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The view from Grandad Bluff

The view from Grandad Bluff

When 4 years turns into 4 decades

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Posted 1:28 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, 2023

The December Friday wasn’t ideal, but it was indicative. 

The early winter day in 1980 was seasonal, cloudy and foggy with light snow cover. It wasn’t the perfect setting for most high school seniors trying to decide where to go to college. But for me, it was.

The welcome from my Vanguard and faculty I talked with, along with continuous hellos from students across campus, helped me make up my mind. (Icing on the cake for a Peanuts fan: the sorority selling Charlie Brown Christmas trees in the student union.) I was going to college at UW-La Crosse.

Adjusting to a setting where more students lived in my residence hall (Drake) than attended my high school (Mondovi) was challenging. But, with marching band friendships culminating in a winter break trip to London, the gemutlichkeit of Oktoberfest and immediate emersion in my major (mass comm), I was eager to come back after Christmas. Little did I know I was becoming a Coulee Region lifer.

It’s been quite the ride since — first part-time with University Communications on campus in fall 1985 and full-time since ’87.  I’ve watched the campus age as fast as me.

We’ve evolved from just another UW campus to the most sought out comprehensive in the UW System. Academically, standards are high. Aesthetically, the most beautiful in Wisconsin. A more beautiful backdrop than Grandad Bluff? I think not.

To alums and others I’ve met through UWL, thank you for helping me live the La Crosse Experience. I can’t imagine another job as fulfilling. 

As I step away from campus starting in July, I’ll continue my quest to stay as young as the new students enrolling each fall.


Brad Quarberg, ’85, has served as editor of the UWL alumni printed publication since 1988.


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