...




David Gillingham '69 and MST '77

gillingham-david.jpg2011 Distinguished Alumnus

A preeminent composer of contemporary wind and percussion music, UW Oshkosh alumnus David Gillingham ’69 and MST ’77, enthralls audiences around the world with his rhythms, melodies and instrumentation. Read More...



Tom Guyette '68

TomGuyette_128.jpgAlumnus volunteers with Rotary International to combat polio

While the spring semester was just getting underway in February 2012, UWO alumnus Tom Guyette '68, was on his way to India to spend two weeks immunizing children against polio and assisting with building a dam. Read More ...



Carolyn Jolitz '84

jolitz-carolyn.png2010 Distinguished Alumna

From her first assignment with the U.S. Army to her current role as nurse executive, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Carolyn Jolitz ’84, has served the nation with honor and excellence.

“My education at UWO set the stage and opened the doors for my future career in Army nursing.”  Read More...


Ed Karrels ’97

karrels-ed.jpgGoogle retiree shares advice with freshmen

As Google’s 56th employee, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Ed Karrels ’97, rode the wave of the multinational Internet and computer software company’s success. Read More...

Read about Karrels's music scholarship.



Dave Kelly ’84

kelly-dave.jpgAlumni Pride: UWO grad motivates with humor

As a motivational speaker, humorist and author, Kelly ’84, of Fond du Lac, delivers about 35 speeches each year at universities, corporations, churches, schools and other venues. Read More...




Gwendolyn Kelly '74

kelly-gwendolyn.jpg2010 Distinguished Alumna

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Gwendolyn Kelly ’74, of  Bentonville, Ark., finds innovative ways to promote Wal-Mart to the African-American community.

“Prepare yourself for the life you want. Be open to change. Find mentors and be a mentor. Understand that you have been given much but, in that, always remember much is expected of you.” Read More...



Wanda (Johnson) Kern ’95 and ’00 MSE

kern-wanda.jpgUWO alumna takes fairy tale study trip to Europe

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Wanda (Johnson) Kern ’95 and ’00 MSE, loves sharing a great story with her Jefferson Elementary School students in Oshkosh. Through a grant, she and her husband, Mike ’92, and traveled to Europe this past summer to research two of the greatest storytellers of all time, the Brothers Grimm. Read More...



Jessica King '98

king-jessica.jpg2009 Outstanding Young Alumna

Community service tops UW Oshkosh alumna Jessica King's to-do list. Read More...

Watch King's UWO reflection.




 Robert Kleinschmidt '71

Robert Kleinschmidt

2012 Distinguished Alumnus

In a rags-to-riches tale, University of Wisconsin alumnus Robert Kleinschmidt ’71, of New York, N.Y., shares his success in the Big Apple with his alma mater. Read More...




Amanda Krohn ’10

krohn-amanda.jpgUWO McNair alumni seek doctoral degrees

For first-generation college graduate Amanda Krohn ’10, of Hancock, the  McNair Scholars Program at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh served as an introduction to life in academia. Read More...




Laurie Kraus '02

kraus-laurie.jpg2011 Outstanding Young Alumna

For her success at the prominent news channel CNN, UW Oshkosh alumna Lori Kraus ’02, of Cumming, Ga., made some headlines of her own on campus in fall 2011. Read More...




Jeffrey LaVicka '99

lavicka-jeffrey.jpg2010 Outstanding Young Alumnus

At just 40 years old, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Jeffery LaVicka took the bench this week as one of the youngest federal judges in the nation.

"Whatever you do, whatever your accomplishments or setbacks, if you wake up every day and are proud of who you are and for what you stand, you will be successful.” Read More...


Leah Lechleiter-Luke ’92

lechleiter-luke-leah.jpg2012 Distinguished Alumna

Leah Lechleiter-Luke ’92, a Spanish and English teacher at Mauston High School, was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a national Teaching Ambassador Fellow for the 2011-12 school year. Read More...



