Interview with Craig Cady, 04/26/02018

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Ryan Baars, Interviewer | uwocs_Craig_Cady_04262018_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


´╗┐RB: Okay, so hi, my name is Ryan Baars, and today I will be interviewing Craig Cady, who attended UWO. So, how are you doing today?

CC: I'm doing just fine, Ryan.

RB: That's good. So, we're going to start with some of the background questions. So, where did you grow up?

CC: I grew up in Wisconsin, moved around quite a bit in Wisconsin. I lived in Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Madison, so I've lived in a lot of different cities in Wisconsin as I grew up.

RB: Okay, so you said you moved around often, so was it like every couple of years or how was that, how often did you stay in one place?

CC: Yeah, it was almost every couple of years. When I was a kid, we moved about thirteen times, lived in a lot of different cities, and even moved back to some of the cities we had lived in before, so a lot of moving when I was a kid.

RB: Yeah, so that had to be interesting. So, then, can you kind of tell me a little bit about the communities you grew up in, like the differences between, I 1:00mean obviously you said Milwaukee and Green Bay, so there's some big differences between those two areas and stuff like that, so can you kind of describe the different communities you lived in?

CC: Yeah, I sure can. When I was really young, when I grew up in a very small city, Waupun Wisconsin, so I spent a lot of time there as a young kid, mostly elementary school and so forth. It was a very small community at that time, it still is small, but I think it was even smaller then. It was nice to live in a small community, very different from some of the larger communities I lived in later on like Madison and Milwaukee, which are bigger cities. I got a taste of both small city life, and big city life. It was a diverse upbringing when I was growing up.

RB: Yeah, so going from a small town to more of the bigger cities like Madison and Milwaukee, did you live in more of an apartment, or a house in suburbs, 2:00versus what you lived in in the small town?

CC: Yeah, in the small town of course it was a house, we lived in a couple of different homes there as I was growing up as a kid. It was usually a home, in Madison we lived in a home right on the lake, Lake Monona, Madison's got two big lakes. So it was kind of a summer lake life when I was a kid growing up. It was a lot of fun, a lot of water skiing and lake activity, it was a lot of fun. As I got older, I ended up living in Milwaukee for a number of years. When I took a position with Saint Joseph Hospital and Medical School, I lived in an apartment there, but it was a very different life than a smaller city. It was a bigger city and all the different things about the city we took advantage of. I really enjoyed Milwaukee when I lived there.

RB: Okay yeah, that sounds like a lot of fun actually. So the next question 3:00would be what was your family like? Can you kind of describe it? Did you have any siblings? What was family life like in general?

CC: Yeah I did, I had two younger brothers, I was the oldest, two younger brothers. My middle brother was interested in music, and eventually got a degree in geology, but went on and is a writer now and a jazz musician, so he's very busy. My other brother, my youngest brother got a degree in engineering and then went on to law school and became a lawyer for a really large international company in California. We all got along, it was a male dominated house, my mother had to deal with three boys and my father of course. My dad worked for the state of Wisconsin for his whole career. He was the director of the correctional department in Madison for a number of years. So he was involved in 4:00corrections for a long time. I always joked that I had been in more prisons than anybody, primarily touring prisons with my father. My mother was an at-home-mom and really did all the household stuff, she was kind of a traditional housewife in that sense. They both really influenced my brothers and myself in a very big way in terms of as we got older and what we did after that.

RB: Okay, so did either of your parents go to college, or no? How was that?

CC: My mother never did attend college. My father went on to get a degree in social work. He got a degree, and he really enjoyed psychology and sociology a lot. I think it was a good basis for his working in corrections and dealing with 5:00inmates and so forth. It was a very good background for him. Of course, at that time he was pretty much in the news as the director of the corrections department in Wisconsin, so it was kind of a high profile job. He was always in the news, he was warden of several prisons, again kind of a high profile. So it was always kind of fun to see my dad interviewed for newspapers and television, it was a different upbringing for me.

RB: Okay yeah, so then being in corrections and all of that, was he more of a strict parent, or was he a little bit more lenient? Can you kind of explain that a little bit?

CC: Yeah, I think it was a very progressive, very liberal upbringing. My father was a very liberal progressive person in corrections, very very compassionate for the people he had to deal with in corrections. Many of the inmates just came from broken homes and had a very disadvantaged life. I always remember my father 6:00as being an incredibly compassionate person, wanting to make a difference. You always hear about prison wardens in movies being really pretty hardcore people, and pretty strict, my father was not that way. He wanted to increase the education of these inmates, and a lot of that compassion rubbed off to me in a lot of different ways and my understanding of some of the challenges people had in life.

RB: Okay yeah. So, then would you say that kind of some of the values he tried to bring on you guys, to be more educated, to be more accepting of people and their circumstances?

CC: Very definitely. Without a doubt, my brothers and myself have always been incredibly compassionate for people's load in life, and they struggle in their challenges, we've always been very much like that, and I still am today. It 7:00certainly did shape our approach to whatever we did. Like I said, my brother was an attorney my other brother was a writer and so forth, and I'm in science of course. I still have that kind of perspective from my dad.

RB: Okay yeah that's really cool. So you had talked about how he was really focused on trying to educate these people that had been from broken homes like that, so was education in your household a really big deal, was it your choice for college? How was that?

CC: My father never really tried to direct our path very much. We always had an educated, or, I say academic, environment in our home. I remember reading Shakespeare when I was about twelve years old out of just interest. My dad always brought up interesting topics from science to literature. So a lot of us, 8:00all three of us my brothers and myself were influenced by this and wanting to go to college. So, yeah it was a big influence and kind of directed us, but there was no real, we weren't given particular direction. It was all our own choice on what path we wanted to follow. All three of us obviously went on and got a college degree and so forth.

