Interview with Matthew Eldred, 05/22/2017

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Douglas Smrz, Interviewer | uwocs_Matthew_Eldred_05022017_uc.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


Douglas Smrz: Start the recorder here, okay. So, hello it is May 2 2017 I'm sitting here with Matthew Eldred, I believe his last name…?

Matthew Eldred: …Yep you got it

DS: In his office in Prospera credit union here in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It is about 202 and we're going to be conducting his oral history interview, so with that, you know matt I kind of mentioned before, the purpose of this interview is to get your story of your experience at the university of Wisconsin Oshkosh, so with that I am going to ask you some questions and we will dive right into that. Okay?

ME: Sounds good

DS: Alright, so first of all, where did you grow up matt?

ME: I am originally from Stockbridge, Wisconsin. So that is almost directly across the lake from Oshkosh, 45/50-minute drive. Small town. Sturgeon capital of the world is the nickname. So, if you like sturgeon fishing that's maybe not 1:00a bad place to go. My graduating class had 20 kids in it.

DS: Okay, that's interesting to hear so do you have -- what year did you graduate high school?

ME: 2000

DS: 2000, he graduated in 2000. Growing up, did you have any siblings, brothers, sisters?

ME: Yep, I have a sister, she is almost two years younger than me, her name is Jamie. She also attended UW Oshkosh. She didn't graduate from here, she went to Marion after that, but.

DS: Growing up, would you say you and your sister were close at all? You know, did she kind of follow suit to Oshkosh because of you?

ME: Yea I guess we were close, we were in a small town so a lot of our friends were the same people. Our ages weren't too far off, she's about a year and half younger than me, almost two years, I guess. So, yea, we were pretty close.

DS: Okay, high school. What did you, did you participate in any sports? Theater? 2:00Anything like that?

ME: Yea In high school I participated in baseball, basketball, and then soccer. We were actually too small for football so they had a soccer team instead. But yep, I did all of those

DS: Okay, good stuff. Did you play all four years? Or kind of hit or miss?

ME: Yep, all four years, yep. For both, or all three.

DS: Alright. So, graduating high school, what prompted you to think about going to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh? How did that get into your mind of a place you wanted to go to?

ME: I think the fact that it was close to home, but not too close to home, that helped. And I also had a friend that was a year older that went here too, so I knew someone that was on campus. I had a few to choose from. I was accepted at Madison and then Oshkosh I applied to too. Coming from a small town I thought Oshkosh would be a better fit for me.

DS: Okay. So, what year did you first attend Oshkosh then? It would be 2000?

ME: 2000, I think.


DS: The year 2000, okay.

ME: Fall of 2000.

DS: Coming in from a small town there, what did you think? What was your first thought of being at the University of Wisconsin?

ME: I liked it, I mean, I think it's always exciting when you're on your own and don't have your parents watching over you. So, I think my first impression was it was a nice campus, everything was close, they had a lot of trees, a lot of stuff like that, so it was pretty. I went to Donner Hall, so I lived over by the Clow building.

DS: Okay

ME: I liked it, it was a smaller dorm. I thought that was appropriate, considering I'm from a small town, so I mean all of the people around that was a shock, I guess, but it was fun.

DS: Okay, freshman year roommate? Did you have a roommate freshman year?

ME: I did. I had a roommate. His first name was Justin, I can't remember his last name. He was never there. He had a girlfriend that I think lived off-campus 4:00so he spent a lot of time at her house. She'd come here and there to grab books and stuff like that, but to be honest I pretty much had a room to myself. Yea.

DS: Okay. Well, I'm guessing you liked that a little bit, you know a little bit of freedom.

ME: Yeah, I think everyone likes a little bit of privacy especially when you're getting use to being in such small quarters. Probably about the size of this office.

DS: I totally get that. First day of school, even first day on campus what were kind of your thoughts looking around seeing the campus. You know, had you been here before at all?

ME: I was here for, what do you call it, a visit. A campus visit before I attended. But otherwise I think the first day was before the older kids were here so it was just the freshman so it was a lot of orientation class type thing that we went to. Then it was just getting the books and stuff like that but it was exciting. I think I said I had a friend that went there that lived in the 5:00same dorm I did and I had met someone that lived next door to me over the summer so I had a couple of people that I knew and you know, just a new experience so trying to get a taste of everything I suppose.

DS: Okay, let me think here so first day classes once you finally got in the classroom. Obviously, you mentioned you're from a graduating class of 20 so your classes couldn't have been too big when you were in high school. How'd that compare to when you got into a college classroom?

ME: Yeah, I think my first was world regional geography and it was in one of the pits in Clow so you know there were tons of people there. It was different I mean it was more of a lecture. Maybe less interactive then how some of my classes were later down the line but you know something different.