Ginger Lee-Held MS '00

lee-held-ginger.jpg2011 Outstanding Young Alumna

Legally blind for more than three decades, UW Oshkosh alumna Ginger Lee-Held  ’00 MS, is not your typical family and consumer education teacher. Read More...




Chrissy Makurat ’97

makurat-chrissy.jpgAlumni honored with Herb Kohl Fellowship Award

As the inclusive classroom teacher for the fourth grade at Omro Elementary School, Chrissy Makurat ’97, earned her a 2010 Herb Kohl Fellowship Award working diligently to understand the unique needs of children with different learning styles and abilities. Read More...



Jeff Marks '77

marks-jeff.jpg2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

For more than 30 years, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Jeff Marks ’77, of Oshkosh, has worked in the “trenches” of social work, quietly transforming lives.

“Never lose touch with the core passion that fires you up, drives you and originally led you to your chosen professional endeavors. Find and focus on the deeper meaning in what you do.” Read More...


Greg Matzek ’01

matzek-greg.jpgSports talk: UWO alumnus anchors Sports Central

Greg Matzek, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus ’01, went from being an aspiring sports anchor and radio personality to achieving his dream job in just 10 years. Read More...




Joseph McGrath '78

mcgrath-joseph.jpg2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

As an inventor, geologist, lieutentant colonel and long-distance runner, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Joseph McGrath '78, of Waupaca, tackles all of life's" missions" with a high level of skill and determination. Read More...

Watch McGrath's UWO reflections.


Joye Moon '84

moon-joye.png2009 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

While nationally recognized watercolor artist Joye Moon, of Oshkosh, has painted her way across the word, she remains committed to supporting the local art community. Read More...

Watch Moon's UWO reflections.



Edward Mueller '59

mueller-edward.jpg2009 Distinguished Alumnus

UW Oshkosh alumnus Edward Mueller '59, found the perfect formula for a successful career in science education — a passion for learning mixed with an affinity for teaching middle-school students. Read More...




Thomas Oleson '63

oleson-thomas.jpg2010 Distinguished Alumnus

When University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Thomas Oleson ’63, started Para Los Niños 16 years ago, he had just $100 and a desire to help poor children. “My UWO experience and education initiated my career path. It’s a great experience. Don’t waste it.”



Rebekah Peppler '08


2012 Outstanding Young Alumna

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Rebekah Peppler’s recipe for success includes an excellent UWO education in journalism, a passion for food and a heaping spoonful of creativity. Read More...



Ronald Schreier '68 and MSE '70


2012 Distinguished Alumnus

Once an at-risk student himself, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Ron Schreier ’68, MSE ’70,  has spent a large portion of his career helping at-risk teens gain their confidence, overcome life’s obstacles, complete their education and live up to their full potential. Read More..


Jamal Scott '97

scott-jamal.jpg2010 Outstanding Young Alumnus

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Jamal Scott ’97, of Tinley Park, Ill., is on the higher-education fast track. Shortly after earning a doctorate in organizational leadership from the Illinois School of Professional.

“It was an amazing ride for me. Oshkosh is an incredible college town and is very conducive to strong educational achievement." Read More...


Sandra (Whiting) Smeeding '70

smeeding-sandra.jpg2011 Distinguished Alumna

Since graduating from UW Oshkosh with a nursing degree in 1970, alumna Sandra (Whiting) Smeeding, of Salt Lake City, Utah, has been dedicated to improving the overall well-being of her patients. Read More...



Howard Spearman '98 and MSE '03

spearman-howard.jpg2009 Outstanding Young Alumnus

In both his professional career and his ministry, UW Oshkosh alumnus Howard Spearman '98 and '03, of Milwaukee, inspires people to transform their lives through leadership, learning and service. Read more...

Watch Spearman's UWO reflections.