RB: Okay yeah, so since you moved around a lot your neighborhoods didn't change a lot while you lived there?

CC: Moving to different environments, so frequently changed with the people we met and our friends. It was a hard thing, readjusting to a school when you move to a new environment, and that's difficult on a lot of kids and it was on us too, people dealing with transition sometimes, and we had to deal with that, it 9:00was a real challenge on us as kids particularly to move from different schools and different groups of friends and so forth, it certainly was a challenge. I think for me particularly, I think it caused me to be a little more introverted than my younger brothers. I was a very introverted kid, not really active in a lot of different things, it was more independent and independent minded kind of person, I guess I would explain myself in that way.

RB: Okay, so did you keep any of the friends you made in these different communities, or was it like cutting ties almost?

CC: A lot of cutting ties, yes. I still have friends that I've known for a really long time, but a lot of cutting ties. Especially at that time, there weren't a lot of cell phones or social media at that time, so it was more difficult to keep in touch with friends at that time. Now with cell phones and 10:00social media it's a whole lot easier, but at that time it was more difficult. So you're right I would describe it as cutting a lot of ties at that time.

RB: Okay yeah. So then can you kind of describe the different schools that you had been to in general, you know, the difference between the different communities and some of the technology that you had and used back then and all of that?

CC: Well, I guess I'll start with high school, because I did part of my high school in Madison and the other part in a small city in Wisconsin, we actually moved back to Waupun. So it was unusual because I had friends from grade school I hadn't seen for years, and I go back to high school and see the same students who were very different people, of course, from grade school. That was an interesting experience. Technologies at that time, I had no real interest in science for myself personally at that time. I did have a physics teacher, a 11:00chemistry teacher, who influenced me regarding history of events. He didn't just teach chemistry, but taught what it was like during and after World War II. That was a big influence on me, not necessarily influencing me on science in any way, but personally in terms of culture I guess. Then moving on to my last year of high school in Madison. The technology, it was a bigger city, and it was a very different environment. I think probably the technologies for me, at that time, for that last year in terms of the sciences kind of influenced me in some ways. Again, I was still interested in following my dad and interested more in sociology at the time before starting college.

RB: Okay, so then would you say that sociology and that kind of thing was your 12:00favorite subject or what ones did you prefer over the others, obviously you said not at that time science?

CC: No, I would say that sociology was my major interest, that was by far, psychology and sociology were my major interests, and literature, but they were number one, and I had planned to go into sociology when I went to college. So, that was kind of my basis before I went to college.

RB: Okay, so when you were growing up and throughout high school, what were some of the important goals that you had?

CC: You know, I was always interested in sports, I was very interested in tennis, it was one of my major interests, so I was big into sports. I was also big into outdoors, I just loved getting outdoors and hiking, even at that time. When we lived in a small city we could get out there and hike along the river. Dogs were a big interest to me. I did a little hunting, but outdoors was a major 13:00influence. I can say that I wasn't a really academic student in high school, I didn't have a great interest in it. I mean I enjoyed it, but it wasn't a major interest in me, it was more sports and outdoor activity were a lot of my interest in high school.

RB: Okay, so would you say that a lot of that stuff you just described were things you would do with your friends when you had free time?

CC: Yes, yes, definitely outdoors activity with my friends and with my brothers, just a tremendous amount of outdoor activities and sports. We did a lot of that, very active and outdoor stuff.

RB: Okay yeah, so you said that your dad didn't really try to guide you in any particular way, but did they have any particular goals for you and your siblings, or was it more that they kind of brought you up and knew that you would take your own course of action?


CC: There was some of that, certainly they wanted us to find our own way, but there was a tremendous amount of love in our family. We did a lot of things together as a family. When we lived in Madison, we did a lot of boating and water skiing together as a family. We were a pretty close family. Like I say love was a really big thing emphasized both by my mother and my father. It was a very loving household and very supportive household. Again I wouldn't say it was a strict upbringing. We certainly had rules and things, but it was a very open-ended house. Again, it emphasized a lot of support to the family. We were always supported by our mom and dad and that support helped us a lot to find our own way.

RB: Okay so then I would assume that they definitely supported your decisions about going to college and all that?

CC: They did, but an interesting story is that I wasn't really interested in 15:00college after high school. My other two brothers were, they certainly did, but I was, as funny as it sounds with the career I have right now, I was interested in mechanics and possibly a career in welding, going to technical school. That was actually my main interest, college was kind of interesting to me but I had more of an interest in a technical background. It's hard to say that considering what I'm doing now. So, it was very different, things changed drastically in my life in terms of what direction it took.

RB: So, then after high school what did you do in terms of trying to go for that welding?

CC: Yeah, I wanted to go to a technical school, that was my main interest. My mother, actually - we lived pretty close to a two-year campus, it was the University of Wisconsin at Fond du Lac, we lived in Waupun, so it was, you know, twenty minutes away. My mother, kind of, and father both encouraged me, they 16:00said "Why don't you try taking a couple courses there and see what it's like?" I kind of gave in and ended up spending two years at Fond du Lac, which is, like I said, a two-year college campus, kind of a satellite campus at the time. It still is. That kind of changed my course. I went in as a sociology major, and then took a single course in biology. Kind of, in a way, almost like a bet saying "If you take this course, will you really like biology?" and I was kind of negative about it, I didn't think I'd like it, but I did take this first course in biology. I remember that had a very big impact on my career and my life. This was a beginning biology course for non-majors in biology, kind of a survey, and it was taught by an instructor, who I believe he had a master's 17:00degree, and I absolutely, absolutely fell in love with biology. I did incredibly well in the course and it hit a nerve I should say, and my direction from a technical interest into biology. I left sociology and just got completely enthralled with biology, it certainly changed my life.

