Committed to beating the odds
UW Oshkosh student Jon Heider was born without arms or legs (he formally calls himself a “congenital quad amputee”). He is a full-time student at UW Oshkosh who said he appreciates the “minor accommodations” UW Oshkosh officials have made for him. Not only does Heider attend classes at UW Oshkosh, he also lived in Taylor Hall and is a team member on the UW Oshkosh swim team, where he is breaking records.
“Swimming (is the sport) that kind of stuck because it was the only sport that didn’t require any extra equipment. I like the free feeling you get in the water… I never had any arms or any legs so I use what I’ve got,” said Heider of Green Bay.
Learn more about Heider’s story, other students beating the odds and UW Oshkosh’s commitment to an educational experience that strives toward equality for each and every student at uwosh.edu/strategicplan.
At the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, more than 350 students are registered as having a disability.
In truth, though, those students are no different than the other more than 13,500 students who live, work, play, learn and study at the state’s third-largest University, said Jim Schlinsog, coordinator of services for students with disabilities in the Dean of Students office at UW Oshkosh.
Schlinsog spends his days connecting and coordinating with students who identify as having a disability at UW Oshkosh. His job, he said, is to focus on accessibility and inclusivity and try to remove barriers.
“We ask every student upon admission what they might need for accommodations,” Schlinsog said. “It isn’t our goal to make things easier for a student with a disability but instead to give them a level playing field.”
Judging by the standing ovation, Anthony Miller did the job. He inspired thousands gathered to celebrate 2013 Spring Commencement at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
“Sometimes as college students we hear that the economy is bad or we won’t make any money with that degree or it’s hard to find jobs,” said Miller, of Milwaukee, supplying Commencement day’s morning student address. “When someone tells you this – look them in the face and say hard doesn’t make things impossible, hard means hard, hard is simply an odd waiting to be beat. When they say you can’t tell them you can. When they say you won’t tell them you will.”
Tim Thiede is the kind of guy who has nothing bad to say about much at all. So, he is naturally not one to groan about his former factory job. He’s merely being honest with himself when he admits the work was not personally fulfilling to him.
“You’d go home and feel like you didn’t accomplish much,” said Thiede, a 48-year-old, single southwestern Wisconsin native.
“I was making $14 an hour and had insurance,” he said. “But, if you’re not happy with it, why do it?”
When word of potential layoffs started circulating around work, Thiede figured he had nothing to lose. He made the decision to enroll at the then-nearby University of Wisconsin-Richland Center. Eventually, with some guidance from a faculty adviser, he pulled up stakes from the corner of the state where he had grown up. He continued pursuit of a college degree in a field that always fascinated him: broadcasting. Thiede enrolled in the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, continuing what would be a four-and-a-half-year long quest that not even a mid-journey bout with a rare form of cancer could halt. Read more.