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Titans Around the World

In honor of our Homecoming theme, we are collecting stories about where our Titans are around the world.

Whether you are a UW Oshkosh alum, a current student or a UWO faculty or staff member, we want to know where you are and what you are doing.

Tell us about an exciting trip you are on, your job in a foreign country or an interesting research study you are conducting in the U.S. or abroad. We even want to know if you are living and working happily just down the block from Dempsey Hall!

We also are accepting photos to accompany your stories, which  may appear on this Homecoming website or in other news and feature accounts about Homecoming 2010.

Tell us where in the world you are!

Dispatches from Titans Around the World


 "Our around the world story concerns our oldest son Matt and his wife Sarah who were in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria. We had an opportunity to visit them in 2005 and spent three weeks trekking around that beautiful country. To be honest, we had never heard of the country until we visited. The people are proud, family oriented and fun loving. All who we met thought the world of the U.S. and were respectfully hospitable. Go visit Bulgaria if you have the opportunity.

Now my wife Elsa and I are retired in St. Clair, Michigan. I worked as a coach and professor at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for 32 years. My wife was a nurse for the same tenure. We thoroughly enjoy our retirement with three grandchildren nearby, a log cabin in northern Michigan, and a beautiful resort town to live in. Best wishes to all my fellow alums. We were back for 50th Oshkosh H.S. reunion two years ago and had a ball seeing all the old friends."

Thomas Pennewell '63, October 2010


Athens and Volos

Lindsay Tatro"When I had first heard of studying abroad my freshman year at Oshkosh, I knew it was something for me. At the beginning of my junior year I was reflecting back on my college experience and realized that something was missing.To my luck and to my fate, as I'd like to think, there was a Study Abroad fair just a week out.

I was nervous about traveling far from home. I had questions about study abroad, but I knew it was something I had to do, for me, my personal growth, and academically as a student. So, I signed up for the trip to Greece!

The trip was all that I imagined, and more. Money-wise, I have no regrets. The financial aid office was more then helpful in assisting me with a few of the trip costs. The sights were nothing short of breathtaking everywhere we went. The beaches in Volos were post card snapshots and the service work we did there was so humbling and rewarding that I will forever be changed beneficially as a human service worker.

Lastly,the trip has created a new found itch to travel the world and I plan to do just that! This December, I will be spending two weeks in Europe, soaking in the culture and sights while also visiting my boyfriend's family. I can not express enough my love for the opportunity Oshkosh gives its students to travel abroad. I am in no way saying, "You must go to to Greece!", but instead just saying, "Go somewhere!", broaden your horizons, see the world in a new light, your mindset and life from then on will be forever changed."

Lindsay Tatro '10, July 2010



TomHanaway"This past summer I went to Tokyo, Japan as part of USA Summer Camp. For this program, American college students are selected to be English teachers for Japanese school children. We spend half of our time at camp, teaching kids new phrases and helping them write essays and create skits. During our free time, we live with a host family and are able to see the country. During my time with my host families, I was able to see Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan, view the largest Buddha statue in Japan that dates back to 700 AD, and visit several districts in Tokyo. It was without a doubt the best summer of my life. I was able to improve my Japanese, learn how to use chopsticks, and experience one of the most unique countries on the planet."

Tom Hanaway, Current student, October 2010


Margaret Jensen "My husband works at the NATO base in Brunssum, The Netherlands. Our children attend the International School with kids from all over the world. As a family, we have traveled extensively throughout Europe and even spent a day on the Africian Continent at Christmas and a day on the Asia Continent this summer. This has been such a great experience for us. We've experienced new customs and traditions, new foods and have friends from many different countries. We are going on our seventh year living in Europe. It has been a great way for us to see "our world"!


Go Titans! Go Packers!

Margaret (Fafinski) Jensen '87, September 2010


Cheong Hew"I have been a humanitarian worker since the Tsunami in 2004. More then five years later and dozen of wars and natural disaster crises. I am now leading the relief operation department of MERCY Malaysia, a Malaysian based NGO. I enjoy working in the field and driving the force on. With such a challenging job. it has been the children with sad faces in crisis all over the world that keep me going. Within the past year, I have been to Myanmar, Bangladesh, North Darfur and Sudan."

