Two key skills alumnus Les Kaschner ’73 and MSE ’75, learned at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh have served him well and formed the basis for his varied career, working in marketing, real estate and currently as a development and leadership consultant.
“With radio TV film, I learned how to talk. With my master’s, I learned how to listen,” said Kaschner, who was on the Oshkosh campus Saturday for the Golden Titans Reunion lunch with other graduates from the class of 1973.
Learning how to talk less and listen more resonated as one of the themes retiring Provost John Koker touched on during his faculty speech shared at morning and afternoon ceremonies Saturday.
“We are thrilled to welcome the class of 1973 back to campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their college graduation for a memory-filled weekend,” said Christine Gantner, alumni director. “It is especially exciting to have our Golden Titans lead the processional and help welcome our newest alumni at the afternoon commencement ceremony.”
Fifty years ago, Kaschner’s speaking skills plus his self-described attributes as a “farm boy” and “least controversial” student on campus landed him the role of class speaker.
“They vetted my speech twice with Chancellor (Roger) Guiles, because they were concerned about someone giving a radical speech,” Kaschner said.
It was the early 1970s after all.
Kaschner added that his hand-written remarks did recognize the “tumult” of the times on campus and in the nation and advised that working through struggles “would help us in the future and serve us for the rest of our lives.”
Such advice remains apt over time as the Saturday morning student speaker Cory Sparks recounted how the class of 2023 persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because all of you, somehow or someway, found your way here. Maybe you just needed some time off. Maybe you changed course, transferred or went through some other major adjustment that could’ve stopped you some from walking this stage today. But you didn’t halt. You didn’t waiver. You persevered,” he said.
The Golden Titan reunion weekend also included a dinner, program and time for reminiscing Friday and a tour of campus Saturday.