Interview with Timothy Van Asten, 04/29/2016

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
Marissa Pierce, Interviewer | uwocs_Timothy_VanAsten_04292016.mp3
Campus Stories Oral History Project (UWO Audio Series 51) |


MP: Alright my name is Marissa Pierce, I am here with Tim Van Asten [on April 29th 2016]. We are doing an Oral History Interview. Okay, well let's start off with, where did you grow up?

TVA: I grew up in Appleton, which is about 30 minutes from Oshkosh. So it's fairly close, and I've spent my whole life there. So I've been in Appleton, kind of a hometown guy and haven't moved out of Wisconsin. So I'm kinda proud of being a Wisconsinite too.

MP: What was your neighborhood like?

TVA: We were kinda out in the country. So we weren't really city folk, but we weren't on a farm. We had our own little subdivision, so we kinda had our own little town amongst the kids that played in the town. So that's kinda how I remember it. All us boys there was probably 15-20 of us about the same age, always getting together. Playing every day. Having fun. And it was just a really 1:00nice neighborhood. Very quiet, but close enough to the city if we needed to get there, we could get there quick enough.

MP: What was your family like?

TVA: Well I have an older sister who is a year older than I am. Then I have three younger brothers. Some of them. The two of them are two years, and four years younger than I am. But then I do have a brother who is 19 years younger than I am. So there is a big difference there. So it was kind of a surprise of course, but uh he is a great part of the family now. Actually he just got married not too long ago, also we are excited for him and his new family to be.

MP: That's awesome! What did your parents do? Or what are they doing?

TVA: My dad was a machinist. Worked at different places. A couple in Appleton, also in De Pere. And my mom was a stay at home mom. So she took care of all us 2:00kids. You all the regular things you do. Like make all the food, and do the laundry, and kinda mend the clothes. Everything that you know the mom was in charge of. So she was always around for us, it was really nice.

MP: Was that a very common thing for most kids parents to be…

TVA: It was actually very common back then. Probably after the 60's the job force got better, and my dad moved up in ranks as a machinist to a lead. So he got paid pretty good, and so he was like well I don't really need you to work also, so why don't you stay home with all the children. Since we had four, and we were pretty close in age, so it saved in daycare and all those expenses.

MP: Okay, What was your daily life like at home?


TVA: Starting when I was a kid, or?

MP: Um, just yeah you can say kind of like in general. Were you guys very religious?

TVA: Oh, okay! Yeah we were Catholic, so we went to a church down the road called St. Thomas More, and that is where we went to school also. So all four of us kids went to St. Thomas More, and it was smaller, but it was very nice because it was a little bit more strict. We had a dress code, so we always had to wear like, the girls wore their skirts and the plaids. It was between the browns and the blacks, kind of our colors. And I am trying to think what else.

MP: Were there any chores you had to do at home?

TVA: Yeah, we did a lot of playing it seemed like. As soon as everybody went 4:00outside all the kids just kind of got together. We always found each other, and did anything from shooting baskets; to skateboarding, cause that was really popular in the 70's; play football, all the sports baseball. All the things the boys did. Girls also joined in once in a while. They kinda liked to see if they could take on the guys. But yeah we did chores at home, help with all the dishes all the time. I was kinda in charge of cutting the lawn. So since I was the oldest boy it was kinda my duty, and I didn't really play much for sports for school. We were kinda far enough away, that my mom didn't drive, but my dad did, and when he was gone with the car we would have no way of getting around. Except for getting around with bikes. So we did bike around a lot. There was also a big 5:00swimming pool that was down the road from us, about three miles. It was pond that they made into a swimming pool, but we would go there a lot. We would bike down there swim all day. Bike back home eat supper. Bike back swim at night. Bike back. So I guess we were in pretty good shape back then. A lot of playing, a lot of fun.

MP: Okay! So just to start with colleges now. Why did you go to Fox Valley Tech first?

TVA: See, yeah it was Fox Valley Center, so there is the Technical college, and there is the center.

MP: Oh. Okay.

TVA: I went to the center, for a couple of different reasons. One is, I had a job in Neenah. So I kind of wanted to keep that job. It was helping me pay for school. So Fox Valley Center was very close, and my little brother was gonna be 6:00born when I was a freshman in college. I actually drove my mom to the hospital, and dropped her off before I went to school one day. I got out of school, and had a baby brother. So that was pretty interesting.

MP: That is awesome!

TVA: Yeah! So they also had a soccer team there, and I started playing soccer at Appleton West High School. It was the first time that soccer was a varsity sport through the whole Valley. So I played for Appleton West High school's first soccer team. That was back in about 1980, then 81-82 I graduated. Then I found out the center had a soccer team, so I went and talked to the coach over there. They said that I would probably be able to play. So I went over there for two years and played soccer, which is kind of what I really wanted to do, and then also got all my credits for an associate's degree. And I knew since I did that, 7:00they would all transfer to any of the UW schools. So after I was going to the center for a couple of years. I started to look at the UW's, and start thinking, okay where do I wanna go from here? Platteville I was actually interested in, so architecture would have been a good choice. Oshkosh of course. I think Whitewater I looked at, but then I started thinking I wanted to be more of an artist than architecture, and Oshkosh had a very good art program. Especially in commercial art. So Professor Russ Lowe I think was kind of the main professor at the time for graphic arts development, and of course that was also when computers were starting to become more mainstream. So that's how long ago that was. 30 years ago. I started to learn a little bit on the computer. So it was a 8:00natural fit for me to go from the center to Oshkosh. Here again, I could still work, so I could still kind of go there, and go back. So it was very close, um I did stay in the dorms for a year as a junior. I had a friend from the center too that was coming here, so we roomed together, and then after a year we rented a house. So we had five guys living in a house, which was one of the part houses in the neighborhood, but we were more low key. We weren't like the other ones.

