There’s no denying the power of a Wisconsin-style fish fry.
Six years ago, University of Wisconsin alumnus Jerry Gonyo ’64, of Scottsdale, Ariz., hosted a fish fry for University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumni living in Arizona.
That successful event led to the formation of one of UW Oshkosh’s first four alumni chapters. Today the Arizona chapter, which also is led by Tom Hewitt ’69, of Phoenix, holds at least two events per year that attract as many as 40 alumni each.
Members of UWO’s Alumni Association are planning to grow the number of UW Oshkosh alumni chapters in the coming months to spark and engender UW Oshkosh pride among graduates. Chapters support general University activities and advancement efforts.
“We offer good fellowship, fun and networking,” Gonyo said. “We try to pull together a broad range of alumni, including some younger people and some retired folks and snowbirds.”
The three other UWO alumni chapters include a group that meets in central Florida led by Jerry Wertheimer ’69, and two others that bring together graduates of the College of Business and the College of Education and Human Services.
“Alumni chapters based on geography or common interests are ideal tools for connecting alumni for both social and professional networking opportunities,” said UWO Alumni Director Christine Gantner. “Our current chapters have been excellent pilots for what we hope will be a growing trend.”
Additional geographical chapters under consideration include Chicago, Madison and Washington, D.C., while future affinity chapters could include a number of sports, such as baseball, gymnastics, soccer and track; the radio-TV-film department; and the Model United Nations Team.
“The relationships alumni developed while part of a student organization, student government, residence life, athletics or a particular field of study are great starting points for reconnecting,” Gantner said.
Chapter leaders receive assistance from the UWO Alumni Relations Office to make contact with alumni, plan chapter events and promote activities through the alumni website calendar, print and electronic invitations and the monthly electronic newsletter Alumni News.