Joshua Springer '02 and Joseph Springer '03

springer-joshua-joseph.jpgUWO and basketball connect father-son coaches

Championship-winning basketball coach Joshua Springer graduated from UW Oshkosh in fall 2002, just one semester before his dad, Joseph Springer who graduated in spring 2003. Both father and son attended UW Oshkosh to earn their bachelor’s degrees in physical education. Read More...



John Steinhardt ’77

steinhardt-john.jpgAlumnus goes ‘schizoid’ with music career

Over the past 32 years, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus John Steinhardt ’77, a.k.a. “Schizoid Johnny,” has performed more than 4,600 gigs as a professional rock ‘n’ roll musician.




Patrick Stiegman '88

steigman-patrick.jpg2011 Distinguished Alumnus

After graduating in 1988 with a journalism degree and minors in radio-TV-film and political science, UW Oshkosh alumnus Patrick Stiegman climbed his way up the corporate ladder to land a dream job at ESPN as vice president and editor-in-chief of digital media. Read more...



Rebecca Strong ’10

strong-rebecca.jpgStudent-teaching in Mexico translates to teaching job

University of Wisconsin alumna Rebecca Strong ’10, is putting her elementary education degree into practice as a new second grade teacher at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara in Mexico. Read More...



Thomas Taraska '75

taraska-thomas.jpg2011 Distinguished Alumnus

As one of Wisconsin’s longest-tenured high school football coaches, UW Oshkosh alumnus Thomas Taraska ’75, has earned a record of success that includes four state and 11 conference championships. Read more...


Todd Teske '87

Todd Teske2012 Distinguished Alumnus

The lawn mower, snow blower or generator parked in your garage is likely powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine. And Briggs & Stratton is powered by University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Todd Teske ’87. Read More..



Chungyia Thao ’01 and  Maiyoua Thao ’01 and MSE ’09

thao-chungyia-maiyoua.jpgAlumni Pride: Couple helps Hmong feel at home

When Chungyia Thao ’01, was a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, he helped translate for Hmong community members at doctor’s visits, hospitals and county offices as an intern with the Oshkosh Hmong Association. Read more...




Vanessa Virbitsky ’08

Virbitsky2012 Outstanding Young Alumna

As the world watches snowboarders defy gravity and ice dancers twirl in perfect unison this month, former University of Wisconsin Oshkosh scholar-athlete Vanessa Virbitsky ’08, will enjoy her own Olympic moment in Vancouver. Read More...



Timothy Ward '70

ward-timothy.jpg2009 Distinguished Alumnus

As the highest-ranking dental program official with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, University of Wisconsin alumnus Timoth Ward '70, is responsible for the oral health of more than 5 million veterans seeking medical care. Read more...

Watch Ward's UWO reflections.



William Weber '71

weber-william.jpg2009 Distinguished Alumnus

William Weber '71, discovered both a vocation (a scientific interest in radiation) and an avocation (a love of downhill skiing) during his undergraduate days at UW Oshkosh. Read more...




Erin Wilkum '11

ErinWilkum_128.jpgPassion for horses turns into career for alumna
UW Oshkosh alumna Erin Wilkum '11, worked hard to get where she is just 10 months out of college. The key to her post-graduation success was internships, she said. Read more...




Pamela Wood ‘09

wood-pamela.jpgGrad Project helps alumna wrap up loose ends

Pamela Wood finished her last required course for her radio-TV-film major at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1994, however her participation in the non-credit capstone class wasn’t recorded, and she discovered she wasn’t going to get her diploma. Read More...




V.J. "Brad" Zibung '99

zibung-vj-brad.jpg2009 Outstanding Young Alumnus

Since graduating from UW Oshkosh in 1999, V.J. "Brad" Zibung's success in founding a satirical tabloid for long-suffering Chicago Cub fans has been no joke. Read more...

Watch Zibung's UWO reflections.



by reinecka — last modified Nov 07, 2012 12:15 PM