DS: Yeah?

ME: Yeah.

DS: Okay, so with that do you have in general from that freshman year or just in 6:00general you know what class kind of sticks in your mind when you're thinking?

ME: My first year? Gosh, Probably an English class. I had a teacher I would have later more and more times. I first started out as a business major and I kind of switched things up but I had an English teacher, his name is Cheryl Hentz, and I think he still teaches there. But I had him for just the freshman English and you know I really liked the class and I think later down the line it's one of the classes that helped me switched majors for me.

DS: Okay good, so that kind of got you into the English major then. Did you enjoy that? Did you find your kind of little bit of home when you found out you were going to be an English major?

ME: Yeah, I think when I was going to school it was pretty competitive, the 7:00business field and my GPA wasn't quite where I need to get out of school when I wanted to get out of school so I think it was suggested to me by an advisor that I, you know you're gonna be here a little bit longer or you could kind of switch paths. That's what I think got me into the English degree and I enjoyed my classes and I enjoyed my teachers so I don't regret it at all.

DS: Okay, General question for you in a sense because you did graduate high school in 2000 so you were at Oshkosh around 2001 or so. Big thing when people think 2001 in America is 9/11. So, looking not large scale but small scale here in Oshkosh. You as an adult male at that time, what were you're feeling about like a world event like that? Did you feel the effects at all in the smaller community here?

ME: Yeah, I think everyone probably did. I can remember where I was. I lived on 8:00Cherry Street at the time and I think I don't know if I got up or not but my roommate was sitting and watching it on Television and we kind of just sat down. If I remember correctly they didn't cancel classes or anything like that but all the classes I had that day, that's what was discussed so they kind of broke away from the lesson plan and focused more on something that was happening in the world. So, I think that's what sticks out but I can remember you know where exactly I was and I guess it wasn't that long ago. Yeah it sticks in my head absolutely.

DS: Okay that's good to know. So, freshman year what were some major struggles you might have had when coming to this campus? What did you struggle with a little bit?

ME: I think probably freshman, I can probably go longer than that but, I think it's just finding the balance between being a student and having fun. I think that was something I struggled with at first, absolutely. Just taking the time 9:00to do what you need to do for your classes and you know staying out of things you shouldn't I guess get into. I think that's the struggle I had.

DS: okay so were you afraid at all kind of, Oshkosh kind of had that image of kind of a little bit more of a party school or something like that. Were you afraid of that a little bit when you first came onto campus or were kind of excited or just kind of just knew it was there?

ME: I don't think I was aware of the reputation when I first came here but you know I thought it sounded fun at the time and it is. Everyone has a good time in college I think. It's just finding that balance. Making sure you go to class, making sure you do what you need to do, understanding why you're there in the first place.

DS: Okay so one thing I want to back up to a little bit. I kind of forgot to mention it or ask about it is prior to college here. Your parents, did they go 10:00to college? Were you kind of first generation? Tell me a little bit about that?

ME: No, my parents didn't go to college. Both of them graduated from high school but I think that's the extent that it went to so I think that I was the first person in my family. Well then, my sister was a little bit afterwards but yeah, first one.

DS: So, would you say they kind of motivated you to go to college or was it just one of those things you chose yourself to do? Like what got you into college? What made you want to be here?

ME: I think I chose myself. I mean they were pretty supportive of whatever I was going to do. I almost joined the army at one point and then I don't know what happened but my grades were always good in high school so I think that was just the natural progression.

DS: Okay, moving a little bit forward here to, your back on campus your freshman 11:00year. You mentioned you played sports in high school so did you have any interest in doing any Intramurals? Did you do any intramurals when you were here your freshman year?

ME: Yeah, we did intramurals, we played basketball and then flag football too.

DS: Do you have any fond memories of any funny events from something like that?

ME: I'm sure there were. It was fun, it's always nice the camaraderie you get from sports.

DS: Okay,

ME: Nothing in particular I guess. I wish I had something for ya. Nothing that pops out of my mind unfortunately.

DS: Okay that's fine. Spring semester freshman year, kind of more adjusted on to campus? Do you have any thoughts, different change in feelings? Anything substantial stick out of your mind during that time period? Your spring semester.

ME: Spring semester. Anything different? Kind of meshes together now that I 12:00think about it.

DS: That's fine.

ME: Yeah nothing in particular, I mean you're just getting use to the routine more so I think that's important. I was on campus my freshman years so I think at that point we were looking for a house to move into so kind of focusing on the next year too. But you just get adjusted and kind of find where you're gonna be so I think it's the comfort levels gonna be greater in the second semester then I was in the first because you kind of know what to expect and other than that nothing in particular.

DS: Okay, so academically your first year then how did you do think you did?

