‘We need to brag’

Allante Walker, ’17, a broadcast and digital media major and theatre minor, says what made UWL stand out was that two of his favorite teachers from high school were UWL alums.

Alumni influence can be the deciding factor for prospective students

Some of the most successful college recruiters don’t wear university admissions badges. They are proud UWL alumni who share stories about their alma mater.

Corey Sjoqust, UWL director of Admissions, loves reading application essays from students who found out about UWL through a neighbor, teacher, physical therapist or other alumni connection.

“We need to brag about this university — and the good things happening here,” says Sjoquist. “Alums are talking to children and grandchildren, but what about the neighbor down the street or the high school student working for them?”

An easy way for alumni to help UWL Admissions identify prospective students, or share other recruitment ideas is via the Admissions Help Recruit website.

Incoming UWL student Collin Beier says his father, Bill, ’89, initially made him aware of UWL, but he met a UWL student on a university tour that helped seal the deal. While visiting the campus cafeteria, they ran into the student who graduated from the same high school a year earlier than Collin and spoke highly of UWL.

Bill and Amy Beier with their son, Collin, at START. Bill earned a degree in finance and economics from UWL.

Jason Oliver, ’95, also heard good things about UWL from a high school friend who became a UWL student before him. Oliver’s decision to attend played a role in his high school friend, Karanja Rouse, ’95, coming, and later, his daughter Grace Oliver, who will start at UWL this fall.

From left, Karanja Rouse, ’95; Grace Oliver; and Jason Oliver, ’95. Grace says hearing UWL stories from her mother, Lisa ((Grothman) Oliver, ‘95; her father, Jason; and her godfather, Rouse, makes her anticipate the kind of opportunities available at UWL. Here she is pictured with Rouse and Jason at START.

Allante Walker, ’17, says his two favorite high school teachers at Beloit Memorial High School were UWL alumni. They were not only amazing educators, but also good people who offered a listening ear or perspective on life.

“I basically thought if they can come here and be these great people they are today, maybe I can come here and also become this great person who has an influence on others,” says Walker.

Patty Koenecke, ’83, with her son, Joe, at START (Student Advising, Registration, and Transition), a one-day program that first-year students are required to attend in June.

Patty Koenecke, ’83, says friends from UWL — particularly her sorority sisters in Phi Mu — are still close today. She passed that message on to her son, Joe, when he was deciding what college to attend.

“I told him college is about more than what you learn in class. It’s about the people you meet,” she says. “These are going to be your friends for a lifetime.”

Now that Joe is starting UWL this fall, she is encouraging him to get involved. She wants him to find the same kind of friendships and also a future that makes him happy.

Walker ended up finding quite a few things that made him happy at UWL. He took a position with the campus Vanguards, joined in philanthropy work with the Chi Phi fraternity, and ultimately landed an internship with News 19 that turned into a full time career after his May graduation. He is now the morning daybreak producer. He hopes to connect with and inspire people in the same way his teachers inspired him.

“I’m grateful they had a positive influence on me in high school, and that led me to come to this university,” he says. “I’m at this point today — going out into the real world — and I hope I’ll be a role model to future generations as well.”