Interview with Diane Wetherbee, 04/18/2018

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Kaylee Connor, Interviewer | uwocs_Diane_Wetherbee_04182018_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


´╗┐KC: So I am here with Diane Wetherbee in the Alumni Welcome & Conference Center. It is Wednesday, April 18th, 2018, and it is about two o'clock. Okay, Diane or would you rather me prefer to you as Mrs. Wetherbee?

DW: No, Diane is good.

KC: Okay. Alright can you tell me a little bit about where you grew up, and like what your neighborhood was like?

DW: Sure. I grew up in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, about forty--forty-five miles south of Oshkosh and it was a little town we had about 12,000 people; it's not a whole lot bigger than that now, but in a small lower middle-class neighborhood. I had the typical growing up experiences back then as of we went outside at nine 1:00in the morning and came home for meals but basically spent the day outside doing things until it got dark so a little bit different than now, no video games, not even much TV. So.

KC: Yeah, I miss those days.

DW: Yeah.

KC: Could you tell me a little bit about what your schools were like? Where you attended?

DW: Sure, I went to public kindergarten at Washington Elementary School, but then from first through sixth grade I went to Saint Peters Catholic School. Beaver Dam was pretty strongly Catholic back then and there were actually three different Catholic schools in that little town, which is kind of bizarre, but anyways I went to the Catholic school through sixth grade and then we started junior high at seventh so our junior high was seventh through ninth grade and when I finished sixth grade I said I want to go to public school now so I went 2:00to, although St. Pete's went through eighth grade I went to the public middle school, I mean junior high, starting at seventh grade so and then went through that and then graduated from Beaver Dam high school, tenth through twelfth at the high school.

KC: Nice. What was your household like?

DW: It was crazy. Small house. I had three brothers, no sisters, and one bathroom, so it was a little insane, but it was fun. It was interesting growing up with all brothers because I was kind of a tomboy, so it worked out it was all good. My mom was a school secretary for one of the elementary schools in town and my dad was just a blue collar worker at Kraft Foods, he was a factory worker.


KC: Were you the youngest of your siblings?

DW: No, I was second youngest; I was the third of four.

KC: Okay. Did your parents attend college or a university?

DW: No. In fact, my dad didn't even finish high school. I think he only went through ninth grade and maybe part of tenth, but he dropped out of school then ended up going off to World War II at the time. He was only sixteen when he enlisted so he was underage and got somebody, yeah I think he was sixteen, and got somebody to help falsify his birth certificate so that he could enlist without my grandmother's signature. So, and my mom finished high school. She graduated from Beaver Dam High, but she was the daughter of an immigrant parent, 4:00her father had died, my grandmother raised her alone and she couldn't afford college so she couldn't afford college either. So, my two brothers, my older brothers both went to college one of them ended up graduating from a three year program the other, I think he actually finished school, he graduated from college a year, I mean a semester before I did I think, which is funny because he is four years older. So.

KC: So, did your parents ever stress a good education for you guys because they weren't able to get that for themselves or--was it just--

DW: You know, it is funny it wasn't even a discussion item it was always 'when you go to college' it was never 'if you go to college' it was always 'when you go to college' and we were expected to work, to earn money, all of us paid for 5:00our own college, I am not sure, I don't think my younger brother did, but the three older ones, we all paid for our own way through school, and it was always understood that we get jobs at sixteen and save money and pay our way and there was no questions it wasn't even an option not to go.

KC: That's really interesting. So when did you start thinking about college then, like around what age or--

DW: Oh it was probably, like most kids now even, it was probably junior year in high school.

KC: So what made you pick UWO? Were there any other schools you were like deciding between?

DW: There were. It was either Eau Claire or Oshkosh, and my big dream was to go 6:00to Eau Claire and major in journalism because they had the better known journalism school at the time, maybe still do, I don't know. But anyways-- then I decided, well I should be a teacher instead and I wanted to teach kids with learning disabilities. So I chose Oshkosh because Oshkosh was the only school that had a program like that, but it's pretty funny because I went to orientation. Orientation, we had like a weekend where our parents came with us and went to orientation. We're supposed to sign up for classes, and I got to the point where I was supposed to sign up classes, and I changed my mind, and I said I really want to do journalism, and so that's what I did and so I signed up for classes, went back to the room. We got to stay in the dorms with our parents which was pretty funny [unclear] looked at my mom and said "I hope you're not 7:00mad but I just signed up to be a journalism major." So she laughed and she thought it was-- actually she cried a little maybe and said that's what I always wanted to do.