ME: My first semester I did awesome. I think I had A's and B's. the second semester I struggled a little bit. I think there was a point where my GPA dropped to the point where I think I had to do well in an interim class to not be on probation. So, I think that second, and maybe that falls into what we were 13:00talking about this spring semester kind of caught up with me as far as the distractions outside of the classroom. So.

DS: Do you have any idea what those distractions are?

ME: You know I just think the partying I mean you're in a dorm with a bunch of kids your age and there's a lot to do besides studying and there's a lot of people, you know you get to know and just be friends with. I'm sure you as a college student have been a part of that.

DS: Probably, probably, any particular from that kind of genre. Anything like that you'd want to delve into a little bit? Anything that sticks in your mind for that kind of freshman year social aspect?

ME: I had a friend, he lived next door to me. I had met him at a concert the summer before. He was friends with someone I knew in high school. He actually at a party, someone dared him to put his head through the wall and he did it. So, 14:00he put his head through the wall. The people that lived there weren't very happy and I think we got kicked out but you know that's one of the things that sticks in my head. Yeah, I guess it's just foolishness like that you just remember.

DS: I like that, okay so moving past freshman year then we're going into your sophomore year. Kind of mentioned you lived off campus. Where did you live?

ME: My first apartment was on cherry street so I lived there with two friends. There both education majors. One of my friends is a teacher at Kiel high school and the other one I kind of lost track of over time but yeah it was a different experience so instead of being on campus you were a little bit off so. It was different I think the nice thing about campus is being in the dorms it kind of motivates you to get up go to class and kind of get in the routine. When you're a little bit further away it's a little bit easier not to do those things. We 15:00had a lot of parties when I was a sophomore. There was a liquor store in town called Jordy's. I don't know how long that's been but we were their number one customers so they were giving us all kinds of glass mirror signs and freebees and all kinds of stuff so yeah it was fun

DS: Where would you say Jordy's is or would have been because I have never heard of it?

ME: Jordy's, I don't think it's open anymore. It was on the corner of, I wanna say it was over by Knapp and Ohio. I can find out and send you an email. I just don't remember. I could probably google and tell ya but.

DS: Okay

ME: No, it's just a nice guy and just the liquor store in town. I don't think it's there anymore now that I'm picturing it in my head.


DS: Okay so kind of chain of events thinking of it. Academically sophomore year how were things sitting?

ME: You know like I said my second semester and then you know second year I kind of struggled a little bit but after that I kind of put it together but I could have done a lot better academically. I think I cost myself some money and tuition and maybe and an extra year, that year and a half but I guess looking back there was a lot of good memories too. I think I met my wife in that time. We met at my house on cherry street. It was at a party so nothing romantic or anything like that but we've been together since then so that was 2001. 17 years now, geez. So, I mean it was a fun part of my life, academically I didn't do as well as I could have but I don't regret anything

DS: That's good, so you said met your wife. Do you remember that moment in time 17:00when you met your wife there?

ME: Yeah, I believe we were watching football so it was like a Sunday morning or something like that and there was a group of girls that lived on campus that used to come to our house all the time and then all of a sudden, they walked in the door one day and there's this new girl with them. So, I mean I can tell you what she was wearing the first time a saw here. It's kind of weird. She always says that that's not true because she says she didn't have that kind of cloths but it was. Yeah that's a moment that sticks out in my head. It's pretty clear.

DS: That's good, awesome. So, living off campus did you end up getting a job at all while you were in college there?

ME: Yeah, I did, well I had a summer job. I worked at the Paine Arts Center one year. I think that was that summer that year when I lived on cherry street. Yeah 18:00it was just a summer job. After that I spent a lot of years at a luggage in the outlet mall. Sam's Luggage store. I started there part time and you know by the time I graduated I was actually managing that store but they closed and I moved onto some other things but yeah for the most part. Except for that first year I was working throughout college.

DS: Okay so how did you find a balance your time between staying afloat a little bit academically while working, and also staying socially relevant? So how did you try to balance that or did it kind of get hectic?

ME: Well when I started working full time I think I cut out a lot of the partying and things like that and calmed down and got things back on track but I mean looking back at it now there's a kid here that works here but he's kind of doing the same thing so he works here full time and goes to school and I just think wow you know that seems like a lot to do but when you're younger you can 19:00do those things because I worked 40 hours a week, I had a full schedule of classes and I mean there's a lot of late nights, a lot of nights you don't get a lot of sleep but at that age it's a lot easier then I think it is then it sounds to me know. Watching him do it.

DS: Okay, so when you did find time to study and work on stuff. Where was you your study spot? Where did you got to get stuff done?

ME: There was a computer lab in downstairs in Radford. I think it's the student health building now or is it still called Radford?

DS: Yeah

ME: Is there still a downstairs computer lab?