MP: Not too wild? [Laughs]

TVA: No, but back then it was legal to drink when you were 18, and we were all 20, 21 years old. So to us it was nothing to worry about. It was kind of the freshman coming in that you didn't know were 18 or not. But once the laws 9:00changed here years later, then they got a little tricky, because a lot of college students like to have some fun, you know, and try and drink and it wasn't legal. We were kind of lucky that we were able to do that, and have some fun and study at the same time. All with good balance. It worked out pretty good.

MP: Good! What influenced you to pick your major?

TVA: I have always been good at art. Ever since I was a little kid. I remember when I went to kindergarten one time, and we had an art project we had to do a painting. It was kind of like anybody could pick what you want. Well actually, it might have been something about Christmas, or winter, and I painted a cardinal in a tree. The tree had berries in it, and the teacher came over, and 10:00said "did you bring that from home?" I said no. She said "Your parents didn't do this did they?" I said "No, I did this". She couldn't believe it, because it was actually a very nice painting of a cardinal in kindergarten. So I was very young, I don't know, I was just painting. I just did what I did. She ended up taking it to other classrooms, and ended up showing other teachers. I don't know if she was showing it off like "Look at this, look what he did", or if they were questioning whether I did it, or maybe my mom had helped me or something. I don't remember the details. I just remember them coming back saying "Oh this is so good! We are going to hang it up on the wall"! I don't know, it just gave me a little spark to kind of think " Oh it's kind of fun to do art, and have people appreciate it. So kind of a little mainstay of mine. Also growing up, I think it was more in high school. I got really good at drawing Garfield. I don't know if 11:00you guys remember Garfield, it was a cartoon cat.

MP: Yes!

TVA: And I did Snoopy, and I could actually draw him. So everyone was like "draw him doing this", and I would draw him. Everyone would gather around me during lunch wanting me to draw for them, so they could get a picture of Garfield or Snoopy doing something that they wanted. I should have charged money, darn I missed out on that one! No it was just for fun.

MP: [Laughing] 50 cents for a picture!

TVA: Yeah, I could have payed for my lunch! So, yeah after that I really didn't want to fine art, like a painting, or a sculpture. I thought mmm I want to be more commercialized, so I took up commercial art.

MP: That's very interesting!

TVA: Well thank you!

MP: What were some goals you had when you originally started college at the Tech? Or at the Center?


TVA: The Center, that's okay! I always call it the center, I don't know what you really call it, but I guess personally is to push myself in my sport. Which I played soccer, and then also academically, and able to do both and keep good balance. You know I did pretty good through grades through grade school and high school. But it was almost like I wanted to prove to myself that I could go out into the workforce. So I wanted to work really hard at school, which was the college school. Also with soccer. I did good in high school, but I really pushed myself to be like the best soccer player. My second year at the Center I was actually awarded player of the year, for the whole conference. I think I had the most goals, and second in assist, or something like that, and I wasn't even 13:00thinking about all that. All I was thinking about was having fun, trying to make my team win, and get to a championship, which we did get to the championship and we lost the championship game. But then the chancellor came up to me and said "Oh by the way you were voted this". I said "Really? So what do I do?", and he said "well, you don't really do anything, it's just that your name will be on a plaque and it will be hung up in school". I told him "Well that's really cool! Well thank you! Who do I thank?" They were like well you can't really "thank" anyone, they are just kind of nominating you as the player of the year! So that was a great goal for me! One for college itself is I ended up with a 3.85 GPA which was actually pretty hard back then. I mean there was a lot of 4.0s because they were just naturally smart, I had to actually work at it to make myself a 14:003.85. I think a lot of it came through my art classes, you know I wasn't always the most smart by books, but I was very talented at picking up sculpture that I have never done before, or 3-D art, or painting. Other kids would just kind of do it and not try, and I would spend hours and hours trying to make it what I thought was awesome, and the teachers saw that and gave me good grades. I got a lot of as for all of my project that I did. So I think it makes you feel fulfilled, that the things that you really work hard at can also give you credit, in a sense of making you a better person, and understanding that hard work does pay off!

MP: How did they change when you came to UWO? Your goals?


TVA: How did my goals change? Of course I got older so, you kind of lose the 'always trying to have fun' [mentality]. It was more 'How can I start thinking about a career?" You know, when you become a junior or senior and you start thinking 'Oh my goodness, I'm going to be graduating pretty soon. Where am I going to find a job?' I think that sets in, and you actually change your goals in a sense of 'it's not about going out with all your your friends all the time' - we still did that, but it was more like a weekend thing. And it was priorities of how to keep going forward with your education and how it could take you to a good job. What was nice about UWO also was, since I went to the Center for two years, it was 1984 when I went to Oshkosh, and UWO started their first soccer 16:00program [that year]. Toby Bares was the coach and I had heard they were starting a soccer program, so I went over there and talked to him and said, 'I would like to play soccer for you' and I kinda told him what I did and he was very excited because, back then, they were just trying to find anybody that had soccer background, because a whole lot of kids didn't even play soccer; didn't even know about soccer. So, I ended up being on UWO's first soccer team.

MP: That's awesome.

TVA: And we just celebrated a couple years ago [2] their first anniversary. And I came back for the alumni day of that and was honored on the field and it was a neat feeling that something I did so long ago was being honored as being one of the original players that started the program at UWO. That program really took 17:00off and became so successful, so I'm pretty proud of the whole tradition that's been continuing with the soccer program. We're hoping that it comes back. [Men's soccer]

MP: I hope so too! What were your living arrangements like when you attended the Tech? You lived at home?

TVA: I did live at home at the Center, mostly because I wanted to see my new brother, because he was a newborn. There is so much going on with kids like that, I didn't want to miss that part of it, plus I saved a lot of money. I actually had other friends that were doing the same thing, staying at home for two years. Kind of building up money through some work on the side, so that you were ready for the next two years of your life. You actually had some spending money, and some background. So that's why I did it that way.


MP: Was that very common for students to go to the Tech first, before going to the UW school?

TVA: You know, I don't know that. It seemed like a lot of my friends didn't. So I don't know if we all maybe talked about it, and said "Are you going there?" So we felt comfortable, but I mean if all you guys are going there than I want to go there. So others I guess did go to other colleges, I guess I don't remember in detail what the trend was, but it worked out great for me.

