Walter J. Wussow '56

This will be a very small part of the Lakeland story, but it recalls one of the most significant and memorable events of my life.

Beginning at age 12, when the War started, I worked in the dairy industry doing a number of tasks and then gained experience in truck driving and retail sales. In the early 1950s at the age of twenty-two I was working in a filling station in Sheboygan, drilling with the National Guard, and taking an auto-repair class at the vocational school. Finally, I was beginning to ponder my future but had not found any possibility that was intriguing. And, like many working class young men of that era, college did not even seem an option. But then something wonderful happened!

One of the advantages of the gas station job was that I met a number of very nice people some of whom even offered employment. And, while I was pondering all of this I became acquainted with one particularly friendly and impressive gentleman. We visited a bit while I did minor maintenance on his tidy Mercury sedan and one day we talked even more while I changed the engine oil and filter. Then, a few days later (in early January of 1952), the gentleman returned and announced that he was the president of Mission House College and had decided that I should enroll for the upcoming Spring semester! When I noted that I was working over fifty hours a week and drilling with the National Guard, Dr. Krueger said that he and Dr. O.F. Hoffmann, the registrar, had discussed my situation and had decided on a flexible schedule where I could take any freshman or sophomore course when I was available without prerequisites!

I was, of course, surprised, puzzled, and excited and after moving my morning work shifts to evenings and Sundays I nervously drove out to the Mission House campus where the impressive Dr. Hoffmann provided me with one of the greatest opportunities imaginable.

The next step was encountering a caring, committed and truly impressive faculty that set me on the path to teaching and a meaningful life. Thanks to Walter P. Allen, Mary Emery, Robert C. Voight, Clarence L. Schmidt, Joseph Bauer and others I found a meaningful mission in life, that of becoming a teacher. I began teaching high school in Sheboygan but my Mission House mentors urged graduate studies so I earned my degrees in European History and taught at the College of Emporia, Wittenberg University, and then spent twenty-seven years at the UW-Eau Claire (with additional brief additional teaching adventures at State University of New York at Brockport, the University of Idaho, a variety of international studies assignments in Europe, and finally a semester at Waikato University in New Zealand).

And one final benefit. While teaching in Sheboygan I met another teacher, my dear, dear Charlotte who has supported and guided me in all of these adventures.

And I owe this interesting and meaningful life to Dr. Arthur M. Krueger and the Mission House College and will be forever grateful. And, imagine how many other young ladies and young men Lakeland College has guided and inspired. God Bless You for all you do and all you have done.


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