Author Archive for warnkr29

Ice water, closed den door, and Ebby

Bob Warnke Bob Warnke, 70, is a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies Organizational Administration and Leadership student from Oshkosh, Wis. Warnke wanted to go back to college to fulfill one of his goals, and to show his three children he could do it too. Warnke is also a Winnebago County Board member.

I would like to relate some of my experiences during the last five years of attending UW Oshkosh.

First of all the reason it took me five years is that I had to take some time off because my doctors had other plans which included eye surgery, three knee surgeries (two total replacements), one shoulder surgery (my sixth) and one cancer surgery.

My point is that you never, never give up!

Once you start this journey to get a degree you may be sidetracked, but do not let it get you down. In the last five years I have spent countless hours sitting in my den doing homework with the door closed, a big glass of ice water and Ebby, my great big Yellow Tom Cat at my side. Ebby followed me where ever I went.

Ebby Warnke

Ebby Warnke

I also have an office in the basement where I did a lot of reading, so Ebby followed me there and would sit on my desk next to me while I read. The last time I was in school was 45 years ago when I received an associate degree from the Oshkosh Technical Institute (now Fox Valley Technical College).

I want to help anyone who has gone back to school as a nontraditional student know that you can do it and get over the rough parts by putting in your time. You can do it by never giving up no matter what. There is help out there.
UW Oshkosh has excellent professors, advisers, tutors, the Writing Center and reference librarians to help you. All you have to do to get help is ask and you will get help.

I have had several teachers who would spend an hour or more each week just to help me understand the assignments. The one thing most nontraditional students have going for them is the option of Assessment for Prior Learning.

In this class, which is taught by Karen Bowen, you apply for credit that you learned in your experiences in your job. I have earned 12 credits towards my degree, and Karen Bowen will work very hard to help you get these credits applied toward your degree.

I also have to give a lot of credit to my wife, and my three kids for helping to get me over the rough parts of this journey—especially in the areas of how to manipulate a computer and D2L.

My kids are so good, and they know how to do things, but they have a hard time teaching me because they don’t have the time.

There is little doubt that going back to school is a big commitment and very time consuming, but I just want to encourage you to make that commitment and stick to it. I am retired from a full-time job, even though I am keeping pretty busy with my role on the Winnebago County Board, running a small resort, playing golf and keeping fish in the freezer, so I know it is an even greater task to raise a family, bring home the bacon and going for a degree all at the same time. But my advice is do not over do it with taking on too many credits. If it takes a little longer so be it! You can do it! And it will reap rewards for you in the end.

My only regret in this story is that I will not be able to have Ebby walk down the aisle with me at commencement on May 11. After 14 years Ebby died two weeks ago. Give your favorite pet a hug tonight and make sure they have ice water when they are with you.

My last 70 years

Bob Warnke Bob Warnke, 70, is a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies Organizational Administration and Leadership student from Oshkosh, Wis. Warnke wanted to go back to college to fulfill one of his goals, and to show his three children he could do it too. Warnke is also a Winnebago County Board member.

Hello, My name is Robert Warnke; however I only use that name on legal documents. Please refer to me as Bob.

I have been asked to work on the blog page and to talk of my life experiences and last five years at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

You may be surprised to know that I am a little older than most nontraditional students at UW Oshkosh. I turned 70 in November, but I feel 30 most of the time. I guess I will start with the reason why I am in college and not sitting in my easy chair.

I have three very intelligent children who all graduated from UW-Madison. I have always wanted to get a bachelor’s degree ever since I graduated from the Fox Valley Technical College Oshkosh campus in 1965 with an associate degree in marketing. The problem is that life got in the way and I am sure this is the case with many nontraditional students.

The day I graduated in 1965 I went home to find a letter from Uncle Sam requesting my presence in the military. I decided to join the U.S. Navy because I always wanted to go out to sea. They accommodated me and I spent a lot of time on destroyers. When I was discharged I went back to Oshkosh where I was born, because I really do love Oshkosh.

I did the usual as most of you all have done. I got a job and a girl, got married, bought a home, took out a mortgage and after seven years the little guys came along. Three to be exact — two boys and one girl.

It seems like life never stopped all of these years. I worked at a company called Leach Company for 37 years. I had a very good job there as the company driver. I loved that job. The duties were many, I did the bank deposits, picked up parts all over the state and sometimes beyond. I would pick up our customers and much more.

This job gave me time to do my things on the side. I started buying houses and fixing them up, and my wife and I went into the rental business. Then we went into the Laundromat business, (I don’t recommend that one), then the used furniture business — that was fun.

We owned, and still own, a small resort, the J.B. Resort, in Door County, where we have cottages that we lease in the summer. There is never a vacancy, and we are going into three generations of families that rent from us.

I also have been a realtor for Carol Williams and The Premier Group for 15 years. I still maintain a real estate license and do referrals with other realtors.

Then I ran for the Winnebago County Board 12 years ago and I recently was elected to my sixth term. I really do enjoy being part of the county board, and I am getting more and more involved every year.

I am chairmen of the Veterans Commission and soon to be chairmen of the Aviation Committee, and I serve on the Highway Committee and three state committees for the Wisconsin County Association.

When I retired from active real estate I decided to go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree in Organizational Administration and Leadership. The main reason is because I wanted to, and the other reason is to show my three kids the “ol man can do it too!”  One more thing to mention, I have been married to my lovely wife Beth for going on 44 years.

The last thing I have to say is this is my last semester I will be graduating in May. It has been a long road but it has been worth every class I took.

Stay cool.

Copyright 2013 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System