MP: You said that you were staying in the dormitory your first year at UWO? What dorm was that?

TVA: I am trying to think. I think it was Taylor hall. It was my dorm I stayed in for two years. I am trying to remember what floor I was on. Either second or 19:00third floor, and I was facing, is it Evans? I can't remember.

MP: Webster?

TVA: Webster! Yes! So we had the two dorms next to each other, and all the kids would go into the middle and throw frisbee, and just hangout. It was a lot of fun too! So you would get done with all of your classes, go to your room, look out the window and see if there was anybody down there that you knew, and if you did then you ran down there and started hanging out. It was a lot of fun!

MP: How did your dorm experience influence your overall experience of college?

TVA: You know, staying on your own you definitely think about things that were maybe taken care of for you. Like your mom did your laundry all the time. Now I got to do my laundry, and it was difficult because I played soccer so I always 20:00needed clothes washed pretty often. I did have a limited amount of clothes, but still it was a certain thing that you wore all the time. And you just had to manage your own time, like when are you going to go eat. You better get up early if you want to go eat before class, or between classes you have to figure out are you meeting people, or you gotta go eat something. You kind of fell into the managing part of it, by just quickly making decisions and then after a while you go into routines where you knew how to manage. Pretty common for all kids to go through that. You are kind of made to figure out "are you staying up late tonight" well that's up to you. "Are you going to do your homework tonight or tomorrow?" Well that's up to you. When I lived in the house that was harder, 21:00because it was more of a party atmosphere. It was like "wooh whoo, it's all party". It's like um, I have a paper to do, or I have an art project to complete. There would be times that my friends would be like, we are all leaving and they would go out, which actually made it good for me because the house was open and quiet. So I was able to get my homework done, and then still meet them later. You just got figure it out.

MP: How did your living in the house influence your experience, other than school work?

TVA: I think you end up trying to trust your roommates, because all of you are taking care of this house, and who is parking where because we had cars back then. Who is going to clean this, who is going to clean that? Who is in charge of paying the bills, and everybody else getting them the money? It kind of 22:00opened up that door, of instead of being just the simple what am I going to eat? It is how are we going to balance the bills, how are we going to stock the refrigerator, and make sure that everybody eats their food, or if there's a common food that everybody gets a fair share, because it could turn ugly, and people could turn on each other if they don't get along. I guess guys are pretty easy, and they all just get along, as long as you had enough food in the fridge, and you weren't too loud at 2 in the morning, I guess we could put up with each other.

MP: What did you do in your free time?

TVA: Some of my free time I actually went home to see my family, my younger brother. We did go out a lot. I mean back then the bar scene was the thing to 23:00do. Everybody was legal drinking age, so it was very common to go to a bar 3-4 times a week. It was also affordable back then. You could buy 25 cent tappers. We always made sure we found those places. We frequented Molly's, the library. Our house was actually over by Calhoun Beach Club, which is over by downtown more. So we would always go there. On Saturday mornings they had the breakfast club, where you could go have cereal and a beer. The fun things you do when you're a young guy, or a young college student.

MP: That is interesting!

TVA: Oh yeah! There is many times where I had roommates come home just in time to go to class. It was like, "Wow where were you?", and then "Oh we were partying all night" like oh okay. I think they had a morning class, and then the 24:00afternoon off, and then they just slept all day. So they kind of managed their time the way they had thought it would work. It was a little on the wild side back then.

MP: Wow! What made you want to pursue soccer at a college level?

TVA: I think just because the opportunity became available. They started a new team, they needed players. I happened to be coming to college right when the opportunity was there. It also helped too that I was able to become a good soccer player through my first two years of college, and learning it in high school. Coaches did know about me. I think coaches did talk and say "hey this play is good. You should have them on your team." I'm sure they still do that now. So I guess it was kind of a privilege to be known as a better soccer 25:00player, and they wanted me on their team. I never really did pursue other colleges like "Would you be interested in me playing soccer for you, and even maybe get a scholarship?" I never really thought about that 30 some years ago. It was probably more on the academic side. If you were very very smart, that's how you got a scholarship. It didn't really pertain to sports much, unless you were like the star quarterback and some D1 or D2 school was looking at you. That wasn't very often. I was just very happy that I could be able to play. It just happened to work out perfect.

MP: What was it like being on the first UWO soccer team?

TVA: You know, we all looked at each other, not knowing each other, and not 26:00knowing what this program was going to be. Are we going to go out there and win any games? We weren't the best of teams. It might have been one of the only teams, that had a losing record that was below 500. That was our first year, and it was only by one game that we were below 500. After that, our second year, we really started meshing, and we were able to find other good players to fill in the holes that we had. The second year we became really good. We started playing good together. We all kind of looked at each other like "Oh, this is starting to come together", even our coach Toby, was not sure what it could turn into until probably the third or fourth year. It started really getting better players. He always got the really good players from the Fox Valley area, he didn't really 27:00pursue trying to get players from other states, except for maybe Illinois, it was kind of the border. Some of those kids wanted to come here. By the end of my second year, which was my senior year, my coach approached me, and said "How would you like to be my assistant coach for next year? Is that something you would be interested in?", and I was thinking

I had to go get a job, but he told me "No we will pay you, and pay for your room and board, and also your food." I thought well it's kind of like going to college for free. I took three classes, like photography, and some really fun things that I wanted to do that I maybe didn't have a chance to do because I took other courses. It was able to work out with the guys. I drove one of the 28:00vans with all of the guys in it. So we had two vans going to different places. It was a lot of fun. It was a good half a year, of not worrying about work, and kind of just being a college student for another half a year, but still being in charge. I was the assistant coach, so I had to discipline the players, make sure they were doing what they were supposed to. It was a nice little learning curve there.

MP: What position did you play?