KC: So--

DW: So, yeah it was sort of ironic that I never knew that about her that she wanted to major in journalism and go to college so.

KC: So, like do you think that is where your interest came from secretly I guess?

DW: Say that again.

KC: Do you think that is where your interest like sparked from I guess or--

DW: No, it was just like I said I never even knew she had that interest until that moment, so I mean it was mostly because I was always a good writer. I was a 8:00huge reader and always a good writer, and I was editor of the high school newspaper the last two years, my junior and senior year, you know I just, I don't know. I was always interested in writing, so.

KC: So then where did Economics come in to play? How did you come to major in that?

DW: So I wrote for the paper on campus and really enjoyed it, but I also quickly realized that I wasn't going to make any money at it if I did that for a living and so I went to one of my journalism professors and I said, okay what can I do, you know, I don't think working on the newspaper is what I want to do. What do you recommend? And he was actually a PR instructor, I guess and he said well, 9:00take every business course you can and economics is a really good base, so that's my recommendation, so I started, took my first economics course and just loved it and so I crammed in all the economics credits I could to get a second major in that so.

KC: That's impressive, it's very impressive. So, did you have any favorite professors or classes related to your majors of economics and journalism? Like you mentioned you went to a journalism teacher, were you very close with him or--

DW: You know, the funny thing, no and I can't even remember his name and you know truthfully I don't know I went through college in three years and remembering that I was paying for it myself so I jammed in classes. I mean I 10:00took-- my semester, a light semester was eighteen credits and a lot of semesters I was working on like twenty-four. So I didn't probably get as close to my professors as I would have if I had taken it easier. So there weren't any that really influenced me it was more people outside of journalism or outside of school I guess. Jean Nelson, the alumni director, I am not sure why but I really connected with her.

KC: Yeah, so that brings me to the committee you were a part of, the Senior Steering Committee.

DW: Right.

KC: And did she run that then?


DW: Yeah she ran that.

KC: And so can you describe a little bit more about what you did as a part of this committee?

DW: Yeah, we just gathered in the living room of the alumni center and it was just a group of seniors who were all pretty high achievers or had been leaders in their programs or different clubs and things like that. So it was a pretty big group of people and we just got together and talked about-- Oh we took applications from seniors who wanted to be speakers at commencement because we had a student speaker at commencement and also we did, we took applications for outstanding senior awards and so really all we did was we gathered and we met, I 12:00can't remember how many times and went through all the applications and then we also had interviews with the people who wanted to be a speaker. That's pretty much--.oh and then we also looked at the grants, there was like a senior gift or a senior grant for something. It's funny I do not even remember what we granted, you know what kind of gift we gave to the university, but we chose the classes gift to the university too.

KC: Yeah, So how did you end up on this committee? Was it because you were like a high achiever and--.

DW: Yeah probably, and like I said I knew for some reason and I don't know why for some reason I knew Jean Nelson by then and boy I have--I cannot remember why 13:00though but yeah it's probably because I was, you know, kind of involved in a whole lot of stuff.

KC: Yeah. That brings me to your RA position. So you were an RA in Webster, so how many years were you an RA for?

DW: Just for one.

KC: Just one?

DW: It was my sophomore year, my second year and Webster was an all girls dorm at the time, a nice little all girls dorm. It was really--it was fun, it was so great. I mean I like the co-ed dorm now but that was, I don't know there was something about an all girls dorm I guess. We had hours though, like guys had to be out of the dorms at ten o'clock during the week and midnight I think on 14:00weekends. But they could be in the living room, we had like a living room area downstairs, and they could be in the living room after that but the floors were supposed to be guy free from, like I said ten [unclear] midnight on.

KC: So why did you decided to become an RA?

DW: Well the biggest one-- Well [unclear] because I liked helping other people. I mean I just like being of service but probably the biggest, remembering I had to pay my own way through school, was we got free room and board if we were an RA.

KC: Yeah yup. I feel-- That's the same way it is today too.

DW: Yeah and boy that was worth it so.

KC: But so why did--.

DW: You have to remember that tuition back then was like a thousand dollars a semester so room and board was actually way bigger than the tuition.