Cheong Hew '88, September 2010 



"Chris and Amanda AndrewsAmanda and I have been living in Sweden for the last five years and are both working at Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications as project managers. Our work has given us the opportunity to travel the world, and we recently had a little son named Ashton. We are planning to move back to the Milwaukee area within the next couple of years, so we will finally be able to make it to a Homecoming."

Christopher and Amanda (Schmeling) Andrews '04, September 2010




"This year my wife Holly and I participated in 15 rendezvous (pre-1840 mountain man reenactments). In July, we attended the Rocky Mountain rendezvous in Creede, Colo., and primitively camped for nine days and were surrounded by 9.000 feet of the Rocky's. During the reenactments, Holly sells her knitting and crocheting, while I sell throwing knives. I also competed in black powder shooting matches and tomahawk throwing during the nine days.

We also enjoy playing golf. I was able to golf at 10 different courses this year. After I retired in 2008 from the Kohler Company, we also have been working on our 'Bucket List'. We traveled to Europe for three weeks, spent two weeks at the Grand Canyon, and six weeks participating in Seminole war and rendezvous reenactments in Florida. Every March we rent a condo on the Gulf Shores and visit with family and play golf. Six years ago, we also published a book about our camping adventures during rendezvous, entitled A Story of Sorts ."

Duane Decker '70, September 2010

Fond du Lac

Tom and Mary Strauss"After retiring from teaching, we have been building (by ourselves) a log home on land from Tom's grandfather along a beautiful river in Shawano. Free time is spent getting to know our daughter and son-in-law's baby boy who made us grandparents!

The friends we made during our combined college years (1964-1971) as Titans have been life-long friends. Over the years, we have gotten together, and this summer was a special gathering. Students who once lived in Nelson, Fletcher, Scott, Gruenhagen, Taylor and Evans dorms joined us at our home to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Buddies arrived from California, Texas, and around this great state to reminisce about our days together in Oshkosh."

Tom and Mary (Meyer) Strauss '69 and '71, September 2010


Fond Du Lac

Marge Holdorf"Under the pen name of Mary Russel, my second children's book, Rudolph, a Child's Love Story, has just been published with a release date of Nov. 9, 2010. My first book, Flickertail & Paint, Barnyard Sleuths, was released March 15, 2010. Both books are written for ages 8-12.

Books one and two of the Sleuth & Scribe series, for ages 13 and over, will be published in 2011. They are both cozy mysteries. Two more books are works in progress and another book from Sleuth & Scribe is being revised."

Margaret 'Marge' Holdorf '88, September 2010

Kotzebue, Alaska

Lewis Pagel"My wife, Rachel Ahrens '00, and I moved to Alaska's northwest coast, 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle three years ago when I was offered a job at Arctic Chiropractic.

There are so many adventures that take place here on a daily basis that it is hard to pick only one to share. One of my favorites was the day I came into work to treat a patient in the morning. When her appointment was finished, I got on my snowmobile (which I use as a car for eight or nine months out of the year) and went out of town a few miles where I heard a group of caribou were migrating through. I shot two caribou, took them back to my house, cleaned myself up, and made it back to the office to treat another patient by late afternoon.

I have tons of stories of life in the Arctic. I may be the most remote chiropractor in North America as I have traveled 200 miles by snowmobile and even have taken a bush plane to treat patients in smaller villages. I have one of the most amazing jobs in the world. It’s only the best job because I love doing it."

Lewis Pagel '01, July 2010

Kotzebue, Alaska

Rachel Ahrens"My husband and I, Lewis Pagel '01, another UWO alum, moved to northwest Alaska in 2007. He is the only chiropractor for more than 500 miles, and I am the general counsel for a native, nonprofit, tribal organization.

The city we live in, Kotzebue, has about 3,200 people, approximately. 85 percent of which are native Eskimos. We live 26 miles north of the arctic circle and are not on a road system. You can only get to our town by plane or barge in the summer when the ocean water melts. We both love what we do and enjoy living up here. We intend to make this our permanent home."

