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At the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, students are at the heart of all we do.

So, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and instantly disrupted life for undergrad and graduate students in early March, the University community knew it was time to step up.

Many of our students were impacted by reduced work hours and the loss of jobs. They left campus and transitioned to learning through online and other alternative delivery methods. They faced challenges they didn’t see coming.

“UWO students have reached out to me personally and shared the hardships they are facing,” Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said in early March.

UWO went into action, feverishly working to find ways to help our students succeed in the unprecedented time. On March 23, the UW Oshkosh Foundation’s Titans Rise campaign rolled out. Gifts raised would provide emergency grants for our students.

The Titan community responded en masse.

Two weeks later, the Titans Rise campaign had raised nearly $15,000. By the end of May, the campaign had reached $84,300, including a $50,000 matching gift from alumnus Jerry Gonyo as well as donations contributed by both the UW Oshkosh Foundation and the Titan Alumni Foundation.

Gonyo, a 1964 economics graduate, committed to match $50,000 to help UWO students thrive.

With money secured, UW Oshkosh went to work to provide students in need with a one-time gift per student of up to $400.

More than 700 students from across the three UWO campuses had applied for assistance from the Titans Rise campaign as of June 1, and we were able to assist 224 students.

UWO continues to work to raise funds for the Titans Rise campaign and will provide gifts on an on-going basis to Titans until the funds are depleted.

“I have never doubted UW Oshkosh’s ability to step in and help their students,” said Macy Thurler, a UWO junior who received funds from the Titans Rise campaign. “Thank you to the donors who helped make this campaign happen. I wish I could give whoever donated my portion a massive hug, I am just so appreciative. With this grant, I am able to contribute to my rent payment that I have been worried about for a while. Thank you, UW Oshkosh and every donor.”

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Thank you from UW Oshkosh Students

I just want to thank the donors and alumni who are going out of their way to help students in need. The Titans Rise funds will go a long way to helping students like myself manage this year. – Jasmine Kelly, senior, communications studies

Due to COVID-19, I got laid off from my part-time job and lost my summer internship. This posed financial struggles for me regarding rent, utility bills and food. I am very grateful for the Titans Rise emergency grant’s selfless donors who are willing to help students like myself. This unprecedented time is so uncertain and it helps to know that UW Oshkosh and the Titan community are coming together to help each other. – Taylor Nelson, senior, marketing

It is a big help that this school is doing this for the students in need! It makes me proud to be a Titan. – Austin Marshall, senior, business administration

Thank you to all who helped and supported the Titans Rise campaign. I hope they truly understand their kindness made this semester possible for a lot of students. – Carrie Reed, senior, international studies

The Titans Rise emergency grant provided me a lifeline as well as a sense of financial security during this difficult time. Words cannot express how much this grant will truly help me. – Courtney LaBuy, senior, education and social science

I appreciate the grant! I lost my job due to COVID-19 and the funds will go towards helping to pay for my groceries and my bills that are coming up. I appreciate the help from our alumni and the other donors who assisted with giving out this grant! You all are examples of what Titans should be! Thank you so much. – Lucas Meixner, senior, history