DS: Mhm.

ME: Yeah, that's usually where I went. It was quiet. It wasn't as hard to find a computer there as it was in the library or something like that so that usually had a spot. That's where I probably did a lot of my studying. The library too I guess if I didn't need a computer I would go there. The second floor, sit at one of the tables by the window and study there. I wasn't very good at studying at home. I think other people would say the same thing. There's just distractions 20:00there too so it's just nice to find a good spot. Yeah, a lot of nights at Radford computer hall. That was open 24 hours a day.

DS: So, studying wise then, walking around campus, what are some things that you kind of remember, just being on campus, you know, back in your day.

ME: Yea, well, it was pretty, well there are a lot of new buildings since I've been there. Let's see, I think just the close proximity everything was, I mean it was just, you had the library here, everything was pretty close to each other. When I was going there wasn't Sage Hall wasn't there, the parking structures weren't there, they redid Taylor Hall I think. They have that big fitness building, they have the alumni center wasn't there. They redid Reeve, so Reeve when I was going to school was redone so that had all kinds of new 21:00restaurants and things like that. So that was pretty cool compared to where it was, but I think they're actually redoing that now again. So, you know things change and even the roadways have changed because when I went the arts and communications center, there was a road that went right through there, and now it's kind of a little - kind of cuts itself off. I guess that's, that was the building that seemed like the biggest hall was the arts and communications center. But yea, it actually looks completely different now than when I went to school.

DS: How so? Any specific details you really think?

ME: They just redid all the buildings since I was there. The parking ramp wasn't there, the fitness center, the alumni center wasn't there, sage hall wasn't there. I think they've redone Clow since I've been. They changed how the streets work in spots. Especially in the corner I think of Irving and Algoma. They kind 22:00of cut somethings off there. Yeah graduated and I don't think I wasn't back on campus until I started with Prospera which has been about a year and a half but I was just amazed by the differences.

DS: So, I got a question for ya.

ME: Yeah

DS: The dorm building Horizon, Horizon building.

ME: That wasn't there either.

DS: That wasn't there. There used to be a different building there or something.

ME: Yeah there was.

DS: I've heard rumors from other alumni I've talked with. Any idea what that was?

ME: There was a building and I know you could go there and get food. Like it was part of the meal plan but they only served certain things like there was a baked potato bar and salads and sandwiches and stuff like that but it was used for something else too because that was just the open portion of it. Yeah, I don't know. I just know I used to get a lot of baked potatoes from there.

DS: Good stuff, looking at the campus now, you kind of mentioned that you've 23:00been there within the last year. Little jealous, little bit of change? What are your thoughts looking at it now?

ME: It's much nicer, its much nicer. The buildings are nice. The dorms I remember and I still don't think they have air conditioning is, that right?

DS: its hit or miss.

ME: I mean that was something that was unheard of but some of the newer buildings that they put up like the Horizon village or they redid I think its Taylor hall, kind of right next to Donner? Those are really nice. Yeah, we had a room the size of this. It was always hot and seemed like the dorms always smelled. And the classrooms are so much nice too. Even the fitness center, that's something we didn't have. Albee hall was where you kind of went if you wanted to work out but that was almost exclusively used for athletics. There 24:00wasn't a whole lot of opportunity there, or Kolf. You could always go play basketball if there wasn't somebody using the gym. And the parking, I mean you guys got tons of parking. It's probably not too hard to find a spot. I use to always be the one to park in the teachers parking lot and always hoped I didn't get ticketed. I didn't get too many so. I guess I shouldn't complain about that.

DS: Good stuff.

ME: How does the parking ramp work now? Do you have to have a pass or is that just for anybody?

DS: Yeah, it's a pass system based on different levels.

ME: You still have to pay for it okay.

DS: It's interesting that's for sure. So, your dorm. You kind of mentioned Donner. Did you have any experiences in any of the different dorms like I know the Scotts were still there. Did you go hang out with anybody else in any other dorms? Thoughts on any other places?

ME: Yeah, I mean I've been in the Scott's. Those were always labeled the party 25:00dorms. So, I think they had floors both guys and girls on it which was kind of different then what we used to at Donner but it seems like that's where went if you wanted to party in the dorms was Scott halls.

DS: Okay.

ME: But yeah, I think I had probably been in all of them at some point.

DS: Alright so, moving on a little bit further junior year.

ME: You said there's not dorms in the Scotts anymore?

DS: No, there are

ME: Oh, there are?

DS: There are, there are. So, moving on a little bit Junior year. Still living off campus. Where did you live at that time?

ME: Yeah, I lived on Wisconsin street. So, I lived with one of my roommates from the previous house and we just had an upstairs apartment by ourselves.

DS: Academics, getting a little easier? Getting a little bit harder for you?