TVA: I played center midfielder. I am not sure how that came about either. I know that when I was at the center I did play center midfielder also. So I think he [coach], knew of my talents. As it came for players, I was one of the more talkative. So when we are playing, people are doing different things, but no one says anything so you really don't know what's kind of going on behind you. Where I would just yell out everything like "Man on!" "Switch fields!" "Play it back!" 29:00"Send it up!" "Cross it!", and the coach really liked that I took control. So he made me a captain, and a center midfielder. It really helped direct the team. What's funny is, in the two years I played for UW Oshkosh, I didn't have very many goals. I don't know if I really had any goals. I have had assists, because a midfielder is more of a guy that does the assists. We had other really good players, that scored [8,10,12] goals, but at the end of my second year when I was graduating my coach Toby Bares gave out an excel award, and we weren't really sure what that meant. He said that "Excel doesn't mean that you are always the number one goal scorer, or the best goal keeper. It's just a player 30:00on the team that excels above the others, so that they can follow him. He is kind of a leader.", and he awarded me with the excel award. I was pretty proud of that. I think that Toby was kind of looking for someone to give that first award to. Him and I got along so well, that were almost like friends, more than coach and player, it was a neat aspect. I don't know if he even does that anymore, or the program does that anymore. I got a little trophy, I am sure it is probably in the attic somewhere. It was another little proud moment.

MP: How did you manage being able to balance being a soccer player, and doing your school work?

TVA: I brought it along with me on some of those rides. In college it's not like 31:00high school where you get there, and it's class class class class until you leave. College is spread out, where you might just have a morning class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then you have more of a workload on Monday, Wednesday, Friday's, and maybe you don't start until 11, so you have mornings off. So you just have to find time to get things done that you need to get done. Sometimes it would suck, because you didn't want to wake up and do homework when you could sleep in, but you knew that afternoon you had something do and you couldn't do it last night because you were at a soccer game. You had take a bus to marathon, it took like three hours to get there, and three hours to get back. You didn't get home till midnight. You just gotta do it! Make yourself do it.

MP: Do you think it was easier managing soccer and school work in college, then 32:00it was in high school, because you said you would get those free times?

TVA: Yeah, I think it was! I think because I wanted to take control and I knew what I had to do. Where it seemed like in high school, you still weren't really in control. The school was still in control of you, and your parents were still in control of you. They would say "Did you get your homework done?" "You need to do your homework now", and you would just kind of follow your parents, because they are watching over for you. In college I think it was easier, because I liked my free time, I liked my party time, so I knew I had to get things done so I could do that! I always got that done first, before you do the play thing. Of course we had all kinds of friends in college that did the opposite. They did all the play, and then an hour before class "Oh I got to put this project together." It was horrible. I would come back and say "Hey I got an A on this!", 33:00and they would be like "I got a C-", well maybe next time you and I should be here for three hours getting our work done before we go out, and they are like "Yeah maybe". I'm not saying I was an honor student, or Mr. Right, I think it was just common sense. I am trying to pass that on to my children now.

MP: You just had your head screwed on tight! Was sports really big on campus? Was it a very important aspect for campus?

TVA: I really didn't see that. I think sports 30 years ago, was still something that some students could do at a college. I think what changed everything, was 34:00about 15-20 years ago, when everything started becoming so serious at a youth level. Kids had to be on a youth team for basketball. Parents put them on traveling baseball teams, and some kids played that sport year round, because they wanted their kid to be this college star someday, and get a scholarship. It really pushed these kids more than probably they wanted to do it. They had fun, but at the same time they didn't have fun, because they would rather just go play around in the backyard. You know, kick the ball around, instead of getting in a car, driving somewhere, and playing baseball. Yeah they liked it, but the parents almost were kind of competing with each other with their children. It turned into what it is today. There is just so much heave competition in sports. 35:00IT's not like every kid is going to be D1 scholarship. I mean that is very few. You gotta realize there is so much you can do, and have fun with, but there are something you have to back off on, and just tone it down let them have fun as a kid too.

MP: What was campus life like, and the environment around it?

TVA: Pretty casual! I mean everybody seemed to be outside. No one really sat in their room and played Atari, back then it was Atari. Now it's the GameCube and all the gaming systems, that kind of turned a lot of kids into couch potatoes. Back then, you got in your room, I guess the only thing you really thought of 36:00was cranking your stereo, playing loud music. Back then we played our records, because everybody had their collection of records. That part, you might be in your room, but everybody else was like, "I am going outside and hanging out", and that's what we did. Just wanted to be more social, everybody loved to talk to each other. That was the thing to do. We didn't call each other, nobody liked to call each other. Of course we didn't have texting back then. We maybe wrote notes and passed it to each other. The good ole days!

MP: Was it kind of what you expected it to be, like the dorm, or campus life?

TVA: Yeah, I did. I was excited to be going to college, because it's like look at all these kids in one spot, this is going to be crazy! Parts of it was crazy, 37:00but parts of it was, you looked around and all these kids were just like you. They are all trying to get some pretty good grades. They are all trying to have some fun. They are all trying to please their parents, by saying I'm doing good, but at the same time you are being a little naughty. Going out and partying too much, and not telling anybody. It was just a really fun time for everyone. There is not a lot of pressure like there is today. Today it's almost like there is too many people trying to competing with each other, and the pressure of everyday is almost worse than work.

MP: What was dorm life like?

TVA: I think we mostly just hung out with the guys from your floor. We didn't really go up and down on our floor too much. We got to know people from other 38:00dorms, so it was always fun to go, like if I was in Taylor, I would go over to South Scott, because that was like a whole nother environment over there, because there is so many kids stacked floor to floor to floor. It was crazy over there, and real mellow over by us. It was kind of neat to get to know other kids through the years, and then hanging out at each other's places. Fun!

MP: Were all the boys in one dorm, and all the girls in one dorm? Or was it mixed how it is now?

TVA: Some were all girls, some were all boys, and some were mixed. I think we were, might have been mixed. Might have been girl, boy, girl, boy. Where I think Webster was all girls, which us guys thought was awesome, because you could just go outside, and there was a hole dorm full of girls ready to talk to.

MP: How was your experience living in Taylor Hall?


