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Class of ’23 celebrated at UWO’s 149th spring commencement

Class of ’23 celebrated at UWO’s 149th spring commencement

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh celebrated the achievements of more than 1,300 students in two ceremonies Saturday inside Kolf Sports Center. The 149th spring commencement included the recognition of candidates for 60 doctoral, 170 master’s degree, 1,002 bachelor’s degree and 111 associates degree students.

Cory Sparks, a radio TV film major from Pleasant Prairie, was the student speaker for the morning ceremony. Breana Vander Wielen, a business administration major from Kimberly, was the speaker in the afternoon. UW Oshkosh Provost John Koker was the faculty speaker at both ceremonies—offering his final remarks before his retirement this summer.

Spring Commencement 5.13.2023

More from spring commencement:

Bye Gosh Fest: UWO students celebrate the end of the school year

Bye Gosh Fest: UWO students celebrate the end of the school year

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students had a chance to take a break from their end-of-semester schoolwork Thursday with the annual Bye Gosh Fest on the Oshkosh campus. The gathering in the Kolf Sports Center lot included performances by Aly and AJ, and Oshkosh band Mubus, food trucks, artists, games and more. Bye Gosh Fest has been a UW Oshkosh tradition for decades to mark the end of academic year. The spring semester comes to a close May 12.

Bye Gosh Fest May 4, 2023


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Fox Cities campus students kick back at Farewell Fox celebration

Fox Cities campus students kick back at Farewell Fox celebration

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Cities campus students didn’t even think about the snow outside as they hung out on inflatable toys, entered for prizes and enjoyed a free lunch as part of the annual Farewell Fox event Monday afternoon.

The final celebration of the semester was moved indoors and included visits with Josie the therapy dog, games and final exam survival kits.

The next two weeks are among the busiest for students and instructors; the spring semester ends May 12.

Farewell Fox Event May 1, 2023

UW Oshkosh year in review: We bid you adieu, 2022

UW Oshkosh year in review: We bid you adieu, 2022

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh community thrived in 2022, with plenty of events and lots of learning and opportunities for connection.

Take a moment to watch the recap video of 2022.

We look forward to seeing what 2023 holds for our University.


60 seconds of joy: UWO midyear commencement video highlights

60 seconds of joy: UWO midyear commencement video highlights

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s proud alumni community grew by nearly 1,000 on Dec. 17 as the University staged its 58th midyear commencement. The achievements of 922 students were recognized in a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Kolf Sports Center on the Oshkosh campus. The ceremony came at the conclusion of the fall semester and honored those who graduated with bachelor’s, associate, master’s and doctoral degrees in the summer and fall. Cheers to all the “beautiful full-bloomed futures” ahead.

More from midyear commencement: 

UWO graduating senior finds passion to go beyond survival to thrive

UWO graduating senior finds passion to go beyond survival to thrive

Since a horrific car accident nearly eight years ago altered forever the trajectory of her life, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh psychology senior Abby Lane has chosen time and again to push forward with her recovery and educational goals. Now just weeks after unexpectedly losing her father, Lane is set to graduate Saturday, Dec. 17 at Kolf Sports Center.

Watch the inspiring story of one of UWO’s soon-to-be alumni:

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UWO Fox Cities staff savor White Award honors

Nominated by their colleagues, a pair of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Cities campus employees who have made exceptional contributions to the campus recently were named as 2022-23 White Award recipients.

The Marilee White and Larry D. White Awards have recognized outstanding employees annually at the campus since 2000. Marilee White was a lecturer in English, and Larry White was a political science professor.

Senior chemistry lecturer Brian Rukamp received the Marilee White Instructional Academic Staff award. Trevor Tanner, of facilities maintenance, is the Larry White University Staff award winner.

A recommendation for Rukamp spoke of his knowledge and work with students:

Brian Rukamp has been a valuable and contributory member of the department and campus for the last 20 years.  In that time, he has taught almost all the chemistry courses formerly offered by the UW Colleges. Currently, Brian anchors the general chemistry and organic chemistry curriculum, with CHEM 105 and 106 being our highest enrolled courses.  As evidenced by classroom visitations and student evaluations, Brian is an effective and dedicated instructor and mentor. Furthermore, Brian has a good rapport with his students that helps with retention into second semester general chemistry, the organic chemistry sequence and the American Chemical Society-affiliated Chemistry Club for which he serves as the adviser.

