Author Archives: Sue Bodilly

Department of Education Awards UW-Green Bay $3.3 million in funding to continue programs for first-generation students

Assures continuation of programs for five years to assist low-income, college-bound students

GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s TRIO programs — Upward Bound (UB) and the Regional Center for Math and Science (RCMS) — have been renewed and will receive $1.7 million in funding for the Upward Bound and $1.6 million in funding for the RCMS program from the Department of Education Office of Federal TRIO Programs. This grant assures the two programs’ continuation for the next five years, UB through 2022 and RCMS through 2023. Statistics demonstrate the impact these programs have on students who participate in them at UW-Green Bay:

-76% of UW-Green Bay Upward Bound participants go to college (versus 63% nationally).
-93% of UW-Green Bay RCMS participants attend college (versus 63% nationally).
-68% of those RCMS participants who go to college graduate with majors in STEM fields (versus 17% nationally).

Both programs were introduced to aid first-generation low-income families. UW-Green Bay Upward Bound serves high school students from the Green Bay Area Public Schools, and the Regional Center for Math and Science program serves students from 20 high schools throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. The Upward Bound Math/Science Program was established in 1990 to address the need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instruction. There are 810 Upward Bound programs in the nation and 147 RCMS programs, UW-Green Bay is proud to host both.

‘Low-income, first-generation know no town or city limits’

“Low-income, first-generation circumstances know no town or city limits,” UW-Green Bay TRIO program director, Michael Casbourne states. “It could be a farm family in Tigerton or a family living in the midst of industrial Detroit. We want any and all of them to embrace this opportunity to break away from their circumstances. Some of the most touted UW-Green Bay graduates have come from the smallest, most rural high schools, gone through Upward Bound or RCMS, went to college, graduated, and gone on to do amazing things.” UW-Green Bay TRIO alumni are teaching ophthalmology at the Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute, doing research at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and working as a NASA project manager. They are entrepreneurs, chiropractors, nurses, pharmacists, and teachers.

Upward Bound and RCMS offer a six-week residential pre-college program each summer and academic year programming from the time of enrollment until graduation. Students live on campus, take classes tailored to their needs and interests, and experience college life while gaining an understanding of the responsibility and effort it takes to succeed. Forty-nine instructors, faculty, counselors, residence hall assistants, graduate and administrative staff work side-by-side with these students to teach them, prepare them, and support them. During the school year, students have access to tutoring and academic counseling to keep them on track for graduation and a future in a post-secondary institution.

Program counteracts barriers that keep talented students out of college

“Upward Bound and RCMS exist to counteract the barriers that keep talented students, from low-income families, out of college,” Casbourne. These include lack of financial resources, not understanding the paperwork needed for admission into college, parents who are unable to relate to the college experience, low self-esteem, and lack of resources, to name a few. Upward Bound and RCMS eliminate those barriers and help the participants navigate college academically and socially. “The objective is to help students understand and believe that they indeed belong in college, they deserve to be there, and they can succeed there,” Casbourne says.

Students pay no fees. Classes, housing, meals, transportation, faculty, staff, programs, group outings, and more, are all covered by the grant.

“We definitely help stimulate the Green Bay economy,” Casbourne says. “Bowling alleys, the Weidner Center, Bullfrogs and Gamblers games, Door Shakespeare, museums and art fairs, festivals…we want to give these kids varying experiences. Green Bay and surrounding communities offer ample unique opportunities for learning and socializing, and we participate in as many as we can. Plus, we’re a huge source of revenue for the summer UW-Green Bay housing and food service areas.”

The programs also employ local university professors and teachers. “We have the most amazing staff,” Casbourne says. “This is not compulsory education. Students really want to participate and succeed. The student to teacher ratios are much lower, more like 10 or 12 to one versus 25 or 26 to one. It gives our teachers a chance to build a different relationship with students, and that refreshes and recharges them.”

Biology student April Thao will be graduating in Fall 2018 with an emphasis in microbiology and a minor in chemistry. Her plans are to attend a pharmaceutical school. She credits UW-Green Bay RCMS.

“RCMS made the impossible possible. I was able to find my passion and pursue it.” Thao already gives back to the program and the students in it, too. “I’m a lab assistant and I’m a teaching assistant for RCMS. This program has meant so much to me; I want to be there for others in it. This is like my family, my second home.”

This is an investment in past success

The grant is not automatic every award cycle. It has to be reapplied for, and those in competition for the funds must meet stringent requirements to be considered. Michael Casbourne is proud to say the continued success of his programs is a premeditator for renewal.

