As a former student and local business professional, I am impressed but not surprised by the positive impact the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wausau has on our community. Many other area business, nonprofit and public service leaders also started their college journeys at the Wausau campus, formerly known as UW-Marathon County. For example, at my company, we employ 13 alumni – all successful employees who also are making a positive impact in our community.
The competition for talent is fierce in central Wisconsin, and many local businesses are realizing the benefits of employing university graduates who go onto rewarding careers and contribute to making the greater Wausau area a desirable place to live and raise a family.
However, when I talk with soon-to-be college students and their parents, many have not considered pursuing their education at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau, the educational treasure that resides in our own backyard. While enrollment is trending upward at the Wausau campus, even during the coronavirus pandemic, we can do more to help students realize their potential and for the community to maximize the university’s resources. So, I challenge others, especially area business leaders, to learn all you can about the university and its many attributes. Then, remind potential students and their parents in your personal and professional circles about the benefits of starting their college journey at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau.
Here are some key points you may wish to share during those conversations:
- Students receive individualized attention from passionate and knowledgeable professors, with more than 90 percent having doctorates in their fields of study.
- Students receive an affordable, quality education, with annual tuition and fees totaling $5,196. Plus, the campus foundation awards more than $200,000 each year to students for academic excellence.
- After earning an associate degree, students can transfer seamlessly to the main campus in Stevens Point or anywhere in the UW System. The campus has always exceled at transferring students who are successful, no matter where they go, with one of the highest graduation rates.
- Students can enhance their learning with career-related internships with many local employers, including Foot Locker, Greenheck Fan, Aspirus, Peoples State Bank and Wipfli LLP. Students who intern locally are more likely to seek full-time employment locally when they graduate.
- In addition to three bachelor’s degrees, students can earn a Master of Business Administration degree at the Wausau campus.
- NorthStar Analytics recently measured the economic impact of UW-Stevens Point at Wausau to be $50.7 million annually, which means its importance to the region extends well beyond the campus.
When I reflect on my journey at UW-Marathon County in the 1990s, I remember the welcoming environment, the friendships, the influential professors who demonstrated so much passion and enthusiasm for their discipline that learning was enjoyable. The late John Runkel, senior student services coordinator, positively influenced my life and the lives of so many other students. He mentored me throughout my college career. Today’s support and career-advising staff at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau are just as dedicated as John Runkel was back then.
The education I received while attending UW-Marathon County was outstanding. It prepared me very well for transfer to UW-Madison and for later success as an accountant. As a partner who has spent my entire 25-plus-year career with Wipfli, I am grateful to the university and all the people who helped pave the way to make this journey possible and enjoyable.
UW-Stevens Point at Wausau has so much to offer. It is incumbent on all of us to leverage its impact for all who wish to experience the world of opportunity and joy that a great college education provides.
Tom Krieg is a partner and certified public accountant at Wipfli LLP in Wausau.