RB: Yeah, so then after you took that course and you had finished attending the 2-year college, did you feel the need to go to another college or university for that biology path?

CC: Absolutely. After the two years at Fond Du Lac where I just fell in love with biology and took all the biology courses I could take, I decided to transfer to UW-Oshkosh because there was a full biology department there that offered a diverse range of courses. I wasn't looking for a big campus 18:00environment at the time, so Oshkosh was a really good fit for me. It was a lot cheaper, we were living in Green Bay at the time, my family had moved to Green Bay and I thought "gee why don't I commute to Oshkosh, it's not that far." And I became a biology student there and took every single course I could in biology and absolutely fell in love with the department. It was a supportive, diverse department, with faculty members that really enjoyed teaching. It really kind of fueled my interest in biology even more. It was an incredibly positive experience there.

RB: So then, obviously you lived in Green Bay and so you could commute, but were there any other colleges you had looked into or was Oshkosh the only one?

CC: Oshkosh was the only one. It was close. I didn't come from a family that has a lot of money and I didn't, and in terms of a financial aspect, it was 19:00affordable to me, living at home and commuting. So I really didn't look for any other campuses than Oshkosh, it just seemed like such a good fit for me, and it gave me access to all the courses I wanted in biology.

RB: So, did any of your siblings go there too, or was it only you?

CC: Yeah, my younger brother went to Oshkosh for two years in geology at Oshkosh, and then transferred to Madison to finish his degree in geology at Madison. My youngest brother went straight into Madison and went into engineering degree at Madison, so they both went to a bigger campus environment. For me, Oshkosh was a great fit for my BS degree in biology, I just really enjoyed it.

RB: So then, at the time, did you know what exactly you wanted to do in biology? 20:00Did you know you wanted to teach? Obviously, you had an emphasis in zoology, but did you know that at the time or was that something you kind of picked throughout?

CC: It kind of worked out with my coursework and the professors I worked with and had an opportunity to meet and work with. I was interested in teaching, yes I had an interest in teaching. I also had an interest in research, I really enjoyed that. One thing that was a very big influence to me and influenced me in a big way at Oshkosh was that there was a program through the geology department and biology department where undergraduates could spend a semester studying in Mexico. It was kind of a joint program between UW-Madison; they represented the anthropology side, and then Oshkosh had geology and biology down there. So, I took part in that program, and spent a semester studying in the middle of 21:00northern Mexico in the desert. It had a very big influence on me. The professors were there, we were immersed in a culture, in the Mexican culture in a small village. You got to picture a Midwestern boy from Wisconsin who had never been much out of Wisconsin, all of a sudden I'm in the middle of Mexico in a small village in Mexico, studying anthropology, geology, and biology. It was an incredible experience. It was an exciting experience, it really broadened my interest in biology and all those other areas.

RB: Okay yeah, so I do have some questions about that too actually. So, do you remember kind of what your first impression was? Obviously, you said that you had been from small towns and moved around a lot, and now all of a sudden you're in a small village in northern Mexico, so what was kind of your first impression of that?

CC: My first impression was it was a small city, people were relatively poor 22:00there, but they opened their houses, they opened their city to us. It was just a remarkable experience. I got to learn Spanish by being immersed in Spanish, which really was a good way to learn it. I was really great at Spanish when I was down there, and I could communicate well. I had so many friends, Mexican friends that I met down there. There was a rancher that had horses, and I would ride horses with him. I got very close with him. There was only one restaurant in town, I got to know the restaurant owner. His twelve-year-old son actually helped teach me Spanish, I helped teach him English, like I said it was just a great experience. The people there were so warm to us. It was terrific, like I said, I really enjoyed it. I got to meet people from another culture entirely. It influenced me in many ways.


RB: Okay yeah, so then obviously when you got there you hadn't really known Spanish, so that had to be kind of difficult for a little while until you started to catch on I'm guessing right?

CC: It was, you're right, it was. In the group I was with, there were some people who were really interested in learning Spanish, but there was another group that kind of resisted it and sort of stayed with the group, but some of us went out and really made an effort to learn Spanish, even though it was hard. The people there were so friendly and tolerant of our terrible Spanish for a while, but it improved over the time with those of us who really got out. There were so many experiences that I had while I was down there that were just a very positive experience on my life. I actually advise a lot of undergraduates and graduate students in my job right now, and I always urge them to try and at least go abroad in these out-of-the-US study programs, because I think we all 24:00need to see what other cultures are like. Especially students, when you have time. I had time at that time just to go down there and study down there. I really urge everybody to do it, it's a terrific experience in diversity.

RB: Okay yeah, so I guess can you kind of summarize a little bit some of the cultural aspects that you learned from there, like what was the food like, what kind of holidays did you experience while you were there, was there anything like that?

CC: Oh yeah, there was a lot I remember. Some of the foods we ate were, I remember always eating corn tortillas, we always had corn tortillas, with dinner and breakfast. On special holidays in the city, they made flour tortillas, those were sort of, for everybody in town and for us, the flour tortillas were kind of like a premium treat. I remember that during the festival, that was a terrific 25:00experience. So, the food was terrific. We ended up doing a lot of the cooking our self. We actually hired a Mexican woman to do our cooking so we ate Mexican food. Lots of beans and rice. I remember occasionally we would grill out in a way where we would have mesquite fires and cook the meat over the mesquite flame and it was really just a super treat to have that happen. Then I remember that one of the Mexican guys was an expert on barbequing stuff that was Mexican, and we made chicken and we ate a lot of goat there, the food was delicious. There were a number of other things that happened, I remember one thing specifically. I remember the first night we arrived in the village, and this - we were literally coming right off the bus and arrived. There had been a car accident in 26:00the city, and someone was killed in the car accident, and I remember arriving in the village square, and right there in the village square there was a corpse covered up in a blanked. There was no ambulance service there, the police had a pickup truck and had to go pick up the body. It was kind of a rude awakening in some ways about living in a tiny, very poor village. The United States where, you know there is always an ambulance present, you can call 911, it was a completely different world there. I wouldn't say it was a negative experience per say, but certainly an awakening of what life was like outside of the United States.

