Alumnus Marc Nylen ’91 and ’93 MSE, wears his commitment to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with pride all year round as the director of the Gruenhagen Conference Center.
“UW Oshkosh is an incredible campus, and I know that very personally as I completed both my undergraduate and graduate degrees here. I literally wear UW Oshkosh apparel every day as I am that proud of who we are as a campus and the students we serve,” he said.
Titan pride runs deep not only for Nylen but also for hundreds of alumni who work on campus, using the knowledge and skills learned at UW Oshkosh to serve their alma mater.
For their dedication and service, UWO’s alumni-employees will enjoy a special Titans X 2 hot breakfast buffet at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. A short program with greetings from Chancellor Andrew Leavitt will take place at 8:30 a.m. The event is sponsored by UW Oshkosh Alumni Relations in partnership with Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Nylen began working on campus as an undergrad while studying Spanish language and literature–and he never left.
“The faculty members under whom I studied and who served as my mentors at the undergraduate and graduate level were simply incredible. The access and connection I had to faculty and staff inspired me. After completing my graduate degree, I knew that my calling was to continue to work at UW Oshkosh!”
Nylen is most proud of the people and special places on campus.
“I have many dear friends on this campus, and my life has been enriched by them,” he said. “I love working each and every day with students within Gruenhagen Conference Center and the Department of Residence Life. Our students are amazing human beings. They inspire me every day to come to work and do my best for our students.”
Another alumni-employee with two degrees from UW Oshhkosh, Mai Khou Xiong ’09 and ’13 MS, takes great pride in her work with students. As the assistant director of access and retention in the Multicultural Retention Program, she works with the Titan Advantage Program, a summer program that helps students bridge the transition from high school to college.
“I have the honor of seeing/meeting students when they enter the University and working with them to navigate their educational journey and graduate from UW Oshkosh,” Xiong said. “It is extremely rewarding to be apart of students’ growth and development and to learn that we have made a difference in their lives. Through the Titan Advantage Program, we are providing students greater access to the university and changing their future.”
Xiong knows first-hand the importance of making students feel welcome on campus.
“As an undergraduate student, I started my first semester disconnected from the University. I later connected with a staff member who became my mentor, joined a student organization and met other students who shared and understood the difficulties I was experiencing as a first-generation, low-income, female and student of color,” she said. “All of this helped me build a sense of community, culture and pride on campus. This later influenced my career choice, decision to return to UW Oshkosh and desire/passion to give back, help students and be a support to them.”
UWO alumna and art professor Gail Panske ’82, find inspiration as well in her interactions with students.
“I have had the pleasure to work with many talented, hard-working students in the art program, and I am the most proud of their many successes while students and after graduation,” she said.
Like Nylen, alumna Lisa Goetsch ’10, has never left the UWO campus since she first began taking classes as an 18-year-old fresh out of high school.
“After going to school full-time for three years and still not knowing what I wanted to do, I decided to stop taking classes. Reeve happened to need an LTE (limited-term employee) at the same time. I was an LTE for one year and then started working full-time in 2001.”
She worked for a while in the Registrar’s Office and then headed back to Reeve in 2004, where she now serves as the reservations coordinator. She earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies in 2010.
Goetsch is most proud of the relationships she has built at UWO and for her work as a SAFE trainer to make UWO a safer and more welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community.
Close relationships with faculty members while working on his master’s degree in educational leadership led Eric Brunsell ’02, to pursue a doctorate. He later was drawn back to his alma mater by all that UWO and the region has to offer.
“One of the phrases used by UWO is ‘Opportunity of Place’,” he said. “That is what brought me back to UWO. The Fox Valley is a great place to work and to raise a family. Professionally, I get to work with wonderful students and colleagues, and I have many opportunities to collaborate with others throughout the region.”
Brunsell finds those collaborations make working at UWO rewarding.
“I am proud of being part of the efforts within the College of Education and Human Services to work closely with community partners to support teachers and provide opportunities to our students,” he said.