ME: They got better I mean I kind of focused more on academics so I spent a lot 26:00more time studying, pulling my grades back up and you know doing what I'm supposed to be doing. And I was working full time at that point too so didn't have a whole lot of time for anything else. Yeah that's when the partying kind of stopped for the most part. I mean still here and there. You still get to do a little bit of that but I got my grades better so that was what was important.

DS: So right around that time too your junior you should have turned I believe 21 so can you tell me a little bit about the bar scene once you ever go out?

ME: My 21st birthday my roommate wanted me to go out and at that point it was like a Wednesday or a Monday or something like that so I did not go out on my 21st birthday. We just kind of sat in and did homework and stuff like that but yeah, the bar we would go to a lot was the French Quarter when we would g. we had a friend who was a manager there so we would get some deals here and there 27:00but it seems like that's where we would always go was the French Quarter. Molly's was over there so once and a while we would go there. That's really, I spent a lot of my times. Kelly's was across the street, they did some things for St Patrick's day and beer gardens and stuff like that. So, I mean I've been to other bars but you know what by the time I turned 21 I was kind of getting over the partying stage because I guess I had to. But when we did go out it seemed like it was to the French Quarter.

DS: Okay, so since we are on the topic of bars and partying and stuff like that. One big event that happens every semester is Pubcrawl.

ME: Yeah.

DS: So, what was Pubcrawl like back when you were at Oshkosh?

ME: I don't remember it. So, I don't know how big of an event it was. I mean I've been living in Oshkosh since then and I've been working here for two Pubcrawls and kids are out at 10 o'clock in the morning drinking and there was 28:00like in the Radford square apartments, forget where I am, over there it looked like a concert. I mean there was a sea of people and everyone was having a good time and I don't remember it being to that extent. I feel like when I was in school it was just getting started. I don't know if you know the date when that was getting started but I don't remember it being a thing so I don't know if it was just getting started at that point but it definitely was not to the extent that it is now. It gets pretty crazy now.

DS: Okay what about St Patrick's Day that always seems to be another one that strikes people it's kind of a crazy time period.

ME: Yeah, I think they always plan spring break around St Patrick's day and I think it's because of an incident that occurred years before I went to school but in the years, I was on campus I think we went to Kelly's and they had a beer tent out and stuff like that but not really any crazy stories. Not any crazier than a normal crazy Saturday night on campus.


DS: Okay

ME: Yeah just the green beer and everyone dressed up.

DS: Okay, so you kind of mentioned out of the university spring break did you ever go anywhere do anything?

ME: No, I mean I could never afford to go to Florida or anything like that. I mean I always had some friends that stuck around town and we would get to hang out. Things like that. I think my first two years we ended up going home because they shut down campus. Well they shut down campus my first year because I was in the dorms but I think my second year I ended up going home too so by the time I was you know 21 and able to do stuff like that I guess I kind of past that point so nothing really exciting. I think it was mainly just hanging out with friends.


DS: Did you ever do any travelling, I know at Oshkosh they offer study abroad, travel abroad. Did you ever do anything like that?


ME: No, never. My sister did she went to Europe for a while and took some classes over there but no I never did.

DS: Ok, were you involved in any clubs or anything like that?

ME: No I think my involvement on campus was intramural athletics and just school so I don't know if I have anything exciting for you there either.

DS: ok, I have a general question so one of the things on this campus is they do have Greek life. Did you ever have any run in with the sororities, fraternities on campus or anything like that? What were your thoughts, you just being yourself? What were your thoughts with that community on campus? What was their image for you?

ME: you know for me it was always. I mean they always never let anyone into their parties unless they were you know kind of a member of that sort of thing so I always thought that you know they were kind of in a way stuck up, I don't know if that was true or they just kind of. Did things a little bit differently 31:00but I was never involved in it. And they didn't have a whole lot of experience there. I just kind of knew we couldn't get into their parties

DS: ok, so you kind of mentioned your roommate and who were kind of your best friends during this time period. Friends you made throughout college kind of stick with you in your mind.

ME: I was friends with probably my best friend was someone from my hometown and his name was nick. He was actually stood up in my wedding as the best man. But now he's a school teacher. He lives in Kiel Wisconsin. Does some special ed work and an elementary school teacher. I still stay in touch with him. We do fantasy football together so we meet up a couple times a year so we kind of hang and 32:00he's probably the one I talk to the most from college. I had a couple of other friends, Nate and Keck. Nate is actually the D.A., district Attorney of calumet county. And I don't think Keck ever finished school but I think he works at. It's off the highway, it's a big, past Fond Du Lac. Quad Graphics he works at, Quad Graphics. He's a guy I always use to hang out with that I see working here. Can't say his name but someone I hadn't seen for year and then all of a sudden, we crossed paths again when I started here. There's another gentleman that owns the choir restoration in town. His name is Jeff. I meant and I only knew that because we had. Our power was out once and we had a little bit of water in our basement and I called the restoration company and here he comes showing up at my 33:00door and I wasn't expecting it so we kinda got to connect that way. Let's see I have another friend, he actually at the time when I was telling about my friend who was the manager he actually ran it until a year and a half and then he moved back home so when he was in the area I would see him once and awhile but most of them I've lost touch with. Yeah just a handful of core friends that I still talk to and get together with occasionally.