Rukamp coordinates the laboratory instruction in general chemistry when other staff are needed to teach lab sections because of load issues. Rukamp now offers organic chemistry lecture point-to-point so that students at Fond du Lac have the opportunity to take the course. 

Tanner’s nomination spoke of his dedication:

Tanner started with the local Thrive program on campus and worked at UWO Fox Cities as a grounds employee for two summers. He was hired when a full-time grounds position came available. Tanner is responsible for taking care of grounds in the summer and winter. In addition to grass cutting and weeding, the position includes snow removal, tree care and flower bed planting and maintenance. Tanner has received a number of positive comments over the past few years about the well-cared campus grounds—comments from the city arborist, mayor, citizens and county board members.

Tanner consistently makes sure that first impressions of the campus leave positive lasting impressions and he takes great pride in a job well done.

Tanner and Rukamp were presented with awards and a gift at the collegium May 5, courtesy of the UWO Fox Cities Foundation, Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region and the endowment left by Larry and Marilee White.

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UW Oshkosh alumni obituaries: June 2023

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Alumni Relations Office has received the following death notices:


Arlita (Lovedale) Koerner (EHS) ’59, Green Bay, April 23, 2023


Richard Flintrop (LS) ’60, Washington D.C., May 13, 2023
Shirley Lipsky (EHS) ’64, De Pere, March 28, 2023
James Schafhauser (LS) ’61, Appleton, May 5, 2023


Robert Beaupre (LS) ’74, Murrieta, California, Nov. 29, 2022
Diann (Heinen) Duffy (EHS) ’71, Naples, Florida, April 20, 2023
Kenneth Grissman (MSE) ’77, Kaukauna, April 27, 2023
Jack Hemb (LS) ’70, Middleton, May 7, 2023
Katherine Pray (LS) ’74, Cottage Grove, April 29, 2023
Robert Taylor (MBA) ’74, Markesan, April 7, 2023
Robert Wegener (N) ’73, Loudon, Tennessee, April 4, 2023


Gordon Ellis (MPA) ’85, Green Bay, May 17, 2023
Mark Mortensen (LS) ’80, Berlin, April 25, 2023
Paul Peterson (B) ’80, Ashburn, Virginia, April 8, 2023


Craig Challoner (N) ’92, Omro, May 12, 2023


Brian Gerrits (LS) ’13, Neenah, April 22, 2023

Faculty and friends

Donald Haynes (LS) ’74 and (MA) ’76, senior lecturer, UW Oshkosh History Department 1988-2011, Oshkosh, May 6, 2023

♦︎ ♦︎ ♦︎



• AAS — Associate of Arts and Science Degree
• B — Business
• EHS — Education and Human Services
• LLCE  — Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement
• LS — Letters and Science
• N — Nursing


• DNP — Doctor of Nursing Practice
• EdD — Doctor of Education
• GMBA — Global Master of Business Administration
• MA — Master of Arts
• MBA— Master of Business Administration
• MPA — Master of Public Administration
• MS — Master of Science
• MSE — Master of Science in Education
• MSN — Master of Science in Nursing
• MST — Master of Science in Teaching
• MSW — Master of Social Work

If you know of a classmate, family member or other UW Oshkosh friend who has passed away, send an to email or call the Alumni Relations Office at (877) UWO-ALUM or (920) 424-3449.

UW Oshkosh alumni class notes: June 2023

’72 Joe Sosa (LS) and ’78 (MSE), of Katy, Texas, retired after 42 years of teaching special education in public schools, starting his career at Oshkosh North High School.

’73 Catharine (Bruning) Linhart (LS), of Grafton, and Richard Linhart celebrated 50 years of marriage.

’76 Richard Van Dyke (LS), of Cincinnati, Ohio, is the keyboard area coordinator at Northern Kentucky University. Van Dyke performed a piano concert in his native Kaukauna in April.

’79 Mary Bergin (LS), of Madison, published her sixth book, Small-Town Wisconsin: Fun, Surprising and Exceptional Road Trips, featuring 50 communities with populations under 5,000. Bergin is a four-time recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award, the highest national recognition for travel journalists.