“We’re really good at what we do,” he says. “We have a proven model, a great staff…we set high objectives and meet them, and most importantly, we do right by the kids.” During the renewal process, established programs are given “proven experience points” based on outcomes. UW-Green Bay’s program scored a 14 out of 15 this last cycle. “We missed a point because I set high objectives for our students. They were so close, but just missed it,” he says with a smile.

2.5% increase will reinstate a work-study program, provide real-world opportunities

Historically, grant renewal dollars have been relatively consistent. This latest renewal, however, showed an increase of nearly 2.5%. The total amount for RCMS is $318,000 each year for five years and for UB it is $338,953. Casbourne plans on using the increase to reinstate a community work-study program for Upward Bound so students can begin working in their areas of interest and earn money for college. For the RCMS program, he intends on establishing more resources for ACT/SAT preparation to help students improve their scores.

It is clear what this grant renewal means for the UW-Green Bay Upward Bound and RCMS programs: at least five more years of assisting low-income, first generation students prepare for success in high school and college. According to Yorchei Xiong, a UW-Green Bay computer science major, it extends way beyond just being academically prepared for college. “Academically, socially, personally…it taught me how to manage my time, take responsibility, and be an adult. I was accepted as who I was…timid and unsure at first…but now I’m so much more self-confident, and comfortable with myself and who I am as a person. I’m excited for the future…for my future.”

Eighty students at a time are allowed in each of the two programs. To qualify for either program, a student must be enrolled at a target school (or an eighth grader at a feeder school), not have finished their junior year of high school, and be at or below the federally determined low-income level, and/or be a potential first-generation student. Two-thirds of the participants within the program must meet both criteria. A student must also have at least a 2.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale), and have a goal of entering a postsecondary institution.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,158 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit


Soccer was foreign concept when Erich Dietrich arrived on campus in 1970

Erich Dietrich

Dietrich and teammates are credited for the start of Green Bay youth soccer

When Erich Dietrich arrived on the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay campus in the fall of 1970 soccer was somewhat of a foreign concept.

With the sport in its infancy in this country, college teams reached out to foreign-born players like the native of Forchheim, Germany to fast-track their programs. Teammates came from Italy, Greece and Nigeria.

The campus looked nothing like it does now.

“It was very barren,” Dietrich recalled. “The only thing that stood out was the library in the center. We had two other buildings that were off to the side. Thank God in the wintertime we had an underground connection — we would have frozen to death going from building to building. But it was a beautiful campus with the scenery alone being next to the bay.”

That foreign concept paid off as forward-midfielder Dietrich helped the Phoenix to a 36-13-6 record from 1970-1973, leading the team in goals (36) and points (79) in his last three seasons. UW–Green Bay was NAIA Area III champion from 1971-1973.

“Erich was an outstanding forward with good ball control,” former assistant coach Aldo Santaga (and later head coach of Phoenix soccer) said. “He was very mobile and a great shot with either foot. That combination made him a great goal scorer.”

“We had a very good team as far as harmony,” Dietrich said. “Trying to make a success of the program was our goal. Those were unusual years for a group of young fellows who really didn’t know each other that well from different cultural backgrounds. We meshed very well into a team.”

So much so that at one point, the Phoenix were ranked second in the country right behind St. Louis University, a team they surprised 1-0 in 1973.

“They were the powerhouse in the United States,” Dietrich pointed out. “When we beat them here, it was the biggest upset in the history of college soccer. It was amazing. The field was full of people, especially after the game was over.”

Despite those heady statistics, the impact Dietrich made in his four years in a city more known for the American version of football was much larger than that and is still being felt today.

He not only displayed his talents for the estimated 4,000 fans who turned out for home games, but started a Green Bay Kickers Soccer Club that has grown from a single team of 15 boys to 40-plus boys and girls teams at the recreational, club and state level of 600 west-side children today.

“It’s thriving,” Kickers president Matt Gage said of the organization. “It keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s amazing.”

Dietrich reaches back in his memory banks some 46 years to recall how it all began.

“I lived over on Ninth and Ashland,” he said. “I used to go to Colburn Park and do a little running around there. Some kids came up to me with a soccer ball. One particular evening, I had four or five of them ask me if they could form a team. I said ‘Sure, get a whole bunch of kids together.’”

Despite a travel-heavy schedule that included games at the Air Force Academy, Colorado College, Kansas and Michigan State, Dietrich and teammates Horst Stemke and Desi McCullagh found the time to get the Kickers incorporated.

Another teammate, Ray Gumpert of Philadelphia, was starting a program on the east side of town.

“The programs fanned out and started growing in different directions,” Dietrich said. “You plant a little tree and you hope it grows into something really solid.”

