The right time to give

Eric Jungbluth ’85, and his wife, Kristin. Jungbluth had a successful career in the manufacturing industry, leading to his role as Chief Executive Officer of CPG International, from March 2008 until he retired in June 2016.

Donation creates scholarship for CBA, School of Education students

Growing up, Eric Jungbluth, ’85, never set his sights on becoming a CEO.

But he did the things successful people do. He worked hard, continued learning and always took the next challenge.

Today Jungbluth, retired CEO of CPG International Inc., and his wife, Kristin, have contributed $100,000 to UW-La Crosse scholarships that will support students who show a similar spirit for continued learning and hard work. “They just may not have the financial means to get to where they want to go,” says Kristin.

Eric and Kristin say they were lucky to be raised in families that valued hard work and education. The couple’s educational goals pushed them to complete college with little to no financial assistance from their families.

Kristin was the daughter of parents who owned a hardware store and a dairy installation company. She started helping out as soon as she could take out the trash. While earning a degree at Winona State University, Kristin continued to learn the value of hard work. She paid the vast majority of her way working as a resident assistant and in other jobs.

Eric’s older brother, who taught accounting at the University of Hawaii, stressed importance of a college degree. That’s something Eric knew his family couldn’t afford, so he worked full time as a manager at Shopko from his junior year of high school through college graduation to pay for tuition.

As Eric and Kristin continued in their careers, they were driven to keep learning new skills necessary to advance in their careers.

“That is a big part of why I had the success I did,” explains Eric. “I enjoyed the learning that comes with the next challenge, and I would accept those new learning opportunities.”

Eric and Kristin’s gift will be split between scholarships within the College of Business Administration and the School of Education, Professional and Continuing Education. The CBA is where Eric built the foundation for a career in business.

Supporting education and within that, future teachers, has been a longtime commitment for both Eric and Kristin. They also support a school in an underserved Chicago neighborhood.

“We have a soft spot in our heart for helping children who are underserved get an education to take them to the next stage in life,” says Kristin.

Their support to UWL has gone beyond their financial donation. Eric, who majored in finance, returned to campus in November to share his career journey in manufacturing as part of the 2016 Citizens Bank Executive Speaker Series. He told students UWL was the right place for him at the right time.

Eric Jungbluth, ’85, returned to campus to speak to students at the Citizens Bank Executive Speaker Series in November.

Now Kristin and Eric say it’s the right time in their lives to give back.

They see students who are deserving and in need of financial assistance. Paying for college with a full time job at Shopko, as Eric did in college, would be “almost impossible” today, he notes.

With their gift, they will name the main lounge on the first floor of the new Student Union — a spot hundreds of students will walk through every day. They hope their contribution inspires scholarship recipients and others to give back when it’s the right time for them.