TVA: Good! We got along with all of our roommates. There was a couple of them that were maybe doing some illegal things, that they shouldn't have. You know, open up their door, and a big billow of smoke would come out. You would be like "You guys", and they were like "What?" It was like, okay we are shutting the door, because you are stinking up the place, open up a window "But then they will see the smoke come out the window", okay well. It was a little free flowing back then.

MP: How was your experience like living off campus?

TVA: I liked it a lot. I think by the time I was a senior, it was time for me to try it. I mean get a house, and the four guys that I lived with were very outgoing, we all got together, went there checked the place out. We were like 40:00cool we like it, and told the renter we'll take it. Put a down payment, worked out who gets what bedroom, and even though I got a smaller bedroom down below, it was actually a nicer one, because I had a nice window. Where they had some upstairs that maybe got hot. When it got hot out it would be really hot upstairs, and cooler downstairs. So we each had our little benefits of our rooms. I really liked it. It kind of helped me figure out what living on your own, or living in a house, or apartment would kind of feel like. Everybody should do it, and try it!

MP: Did living off campus affect your grades negatively, or positively?

TVA: Some of my roommates it did, but I don't think it did for me. I was 41:00disciplined. When I had class I went to class. When I had homework, I either found a quiet space in my house, if I couldn't I went to the library. Some of us guys in my calculus class were struggling a little bit so we ended up going in the library once a week and getting a room that had a big chalk board on it, and we would sit there and try and do these different kind of calculations on the chalk boards, we would actually figure it out together. Some guy would have this idea to get us closer to the answer, and then I would say something else and then somebody else, and we would figure it out. That actually taught us better than trying to figure it out yourself, the frustrations of that is kind of negative. I think more kids should really study together. If you are in the same 42:00class, you should almost find another couple of people in your class, and say let's once a week meet and get together and go through what we learned this week, and what are you having problems with. I can answer that one, I am having problems with this one, and then all of a sudden you kind of get an inside information from each other, of how to understand the class. So then when you went back to the class we just felt so confident. Other people were like "I didn't get this one, I don't know what I am doing", we would be like "We didn't either but we worked it out, and now I know how to do it." So it really helped me, and my grades. I probably should have done more of it, but that was probably one hard class that I needed help. Asking a teacher was not always the easiest thing to do.

MP: It's kind of intimidating.

TVA: Well, they are way up here [raised hand over head], because they know so much. You are just one of those, I am just trying to figure out how we do it, 43:00and then "Well you should know how to do it", well I don't know how to do it. So that is something that I think my comment to other students would be, Try and find other students in your class that you can be a peer with, and learn from each other, so that helps you learn better in that class.

MP: That is some very good advice!

TVA: Thanks!

MP: What were your professors like at UWO?

TVA: You know, I took a lot of art classes, because now that I was into the later part of my college, where you do more of your profession. So very interesting, they were more of the finer kind of people, some some ladies would come in with these big dresses that were all flowers, kind of like a flower power kind of lady, and telling you how wonderful drawing is, and how much 44:00feeling it expresses. Us kids in the class we like "yeah I just want to draw something, put some fruit on the table, let me draw, and shade it, and see if I can get it right.", but you got to learn that their passion for it was pretty real, and that you can get some of that passion, that you don't need to be maybe one end, but you could really feel through the class what you want to get out of it. If it is just something you want to get through, and get done, or is this something I really want to learn, and actually makes you feel good after you made a sculpture that you didn't think you could do, and it turned out pretty cool, and the teacher was like "I really like the way you did this, and how you saw that." It was kind of like "Wow, I didn't know I could do that". So yeah it 45:00was good styling, the teachers were all different, so it helps you learn how the real world is out there with everybody being so different.

MP: Did any professors make a positive, or maybe even a negative on your college career?

TVA: I would have to say, there has been a couple of teachers that I thought were a little different, but yet they impacted me, because I realized that they are not all like me all the time. Like a sports guy, that just kind of likes art. They were really good people that loved what they did, and I had to accept that. That was their passion, where mine maybe wasn't that. I did bring up Russ Lowe before, and he was pretty passionate about commercial art, and that was 46:00something I wasn't sure I wanted to do, but after I had some classes with him, that's like "I know I want to do this". To us it was like designing logos for a company, and how do you put together, like a senior graduating, you are going to do all of their pamphlets and booklets, and cards and the envelopes and put it all together with color. It was really neat to learn that aspect of it, and he had such good background, that he did commercial art for like 20-30 years, and now he was teaching that to us kids. I really admired how he, maybe influenced me to do more commercial art then what I was expected.

MP: So you say that taking those classes, the commercial classes with him is 47:00kind of what impacted you the most.

TVA: Yes! I think that made me decide that I wanted to be that commercial art major. Which I was kind of doing anyways. I kind of got away from the architecture, and really wasn't trying to go into fine arts with drawing and painting. I also realized to from him, that there is money to be had, by working for these big companies, and they want somebody that can do this work for them. If you were a freelance artist, you are kind of living off of "Does someone like my art, are you going to buy it from me?" So if I do paintings, or pottery or something, you can do a lot of them and nobody could buy them, and then you have no income. Where if you worked for a company, and they are like "We have clients 48:00coming in, every one of them wants a new brochure, that they have to get done, and you are in charge. You have to figure out what this company needs for brochures, do up a couple of designs, they really like one. You go forward with it. They pay the company some big money for them doing it for them, and then you get payed a really good salary. I was hoping to get a nice salary, because that would really help me raise a family, and get a house. You know all those things that people dream about.

MP: How much effort did it take for you to get good grades while attending UWO?

TVA: As I look back, it was pretty good effort. I am actually surprised that I put in as much effort as I did, with all my friends who were maybe not outing in the effort that they should, but maybe I was realizing that at the same time. I could see them not doing it. I realized that they were not getting good grades, 49:00and I didn't want that. I pretty much payed for a lot of my college myself. So I think that helped, knowing that I worked hard for that money, and I want that money to go towards something I also going to work hard at to get an outcome out of. If they were just going to school, and maybe getting their school payed for, they were probably thinking, well I really don't need to try, because everything has been given to me. Where if you have to work for it a little bit, you kind of respect that, and you are kind of like "I really need to get something out of this, because otherwise it's a waste of my time".