RB: Okay yeah, so then what were some of the things you did there? You said you had talked to a lot of the locals, and helped them speak English, and they helped you speak Spanish. So besides doing that, what were some of the things you did in your free time?


CC: Yeah, in my free time, a tremendous amount of hiking in the desert. I just fell in love with the desert. I remember going out for days, we would camp out far in the desert, seeing incredible animals, hummingbirds, a species I had never seen before. I was actively collecting spiders, and tarantulas. My expertise was in, when I did my master's, spiders. I remember finding blind cave spiders on some of these hikes. A Mexican guide who was a miner took us up way in the mountains, and it was the first time I had ever been in a mine. We hiked into this mine with these old lamps that you would put on a helmet, and we hiked deep into this mine. I have so many experiences. Another experience was that we were told they were building a new highway outside of town, way outside of town, and they had opened up a cave and found older native Mexican art and pottery and 28:00so forth. We were allowed to go up and enter into these caves that were opened up. There were anthropologists from Mexico City to go through some of the contents, but we were the first to arrive and got to tour this incredible prehistoric cave where people had lived long ago and had just been opened up. I mean, it was one of many, many exciting things I did in my free time. I remember another one where we got to know the Mexican villagers, and there was a festival, and they were having a rodeo, and they asked for American volunteers to ride in the rodeo and ride broncos, wild horses. Of course I volunteered because I loved horses. So it was Americanos versus Mexicanos, and it was a rodeo. It was a lot of fun, quite an experience for, like I said, a Midwestern 29:00boy from Wisconsin.

RB: Yeah it sounds like it, there are some really good stories there actually. That's really cool. So I guess, what the big thing that you took from that? What was the big value, kind of idea that you took from studying abroad there?

CC: An understanding of another culture. An understanding of how friendly people can actually be from other cultures. That there should be no fear, and we should be more open with other cultures, despite incredible differences between these cultures and conditions where people live. I took that home with me. As I said, I grew up in a very Midwestern, white and Caucasian environment and an appreciation of another culture and how people can be so loving and caring for each other, that was a major thing I took from that, in addition to my love for 30:00the desert environment. I just fell in love with the desert environment, the plants, the organisms, and so forth, and I just eventually fell in love with that.

RB: Okay yeah, so then, while you were there, do you remember getting homesick at all or was it kind of hard to be there? Or were you just so immersed in this new culture there that it just flew by?

CC: No you're right, I did miss my parents, certainly my brothers, and my friends. I did get homesick occasionally. At the same time, I was just really enjoying this new culture and this new environment, this arid desert environment. Certainly, I did miss it, but getting immersed in it, I started to really enjoy life there, the food, and the people there. It was kind of both things, yeah I got homesick occasionally but I certainly enjoyed being there.

RB: Okay yeah, so then, all the food and all of that, is that something you do 31:00now? Do you try to make some of the food that you made there?

CC: Absolutely. I do a lot of Mexican cooking. I absolutely love it. That did influence me. I still get flour tortillas, and I still find it a treat even though you can go to the grocery store and get it, but yes I do, I try.

RB: Okay so then, we'll go back to you time here at UWO. So I guess, what was kind of your first impression, obviously you said you wanted kind of a smaller campus, something close, so you know when you had first started taking classes here, what was your impression of that?

CC: My impression was that it was a wonderful environment for me and biology because it was so diverse. The department was so diverse. They offered courses in ecology, and offered courses in molecular biology, so it was diverse in 32:00terms. It was of course very diverse in topics of biology. I took plant courses, I took courses in insects, I took courses in birds, ornithology, animal behavior. It was so exciting for me to be able to take so many diverse courses in biology. That was because the biology department was diverse, they didn't just emphasize molecular biology and microbiology. They emphasized plants, they emphasized insects, they emphasized ecology and animal behavior. The department that I was in in biology at that time in Oshkosh was so diverse. It offered so 33:00much diversity for those of us interested in a broad spectrum of topics in biology, it was just wonderful.

RB: Okay yeah, so obviously you had come from a 2-year college already, so did you have to take a lot of gen eds. while you were here or was it mostly just your core biology classes?

CC: No, I did have to take some general education courses, absolutely. I took some history courses, which I loved. I took English. A lot of the gen ed. Courses I did enjoy, but certainly my interest was just directed towards biology in a very big way.

RB: Okay, do you remember any professors you had? Were there any ones that kind of stuck out to you that had a lot of influence?

CC: Absolutely, without a doubt and had a very big influence on me. Dr. Dave Strohmeyer who was there, taught the ecology course and he was a big influence 34:00on me in biology. Dr. Jack Casper, was the spider expert, had a very big influence. Then Dr. Rodney Cyrus, who was one of my mentors, who was interested in electron microscopy, had an incredible influence on my career on biology and research. Dr. Dr. Gene Drecthra, who I really enjoyed meeting. I was awarded the alumni of the year for 2016 in a group, and Dr. Drecthra was still there. I got to go back and meet him again. It was many years since I'd seen him. He was the entomologist there, and again had a really big influence on my career in biology, and personally too. These faculty members were incredible. Dr. Willers, Bill Willers, was the zoologist there, had a big influence on me, particularly in sailing. I took a field practice course with him with him on a 35:00twenty-two-foot sailboat in Keys in Florida collecting corals, and looking at lobsters and ocean life. Again, a massive influence in my life and my career in biology. So yes I do remember a number of the professors there, and they certainly had a big influence on my life. Not only in my career, but also my perspective on teaching. Again, half of what I do is teaching. They taught me how to be a good teacher. So again, a very big influence on my career in research, but also my teaching career.

