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Time and again, students meet and pair up at UW-Fond du Lac, proving it is the best start for the life they want together!

Student ambassadors continue partnership beyond campus

Who: Krystal Brown Buhler from Mayville and Mark Buhler from Fond du Lac

On campus: Both attended September 2008-May 2010.

Why UW-FDL: Krystal was able to work 40 hours per week in Waupun and attend school full-time. For Mark: “It was a great value for my money and very little commute from my house.”

Met how: Mark noticed Krystal in the Commons and then in a choir class. Krystal said he used to “sit at a lunch table and wink.” He really got her attention when he added her on Facebook.

Knew this was “it:” Their first date was to an Army Band concert at Fond du Lac High School. From then on, they mingled their schedules, including more shared classes and time in the Commons. At six months, when Mark asked a hypothetical question about marriage, Krystal didn’t feel ready. But, when he officially proposed on her late-September birthday before he left for boot camp in early October 2010, she said yes. They married in secret at Christmas break in 2010 at the Winnebago County Courthouse while Mark was on a leave, then had a full ceremony with family on New Year’s Eve 2011 in Racine, with Mark’s cousin officiating.

Campus memories: The couple worked together as student ambassadors. Krystal fondly recalls going to work for UW-Fond du Lac Student Services Coordinator Melissa Luedtke on a day when Mark had given her a rose, which she carried. “I loved UW-Fond du Lac so much,” Krystal said. “It felt like a big family.”

Completed education: Mark joined the U.S. Navy in October 2010 and was trained in nuclear engineering. Krystal enrolled at UW-Oshkosh for a year before she joined her husband as he moved for service; she continues to take business classes online.

Where they are now: The couple is stationed in Newport News, VA, where Mark is a Nuclear Machinist Mate 3rd Class, whose duties include maintaining, repairing, andoperating nuclear propulsion power plants for the United States Navyships. Krystal is working at a restaurant and continuing her online studies, and reports the Navy provides excellent support for families: “Where ever we go, we already have met somebody.”

Campus Connection: Krystal follows UW-Fond du Lac on Facebook: “I like to see what people are doing. I know people still graduating, and I love to keep track. It brings back good memories.”


Late meeting proves lasting

Who: Jenny Nieman Zacherl and Peter Zacherl, both from Fond du Lac

On campus: Both enrolled Fall 1981; Jenny from Goodrich High School, Peter from St. Mary’s Springs.

Why UW-FDL: It was a “nice start” for Jenny, who kept her job at K-Mart and lived at home. Peter was able to help at the funeral home and do his apprenticeship: “It was nice to be available to people who needed me here.”

Met how: In Roger Wall’s political science class – March 1983 – their final semester on campus. A group assignment in Judy Kosted’s English class then got them talking. Jenny also recalls seeing Peter standing by the science hall coffee machine as she came into the building. “I was watching the girls,” he acknowledged.

Knew this was “it:” They can recall their first date at Ledgeview Lanes, and the room with live music called Windjammer East. Both had higher education plans in place when they met: their courtship included weekend three-hour drives between campuses as they completed their degrees. They dated seven years, and married in August 1989 at Jenny’s home church, Immanuel Trinity Lutheran Church, whose former building now houses Fond du Lac’s Trinity restaurant.

Campus memories: The “best fish sandwiches” in the cafeteria, and Friday afternoon videos in the Commons basement with 25-cent beer. Being paid a $3-$5 per game honorarium on the then-new soccer team, and then being voted the most valuable player by his teammates meant the most to Peter. He recalls watching pre-med students in auditorium classes at the University of Minnesota scramble to understand material covered by biology instructor Elizabeth Hayes during his first semester on the UW-Fond du Lac campus: “I was well-prepared….finding I had a superior education surprised me.”

Completed education: Jenny, mass communication degree at UW-LaCrosse. Peter, mortuary science degree at the University of Minnesota.

Where they are now: Jenny works part-time as an administrative assistant at the Fond du Lac Area Foundation. Peter is the fifth-generation owner-operator and funeral director at Zacherl Funeral Home in Fond du Lac. Son Danny and daughter Claire are students at St. Mary Springs High School.

Campus connection: Peter was among the first to play on the campus soccer team, which was also the first team in Fond du Lac. The couple’s wedding rings were made by long-time campus art instructor William “Griff” Griffiths.

Temporary indecision leads to best life decision

Who: Kathryn Kampfer Tasch from Chilton and Joseph Tasch from Fond du Lac

On campus: Kathy enrolled fall 1973; Joe, 1975.

Why UW-FDL: “It was the right size for someone from a little town,” said Kathy. “Tuition was affordable and I had work study.” A letter from Coach Dick Knar brought Joe to campus: “I was undecided about college, but all about playing basketball. The letter tipped it.”

Met how: Kathryn was undecided on her major, so stayed an extra semester. Met in classes and talked in the halls; campus was a social hub, with dances, pool tables and a “stereo room.”

Knew this was “it:” “I was only 18 when we met,” Joe said. “I’d had high school girlfriends, but knew this was different.” According to Kathy, “I knew there was something very special there to hang around for.” Romance influenced their decisions to complete degrees nearby. After five years of dating, they married in November 1980 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Fond du Lac.

Campus memories: “Mr. Griffiths, my art teacher, exposed me to so much. He made a point that we knew about all types of art and job opportunities,” said Kathy. “I never would have thought about graphic design without him.” Joe recalled, “Coach Knar went out of his way to recruit from Indiana and Chicago. It was our first exposure to other races. And it was like a family, a very tight-knit community.”

Completed education: Kathryn, art degree from Marian College; Joe, business degree from UW-Oshkosh.

Where they are now: After graphic arts jobs in print shops and ad agencies and raising their three children, Kathy is now the office administrator for the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership. Joe joined Nielsen after graduation and has worked there for more than 30 years; currently in operations and project management, he is in charge of the downtown Fond du Lac facility. They have raised three children: Kerry, an art director in Milwaukee; Kelly, a school media specialist in Waunakee; and Kyle, a biology major working for Epic software in Verona.

Campus connection: Oldest daughter Kerry attended UW-Stevens Point for graphic design, but married in the UW-Fond du Lac University Center Commons in June 2010. Joe now serves on the UW-Fond du Lac Foundation board. The couple appreciates campus shows and events, and supports the Arboretum. They remain life-long friends with people they met at UW-Fond du Lac.


Laurie Krasin