Rachel Ahrens '00, July 2010


"I have been so lucky to work in my field as a social worker since the month I graduated from UW Oshkosh. The past 22 years I have been with Oakridge Gardens Nursing Center in Menasha. My position has grown and expanded into marketing duties as well as social work. Currently, I am the admissions director and have the wonderful experience of meeting so many interesting people. I enjoy sharing my gifts and knowledge with them and their loved ones. I look forward to many more years of helping our elderly population and their families. I am excited that my son will become a Titan this fall, as he enters the new segment of his life as a freshman at UW Oshkosh. Go Titans!"

Leslie (Koback) Koffke '87, July 2010


Miami, Florida

"About two years ago, I had the opportunity to become involved with the Miami Design Preservation League, an organization committed to preserving the classic Art Deco architecture of Miami, Fla.. After my first trip to Miami to meet with the organization, I was hooked. I left my full-time job in Appleton and went to work for the Miami Design Preservation League. I am now the president of the preservation league and I love every minute of it. The Miami Design Preservation League is dedicated to preserving the Art Deco structures that Miami is so famous for. High-rise condominiums are being constructed everywhere and historic Art Deco buildings have been demolished in order to make way for these new condominiums. I dedicate all of my time to preserving the Art Deco structures that are still standing. This is mainly accomplished by fighting to get the structures added to the historic register, which will then prevent any future owners from demolishing the structure.

I absolutely love my job and I am so happy to be involved with preserving and restoring beautiful historic buildings. When my relatives come down to Miami to visit me, I always take a couple of days to drive them around the city and give them a detailed tour. There is so much history here that many people don't even know about. I could probably spend an entire week telling visitors the stories behind many of these buildings.

My favorite part of my job is the amount of personal satisfaction I get. These buildings were here long before I was, and I hope that my efforts will help to ensure that they will remain here long after I'm gone for future generations to enjoy."

Alan Weiss '06, July 2010


"I am living in Milwaukee and working as a communications coordinator / managing editor for the Wisconsin Dental Association. My degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has prepared me for writing about everything from the business of dentistry to adult oral health."

—  Emily Bultman '07, July 2010

Rockville, Maryland

"Ron and Mary GrillI was enrolled in Oshkosh State in1955 when the cost was only $54/semester, including books! I was elected president of the Men's Association in 1956 and president of Lyceum Fraternity in 1957. I graduated with a double major in physics and math in 1959. I earned a master's degree in computer sciences in 1967 from the UW-Madison and a master's in public administration in 1974 from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

After a stint in the Army, I married Mary Magnusen. We raised three daughters and have six grandchildren. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in February 2010.

I spent the majority of my professional career with the Immigration and Naturalization Service as director of communications and electronics. I retired in 1994 with 30 years of service. Among the awards I received during that period included one from the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association and an Honor Award from the American Police Hall of Fame."


—  Ronald Grill '59, September 2010

Sun City Festival, Arizona

"I love living in a new, active retirement community. My husband, Todd Miller, and I met at UWO in 1963. We were married for 38 years when he died of brain cancer. Two years later, I sold our retirement home in Manitowish Waters  and moved to Sun City Festival.

Life throws us curves, and we have to find a new path. This was the right one for me right now. I graduated in January1966, did some singing on campus (now, occasional karaoke at some fun bars). I remember Kappa Gamma Sorority, My Brother's Place, Andy's Library and Stagedoor Club with Gloria and so many old friends. My son, Mark, graduated from there in the 1990s. If you remember me, please feel free to send an e-mail."

—  Mimi 'Mary' (Celichowski) Miller '66, July 2010

Winter Park, Florida

Lisa Portelli"I am finally using my journalism degree as a volunteer president of the board of directors for Florida Health News. They are an independent online news service, which is a not-for-profit journalistic enterprise that was launched in March 2007 with seed money from foundations. Their mission is to inform the public on state and local health policy and finance issues as they develop."

—  Lisa (Rehfeldt) Portelli '85, September 2010


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by Johnson, Natalie K last modified Oct 11, 2010 12:29 PM