’79 Greg Peck (LS), of Janesville, published his third book, Snakes, Squirrels & Bears, Oh My! Finding Humor Amid Life’s Frustrations. Peck retired from the Janesville Gazette in 2016.

’81 Sandy (Ryba) Matuszak (N), of Green Bay, retired from active nursing and works full time as a long-term substitute health teacher at Pulaski High School.

’85 Mary Schommer-Loney (EHS), of Bonduel, is a violinist with the Civic Symphony of Green Bay.

’85 Joy Smith (LS), of Lakeland, Florida, is writing two novels, Velvet of Swords and a new edition of Strike Three.

’86 Karen Gibson (EHS) and ’90 (MA), of Menasha, released her fourth novel, Laurel Lake Remembers.

’93 Kristin (Kocian) Weinstock (LS), of Deforest, completed an alternative pathway to become a licensed teacher, certified to teach first through eighth grade.

’94 John Buelow (B), of Fond du Lac, president of Mercury Marine, was elected to the National Exchange Bank & Trust Board of Directors. Buelow is married to ’95 Kristine (Kebble) Buelow (EHS) and ’00 (MS).

’98 Luke Whitburn (LS), of Waunakee, is vice president of people operations at Inner Circle Autism Network. Whitburn has 25 years of experience in senior leadership roles in talent acquisition and human resources.

’99 Barbara Beuscher (LS) and ’18 (MBA), of Fairview, Pennsylvania, is joining ThedaCare as chief philanthropy officer and senior vice president where she will lead the ThedaCare Family of Foundations. Beuscher was formerly the vice president of advancement at Gannon University.

’02 Amy (Ceretto) Levonian (LS), of Oak Creek, is the principal at Burlington High School.

’03 Deanne (Bahti) Koll (LS), of Roberts, is an attorney at Bakke Norman, S.C. Koll was elected treasurer of the State Bar of Wisconsin and is married to ’06 Kyle Koll (LS).

’04 Michelle Gross (LS), of West Allis, is a project coordinator for the CREATE Institute at Milwaukee School of Engineering.

’05 David Diekelman (MBA), of Stevens Point, is the national sales director east for Willamette Falls Paper Company. Diekelman has over 30 years of experience in the paper industry.

Sarah Schettle ’08

’06 Eric Slee (LS), of Springfield, Virginia, is a senior professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Slee was formerly the vice president of government affairs at WISPA.

’08 Sarah Schettle (LS) and ’20 (MBA), of Rochester, Minnesota, a physician assistant in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Mayo Clinic, received the Recognition of Outstanding Contribution Award from the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Alumni Association. The award recognizes alumni who have made exceptional contributions in clinical care, research, mentoring and education, or humanitarian endeavors.

’09 Kristen (Siebold) Chaudoir (EHS), of Kewaunee, is a team lead and account manager with Robertson Ryan & Associates. Chaudoir is married to ’03 David Chaudoir (EHS).

’10 Jennifer Le Clair-Bemis (B), of Sheboygan, is vice president of Baird’s Le Clair-Bemis Miller Davis Group. Le Clair-Bemis assists clients with investment strategy, financial and estate planning, and tax efficiency analysis.

’12 Samantha Anderson (LS), of Suamico, is the program coordinator for the Wisconsin Caregiver Academy at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Anderson has worked for the Academy for six years.

’13 Marissa Reynolds (LS), of Wausau, married ’15 Kyle Birling (EHS). The alumni met while students on the UWO campus. Reynolds is an attorney and serves as assistant corporation counsel for Marathon County.

’15 Justine Braun (LS), of Green Bay, is the school and community relations specialist for Green Bay Area Public Schools. Braun was previously a video production specialist for the City of De Pere. Braun also serves on the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association board of directors.

’15 Clarinda Calling Thunder (EHS), of Fort Washakie, Wyoming, is a program administrator for the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

’15 Kyle Ellefson (MPA), of Columbus, is the Village of Johnson Creek’s administrator. Ellefson held this same position from 2016-2020 and was most recently the administrator for the City of Kewaunee.