MP: Yeah, a lot of people need to realize that.

TVA: Yeah, and you see it through all the people that you meet through college. There are those that say "Let's go do this! Let's go get this done!" you know making a positive mark as we are here. Then there is a bunch that never had it, 50:00or kind of lost it as they stayed here, because they got too much freedom, and they are not using what they should--their time, and their money, and their efforts to do what they are supposed to be doing. They are kind of blowing it off.

MP: Do you feel like academic standards differ from when you went to school, to now that your daughter attends here?

TVA: Yeah, probably. I think back then it was a little more general. They were just trying to put out general courses, and since the world keeps evolving and growing, and getting more computerized. I think everything is a little bit more technical. So what used to be just a general philosophy class, probably pertains 51:00more to the real world now, where everything is so high tech. Everybody's got a cellphone, and everybody's got a computer. You just kind of take that for granted, so they have to prepare you for that, by adding that, probably into their classroom curriculum. So I can see it being a little bit more challenging, a little bit more technical. All we had to worry about was TV. and a radio. Pretty much just simple simple stuff.

MP: How did attending Oshkosh better your career options?

TVA: Well it seems like where I applied to work, they were very positive about me going to UW Oshkosh. I don't know if a lot of the kids from the technical colleges or the Center, were competing with some of my job interviews. Where 52:00maybe they just had a two year degree. Where I had a four year degree. I think that was a big plus 30 years ago. Now it's kind of like a mainstay, you almost need a four year degree just to get anything, and now they are almost looking at what extra are you doing. "Are you doing a Master, or are you doing a double Major?" because the competition seems so strong, that you almost need that extra work to find a better job.

MP: Was it easy, or was it difficult to get a job after you graduated?

TVA: The fact that I did work through college, I worked in a screen printing 53:00place. I got some experience from that, and what started off for me just printing T-shirts, and golf towels, and things like that. They realized that I was an artist, and they actually had me start doing artwork for them, instead of being on the floor and doing the random printing. I was actually doing their technical part. Learning how to use their camera, shoot the screens, drawing the art that they had to do for (a lot of it was for grocery stores and small businesses). The fact that I had an art background and learning that in my first job, I think that I went to the next job, I could tell them what I all did, and they understood that I knew more than the average person walking in. If I say "Oh I went to school, but I don't know anything, can you hire me?" where I could say "I went to school, but I also worked, and I also was this and turned into a 54:00technical artist," they turned and said "Oh you are moving up, even before you got out of college. So they kind of knew that I was going to probably put the effort in.

MP: Do you still keep in contact with any of your friends that you made while attending UWO, or the Fox Valley?

TVA: You know it's more random. I can't say that I had like best friends that I kept in touch with ever since then. I have got good friends from high school, and some from college that I will still send emails to, or texts, or happen to run into them. We will sit there and talk for an hour, about all the good ole days. Well I did come back for the 30th anniversary for the soccer program, some of my teammates came back also. It was a very fun night, because after that, we 55:00all went out and just talked for four or five hours, and some of them knew what other players were doing. So we kind of caught up on who was doing what, where everybody's at. I probably need to do a little bit more of that. You know once you get a family and kids, you are so focused on that, that it kind of pulls you away from a lot of the other things, the little things that you kind of hung onto in the beginning, because if you don't have a family, then you actually need your friends, so then you do a lot with them. Once you have this family, and they are all in sports, and you are coaching, and you kind of forget about "Oh I was supposed to call my friend every other month just to keep in touch, and I forgot to do that", but that is just the way life goes. You kind of fade away, but it seems like you kind of start getting back together after a while.

MP: What is the most unexpected aspect of college that has stuck with you throughout the years?


TVA: That is a tough question. I think for me it's getting along with so many other people, because I lived in a little neighborhood, and we all knew each other like brothers and sisters. I went to high school at a pretty big high school, but we had our little group of friends, of maybe 20-30 of us, that always hung out, always did things together, kind of like had a little pack. Once you got to college, you were kind of on your own. It's like starting fresh. You didn't have your little group, you didn't have your high school group. It was you and whoever you had to make friends with, so you had to either be sociable, and within the years get your own little group of friends, or maybe be 57:00a little more secluded and just maybe have a couple of friends, or didn't really do much. Maybe we just hung out and read in your room. I mean it doesn't matter either way is fine, but for me I think to actually break out of my shell and I wanted to do things with people, because that is all I have ever done. I didn't have anybody to do things with. To go between the dorms, and go out there and throw a frisbee around, and all of a sudden you meet other people, and pretty soon they are saying "Oh what are you doing this weekend? We are all going to the park and we are going to hang out and play volleyball.", and it's like yeah! Then you start becoming friends. It is a great social part of your life, I think is college. I still have a lot of friends that I met from college, that I am still really good friends with, even though we don't really stay in contact, and I think that if we ever got back together it would be no problem for us to get 58:00back to where we left off.

MP: Is there anything you think I might of missed about your college experience?

TVA: You did a pretty good on asking a lot of questions. I don't know. I can really see 30 years ago it was so different than what it is today. I just feel that it is very hard for all you college students to be as sociable as we were when we were younger. We didn't have any way of communicating except for maybe trying to find somebody's phone number. You had to go and talk to them. You 59:00couldn't go on the internet and Facebook. You couldn't even find other people through websites. It was face to face. It was go walk up and say hi, and that's how we did it. I think what helped for us when we were in the college, is that we were all legal drinking age. So you could walk into all these bars, and there were tons of people in there just hootin and hollerin, because they had a few, and a few makes you talk. So you go in there and you are all having a good time. You just start joining in, and pretty soon everyone is having a good time. That part it was fun, but even though we had the freedom to drink, everybody respected it. We didn't go in there and get bombed every night, because you just knew you couldn't function the next day. We went in there, had some fun, maybe we got a little "mm, kind of too much that one night", but then the next night 60:00you toned it down, and just had a couple, and went home early. We always planned around "What are you doing? What are you doing?", and we would all be good until the day that everybody wanted to get together, and then it was just a big "Alrighhhht party time!" That part was fun, and I think that you are missing a lot of that here, because you don't have that privilege, but you make your own fun. I am sure my daughter has made a lot of good friends here, and she will cherish that with her throughout the years. So it's what you get out of it. You put in what you get out. I think you are going to grow, learn from it, and 61:00hopefully it helps you form into who you're going to be, and then hopefully you will be successful as you get out of here, because you are paying money for one thing, and that is to get an education. So you better get a good one, and go out and use that to help you better yourself in the working field.