KC: Sorry. Do you remember--like do you have any stories about your time being an RA? Like I know your experience in the dorms might be a little different from other people's at the time like so do you have any stories as an RA? Like craziest things or like things you thought were fun or found interesting?

DW: Yeah, actually there are a few stories, but before I was an RA when I was a freshman the girl across my hall was a senior and her boyfriend was with her and she smoked pot every day. So for a kid from a small town, you know, who hadn't 16:00been away from home that was pretty interesting but it was kind of funny because, you know, we all just kind of accepted it and when the RA's were making rounds we'd say hey we can smell your pot, put a towel under the door. So but what that meant that when I was an RA I knew things happened but one of the things we had to do was develop programs. We had to develop programs, I can't remember, I think one or two a semester for not just for the dorm but that was open to anybody on campus really and one of the programs that I came up with was skydiving.

KC: Skydiving!

DW: And I have no idea why I chose that but I developed, you know, developed this program, got the-- made the arrangements for people to come skydiving and 17:00pay their money and everything else and then I didn't go because there was no way in heck I was going to get up in that airplane [unclear]. So that was kind of stupid but the other, probably the most interesting thing that happened to me or the best thing that happened to me as an RA was we could drink at eighteen back then so we had a lot of parties in the dorms, like in the basements in the dorms and at one of those parties that we had at Webster, it was actually, I guess I wasn't even an RA yet, it was when I was practicing to be an RA. They had us be on duty at the end of the year, you know, before they named us but 18:00actually we had been named, I'm sorry, but yeah I don't know, if you want to call it an internship to be an RA or what but we had to be on duty for a night or two and I happened to be on duty the night of one of our parties. So I was sitting at the front desk and this part was going on and everybody was leaving and this guy comes upstairs and says ahh there's a guy drunk in the bathroom downstairs and he is just sitting there with his pants around his legs-around his ankles and I said okay-- what am I supposed to do? Can you get him out and so this guy that had told me said alright and he went down and he dragged-got this guy up and pulled up his pants and he and another got him upstairs and back 19:00to his dorm. But what's funny about that is. I mean that's kind of--that was kind of interesting all on its own but what was funny about it was the guy who came upstairs to tell me ended up being my boyfriend afterwards.

KC: Really?

DW: Yeah. So he got to see me and through mutual friends we-- he found out who I was and where my room was and stuff and these mutual friends kind of set us up and so we started dating.

KC: That's very cool! Did you guys date for a while like out of high school- or out of college, sorry or--?

DW: No we-- so we dated awhile for the next two years. He actually lived off campus that next year where I was an RA and then the year after that I lived in 20:00a house just two doors down from his and so we dated all through the last two years but we got married. I had an interim session after the end of the semester in May and we got married, you know, as soon as that three week interim session, we got married at the end of the second week of that interim session. That would be Memorial Day weekend so I had three days off. So.

KC: Enough time to do it. That's pretty good.

DW: Yeah so we got married. It was a packed May, I graduate--I went to graduation in May and then had that interim session but graduated in May, turned twenty one like three days after I graduated, then got married a week and a half 21:00after that and then we moved fifteen hundred miles from home to South Texas at the end of that--at the end of the interim session. So. So in three weeks all of that happened.

KC: Wow. That's many many life changes all in very little time.

DW: All at once. Yeah.

KC: Yeah. Okay so-- Let's talk a little bit about the Advance Titan that you were a part of that you helped.

DW: Okay.

KC: I understand you were a reporter and editor for it that's right, correct?

DW: Yes. Yeah.

KC: So did you join this club because of your major or were there additional reasons?

DW: No it was just because of my major, because I had been on-- you know I had been editor of the newspaper in high school all along and I really-- I enjoyed 22:00writing stories, you know, going out and interviewing people and writing new stories.

KC: Yeah could you like explain to me what a typical day was like working as a reporter and editor?