’15 Katelyn Winkel Simmerman (EHS) and ’19 (MSE), of Elkhart Lake, a teacher at Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School, was one of five teachers to be awarded the 2023 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Award. Winkel Simmerman also received the Herb Kohl Fellowship for excellence and innovation in the classroom.

Blair Braun ’18

’15 Jesse Smith (B), of Oshkosh, is the director of ticket sales for the Wisconsin Herd, the 2022-23 NBA G League Franchise of the Year.

’16 Jeremy Dyken (LS), of Oshkosh, is the director of application and product development , formerly known as e-business, at Fox World Travel where he has been employed for 19 years.

’17 Rose Filipiak (N), of Oshkosh, is a critical care transport nurse with Gold Cross Ambulance Service. Filipiak assists with education for the critical care team and enjoys the autonomy of her role.

’18 Blair Braun (LS), of Neenah, is an assistant professor of psychology at UW-Platteville following her graduation with her doctorate in psychological science from Kent State University.

’19 Kayla (Ammon) Fischer (LS), of Little Chute, is a community outreach and public relations specialist at Scheels.

’19 Trevor Kroll (B), of Oshkosh, is the group sales manager for the Wisconsin Herd, the 2022-23 NBA G-League Franchise of the Year.

’21 Paige Paulick (AS) of Oshkosh, is an inside sales associate with Girbau North America, a commercial laundry equipment manufacturer.

’22 Mallory Knight (LS), of Neosho, is a graphic designer for the Wisconsin Herd, the 2022-23 NBA G-League Franchise of the Year.

UW Oshkosh to host WiSys SPARK Symposium Aug. 6-8

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will host the 2023 WiSys SPARK Symposium Aug. 6-8 at the Culver Family Welcome Center on the Oshkosh campus.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to register. Students attend free and, as the host site, UWO can extend free registration for up to 45 faculty and staff members who sign up and use the code UWO20.

As billed by WiSys—the UW System’s official designated technology transfer office for the comprehensive institutions—the SPARK Symposium “is where research, innovation and entrepreneurship collide.” SPARK travels to different UW System campuses each year, bringing together the best and brightest faculty, staff, students and alumni from across the UW System to network, collaborate and celebrate great ideas. It provides outstanding opportunities for UWO students to present their research and creative activities in posters and prototypes for an audience of statewide peers while learning about further studies, scholarship and career pathways after graduation.

The upcoming three-day symposium’s lead UWO host is the Sustainability Institute for Regional Transformations, and the event is taking on a sustainability theme. The conference agenda is still developing; however, you can expect talks and presentations on a variety of innovations and advancements in environmental sustainability, sustainable agriculture and related science and technology.

The symposium also will feature rapid-fire research talks, panels on student-career success and research-collaborations, poster and innovation showcases, the WiSys Quick Pitch contest finals and plenty of time for networking with peers from throughout the UW System.

SPARK was last hosted at UW Oshkosh in 2016.

Registration is open at the SPARK Symposium website. Registration closes July 21. More conference details are available at the site, and more information will be available as the event draws near.

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Still time to register for Milwaukee Beer Barons History Tour

Registration is needed this week for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Division of Online and Continuing Education’s coach bus trip exploring the history of Milwaukee’s beer barons.

The day-trip on June 8 begins with a self-guided tour of the Milwaukee County Historical Society, which has been nicknamed the “Brewer’s Bank.”

Lunch will then be served at On the Clock, a historic restaurant that features original woodwork, tile arches, leaded and stained glass, and a carved bar.

The next stop will bring patrons to the Holler House, a Polish Bar that houses the oldest sanctioned tenpin bowling alley in the United States. Participants will receive half of a Polish beer and a chance to try a frame on a real wood bowling lane with pins that are still set by human pinsetters.

The day will end with a docent-led tour of the Forest Home Cemetery, the final resting place of many of the city’s famed beer barons, politicians and social elite.

Pick-up and drop-off locations are available in Menasha, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac. Registration is needed by May 18.

More information is available by sending an email to, call (920) 424-1129 or by visiting

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Milwaukee Beer Barons History Tour

Alumni Night at Waterfest

Alumni Twins-Brewers Game in Minneapolis

Alumni Night at the Timber Rattlers Game

Gottfried Arboretum & Prairie Walk

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COEHS Administrative Council

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