DS: ok, so let me ask you know winter breaks, you kind of mentioned and talked about spring break a little bit but summer breaks what did you do during the summer? What did you do kinda during the winter during those break times?


ME: yeah in the winter I always did the interim class so I was always on campus a little bit longer so you'd have the classes. I went home my first summer and I worked I think cutting lawn for the summer and an engine testing place but then after that I worked at the Paine art center for a summer but then after that I worked at Ardy's drive in here in Oshkosh. I actually worked there with my wife while she wasn't my wife at the time. So that was an experience at the time. That's the roller-skating drive in that's on main street. So, summers I always had a summer job and then winterim, I mean it's cold, half the people aren't on there. There kind of a boring time on campus. You'd go to class and you know you have a few people that probably stick around but I always remember that as being cold and kind of boring.

DS: So, on campus there's a, at least now there's a lot of different events kind 35:00of like, new things like walk a mile in her shoes, the ally march that they do every year, tunnel of oppression. Did you ever see anything or do anything on campus that they had provided kind of like rally's, marches, things like that?

ME: No, and maybe I just didn't notice it but I feel like there's more things like that going on now then there was at that time. I don't remember anything off hand. I know the year before I went to school they had this big kind of riot when the badgers went to the final four. I remember stories about that but I can't think of anything else that they had and I could just not noticed it either but I think there's more events like that now then there was at that point.

DS: We do have a movie theatre upstairs kind of like one of the theatre rooms. 36:00Did you ever go see one of the movies on campus? Did they have that back then?

ME: I don't think they had that. You're talking about up in reeve?

DS: Yup up in reeve they have that.

ME: That might have been done towards the end of my time in college but no. You guys have it pretty good.

DS: What about Byegosh fest? We got that coming up here this week. Did you guys have that back in your time period in 2000?

ME: I don't know what is Byegosh Fest?

DS: It's Kind of a concert on campus. Before finals they bring on some show, band.

ME: When I was on campus there was a concert. I don't think it was a part of that but Everclear, they were pretty popular at the time, but they were at Kolf and I remember going to that and that was fun but I don't think they had anything called that Byegosh fest. Nothing like that but I think that was kind of the biggest they got. Everclear in the Kolf Sports Center.


DS: Speaking of Kolf did you ever go see any of the basketball games, see any of the sporting games on campus here?

ME: I went to a couple football games when I was a freshman. That is about it. Did intramural sports and things like that bit I never went to any of the other stuff. Wish I had something for ya here Doug.

DS: That's perfectly fine, that's perfectly fine. What did you do for fun though? Minus partying aside, minus academics, what did you do to unwind? What did you do to have fun?

ME: I was big into sports so if it's not watching it, it's playing it. Big fan of football. Hanging out with friends, at the time me and my wife did a lot of hiking after we met so we'd go to High Cliff State Park if you know where that is because there's a lot of stuff like that but yeah that's about it.


DS: Ok, High Cliff so did you like hiking, being outdoors then with that obviously?

ME: Yeah, I think it's kind of, it's kind of I've done different things at different points in my life but yeah at that point we did a lot of hiking, a lot of walking around outside. You know anything you can get away from things I think that helped because gets some exercise, feel a little bit better about things. Yeah.

DS: So, just by being around campus, seeing other people. What did you think of your fellow students, fellow piers? What did you envision being like? What were they like?

ME: You get a wide range of personalities kind of when you're in school. Some 39:00you like, some you don't like but I think for the most part everyone was good to me. I mean I didn't really have an issue with that. You know there's some people I remember that had done some things in town so that's kind of neat seeing some classmates that did some other things that are helping out the community. When I was on campus I remember Gordon Hintz who's a, I forget exactly what office he holds now but he was just getting started and he was on campus and I want to say he wasn't too much older than me but that's one thing I have and one thing I think of and the gentlemen who owns Runaway Shoes too in town. I went to school with him, took some business classes with him. Yeah, I mean everyone you know on campus has generally been good to me. I can't really complain.

DS: That's good, so you know kind of getting back towards chronological order 40:00here, senior year, you had two senior years or was it fourth year fifth year?

ME: Yeah

DS: Ok so kind of looking at those two years together, what was your thoughts towards the end of your college career? How did you feel about getting out of here?