RB: Okay yeah, so I guess do you remember any of the lab classes you took here, and what kinds of things you did? I mean, obviously you mentioned collecting corals and all of that for that sailing class, but for some of the other classes, what were some of the labs you did? What was the technology like then compared to now, how different was it?

CC: Yeah, it depends on the course. The course I took in ornithology, for 36:00instance, we went out and collected birds, and observed birds out in the field. That was an incredible experience. There was a collection of birds that had been preserved and we would go through the collection of birds. They had a wonderful bird collection. The other thing that was wonderful was the plant course I took. Dr. Harriman had one of the best herbariums I've ever seen, and we got to do the taxonomy and systematics of plants, and key out and name different plants, the species, the genus of plants. That technology has changed a lot now. They use a lot of - its molecular biology for identification, but at that time you looked at flowering structures and plants to identify and name them, that exciting. Dr. Drecthra's course in entomology, we went out and collected insects and we were required to just a gigantic collection of insects for our final grade in the 37:00course. Again, identifying a diverse range of insects, it was terrific. Then Rodney Cyrus's course on electron microscopy, that was a purely lab course. I was very fortunate at Oshkosh that there were two electron microscopes, a transmission electron microscope, and then a scanning electron microscope with all the related equipment. There was, I believe, a wealthy alum donor who had donated both those instruments to the biology department at Oshkosh, and I was fortunate to learn how to use those as an undergraduate, it was incredible technology. The technology has changed somewhat, but electron microscopy is still a technique that I even use today surprisingly. I was very fortunate in being exposed to that as an undergraduate student.

RB: Okay yeah, so it sounds like you had a lot of work outside, kind of more like outdoors, so is that kind of partially why you chose to do what you do 38:00because you know you said when you were younger you loved being outdoors and doing that kind of thing so was that a lot of what influenced you to take this path?

CC: Yeah, you're right. It was the field courses, I really loved the field courses because of my interest in the outdoors, birds, and fish, and insects and so forth, and plants. Unfortunately, my career is all in the laboratory now. I'm kind of envious of my colleagues at Bradley University here who are doing ecology and environmental work outdoors. I'm pretty much restricted to laboratory research right now, so my career path changed a little bit later on, but I really enjoyed, and still enjoy going outdoors. But my fieldwork, I don't do any fieldwork anymore, it's primarily research in a laboratory.

RB: Okay yeah, so you said you commuted here, so did you commute here for the 39:00entire time you came here, or did you ever stay on campus?

CC: No, I did, the last two years I did stay on campus. I stayed in the dorms there for my last two years, and finished my degree there. It worked out really well for me because I was a senior student and junior student, and was rounding out my degree in biology and getting ready to go to graduate school, frankly. I did take some time off between graduate school, my master's degree at Oshkosh, and my BS degree. I had to work for a little bit to get enough money to go to grad school, but I wanted to return to biology at Oshkosh and do my master's degree there.

RB: Okay, so what dorms did you live in actually?

CC: Yeah, there was a dorm called Breese, and I don't even think it's there anymore.

RB: No it's not.

CC: It's long gone! It's really funny because one of the faculty members at 40:00Bradley University in the mathematics department also is an Oshkosh alum, and it turned out we both stayed in the same dorm, it was Breese. We were kind of talking about it the other day that it's not even there anymore, but we both had great experiences there. It was a coed dorm, I think men were on the first floor and second floor, and the women were on the top floor. It was quite an experience there, we both talked about it in a really good way.

RB: Okay yeah. So do you kind of remember what it was like to live there? Do you remember meeting a lot of new people? Were there any kind of out there rules and stuff you guys had to follow while you were living in the dorms or was it kind of laid back?

CC: It was pretty laid back. I don't remember any rules that were very restrictive per say. But I do remember interacting more with the biology students. We were a very close knit group, and so I did a lot of things with the biology students. There weren't many biology students staying in the dorms, so 41:00most of my friends that were in the biology department, you know, we shared a passion for biology and got together frequently. I remember having these Wild Game dinners they were called, and we would eat pheasants, squirrel, just wild game that was caught and so forth. It was a really fun experience and I really enjoyed it.

RB: Okay yeah, so then what were some of the things I guess you did while you were living on campus? You know, did you stay mostly on campus, did you go kind of around downtown here, or what were some of the things you did during your free time when you weren't studying?

CC: As an undergraduate, I was really a serious student. I took education for me very seriously. I was never one to cut classes, I always attended every class I 42:00registered for and was very diligent in studying. I would say ninety percent of my time was either in the biology classes or in the library studying. I just loved biology and wanted to be a very serious student so. I was not necessarily a really outgoing student taking part in a lot of different activities other than in the biology department so. Kind of a boring student in some ways.

RB: Well, you were definitely a good student though for going to class all the time and doing all of that so that's always good. So, then are these people you met when you were in these biology classes and in the biology department in general, are you still friends with a lot of them? Or how did that work out?

CC: Yeah, some of them I still am, and a lot of fond memories. I actually met my wife there. I got back from Mexico and ended up meeting her when I came back. I 43:00finished my last year of college there and met her. And a lot of friends too, I still stay in touch with some of them. Again mostly the biology students that I met there.