DW: Well, you know, it's funny because everything in college that's probably the thing that I least remember about. It was--it's more impressions than memories. Although, going out on stories I-- we would get assigned something, like I'd get assigned something from one of the editors and I'd go out and make the appointments, interview people. I did a lot of community- based things not the things on campus where I would go out and interview people from the community and then write up the story and get it in. That's--It was always, you know, it's pretty much a constant. Write the story, get it in. So, and then-- before-- the 23:00night before the paper was published those would usually be really long long nights, where we worked down in--Shoot I don't remember the name of the building. It was in the basement. I can't remember where the journalist office was now, it was a hole though. The journalism department was down in the basement and it was dark and dank and windowless. That's all I remember and everybody smoked. I mean, you could smoke in places then and everybody smoked and I did not and I was allergic to the smoke. So every week when we would be working at putting together the newspaper, I would be sick the next morning, but those were long nights we didn't have-- we had to do a lot of cutting and 24:00pasting, I mean physically cutting and pasting articles on. It was before the days of--I mean it was after typesetting but before the days of electronically putting things together.

KC: Yeah.

DW: So it was a lot more--and it was--.there was a lot more tedious work, I guess.

KC: So do you remember any significant stories or like--about political or social issues happening on campus? Like even ones you didn't necessarily report but like just ones that like buzzed around the staff at the time.

DW: Yeah, you know what I think the three years I was there it was pretty calm. Things were pretty calm. There wasn't anything. It was right after the days of all the--oh there was something. It was after the days of all the protests over the Vietnam War that had ended, so we were beyond that and so things were pretty 25:00calm except for the big thing going on at that time was streaking.

KC: Streaking?

DW: Yeah. Do you know what streaking is?

KC: Yeah. Yep.

DW: And actually it mostly happened, I guess the first couple years after that it was kind of dying by the time I got to college, but there was always some idiot that would take off all his clothes and run naked through the commons--through the campus, so that was a big thing. That was it. That was--.that and St. Patrick's Day was as exciting as it got.

KC: Because? Can you elaborate a little bit on that?

DW: Well St. Patrick's Day was always a huge thing. Is it still real popular?

KC: I don't think as much maybe but I am sure people still like go hop bars and stuff on that day, but--

DW: Oh, well when I was in school St. Patrick's Day was so big. It was such a 26:00big celebration that the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh was mentioned on the Tonight Show as one of the places to go during St. Patty's Day. Yeah. It was a big deal and we had lots of-- there were lots of parties and I mean the bars were packed and stuff and it was a time when everybody-- remember you could drink from eighteen, you know, so everybody--It was a great excuse to drink to excess, let's put it that way and the biggest story, and this actually kind of put a damper on things. The biggest story was that one of the residents of one of the high rises, got really drunk and walked into the elevator only the 27:00elevator wasn't there, the kid had figured out a way to--where you could open the doors but the elevator wouldn't be there and he didn't know that and he walked in and dropped down ten floors.

KC: Oh my.

DW: Yeah it was pretty bad. He got--he survived believe it--well he was so drunk. They figured he was so drunk that he was really loose and he didn't--so he didn't brace or tighten up and he broke a lot of bones but he survived that fall. It was amazing.

KC: That's crazy. I've never heard that story.

DW: Oh man. It--Like I said it really put a damper on things after that. It was-- yeah. I know the next year it wasn't quite as crazy as it had been so.

KC: So, jumping back a little bit. So like you said that you heard that St. 28:00Patrick's Day was like the big thing on campus but like was this before you attended like UWO or while you were there you just got word that it was a thing?

DW: It was just while I was there I hadn't heard about that before.

KC: Yeah. So what did you hear about UWO prior to coming?

DW: You know, not very much. Being from a small town and, you know, a lot of people in my town didn't go on to college and I think, I don't know we just-- and we had really lousy advising back then when it came to colleges and going on to school and things like that, that the advisors at school, they didn't do college advising at all. So I really didn't-- anything that I found out I found 29:00out on my own and I really hadn't heard really much about Oshkosh, other than it had this education program that I thought I was going to go in to.

KC: Yeah. So what were your first impressions of UWO? Like the campus and as like--

DW: Oh, I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I mean the campus was really pretty, the dorm, I got to stay in, I mean I tried really hard to get into Webster Hall and loved that dorm. It was small and everybody got really close and so it was just--I mean, my first impression of Oshkosh was really positive, other than the fact that the newspaper, I mean the journalism department as a whole was in the basement, but you know, I was a kid it didn't matter, it was all good.

KC: So were there more men or women on campus? Like which group had more do you think?


DW: I think-- well back then, you know there just were more guys that went to school. I mean that-- so it was fairly even though because we were-- Because we had a good education school and a good nursing school. Enrollment was pretty even when I was there.