ME: I was ready to get out of here. I mean I think it even started my junior year I think it's just you're just kind of looking towards the end but what's nice about it is you got some more of your core classes so you're getting to see some of the same people more often. You have more relationships with those people then you do with the general ed class because those could be a number of different people. You're getting to know your teachers better. I guess it's more focused on academics than some of the other things we've spoken about before. It's probably been the most rewarding two years that I was on campus just 41:00because I was doing well in school. You get to develop some relationships. Yeah but I was absolutely ready to be done with school at that point.

DS: Would you say it's kind of where you grew the most then in your college career? At what point was it kind of like "wow look where I've come from" type thing?

ME: Yeah, I mean like you said we've kind of talked about I think I started off really strong in school and then you know kind of lose focus of why you're there and trying to find that good balance and I'd say it came you know my sophomore year. Like I said I got a letter stating that I might be kicked out of school if I don't do well in one of my classes and I think that kind of just said okay this is why you're here and you need to focus on the academic portion and I was lucky enough to do well in the interim class that kept me in school and then 42:00after that I kind of fell in line. So, I think there was just that. Sophomore into Junior transition, you know first time off campus I had our own house. You know I didn't focus on academic like I should of but it was a year and a half and I was back on track.

DS: So, graduation

ME: Yup

DS: You graduated, do you have any big feelings or big memories that you kind of got there and were kind of there?

ME: I think it was just my mom's reaction. Just to quote here I think she told me on my graduation day she's like I think you could have gone any way at one point. Like she didn't know if I was gonna get out of school or what exactly was gonna happen but just how happy she was that I was able to finish it up and get a degree and I think that's the biggest moment. I did not go to the graduation ceremony, I worked that day so she stopped by work and took me out to lunch and 43:00I think that was just be best part, just seeing how happy she was.

DS: That's good. Now day in age for when people graduate college they have a bit of a little money debt that they gotta start digging themselves out of. Can you give me a general idea of what your financial situation was after being fresh out of college with a college degree?

ME: It wasn't too bad. Like I said I was working full time for my last couple years so I wasn't in too bad of shape. I mean I still had student loans I had to pay back but I think my biggest problem was I never had much experience managing money so making sure to pay everything on time. When I was in school my first two years I did accumulate you know some credit card debt too so I think just 44:00fighting your way from under that but I wasn't in too bad of shape I think when I graduated because I was working a lot.

DS: Next thing now that I kind of thought about it. Backtracking a little back to when you're in college. You know now a day everyone has computers, everyone's always on the computers doing stuff. You kind of mentioned the computer lab before but in classes how much did your classes revolve around technology

ME: It depends on the class. A Lot of my English classes the biggest thing I did on the computer was type up papers, things like that. It was important but not to the point it is now I mean no one had the smart phones so that was something that wasn't there. I think I got my first flip phone when I was in college. So, I mean there's a lot more with social media. I basically used computers to write papers, look things up on the internet every once and awhile but yea there's a 45:00big shift in that.

DS: Ok so, did you have a Facebook, Myspace type thing back then?

ME: No, I still don't have a Facebook, I'm happy to say that. But Myspace but that was probably when I was in college but no I was never too involved in that nope. Just basically used computers for writing papers and doing some research when appropriate.

DS: Did you ever play video games at all or anything like that? Like Nintendo 64 or something?

ME: When I was in school is when X Box came out and that was my first year out of the dorms so I lived out on Cherry Street and Halo came out and I don't think I went to school for a week. My friends would come over and we had the four controllers and I don't think anyone I knew went to school for a week when we got that and we started playing Halo. Yeah that was the big thing I mean the 46:00X-Box was just coming out, I mean there was PlayStation so I mean you played some of that too but the big event I remember was the X Box

DS: So, moving a little more forward here, back to where we were. What did you do after graduation here? Where did you end up?

ME: Well, I graduated and at the time I was managing a luggage store in the outlet mall so I did that for a couple years till 2007. The company actually filed for restructuring bankruptcy so they closed that location down. At that point, there was a gal that was in charge of a bank that we put our deposits in when I worked at the luggage store and she wanted me to work for her for a long time and then when we closed it seemed like an appropriate time to make the move 47:00obviously, I didn't have a job. But I have been in banking now, I spent 7 years with Chase and then I've been with Prospera now for a year and a half. Done a lot of different things in banking. I was a personal banker for a while, I did mortgages, I had my investment license. I've been managing this branch for a year and a half now, but when I was going to school my thought with the English degree was I wanted to do some sort of sports writing and it was suggested to me you know a lot of the sports writers now are you know English majors rather than journalism majors and that's kind of what got me into it and you know then life kind of happens and you go with the flow and I never really applied or anything toward some of those positions and you know it might be okay because newspapers are kind of a dying breed. There's other things going on. So, I just kind of 48:00went with the flow, I did the luggage store and then some other opportunities came up so I've been happy, I like banking, hours are good for the most part. Yeah

DS: Okay so obviously banking, your English doesn't directly apply though but I'm sure there's gotta be some aspects from what you learned that you can use and have been applying.