RB: Okay yeah. So then you said you met your wife here, so did you guys kind of just starting dating while you were here, or did you wait 'til later after school, or can you kind of describe that relationship a little bit?

CC: Yeah, no that's a good question. I was working on spiders in my last couple of years in biology. It was a laboratory that was near the faculty offices, and I would cross through an outer lab, and my would-be wife at that time I got to know. She worked in the outer lab, so I would pass her every day, and say "good morning" and we'd say "good morning" to each other, and I'd go work in the lab, we called it the Spider Lab, and I'd spend a lot of time on the microscope looking at our spiders from the Mexico collection and going through all of that. Which was a labor intensive job. But I think I said "hi" to her for about a year. Finally, she kind of said, and I said "We ought to go out one time." I met 44:00her once one morning and she said "Yeah, we should do that." That went on for several months, and we never did go out. Then actually we started to date a little bit, see each other quite frequently after that. Then obviously we were getting very close at that time.

RB: Okay yeah, so that's really cool actually. So then I guess I got to ask: what kind of made you choose spiders as your focus of study?

CC: That's a good question. It was Dr. Casper who started talking about spiders in the classes I took with him, and then I started to get to know him, and we started talking about spiders, and I started kind of helping him out with the collection a little bit and absolutely love spiders, that spider biology. I 45:00started to learn about how the live, in different environments. That they were predators. The diversity of them. I honestly fell in love with spiders. I know that's hard to say for some people. We had tarantulas, I absolutely love spiders. Maybe the spider phobia, or arachnophobia that people had kind of made me go in the opposite direction. I actually kind of fell in love with them and enjoyed looking at them and collecting them. I even raised spiders for a while for my master's degree. It was kind of funny that way, I mean most people have arachnophobia but I felt the complete opposite.

RB: Okay yeah.

CC: I don't know if that's a good explanation but.

RB: No it is. It's actually kind of interesting. That's why I thought I needed to ask, because you know, you talk to everyone and they're like "SPIDERS!" and they don't want to go anywhere near them, and that was what you did with your 46:00Master's so I felt like I needed to ask that.

CC: That's right.

RB: So then while you were here on campus, did you participate in any campus events? Did you go to homecoming or anything like that? Did you go to watch the Titans participate in sports?

CC: I did some of that, I did some of that. I remember watching the tennis team a little bit, and doing a little bit of that because I played a lot of tennis. I remember there was a sailing club that was down near the river and I took part in some of that, canoeing and that kind of thing. Again, mostly a serious student, like I said a rather boring student in truth.

RB: Okay, so I guess from more of like a historical perspective, when you first attended here, were there more men or women in your opinion why you attended here?


CC: Oh that's a good question, let me think back. I would say there were more men than women at that time. Yeah, I think so. My wife is one of the really good biology students, but there were a handful of women in biology, but you're right, I would say it was mostly men in the department in biology in my opinion, mostly men. And the faculty also was dominated by men at that time also. There were a couple women instructors and faculty members but yeah, mostly men.

RB: Okay, and then how about when you came back again for your master's, do you feel like there was more women on campus, can you kind of explain that a little bit?

CC: Yeah, no I agree. I think there were more women. I was fortunate when I was given the alumni award, I remember going and spending some time with a female 48:00faculty member in biology, and we sat and talked quite a while about it. But there were other women faculty members there, I was really pleased to see that. And then I was invited to give a seminar on my research to the biology department, which was really fun for me. I really had a great time. I would say that the students that were in attendance were half women half men, so there were more women. And then I had lunch, and spend lunch with the graduate students in the biology department. And again that was about 50/50 also men and women. So I think it had changed quite a bit which I was really pleased to see, and I know my wife would have been also really pleased to see that also.

RB: Okay yeah, so then, also from a more historical perspective, how about students from different racial backgrounds and ethnicities. What were the numbers for when you were here versus when you came back?


CC: Yeah, when I first there, there were very few minorities represented there, very few minorities. There was some Hispanic, but not many, not many African Americans. It was very primarily dominated by Caucasian white students, and mostly male, I guess maybe I should say that. And when I went back, I was only there for a full day or so, so I don't know if I have a really good impression, but I know that there were more African Americans on campus, and minorities just strolling around campus and attending that. I know at the alumni dinner, there were a lot of African Americans represented there, in fact several women were recognized as alumni of the year, and then a number of African Americans. So yeah I think the campus environment has changed regarding minorities. I hope 50:00that's the case internationally for us, but yeah there was a very big difference in minorities represented when I went back.

RB: Okay yeah, so also, do you remember while you were here, any major political, educational, or cultural events that kind of happened here at UWO. Do you remember there being big deals, maybe riots or something like that?

CC: Well, I will say I remember the big Irish holiday, St. Patrick's Day. That was historically a really wild time. It was just massive parties, many times getting out of hand. Like I said I wasn't a party person at that time. I remember that the Oshkosh police had to come out. Occasionally it would get out of hand, and there were all kinds of problems that occurred. This was almost 51:00every St. Patrick's Day in Oshkosh. I don't know if they've done much about that environment, primarily off-campus of course, that was going on off-campus, around campus. Also there was a fair amount of political things going on at the time. You know the Vietnam War had pretty much closed out, but there was I think a lot of activity, still a lot of activity regarding demonstration of women's rights and African American rights and so forth at that time. So it was relatively active at that time. So there were some political events going on at campus also. I can't say I was tremendously active in it, but certainly supported that kind of perspective on allowing more women to have more rights and minorities and so forth. But I was not necessarily politically active, like I said I was probably a very boring student.

RB: No, so besides that, do you remember kind of the bar culture back then, like 52:00was everyone going out all the time, were there main drags for bars or something like that? Because obviously today that's still a very big deal for students that go here.

