A Man Moving Forward, A Lifetime of Giving Back
Stan Talarek '62 (pictured right) with a scholarship recipient and Chancellor Richard Wells (pictured left).
Stan Talarek '62, was a quiet, shy boy who grew up in Two Rivers — population 12,000. His father, an architectural engineer, had advanced education beyond high school but never earned a degree. Stan admired his parents and grandparents and, when the time came, he fulfilled his parents' expectation that he would go to college — one generation hoping for more for the next.
When considering his choices, the University of Wisconsin–Madison seemed too large to this smalltown boy, and UW Oshkosh seemed just the right size. Today, with an enrollment of 13,000 students, his alma mater outsizes his hometown.
As Stan left Two Rivers and enrolled in UW Oshkosh, he was excited about his new-found independence and the opportunity to make decisions — what classes to take, where to live and what fraternity to join. It was the little things that created a collection of memories he still treasures today.
Stan majored in elementary education and, upon graduation in 1962, he moved to Beloit where he worked for two years. He then accepted a position at Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison and was certified to work with emotionally disturbed children from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Stan's students, many with multiple handicaps, lived on campus. He remembers them fondly as nice kids who needed the basics. They loved going to school and Stan loved teaching them. His career moved forward, while he gave back to countless students throughout his 32 years at Mendota.
Supporting What He Loves
After retirement, his first project was to help raise money for the new library in Sun Prairie as a "Friend of the Library."
Upon completion of that $2-million campaign, he began to think about what to do with his resources. He decided to establish the Talarek Family Scholarship at UW Oshkosh in memory of his parents, Sigmund and Johanna Witczak Talarek.
The scholarship is awarded to fulltime special education majors to help support future teachers. He acknowledges that special education and elementary education are very difficult at times but also very rewarding. By creating this scholarship, Stan provides resources to help the next generation of teachers and students.
Stan then created a lasting gift through his estate, perpetuating the dream that each generation does better than the last. The majority of his estate is designated to UW Oshkosh and the College of Education and Human Services. It is a way for Stan to give back to his alma mater with a gift that will serve his purposes and last the longest. He can enjoy today knowing that he's taken care of tomorrow.