ME: Yes, absolutely

DS: Tell me a little bit about it.

ME: The biggest thing for me is the people that you meet on campus. See I don't know how many times I've come across someone I've met on campus that I haven't been able to make a connection with. I mean we got a couple members of our board that went to Oshkosh. Gosh, our marketing director, our Vice President of Operations all went to UW Oshkosh. So, I think it's just the connections you make with the people and I think that's the biggest thing and obviously just having a degree I mean that gets your foot in a lot of doors. Just with the 49:00degree itself regardless of where it was. But I think it's just the connections you make and then just from having the degree people that you knew in college or that you meet that are familiar with the university. I think that's just the biggest thing.

DS: Okay, that's awesome. So, there was a little bit of time I'm guessing, just back tracking in general, when your sister was here on campus and obviously, I believe it lines up you would have been here as well correct? What was that like having your little sister on campus? Did you Kind of show her around or did you guys do your own thing?

ME: Yea when she first came on campus I think she was kind of having a rough time. She lived with a roommate who always had tons of people over and things like that and I think she was you know looking for a bit of privacy so I think 50:00she hung out with me a little bit more then she had in the past. But after she got her feet wet and kind of learned the ropes I think she was fine and we kind of you know weren't as close as we were in high school obviously with the smaller town but I think I kind of helped her with the transition just kind of getting to know people and finding what worked for her and after that we still see each other here and there but it wasn't like we had the same group of friends we did in high school. It was a little bit different.

DS: Ok, so we have about 10 minutes left in the interview here. All-encompassing looking at your college career and everything like that. Anything that comes to your mind that you haven't said yet or that you wanted to say about the university, your experience, you know, your time here? This is kind of your time?


ME: I think it's something that I've realized more recently, you know when I was on campus I think towards the last few years that I was just doing my best to get out and get a degree you know and move on from there. But I think you there's a lot of things that you kinda can just. I wish I would have appreciated it more instead of just you know trying to get it out, kinda get it done because there's a lot of connections that I've made. Trying to think of a good way to word this so bear with me a second.

DS: No problem, take your time.

ME: I just think I would have done things a little bit differently as far as. I 52:00think if I could have, I don't think I should say that because that's not true. Yeah, I think the biggest thing is maybe just appreciating you know being in the moment rather than just trying to do your best to get out because I mean the campus, I mean the community is great, the teachers, the faculty are great, the students are great and maybe just getting to know people. That's the biggest thing that I think enjoying the moment rather than you know doing your best to get out.

DS: Well, so what would be, you know obviously for me you're talking with a current undergraduate at Oshkosh so what would be a bit of advice to me, or any other undergraduate that might ever hear this and what would your advice to them for college, for life after? What would you have to say?

ME: I think just enjoy your time, enjoy the moment, I think just get involved in a lot of things because you never know when the people you're working with or 53:00that you know and meet when you're getting involved in things when you're gonna cross their paths again. That's one thing that I wish I would have done more on campus is been more involved in stuff but I think that's it. Get involved with as many thing's as you can. Meet as many people as you can because you never know when your paths are gonna cross again.

DS: Okay so, now look where you're at now. You're married, you're working here. What is your job title here at Prospera Credit Union?

ME: I am a branch manager here so I manage the Oshkosh location. I also do business development for Prospera. So that means I will go to events. Anything I can just to get the name out so last Saturday we went to a wine feast. So, me and my wife got to go to a wine tasting thing otherwise, getting involved with the chamber of commerce. Any kind of networking events. They do a thrive coffee 54:00meeting in the morning where you just get to meet local professionals. We do a lot of sponsorships for charitable events. We did run with the cops was on campus. We did a sponsorship for the shamrock shuffle and we've been working with some of the clubs on campus. We are involved PRSSA fundraiser. You know just try and get our name out there and help the community.

DS: Okay, well that's good. Say we go back to 2000 right now. You graduate high school, would you do it all over again?

ME: I am happy where I am now so part of me says yes. Part of me says you know what if I would have really buckled down and you know, known what I know now. 55:00Things could be different but you know who knows. I am happy where I am now so that's the important part so I'm leaning towards saying yes, I would have done it the same way.

DS: Okay well you know I think that's how we are gonna wrap up and conclude our interview so on behalf of the campus oral history project and myself, thank you very much for your time and that's it.

ME: Yeah, no problem.

Search This Transcript
Search Clear