CC: Yeah, and Wisconsin in general. I grew up in small cities, and bars, bars outnumber churches in Wisconsin. I grew up there, and I think that culture carried over to campus life, and a lot of students, obviously alcohol was involved in a lot of parties, and bar hopping and so forth. I was not a member of that group, I just really was too serious about getting my degree and studying, but a lot of people did a lot of that. Even when we got together there was some drinking, but it wasn't like bar hopping. I think though that the campus environment, nationally, that I think students, I think there is a problem with alcohol. I think there is a problem with rape for students. I think 53:00that we have to address it nationally, and not just at Oshkosh. It's a national problem in my opinion. But in some ways I guess I was kind of conservative as a student. I wasn't really active in a lot of that myself in terms of going out to the bars at night. I just didn't do that. I just wanted to get my degree and was pretty direct at it. Party because I was, I didn't come from a really strong financial background. I had to, it was hard for me to go to school, I had to work summers really hard, and I was a pretty serious student.

RB: Okay yeah. So then obviously you said you had a few years between graduating with your undergrad before you started your master's to make some money, so what did you do during that time, what kinds of jobs did you have before you got your master's.

CC: Yeah, before I got my Master's I did a number of things. I worked as a maintenance engineer cleaning floors and buffing floors all night, second shift. 54:00I did that for quite a while. It was kind of funny because my wife at the time, I was dating her at the time, she was still at Oshkosh, a serious student, just about starting graduate school, and we'd talk on the phone. I was living in Green Bay at the time, and I remember doing a lot of picking up trash and buffing floors. I remember one job I buffed floors. It was a five floor bank in Green Bay, and I would start on the bottom floor and then as the week went on, move up to the fifth floor, and then the next week I'd start again at the bottom floor. So it was kind of boring, but I made some money and was able to go back. I remember the summer I did a lot of house painting. My brother and a friend of ours, we would paint homes in the summer, and that was hard work, but again a 55:00way to make money, and I guess that's what I did while I was away from campus and out of school between my master's and so forth.

RB: Okay yeah, so then I guess when you came back for your master's did you feel kind of back at home almost, or familiar, or what was that feeling like when you came back to get your master's?

CC: Yeah, my wife, she wasn't my wife at the time, but I was dating her and she was the one that kind of encouraged me to go back. I didn't really know if I wanted to go for a Master's degree. I personally didn't feel like an academic person, which sounds funny now but I wasn't. She convinced me to go back, but I felt a little distort. It wasn't Oshkosh, it wasn't the school, it was more me. I wasn't sure I was able to you know do that, and do a graduate degree. But then after getting on campus, and starting to take courses as a graduate student I just absolutely fell in love with it and realized that it was a great path for 56:00me, and then my two mentors Dr. Casper and Dr. Cyrus, were my two mentors for my graduate program. They were so supportive, it gave me a lot of confidence and I realized that I could do it and perform really well doing research. So I got very comfortable, again the biology department eventually did feel like home again for me.

RB: Okay yeah, so I guess while you were here you know for your master's, and working on that, do you remember it being like a lot more difficult than when you had come here for your undergrad or how was that kind of experience for you?

CC: Oh absolutely. Graduate program was much more intense than undergraduate. I was required to do more and so forth. It was more work, and I had to do a thesis, which is basic research, and that's a challenge, research is, things don't always work in research, and it was a long haul for me. I enjoyed the 57:00courses, but we took dual level courses, where there were undergraduate and graduate students in one course, and the graduate students were expected to do far more. So it was almost like working double time, but the challenge was, for me, I really enjoyed it. I just really enjoyed taking the course. I remember as a grad student, I took a course in entomology, and my, she wasn't my wife at the time, we were dating, she took the same course and I remember it being really frustrating because she got a higher grade than I did. So it was kind of a competition.

RB: Okay yeah, so then after you completed your master's, how did you feel about that? Obviously you graduated college for the first time, so you had to have some pride for that and feel good, but then you came back and did your master's, you know went through all this hard work, so what kind of feeling did you leave with?


CC: It was wonderful. For a student who was always kind of introverted and I really didn't have a lot of confidence in myself, but loved biology. Getting a master's degree just was, it just was exciting for me. It gave me more confidence. It was just a terrific experience to get a master's degree. I felt like I had accomplished so much at Oshkosh with my master's degree. I really thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave me confidence, I took a position after my master's degree, right as I finished my thesis. I was director of an endocrinology research laboratory, clinical laboratory, in Milwaukee working for the medical college of Wisconsin at Saint Joe's Hospital. Oshkosh gave me that confidence to take a position like that and I did very well in that position.

RB: Okay yeah, so then I guess, all in all, what were the most important things, 59:00values, or lessons, or anything like that that you took here from you time here at UWO?

CC: Let's see, I'm going to say number one, an incredibly strong foundation in the field of biology. My background in biology because of Oshkosh, both my undergraduate and graduate was incredibly diverse. Many of the people who I, when I finished my PhD and took a faculty job and posted on fellowship, didn't have the diversity in biology that I had. They had a background in molecular biology, it was all the background they had. For me, I had a background in animal behavior, and all these broad areas, and that has served me really well. One story I like to tell is, one of the first faculty meetings I attended when I took a job at Bradley as a professor, I was introduced to the faculty, and the 60:00chairman of the department said "Well this is Craig Cady, and he can teach almost any course in the department." And that's because of my background at Oshkosh.

RB: Okay yeah, that's impressive. So then I guess, can you kind of explain the path you took from, obviously you said you worked at St. Joseph medical in Milwaukee, but then like after that, how did it go from there to where you work now at Bradley University?