KC: So do you-

DW: Probably a few more--It was probably weighted a bit more on the male side, but not a whole lot.

KC: Yeah. Yep. Do you--.what was the racial climate like then? Were you aware of anything like that or no?

DW: Yeah, no. It was because I was there in [unclear] at the end of the Civil Rights stuff, you know, that had all pretty well calmed down but Wisconsin as a 31:00whole and Oshkosh, too and the university too were pretty heavily white back then. You know the state as a whole was not as racially balanced as it is now. I mean there just weren't as many, I don't know why not but there just weren't and so really the only well it was all-- Truthfully it was mostly athletes that were black and that was about it. It was pretty-- I mean boy if I had been a person of color back then it would've been really uncomfortable I think. I think their experience was probably way different than what it would be today.

KC: So then you do--do you think that being a woman on campus impacted your 32:00learning experience like..?

DW: It did in the business side, you know in econ- well even in journalism it was mostly guys but on the economics side definitely it was mostly guys. It was-- there were very few women in business back then, but in a way-- You know what I didn't really notice because remember I grew up with three brothers in a neighborhood mostly made up of boys and so it wasn't a big deal to me and even when I got out of school I went directly into [unclear] relations, public relations and it was all male. I mean it was really male and so it actually I guess it helped prepare me for that more than anything.

KC: Yeah. So what did you do for fun?


DW: Oooo--for fun? Well remembering I went through in three years. I didn't have that much time, but oh I was a member of several clubs, I can't even tell you which ones now and we'd go [unclear] and just gatherings and stuff but mostly just pretty much either hung out with friends in the dorm, like last year I was off campus and we would have our own parties at different houses. We'd hang out, like I said my boyfriend at the time his house was two doors down and we were real close, our houses. I mean the people in them were real close, there were four guys in his and four girls in mine and we'd hang out together and we'd have 34:00parties and we'd just sit around and watch TV. Believe it or not Saturday Night Live was kind of new back then and, actually it was brand new back then, and we--that was a standing Saturday night date was to go watch that. We'd go get [unclear] to the drive in theater, everybody pile into a car because they charge by the car.

KC: Yeah.

DW: And then Thursday nights were bar nights, everybody would go out to the bar on Thursday nights, just go out and dance. I never drank very much if at all but I went out like almost every Thursday just to dance.

KC: Yeah. Did you guys go to like homecoming or any like sporting events? Were those big?

DW: You know, they weren't [unclear] I did because I loved-- you know I said I 35:00was kind of a tomboy and I loved going to sporting things. So I went. The basketball court was right across the street from the dorms, so I went to basketball a lot. I went to several-- I didn't go to every football game but I went to a lot of them. We had concerts though too and most of the concerts were across the street from the dorm and so I went to several big concerts. Trying to think who was big at the time, [Seals and Crofts?] was one of them. What's another one--boy I can't even remember, who all I saw but that's-- the going to concerts was a big deal too and also we had a big date night for my husband and I because, [unclear] boyfriend at the time, we--neither of us had much money, so 36:00we would spend time at the student union and there was a bowling alley downstairs.

KC: Was there really?

DW: Is that still there? It's not there anymore.

KC: No. I don't think so.

DW: Oh that's too bad my favorite wa- okay one of my favorite classes we had to take a PE--we had to take two PE credits and I took bowling and archery was one of mine.

KC: Wow.

DW: And it was such a blast but anyways there was a bowling alley downstairs in the student union and we used to go bowling all the time because I think it cost fifty cents or something like that to bowl. It was really really cheap and then the-- boy I can't remember what the bar was called on campus in the student union, but they always had live bands and stuff, we would go for the bands.

KC: Yeah I know they still do sometimes live music in the union, but the fact that they had a bowling alley that's-- I didn't know that that's pretty cool.


DW: I know it was a blast. It was so much fun.

KC: Yeah.

DW: Talk about a great class too.

KC: Yeah. So you talked about doing PE, were you involved in any sports or anything? Did you ever--Were you ever interested in doing sports or--?

DW: I did intramurals but, you know, I can't even remember what all we did--what did-- nope, you know what, I don't think I ever did intramurals in college.

KC: No?