At the time, McCullagh made an accurate prediction to the Green Bay Press Gazette: “The potential of something of this nature is immeasurable,” he said. “The success or failure depends on the enthusiasm of the people responsible for running the program and the enthusiasm of those actually participating.”

“We started practicing and charged the kids 25 cents a practice,” Dietrich said. “In a few months, we had enough money to buy them shirts — the players bought their own shoes and shorts. We had incredible support from the parents — four of them became board members.”

That initial Kickers squad traveled on Saturdays to play Northeastern Wisconsin Central Junior Soccer League opponents Appleton, Oshkosh, Neenah-Menasha and Manitowoc.

“Once we had that first team going, we started a second team,” Dietrich continued. “Then, we started a girls team in 1973. Girls were not supposed to play soccer. But the girls were there because a lot of the boys had sisters. They said ‘How come, we can’t play?’” I told them there was no reason they couldn’t. That was a little more difficult because there weren’t any teams to play against. So, we had to scrimmage a lot of times against the boys.”

Unselfish efforts like Dietrich’s helped put fans in the stands at Bay Beach and Johannes Parks.

“We wanted to connect with the community,” Dietrich said. “We figured we could get a lot of people to come out and watch us. They did. Almost every parent of the kids came to every game that we played. You give and then you get back in return. We had a real connection between the university and the town.”

Mission accomplished.

“Erich has really started up something that is a nice part of town,” Gage said. “It’s just a treasured program in the area. I always look to carry on what he’s done — we offer free clinics on Saturdays in the spirit that he started out.

“Quite simply put, the best part about it is the relationships the kids forge with fellow players, coaches and opponents,” he continued.  “My four girls have all gone through the program and now I’ve got a grandson who will find out when he goes through.”

Dietrich applauds men like Gage, who have helped take the Kickers to the next level.

“It takes a certain quality of people to keep things going,” he pointed out. “They have to be willing to spend the time to give to the children. Especially in our age, time and place, it’s very, very important to do that. I’m extremely pleased it has turned out this way.”

For Dietrich, who finished his German schooling at age 14 and his 3 ½-year pastry chef apprenticeship (working and attending classes) in Bamberg, Germany before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to play for United States Amateur Soccer Association clubs in Chicago and Milwaukee, soccer has truly been a lifelong sport.

At age 68, he is still playing for the aptly-named Denver Kickers. The team has traveled to Las Vegas the past 22 years to play in the prestigious King Cup Soccer Tournament, which bills itself as the largest such event in the United States.

“We keep kicking as long as we can,” Dietrich said. “Once we don’t have any legs anymore, we quit.”

After he graduated, Dietrich carried over his pastry talents for a couple of years at the famed Kaap’s Restaurant in downtown Green Bay before moving on to a 40-year career owning his own chocolate and espresso shop in Denver. He retired from the business two years ago.

Dietrich’s namesake and first son, Erich Joseph was born while he was still in Wisconsin and working with the Green Bay Kickers.  His second son, Christopher Stefan was also born in Green Bay while Dietrich owned Kaap’s.  His daughter, Sylvia Jane, came later after he moved to Denver.

“I am grateful for each of them. They enrich my life,” he said.

And today, that “foreign concept” that once included an unassuming pastry chef from Germany remains a sweet recipe for success on the UW-Green Bay campus.  This year’s edition of the Phoenix men’s soccer team includes players from Canada, Denmark, Guadalupe, Israel, Serbia and Spain. And, instead of three interconnected buildings, the University now occupies a square mile.

To hear an oral history interview with Dietrich, listen here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Erich Dietrich

Erich Dietrich with former players and coaches at the Alumni Game in October 2017.

Erich Dietrich

Erich Dietrich an an informal gathering of former Phoenix player and coaches at the Lorelei Inn, Green Bay in Fall of 2017.

Erich Dietrich

Erich Dietrich with friends (Dean) Susan Gallagher-Lepak and her husband Steve Lepak having lunch at the Shorewood Club after a campus tour in Fall of 2017.

Erich Dietrich

Erich Dietrich and his wife Christine visiting The Village Grill Allouez, and the original Kaap’s Restaurant booths.

Erich Dietrich

Left to right: Erich Dietrich, former Phoenix coach Aldo Santaga and teammate Horst Stemke.

