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In a rags-to-riches tale, University of Wisconsin alumnus Robert Kleinschmidt ’71, of New York, N.Y., shares his success in the Big Apple with his alma mater.

Following the death of his father when he was just 6 years old, Kleinschmidt’s childhood was marked by hardship. By the time he graduated from high school, the family had moved 16 times.

“A turning point in his life came during his formative years. This is when Robert met John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey at the Campus School,” said Norbert S. Hill Jr. ’69 and MSE ’71, education and training director with the Oneida Nation. “That meeting inspired him to think big things and to do, not just for himself, but for his country and its citizenry as well.”

Today, Kleinschmidt is president, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Tocqueville Asset Management in New York City. This top financial investor who manages $12 billion in assets believes in “paying it forward” in both his public and private life.

At UWO’s Homecoming 2012 in October, Kleinschmidt will be one of five UWO graduates to receive the Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award.

While at UW Oshkosh, Kleinschmidt played basketball on the 1968 and 1969 championship teams and was active in the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.

“Given no silver spoon at birth, Robert worked to pay for his education” Hill relayed. “He dipped ice cream at a dairy bar on Oshkosh’s Main Street, was a door-to-door Fuller Brush sales representative during summer vacations, recording the highest Fuller Brush sales in Wisconsin. He also worked for Buckstaff Woodworking Enterprises.”

Kleinschmidt followed up his bachelor’s degree in accounting from UWO with a master’s in economics at the University of Massachusetts and post-graduate studies at Columbia University.

“In my career, I have worked with and hired people from the finest universities in the world. Never have I felt under educated in comparison,” he said.

While working his way through school, he served on the faculties of Adelphi University, Fordham University and Marymount College. An innovator, he taught graduate courses in economics on the New York commuter train, an uncommon but efficient delivery of graduate education for commuters.

Each year, Kleinschmidt reserves one position in a Wall Street internship program sponsored by Tocqueville Asset Management for a UW Oshkosh College of Business student.

“I am proud to say that our experience with UW Oshkosh interns has confirmed my expectations,” he said. “Not only have they stacked up well against our other interns from around the country and around the globe, but in most cases, they have excelled.”

Kleinschmidt also gives back through The Kleinschmidt Family Foundation, which started the Charles Kleinschmidt Memorial Summer Camp for Children, helping North Carolina families affected by Fabry’s Syndrome. The foundation also contributes to American Indian educational programs in Wisconsin.

“Robert is a forward-looking financial professional who has not forgotten his humble roots,” Hill said. “His investment savvy and leadership skills and his many accomplishments have made all UW Oshkosh alumni proud.”

For more information about the alumni awards or Homecoming 2012, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or send an email to for information.

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