DW: Yeah. No never did. So I never got involved in sports. I did a lot of biking, because I didn't have a car and, well nobody I knew did either and so we did a lot of biking to get to places but then I--my boyfriend and I did a lot of just biking in general that was our big thing, to take bike trips, in fact our 38:00honeymoon was a camping trip where we took our bikes along, we took the long-- you know we did a long bike ride. There were a lot of bike trails, even back then in Wisconsin, there were a lot of bike trails both along the roads and outside of the roads. So.

KC: I know you can rent bikes and stuff now from the student recreation and hall center so, that'd be pretty cool.

DW: Yeah. Well when I was there we, the outside of all the classrooms there were bike racks and the bike racks would be full of bikes, everybody road their bikes, so.

KC: Yeah. So you talked about biking to places, did you just bike trails or did 39:00you bike things around Oshkosh like stores and stuff or hang out spots or..?

DW: Yep. Did a lot of all of that. Like I said we actually bike just about everywhere. We couldn't--when I was off campus we had to take our laundry to the laundromat, so that you couldn't bike for. I can remember trekking down to the laundromat carrying all my laundry. Still not sure how I did that. But we would bike, to restaurants or-- I mean at night when we went out to the bars we wouldn't but just about all the other times, well except when it was--also when there was snow and ice you couldn't do it.

KC: Yeah. You didn't have washers or anything in the dorms?

DW: We did in the dorms; it was just when I was off campus that we didn't. We 40:00didn't have one in our house. But yeah in the dorms we had it downstairs in the basement everything in the basement. I live in Texas, we don't have basements here.

KC: No?

DW: It's hard to remember about that but yeah we--and we had an ice cream machine in our basement that had like ice cream bars and stuff like that in it.

KC: In the dorm or like at your house?

DW: In the dorms.

KC: Really?

DW: Yeah we had-- I don't know we had candy machines, and soda machines, and an ice cream machine downstairs. So that I am not sure why but it was awesome.

KC: Yeah it sounds awesome. So.

DW: And meals were good too. I mean, they--meals were actually pretty decent in 41:00the commons. We ate at Blackhawk Commons and that's where we met all the guys of course and they-- it was-- boy freshman fifteen was a real problem because you could have-- they had ice cream coolers. You could all that you serve for yourself for dessert that was a mistake, but actually the food was pretty good back then. It was all cafeteria style. It wasn't--basically whatever was on the menu that day was what you got but they we- it was pretty decent.

KC: That's solid. So what are some memories you have of your college friends?

DW: Oh, I had--we had great friends. They--there three--two of my good friends 42:00from high school went to Oshkosh as well and they all-- we all ended up in the same dorm, but interestingly we only two of us really stayed close and the other I didn't even see him but we had, I guess my freshman year especially, you know, you meet all these new people from all these new places and it was a great group we were-- a lot of the girls in that dorm were nursing students and they had to have a high GPA to get into the nursing program. I mean, because you didn't-- after the first two years they worked to getting into the program the third year and so a lot of heavy duty studying went on, but it was also pretty wild. We 43:00had, you know, so many of us were from small towns and some of the girls just really broke out and had a great time exploring life on their own, I guess. But, we just did a lot together; I mean we did a lot of the activities, like I said they always planned activities for us. We did activities together, we went out to the bars together, we went to parties together it was just-- it was great and then when I moved off campus, you know I moved in with three of my best friends and we still had-- and then we had a wider group of friends who also were off campus, all juniors and seniors, and just, I don't know we-- none of us had that much money so we mostly just hung out, you know, we just got together at 44:00somebody's house and hung out.

KC: Were sororities and fraternities a big thing while you were going to school?

DW: You know, they were on campus but they weren't a very big thing back then. At least not--.yeah, no I don't think--I think the population of people who were in the Greeks was pretty small back then. We noticed them--the only time we noticed them was when we had things like, oh I'm trying to think, there was like a winter fair or a fall fair or something like that. I just remember like we had events, you know, like the dorms would each have their events and that's the only time we would ever really see the Greeks, was because, you know, because they would have their teams for those events but it just--it wasn't a big factor on campus back then at all.


KC: So did you go home much? A lot? Since you only lived forty-forty-five miles away.

