She remembers seeing Chancellor Edward Weidner in the audience for her junior vocal recital.
“It was an incredibly exciting time on campus,” recalls Kate Meeuwsen, Class of ’76. “To have the chancellor and professors know your name, greet you in the halls and show up at your recital… it was cool to be here.”
The curriculum was flexible, the campus modern, the close-knit community supportive. Academic dean Donald Larmouth and music faculty members Trini Chavez, Bob Bauer and Arthur Cohrs were mentors.
Meeuwsen graduated and taught elementary school, but her family’s affinity for UW-Green Bay would grow.
Kate and her husband, Mike, raised daughters Emily, Gretchen and Ellen on Phoenix basketball. The family made a habit of Broadway and student productions at the Weidner Center. The girls attended summer camps, worked as lifeguards and enjoyed special events.
It was no surprise, then, when Emily — who as a girl memorized player stats while sister Gretchen searched for Skittles — earned a master’s in athletic training, she returned to her team. She’s a trainer for Phoenix Athletics and a Human Biology instructor. Her wedding was at Mary Ann Cofrin Hall’s courtyard.
Family ties span three generations. Kate’s late father, Bruce Haskin, had helped persuade Ed Weidner to let retirees “audit” University classes for free, space permitting. It was a forerunner to the LIR seminars that Bruce and his wife, Carol, would later teach and attend.
Today, Kate taps University expertise as she advocates for community causes. She praises Prof. Ellen Rosewall for marketing help in promoting the Adolescent Parenting Coalition. She credits Profs. Scott Ashmann, Jennifer Lanter and Provost Julia Wallace for impressive work on the Wildlife Sanctuary’s Nature 4K partnership with UWGB and the Green Bay Schools.
In turn, the University turns to the Meeuwsens. Mike was central to fundraising for the Kress Events Center. Kate served on the Founders Association board before joining the Foundation and Council of Trustees.
“The University has been such an important part of our lives,” she says. “We’re honored to be able to contribute where we can.”