By freelance writer Jay Lillge, for UW-Green Bay’s Office of Marketing and University Communication
Featured photo by University Photographer Dan Moore
Other photos submitted by Dietrich family

Interviewer, Jane Rank, chair of UWGB Retiree Association Oral History Committee. Technical support from Roger Vanderperren

Reminder: Winter gear and blanket donations requested

The UW-Green Bay Holiday Float Committee is collecting new and gently used supplies to help keep the less-fortunate of Green Bay toasty warm during our harsh Green Bay winter. This drive is being conducted in connection with the Green Bay Holiday Parade — Saturday, Nov. 18 — downtown Green Bay. After the parade all donations of warm clothing and blankets will be donated to Green Bay area homeless shelters and services. Please consider donating for UW-Green Bay’s Warm Wishes Winter Gear and Blanket Drive. Donation boxes are available across campus in the Dean of Students Office (Student Services 2000), Office of Student Life (University Union 150), Cofrin Library 7th floor elevator lobby, or the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences office (Theatre Hall 335) and Purchasing. Please consider a donation before Wednesday, Nov.15.

 Suggested Items to donate:

  • socks (especially athletic socks, wool socks, hunting socks, etc.)
  • gloves and mittens
  • winter hats and scarves
  • ear muffs and warm winter head bands/ear warmers
  • face masks/ski masks
  • leggings
  • cold weather insoles
  • leg warmers
  • long underwear

Reminder: Make a Difference! Register by Noon, Friday, Oct. 20

UW-Green Bay is again participating in the Make a Difference Day volunteer initiative, nationally observed on the fourth Saturday of October. We need you! On Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, the University will hold UWGB Make a Difference Day, its own day of community service. Volunteers may choose from more than a dozen on- and off-campus volunteer projects scheduled at various times throughout the day. The campus community is also invited to participate in service work on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 organized through the Volunteer Center of Brown County. Learn more at

Phoenix Friday is also Campus Preview Day

About 200 guests are scheduled to visit for Friday’s Campus Preview Day. The prospective students will tour campus, meet faculty during academic breakout sessions and explore the campus resource fair. Thanks for your help in welcoming these students! It’s also PHLASH Rewards Day at The Phoenix Bookstore! Get a free gift when you check your Phlash Rewards Balance and save 15% when you use your points on a purchase (except textbooks). There are UW-Green Bay Music and Theatre and Dance events to attend this weekend. Check out the events calendar on the University homepage.

‘Serious Fun’ podcasts now live

On Oct. 7, 2017 UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Bryan Carr (Communication, Information Science), backed up by Psychology Chair Ryan Martin and Interim Dean Chuck Rybak (College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science), recorded two episodes of the Phoenix Studios podcast “Serious Fun” live at the Brown County Library Comic-Con. Both of those special live episodes are now available to the public and on iTunes. Details on the two episodes are as follows:

·         Episode #6: An interview with artist and writer Mike Norton, creator of the Eisner and Harvey award-winning web comic “Battlepug,” political satire strip “Lil’ Donnie” and co-creator of the horror noir comic “Revival.” Mike talked about his work on these as well as on major superhero comics, his creative influences, his connection to Wisconsin and more!

·         Episode #7: A special crossover-show between Serious Fun and fellow Phoenix Studios podcast “All The Rage.” Carr, Martin and Rybak sit down to discuss the enduring popularity of the Incredible Hulk as well as how the character represents the psychological dimensions of anger in both constructive and negative ways. Discussions about how other comic book superheroes discuss anger as well as positive and negative depictions of anger in popular culture are also presented. (This episode will also be released later as a special episode of “All the Rage,” as well).

Pop-up Farmer’s Market next week

Dining Services will be holding a Pop-Up Farmer’s Market next week Tuesday, Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Market will be outside the Cloud Commons in the hallway across from the The Phoenix Bookstore in the University Union. A variety of seasonal produce and locally sourced sweets and treats will be available for purchase. The market will also host a free Door County Coffee and Tea Co. tasting for students, faculty and staff to sample the new Fall flavors. They will be selling caramel apples and using the proceeds to buy items for the Campus Cupboard.

Diversity Task Force is raising $ with fun for Puerto Rico

The Diversity Task Force is asking for help in raising money for the people in Puerto Rico. The goal is to raise $5,000 by Oct. 29. Visit the event posted on the UWGB Diversity Task Force facebook account to find donation locations/links, pledge challenges, and additional information. Donations will go to UNICEF USA Puerto Rico Relief. Members of the campus community will participate in challenges if the Task Force meets certain goals, including Grant Winslow, program coordinator for Student Life, shaving his head and beard if the $5,000 goal is met. Contact Jemma Lund at with questions.

Fifth-graders take over UW-Green Bay

Fox 11 reports on why Phuture Phoenix Days is as fun for the campus community as it is for the fifth-graders that visit each year. They come from 15 different elementary schools in the Green Bay area. “The fifth graders when they leave, they know somebody at UWGB, and that’s super important; they have that mentor, they have that role model, they have somebody they aspire to be like, and we think that really helps,” said director of Phuture Phoenix, Mary Sue Lavin.