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Foundation's Community Breakfast featured speaker Steve Boettcher, '82

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The Foundation's ninth annual Community Breakfast was held on Sept. 16 in the UW Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center. The keynote speaker was alumnus Steve Boettcher.

A 1982 graduate of the University’s Radio-TV-Film program, Boettcher has produced and directed PBS’s national series Pioneers of Television, now in its fourth season. His other television projects include productions for History Channel, Discovery Channel, BBC, CBS and NBC.

Most recently, he and his partners swiftly assembled a PBS documentary on the life of Robin Williams, the comedian who tragically died in early August. Boettcher and his team have interviewed dozens of TV celebrities for their Pioneers series, including Bill Cosby, Anthony Edwards (“E.R.”), Bob Newhart and a slew of other breakthrough artists from American TV history.

“I feel like I’ve collected people my entire career and collected their stories,” Boettcher said, sharing a few reflections on his personal success and that of his TV production company during the Community Breakfast.

A lifelong Wisconsinite, Boettcher said he remains proud to serve as an advocate for the state and UW Oshkosh, once going out of his way to let some high-powered producers on the coasts know he hailed from the Midwest, or, as he put it “L.A.” — “Lower Appleton.”

Perhaps his affinity for his home state and alma mater’s hometown jas been no better demonstrated than in his 2014 premier film The Frozen Chosen, a documentary on the otherworldly culture of sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago. The film was screened at UW Oshkosh earlier this year.

“What I’ve learned is our dreams and our philosophy dictate what our lives are like,” Boettcher shared during his keynote speech. “What we have at this moment in life is what we’ve attracted by the person that we’ve become.”

Boettcher also shared his own story of collaboration and innovation. He recalled his and his future business partner’s effort to, while students, secure a vacant Arts and Communication Building vacant office for their production of a former UW Oshkosh TV news program. They managed to get a custodian to not only get them access to the room but also keys.

The experience was formative: today, Boettcher is a five-time, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker.

“Success is defined by significance, significance to people around you–your coworkers your family, your loved ones,” he said. “… Your library, your notes, your pictures–let it inspire the next generation; it’s proof that we are serious students of life. What a treasure.”


Foundation Community Breakfast guests Bill Tallon and Dean Moede



College of Business Dean Bill Tallon (L)
and Dean Moede



Foundation Community Breakfast guests Diane Abraham and Wendy Hielsberg


Diane Abraham (L) and Wendy Hielsberg




Foundation Community Breakfast guests Janice Stark, Dan Lynch and Eugene Winkler


College of Education and Human Services
Director of Development Janice Stark,
Dan Lynch and Eugene Winkler


Foundation Community Breakfast guests Walter Scott, Dave & Sharon Geurden


Walter Scott (L), Sharon Geurden and David Geurden





Originally published in UW Oshkosh Today on September 16, 2014


Watch the Community Breakfast video

by Lori Kroening last modified Jun 29, 2016 09:18 AM
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Contact the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Foundation
625 Pearl Ave. Oshkosh, WI 54901 • Email:
Phone: (920) 424-2178