CC: Yeah, my wife wanted to go on for a PhD, she worked in one of the first in vitro fertilization programs in Milwaukee, and she wanted to go on for a PhD. We both got our master's from Oshkosh, and I considered it. So she took a PhD program at the University of Arizona at Tuscan, and we moved together, we had a three-year-old son and moved down there. I had decided, I had met a man in the 61:00entomology department who was doing research in endocrinology and transport of epithelial cells and fluid for a malaria grant, and I met him and he was just wonderful and invited me to become a graduate student for a PhD program, and so that's how I ended up in that program working with him to complete my PhD. My wife finished her PhD there, and it was again, it reminded me of Oshkosh in some ways. Dr. Haggridorn, who I studied under was incredibly supportive and kind, and my committee, my graduate committee, was incredibly supportive and kind. I was fortunate in my career to have mentors that were really kind and supportive like Oshkosh. So that helped me finish the PhD and be very successful with that. Again, I was really fortunate, my wife too. My wife went on and took on a 62:00position in in vitro fertilization at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, and she was the director of the laboratory. And then I started a fellowship doing research in Alzheimer's disease, in the neurology department, it was an NIH fellowship, and again got fortunate to have an incredible mentor who influenced me in a very strong way in terms of electrophysiology advanced research in Alzheimer's disease, and I went on from there.

RB: Yeah, so do you ever kind of miss being in Wisconsin? Obviously when you were younger you had moved around Wisconsin quite often, you know been to a lot of different places here. Then you're in college, and it sounded like you had been to a lot of places there too, you know Mexico and Florida and all of that. So do you ever kind of miss being near here, or are you kind of happy where you are?

CC: No, I miss Wisconsin. Every time I come back, I still have some family 63:00members there, and friends, and I go back occasionally, and I do, I miss Wisconsin. I really do. I was, you know born and raised there, I went to school there at Oshkosh, I really miss Wisconsin. Lake Winnebago was really, I remember some of the parts off Lake Winnebago. So I do miss Wisconsin very much, no doubt about it. Being in central Illinois, is, in my opinion, is geographically a little boring compared to Wisconsin. So that's another reason I guess I miss Wisconsin very much. Like I said, I fell in love with the desert when I was down in Tuscon and Mexico, but I still think of Wisconsin as kind of my home, I grew up there and so forth. I have fond memories of it. Coming back to Oshkosh though is kind of bittersweet in some ways. My wife passed away about three years ago from breast cancer, and going back to Oshkosh was, it was a joy because we met 64:00there, and I loved the department and biology and the university, but I met my wife there so it's kind of bittersweet. It's kind of a sad experience in some ways to go back from that perspective, all the memories we had. I felt it somewhat difficult to go back because of those memories, but again, I still have fond memories of Wisconsin and I do miss it.

RB: Yeah, wow, I'm actually really sorry to hear that. So I guess some of the values that you talked about earlier in our interview, the value of compassion, you kind of developed a value of education throughout your career and everything, so were these things you passed on to your son? Or what were the important things that you tried to pass on to him?

CC: To my son? Absolutely. Yeah and my son actually finished his master's degree in California and did a great job there. So he certainly has a serious student 65:00kind of perspective, I guess my wife and I passed that on to him. For me though, with my career, I have thirteen research students in my laboratory, and I advise students all over. I like to support students, graduate students, undergraduates, just like I was supported at Oshkosh. I find it really exciting and gratifying to be a mentor to undergrads and grad students. In a way it's kind of like giving back what I've learned, certainly from my professors at Oshkosh and then also in Arizona too, but I like to pass that on. It's incredibly gratifying as a teacher to see my students go on to medical school and graduate school and get PhDs and work at hi-tech companies. So yeah, I think 66:00I've learned a lot in terms of support for students. Particularly really serious students who take education and that topic really seriously. I enjoy it, I frankly really enjoy it. It's a great career, it's a great career being a teacher, I guess I should say. I really enjoy what I do.

RB: Yeah I can understand that for sure. So obviously you kind of do this in your job and career now, but what would be some strong advice you would give students today that are attending colleges?

CC: Oh, that's a really good question. I would say, have an open mind when you go to college. I mean a lot of students will go in as engineering students or they want to go to medical school or so forth. I would say have an open mind and explore diverse topics, don't be restricted entirely. For me it was certainly biology, but it was a diverse interest in biology in lots of different fields. I 67:00also try to say to take advantage of college and do some of these programs that available for abroad study, study elsewhere besides the local area. I really recommend diverse experiences. Diversity is a great thing in terms of your career regardless of if you want to become a doctor or whatever you want to do. It broadens your perspective in life and I think it gives you an advantage over people who aren't so diverse. So I would say that, and I think stay with it too. I think students entering college today, some of them are not serious and I see some students who are not very serious about it. It's a golden opportunity that not many people in the world have. I would say I would really cherish the experience and take advantage of it, everything you can while you're in college.

RB: Okay yeah, that's some actually really good advice. So I think that pretty 68:00much covers for all of the questions I have, is there anything else you'd like to add before I end the recording?

CC: Yeah the only thing I'd like to add, is that I hope Oshkosh, and again I don't know the university very well and I haven't been back in a lot of years and only one day, but I hope the university supports the departments like I had. In other words,emphasizing teaching, allowing the professors to have interaction and support their students, and hire faculty that support students. I think that's really important, especially in a campus like Oshkosh where people are coming from smaller communities. I think that's really important and I think it contributes tremendously to people's careers and their perspective on life, that kind of support. Like I said, I found Oshkosh to be an absolutely wonderful supporting environment, and I hope today it still is. I assume it is, but I have 69:00to come back to the campus again soon, and maybe experience more of it.

RB: Yeah for sure, well thank you for that!

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