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“Friends I Made 50 Years Ago”

When the Class of 1963 left campus for the first time as UW grads, they went in search of their place in the world. Now they’re making their way back to the place where they became Badgers, in celebration of their 50-year reunion. And they’re bringing with them the largest class gift in the history of the university.

Brian Klatt
September 10, 2013

Class of 1963 Looks Ahead to 50-Year Reunion

The sentiments of Peggy (Margaret) Krug Douma ’63, MS’67 are no doubt shared by many of the grads who are about to celebrate their 50-year reunion at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: “I thought the UW was a wonderful opportunity for me in 1959,” she says, “and I’ve never changed my mind.”

Badger nostalgia and memories will join with a look at campus innovations and research as more than 200 alumni from the Class of 1963 are expected to return for the reunion weekend, Sept. 19–21. Chancellor Rebecca Blank will welcome alumni to the Half Century Club and award commemorative pins at a time-honored dinner event. Class president Tom Aycock ’63 will deliver remarks to the class.

A record-setting reunion gift of more than $700,000 from the Class of 1963 will support Alumni Park, a new greenspace on the shore of Lake Mendota. Part of the East Campus Gateway, Alumni Park is a gift from WAA to campus to mark the association’s 150th anniversary.

“The UW gave me an opportunity to get a quality education, and it exposed me to a diversity of people and viewpoints while giving me the confidence to enter the business world,” said Jere Fluno ’63, who is to present the class gift during the reunion weekend. “I’m looking forward to returning the favor by giving back and seeing the reaction of my fellow classmates when they see what we’ve accomplished.”

Along with Alumni Park, a portion of the gift will go toward the Gold Star Honor Roll. This memorial, dedicated to UW alumni who served in the military, will be included as part of the Memorial Union Reinvestment building renovation project.

Great Grads

Was there something in the water … or in the fudge-bottom pie? More likely it was in the UW education that the students received. Whatever it was, the Class of 1963 produced an impressive list of accomplished alumni. Just a few of these notable grads who took the Wisconsin Idea to heart and put it into action include Pat Richter ’63, former UW-Madison athletic director and storied student-athlete; Tommy Thompson ’63, JD’66, former Wisconsin governor and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and UW-Madison Chancellor Emeritus David Ward MS’62, PhD’63.

50 years + 4 alumni = Countless Badger memories

With the members of the Class of 1963 preparing to return to the UW-Madison campus to revisit their college days this September, four proud Badgers from that class took a moment to reflect on how the UW impacted their lives.

Peggy (Margaret) Krug Douma ’63, MS’67 | Current Residence: Madison, Wis.

Why are you still proud to call yourself a Badger graduate after 50 years?
I thought the UW was a wonderful opportunity for me in 1959, and I’ve never changed my mind. It has been one of the most respected universities in the country through the last 50 years. Of course, living in Madison and having many contacts with the UW since I’ve graduated has helped me appreciate the impact it had on my life.

Jere Fluno ’63 | Current Residence: Lake Forest, Ill.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time on campus?
Besides great professors, fraternity life and football games, the walk down Bascom Hill on a cold, January evening after a final exam with the snow crunching under foot and a full moon rising over the capitol building … that was PRICELESS.

What are you most looking forward to during the Class of 1963 Reunion Weekend?
The personal interaction with fellow classmates and their reaction to the growth of the campus and accomplishments of the university.

Dennis Carlin ’63 | Current Residence: Chicago, Ill.

Why are you still proud to call yourself a Badger graduate after 50 years?
I am proud to be a Badger after 50 years because of the tremendous progress the university has made during that period in so many different areas. It was a highly regarded university then, as it is now. But the university has not stood still. It has grown reasonably over that period and enhanced many, if not all, of its departments so that they are in the top tiers of the education industry. I am certainly proud of the education I received in the business school. It had, and continues to have, a great reputation. Of course, the football team has done well over the years and has maintained itself as a contender and a great marketing tool for the school.

What are you most looking forward to during the Class of 1963 Reunion Weekend?
I am looking forward to seeing the friends I made 50 years ago. I’m also excited about being on campus again.

Alan Koepke ’63 | Current Residence: Oconomowoc, Wis.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time on campus?
I started at Madison in the fall of 1959. I remember one very scary fact from freshman orientation. They stated, “Look to the left of you. Now look to the right of you. Only one of you will graduate.” Then after getting a D on my first exam in animal husbandry, I really got scared. Turns out, they expected me to know everything, not just some of the answers. Four years later, though, with lots of hard work behind me, I was able to graduate … and with a good grade point, too. That was a very proud day in my life. I was so happy that I could say, “I’m a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”

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