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Alumnus Michael Kogutek ’71, Inspired by Others, is Grateful to Give Back

Not looking for attention for his generosity, Michael Kogutek ’71, hopes to inspire recipients of his scholarship to give back to UW Oshkosh and continue the cycle of giving.
Alumnus Michael Kogutek ’71, Inspired by Others, is Grateful to Give Back

Michael Kogutek

Michael, a native of Lackawanna, New York, seemed an unlikely prospective student, hailing halfway across the country. It was by chance that Michael even learned of the then-named Wisconsin State University Oshkosh. After attending Canisius College in Buffalo, New York for a year, Michael flunked out. On his own for the first time, he remembered a catalog he had kept from WSU Oshkosh, a university he hadn’t seriously considered and only knew about through a friend. Michael made the decision to attend WSU Oshkosh without ever having stepped foot on campus.

Michael started as a sociology major, but switched to psychology after having a course with Dr. Gordon Filmer-Bennett, whose passion for psychology inspired Michael to make a change. At the time, Michael thought, “I want to do what he does with the passion he has, and if I do that, I’ve led a successful life.”

He did just that. After a successful career as a psychologist and part-time professor, Michael decided to give back to UW Oshkosh and its students, establishing the Michael D. Kogutek Psychology Scholarship. Michael says he is humbled and grateful to be able to have a scholarship within the Department of Psychology, because the department’s three other scholarships were established by former faculty members who taught him during his time on campus.

Even though Michael didn’t grow up in the area, he considers UW Oshkosh home. “It has a special place in my heart,” Michael says. For him, it was a wonderful experience being able to return to campus in 1979, when he was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, and then again in 2015 to meet the first recipient of his scholarship, Emily Erickson. “I’m really blessed and grateful to be able to do this,” Michael says. He hopes that one day, Emily will return the favor and be inspired by the opportunity that she was given to give back to the University and possibly start a scholarship of her own.

Leaving a planned gift to support his scholarship fund is the next stage for Michael. “After my passing, it would mean a lot to me to give my scholarship in perpetuity and give back to the University.”

Leave a Legacy
If you would like more information on how you can make a planned gift supporting UW Oshkosh, please contact the UW Oshkosh Foundation at (920) 424-2178 or

by Rebecca Smith last modified Oct 03, 2017 10:07 AM

Contact the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Foundation
625 Pearl Ave. Oshkosh, WI 54901 • Email:
Phone: (920) 424-2178