Wayne Duvel '57

Thank you for the opportunity to make some comments about my years at Lakeland College. I was a student from 1953 to 1957. As I reminisce, I could not begin to list the different reasons why those were some of the very best years of my life.


I do have one experience which has had, and continues to have, a direct effect on my life. In 1952, when I was a freshman, I realized after looking at my four-year schedule that I could not graduate in four years. I wanted a double major--both pre-sem and history education. It was then that I stopped after class to ask the teacher, who seemed to be the kindest and who seemed to have the most time for the students, about my problem. This was Dr. Robert Voight. He looked at my schedule for a moment and then invited me to his home in Profville for a cup of coffee. He went over my schedule and set it up for four years. I also got to meet his gracious wife, Jo, and his two little girls. This experience spelled out to me what Lakeland, then Mission House, was all about--people caring about you and wanting you to succeed.


But it doesn't end there. I graduated in 1957 and was drafted into the U.S. Army. After a year or two of teaching, I stopped in at Lakeland and was told that Prof Voight had left for UW-La Crosse. Over the next 50 years, I often thought of this kind and interesting man. In my career in education, I often used his ideas and methods in my classroom.


After retiring in the 1990's to my home area in Northeast Iowa, my wife, Mary Jane, and I occasionally visited the public library in La Crosse. There he was--standing among the stacks. After over 50 years (it was now almost 2000), I had the joy--the greatest of gifts--to be in the company of this man again. Over the next few years, Dr. Voight and Jo were often our companions. They even wintered in the same area down south. We became great friends, but it was a long time before I could call him Bob!


He has been gone now for a half dozen years. I miss him very much. Not long after he died, Jo told us that the condo adjoining hers was available. So now we live under the same roof. My life would have been so much smaller had I not spent four years of it at Lakeland.


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