UW-Green Bay photography class celebrates classmates’ 80th birthday!

Never stop learning.

That’s now become UW-Green Bay student Randy Ryoti’s motto. On December 6, Randy turned 80 with an in-class birthday party! The party was highlighted on social media and with a story from WBAY.

According to professor Sarah Detweiler, Randy started shooting photos in high school when a nun taught him, then went on to study photography at the Army photography school where he was in the service shooting out of planes doing intelligence gathering or at events around the base.  After his active duty he then went on to own several successful studios and labs shooting primarily weddings and commercial portrait work.  This was all back when film was all there was.  At one point, he closed his studios and opened a pizza parlor he ran for the last 30 years.  He sold that and decided he wanted to shoot again but everything had changed so decided he should take a class.  “He has become like the class Grandfather, his excitement for what he is learning, his cheerful warm attitude, his perseverance has rubbed off on everyone in the class.  He is really quite special and is the oldest student I have ever taught. Even photo students in upper-level classes know him as he’s always hanging around the lab and they are coming to his party too.”

One of Randy’s classmates, Abby Rausch had this to share:

“If it excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph.”

— Ansel Adams

I believe this quote is like Randy because you can tell when he is excited about a photograph. He loves explaining some new ideas or concepts that we may have not thought about. You can tell when he has a vision or is inspired how excited he gets and does everything he can to see it through. Even in critique you can tell how excited he gets when he is expressing his knowledge to the class. He loves learning and using his knowledge to help the students around him.

He is a great and funny guy to have in class and I believe the photography class would be a little boring without his bubbly attitude.

Happiest of birthdays Randy! And please, never stop learning!

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