DW: Yeah. I was close, but I didn't have a car and so no I hardly ever went home. If I could get a ride from somebody I did but I, boy, it was pretty infrequent. Mostly I just went home for holidays and the breaks and then between my second and--Let's see between second and third year I stayed on campus. I actually got a job in the summer working in admissions so I didn't even go home in the summertime after that.

KC: Really? Was that the only job you had on-campus, was admissions or--?

DW: Yeah that was the--oh other than the RA thing. Yeah that was the only paid 46:00job I got- had on campus. Well I had a work-study job too and I cannot tell you--.oh I know what it was! I had a work-study job and my work-study was sitting in the-- at the front desk of the dorm.

KC: So like a desk worker?

DW: Yeah it was really easy. It was a great job. Definitely great study during that.

KC: Yeah. So were you like a really sociable person because I am getting that vibe from now so.

DW: I just--.not particularly I guess but I don't know I guess I do. I guess I do like people and so I usually put myself in those situations.

KC: So what do you--like what do you think you learned while being at UWO?


DW: Probably the biggest thing was just getting out of small town Beaver Dam and learning that there's a whole new world out there with a whole lot of other people. It really opened my eyes to other things like--well like the fact that I ended up going into [invested?] relations, corporate public relations, rather than working on the newspaper and in Beaver Dam the only thing I would have known about was the newspaper. So it just opened my eyes to so much more of the world and the fact that there was a whole big world out there in jobs that I didn't know about and opportunities that I never knew existed and it gave me the courage, I guess, to go-- to move to south Texas right out of college. You know, 48:00to move fifteen hundred miles away from home because I felt it gave me the confidence, I guess, that I could make it anywhere.

KC: So like did you--were you offered any internships or anything through your majors? Is that like what helped you get a foot in the door or was it just like got my degree--?

DW: You know back then internships weren't a big deal. They just didn't really exist and--But at least not at Oshkosh. You know, maybe at some of the other schools or the private schools, you know more like Marquette and stuff they did but for us we never really heard about them they weren't encouraged. There just--it just wasn't as big of a deal as it is now. I mean, my kids, you know, internships were really important for them to be able to get a job right out of 49:00school but for us it wasn't as much and a lot of us had to work you know--a lot of internships aren't paid and a lot of us had to work just to make it through school so we worked at other jobs instead so.

KC: Well like I noticed one of the articles that you wrote was about the ninety percent of grads who were either employed or in graduate school and I just thought that was really impressive because like, I feel like I don't know.

DW: You know, it was impressive and Oshkosh was pretty well-known for its--you know, especially like I said, especially in certain fields like educations and--It was like the education school back then and nursing. Man, nursing 50:00students got a job always right out of school, you almost had to try not to and so there were-- a lot of the science programs were really good so Oshkosh had a pretty decent reputation for a lot of things and it made it easy to get jobs. Now I moved, like I said, to south Texas and nobody had even heard about Oshkosh, except for Oshkosh B'Gosh clothes. So it wasn't a help for me I guess at all but it was for my husband. He had a computer science minor, they didn't even have a major back then because computer science was just starting as a field and so he took the computer science minor and he pretty much was able to 51:00write his ticket he had like three or four job offers but before I was graduated so.

KC: Yeah. What did he major in then?

DW: Business Operations Management.

KC: Nice.

DW: So he had a business degree.

KC: So did UWO help you or prepare you more for participating like within the community like do you think it taught you anything like that or--?

DW: You know, again it didn't do as much of that as I think--I am going to assume that it does now, I know when my kids went to college community outreach was a lot more important. There wasn't as much but there was some and I'm trying to remember if it was because of my journalism contacts and being out more in 52:00the community or if the school encouraged it but we participated in a lot of community type activities so or I would hear about it and then we would go so I'm not--but I just don't remember if it was the school that encouraged it or if it was just because I was already out there.

KC: Yeah. So are there any things you've done here at UWO that you wish you could've done differently or wish you had been more involved in?

DW: Yeah. I wish I had been--there are a lot of time where I wish I would've taken four years to go through just so that I could have been--didn't have to do quite as much studying and could've gotten more involved in--Like student government I would have liked to have done that. Maybe more involved in the 53:00newspaper than I was. I guess that's probably about the only things. Another year would have given me just more time to get more involved in a few other things. But other than that I really enjoyed--you know, yeah I had to study a lot but I also really enjoyed my time so. We played hard too.

KC: So I don't know if you mentioned it already but why did you only go for three years?