MP: Do you have any fun stories you would like to add?

TVA: [Gasps], How much time do you have? [laughs].

MP: As much time as it takes! [laughing]

TVA: You know when I was a senior in high school, we were all worried about "Oh my gosh, we are all together, where are we all going to go?" Everyone kind of has that same scenario. You know "Oh I will never see you again". So when I became a college student, I became friends with pretty much the guys I played 62:00sports with. So the soccer team became my new group of friends, and there was a brand new bar that opened up call the Skyline. It used to be a western bar, where everybody would wear cowboy boots and cowboy hats, and do line dancing, and we were like "Oh my god somebody took over this bar?", but we heard it was more punk rock, which was kind of like the new 80's wave. My friends and I were kind of getting into that. We really like this new devo and all these new weird bands that came out. So we went there (our soccer team) after our practice. I think it was a Friday night, we all went to this bar, and it just opened, I think it was the grand opening. So it was like six or seven that night, usually 63:00people don't go out until like 9-10. So we got there early and there was nobody there. So in walk 14 guys, and it was a really cool bar. It had a giant screen, which was as big as the whole wall, where they should music videos of all these new 80's bands that were coming out. We were like "Oh this is really cool", and the owner came up to us and gave us strange looks, and came over and was very timid about saying something, but he's like "I'm not sure about this, but I just want to let you know this isn't that kind of a bar", and we were like that kind of a bar? We started looking at each other like, we are all guys, and we are all walking into this new bar. "Ohhh, you might think that we are all friendly with 64:00each other?", and he's like "I am nervous to say something, but I just didn't want to turn this bar into a bar like that". We kind of just started laughing like, " No, we are the soccer team from Fox Valley!", and he's like "Oh really?", and we were like yeah we like to party, we have all kinds of girlfriends and stuff that we are going to bring in here, but we just wanted to check it out. He was so relieved, he bought us pitchers of beer, because we were 'normal' guys. It's still a funny story. I felt bad for him too, because he didn't know. You know, here's a grand opening of a bar, and here comes these people and he is like "Oh cool", but he didn't see couples walking in. He just saw a bunch of guys walking in, then he is like "Now what do I do?" bust he was very nice about it. He didn't make you feel like, if you are 'that' we don't 65:00want you. He was just kind of questioning, and we were like "No, we are good ole boys! We like to drink, and dance with girls!" He was like "Oh come on in!" He bought us a couple pitchers of beer, and that bar turned into the biggest bar in the Fox Valley. I mean everybody from Oshkosh to Green Bay would come and just go to that bar. Gosh we went there probably 2-3 times a week. Just had a fun fun time, but that was our social thing to do. It was a lot of fun, so that was a fun story. I am trying to think if I know of any soccer stories. Nothing that was really funny I think. I remember our first year, he was trying to find teams 66:00for us to play, and there was a Baptist college up north somewhere. So we were kind of rowdy guys, so we got on the bus, or on the vans or whatever. It might have been a bus, and we went up there. All these guys had shirts and ties, and it was a very proper, almost like a private school, and they were all going to be like Baptist ministers and things like that. So here we all come, we were probably swearing and stuff as we were walking off the bus. They came to greet us and shake our hand, and they were very proper, and we were like "Um, what do we do?", and so we were like "Hey, how's it going?" "What's up?", and then they 67:00went and changed, and we warmed up, and they came out and we played them. They weren't the best team. I think we beat them nine to nothing. It was a very interesting soccer game. I think one of the most interesting ones that I played. It was just a different culture. We were kind of laid back 80's boys, like to have a beer, and I don't think not one of them probably touched alcohol their whole life, so they were on the proper side. We got along pretty good. They congratulated us at the end of the game, and said "Wow you guys are very good soccer players. Thank you for coming", and we were like "Well thank you", so that was kind of an interesting one.

MP: Just to intervene for a second, was that when you attended the Center, or 68:00when you attended here that that happened?

TVA: That was here at Oshkosh!

MP: Here? What Year was that?

TVA: I think that was our first year, because Toby was trying to find different colleges for us to play. Not everybody had a soccer program. So it's like, oh we'll go play them, we'll go play them, and then "I found this Baptist college that we should go play", and we were like I don't care, I will go play them! So that was interesting. I did have one professor in Oshkosh, very different, older man. I think he liked to drink more than the students did, to put it to the least. He would come in not in the best of shape in the morning class. He 69:00wouldn't be able to do anything until he drank a whole cup of coffee, or two, or a whole pot, or whatever it was. It was my drawing class, and it was my first drawing class, I am pretty sure I had at Oshkosh. He said "Okay, first project everybody draw something that you want to draw, anything! Spend the next week putting this together, but work at it and come in and do what you can!", so we all went out and kind of worked on our projects, you know, and did it in class and everything, and at the end of the week we brought our projects in, and we put them all up on the wall. He went over there with a shaking hand and was looking at all these drawings, and there was one guy in my class who was very precise, very good realistic drawer. He drew, it was like a Ferrari or a Camaro, 70:00or something, and it looked really good. He had wonderful shading on it. He just really loved cars. That was his passion. He drew a really cool looking car. So our professor went over there and said "Who did this?", and the guy raised his hand, and everybody was like yeah, that is pretty cool, that is a really nice drawing. He grabbed it from the wall and ripped it up.