DW: Mostly because I could see I was going to run out of money. They didn't put a cap on the number of credits. They did after--it wasn't long after I was out of school, they put a cap on how many credits you could earn each semester but they didn't put a cap on it and we had a lot of work--I mean like, independent 54:00study type classes, classes where you could go through on your own and I did a lot of that for my--for the undergrad classes, you know that I didn't really care about, like music appreciation and you know the requisites that I had to take that weren't real important to me. So I would take those classes and I'd work like crazy, get them done, knock them off in just like three or four weeks and that's how come I had those twenty-four hour semesters so.

KC: Did you have things like financial aid or stuff like that to help you out or..?

DW: Yeah we did but remember how I said our high school counselors were really lousy? They were really lousy at explaining things and like I was a [unclear] finalist but they never gave us guidance on how to become a finalist and get a 55:00scholarship, so I didn't get that and there just, there wasn't as much financial aid I guess. I got as much as I could like the work-study, but I didn't take out loans or anything I went through believe it or not, the only debt I had when I got done was two hundred and fifty dollars.

KC: Really? Wow.

DW: Yeah so it was just a different time I guess and my goal was to not go deep into debt so it just was easier to go through in three years.

KC: So what are some things you wish you knew then that you know now?

DW: Well, I wish I knew--had known more about financial aid for one. I mean I 56:00hate to--I kind of hate to say this but I would not-- I probably would not have gone to Oshkosh; I would've gone to either Marquette or Carrol College if I had known how to get the financial aid that I now know is there. I wish I had known to slow down a little bit and really enjoy getting involved in some other things that I would've liked to. Like I said student government but other than that I pretty much did exactly what I wanted to when I was there so. But it was a good experience, it put me on the path that, you know, I look back and I just never regretted anything I did so.

KC: So did you notice any significant differences like between UWO today and 57:00when you were going to school or..?

DW: Co-ed dorms for one.

KC: Yeah. Yeah.

DW: That was a scandalous-- there was one dorm, Fletcher hall was the only co-ed dorm and it was co-ed by wing. I mean it wasn't even close to being what's considered to be a co-ed dorm now. I think there's a lot more student involvement in doing good, you know, in reaching out to the community, doing more charitable type things, I guess. The athletics is a lot better than it used to be. We weren't really very good back then, at anything. But, Oshkosh is a division III school now which I think is a great move. So, you know obviously 58:00the campus is bigger the facilities are--.from what I've seen like the journalism facility for one is way better. But I haven't, gosh, I haven't driven through campus in probably twenty years, I'm not even sure what it looks like now.

KC: Yeah. They actually have a whole center for alumni's now.

DW: Oh yeah that's right! That opened too! Yeah my husband and I have been talking about getting up there some time and looking at that. That's really cool.

KC: It's a very nice building.

DW: Yeah. Yeah it looks like it.

KC: Okay so, lastly do you have any advice for current students, like me at UWO?

DW: Oh. Yeah. Enjoy every minute because you may think you are working hard now 59:00but once you get out of school there are no breaks; you don't have spring break, you don't have Christmas break, you don't have, you know, you work eight hours a day and you think oh it will be great because it'll be great because I'll come home and won't have to do any homework, you know, but it doesn't work that way. So pretty much enjoy every minute you're there, get involved in as much as you can and do internships. Internships, internships, internships, I can't emphasize that part enough it's really important to get some kind of experience somehow in whatever you think you want to go into and then the other piece is don't sweat it. Don't sweat the major because you may think you're going into something, you 60:00know kids come into college thinking they're sure to do this thing and I think, I don't know what the statistics are but it's a huge percentage that actually changes their major while they're in college but you know what even when you're out of school, you--be open to change because I've gone through four major career changes.

KC: Four!

DW: And every one was better than the last. Everything--.I built on everything that had come before like everyone was different in its own way. So.

KC: Yep.

DW: Be open. You never know what's going to come along and you gotta take the chance sometimes.

KC: That's definitely what I'm living by right now so still just trying to figure things out so.

DW: Good. I have a twenty-nine year old daughter who's still trying to figure 61:00out what she wants to be when she grows up so. But boy has she had adventures up until now so.

KC: Well okay I just wanted to say thank you again for doing this interview for this project for me, I appreciate it.

DW: Sure.

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