MP: [Gasped, and placed hand over mouth]

TVA: And all of us were doing what you are doing. We all had our mouth opened, and we all had our hand over our mouth, and we were like "Oh my gosh!" The guy must have spent twenty hours on this drawing, he must have been up all night. It was beautiful, and he ripped it up. He said "That's not the kind of drawing that we do in this class, there is no realistic drawings! This is about feeling! This is about abstract!", and we were all like "O M G, we got to spend a whole 71:00semester with this guy?" I mean I understand the point of view he chose, and he could have said "See this drawing? I don't want you guys doing this. It is beautiful, from what you look at, but it's not the feelings I want you to do." He could have said it. He didn't have to rip up the guys drawing. I thought that kid was going to get out of his seat and strangle him. I probably would have said [clapping hands] "Go for it!", because that just really was bad. He made a good point. There was a girl in our class that was really kooky. She would draw stick people doing weird things, like in the water and stuff, and he thought that was the best art ever. We were like "You gotta be kidding me", I think she drew that as she was walking to class. He said "Well look at the emotion, look 72:00at the feeling in this!", and we were like "What? It's a stick person, and it's not even good!", but yeah there are probably some things that you learn the hard way. You know, you got to look back at, and of course you can laugh at it now. Kind of understand what's going on. Yeah, but that was a hard one, that was a tough one to adjust to, but you kind of had to go with what the professor was teaching you.

MP: Is there any other stories you would like to add?

TVA: Alright one final story. I think we were going up to Marathon or something. It was like a couple hour drive. It was raining all day long. So we get on this 73:00bus, us soccer team, and we drive all the way up there, and it just poured the whole time. We finally get there, and we look, and their soccer team is underneath this overhang, kind of like huddling with each other, because they were like "Oh it's so cold and wet outside", and their soccer field was totally under water. I don't think there was a blade of grass that was sticking out, it was just water. So our coach gets out and goes and talks to their coach, and they're like "Well they kind don't want to play, because it is kind of wet, and it's kind of cold", and we were like "Bull****, we drove two hours to get here. We're playing soccer!", and we were kind of pissy, but that's a 19 year old for 74:00you. Our coach went back to talk to us and we said "Well we would really like to play, let's at least attempt to play, and see how it goes!" So he came back and said "Alright, they said they would try and play, and we were like "Yeah!" all fired up. So we all ran off the bus, and did belly slides on the soccer field. Mud flying everywhere. We were totally trashed, and we thought well we're going to get wet, we might as well get it over with. We were like "Yeah! Yeah! Let's go!" kind of all firing each other up, you know like athletes do to each other. I don't know if you have ever seen the Longest Yard movie, and the have that episode, where they watered the field and they were like oh they are trying to make us not practice, and all the guys went out there and dove in the water. That's what we did, that was kind of like our thing. So we are out there playing 75:00with this team, and you would kick the ball as hard as you could, and it would go like three feet, because the water, the resistance would not make it go anywhere. So here is all these guys kicking at this ball, and it's not going anywhere. There must have been like ten guys kicking at one ball. It was like, we gotta kick the ball out of the water. We have to kick it up and out. So we started kicking it up in the air and kind of just kicked it up so it would go somewhere, and the next guy would kick it up and it would go somewhere. We ended up scoring one or two goals finally. I don't know how we did it, and the other team complained that the conditions weren't right. So they didn't want this to count. And we were like we just drove two hours here, we just beat your butts. We didn't bring any clothes with, so we had to wear those clothes two hours on the way back home. Oh my God, we were so dumb! We should have realized that we 76:00should have brought other clothes, but you know it's a 19 year old like "Oh let's go play", and I think their chancellor even called our chancellor, and they made this big hoopty doo out of it. It was kind of a fun story, because we were like "We don't care, we're going to play", I mean we kicked the ball, but that's alright we will make it work. So that was pretty fun!

MP: That was at the Center?

TVA: I think that was at the Center!

MP: That's interesting! Alright for my final question, is there any advice you would like to give current, or future UWO students?

TVA: Hm, take college seriously! There will be time to have fun, but most of your time should be figuring out how you can get through college the best you can. So you have to work hard, and then you get rewards of having fun on the 77:00side. Make it a priority. That this is going to steer you through the rest of your life. It's going to give you the direction for another job somewhere once you get out. A lot of kid, I don't think, take life seriously at this age. A lot of the things that they have, have been kind of given to them by their parents. You know 30-40 years ago, everybody had to work hard. Every person did. Every kid, every dad, every mom kind of had to work hard for what you got. Now things are kind of there for you. Like you are given a cellphone, probably at a young age, and you got computers. You go home, and there are probably a couple of computers you can get on, and just work on. When you are on your own, you have 78:00to buy all of that stuff yourself. So if you want to enjoy your life, you probably need a better job, and in order for you to get a better job you need to do good in college, so that you can prove to the employer that you are worth their while, and that you are going to work hard like you did in college, and be successful. Hopefully you learn a lot from each other, because there is a lot of kids coming together from different environments, and the understanding of how the world is made up of so many different people, is probably at the best scenario in college, because there is so many kids in one area. That you are all in the same boat. You are all trying to fit in. You are all trying to get through this part of your life. Hopefully you make a lot of friends along the way, and a lot of good memories. Don't just take it too seriously, and don't 79:00kind of just cruise through it and not put effort in. It has to be a good balance of both. College is one of the funnest times of my life. I think it's because you are evolving from that child to an adult, and you kind of have to do it on your own. It's a lot of good challenges, and some tough ones, but it seems like whenever you do fall on your face, you can get it back up and you can just try again, or you can go a different way. Try a different major if it's not working out for you. Or if it's not working out for you in the dorm, try a different dorm. Get a different roommate. Find a way to get through it. Once you 80:00get a family, it just takes all of your life, which it should. This is about the only time to kind of be single, even if you are dating, and still have the fun times. Then it starts to get real serious after that. That's about all I would say.

MP: Thank you so much!

TVA: No, Thank you!

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