A very special professor at Wisconsin-Eau Claire retires, Dr. Steve Baumgardner

I had the privilege of taking Dr. Steve Baumgardner for Social Psychology at UWEC and I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, his personality, teaching style or the class itself. I never wanted to miss his class as it was interesting, entertaining and educational. Yes, learning can be fun and he had a lot to do with it.

Quick story: I remember some years ago sitting in my Social Psychology class and Steve was talking about the major reasons current students attended college. To gain an informal poll, Steve decided to query the class on why they were involved in higher education. To me, it seemed like an appropriate topic for our social psychology course and I was interested in hearing the results.

To begin, he asked the class how many of them were in school “to party” and roughly, 20 hands went up. Very few of us were surprised at this result. Next, he asked, how many were looking for a spouse – about 12 or so hands appeared. When he asked about not knowing what else we wanted to do after high school, about 10 or so students responded. Next, he asked “to get a degree to get a good job” and about 25 hands went up. No surprise there. Lastly, he asked the class how many were here “to learn” and I raised my hand. I quickly looked around, as my hand was the only one raised. I think he was surprised too and nodded to me as to say there’s nothing wrong with having a strong desire to learn. At that moment, I realized this was the first time he had conducted such a poll and my guess told me he was surprised at the results. I’m guessing too he probably expected more students to say they were here to “learn” and a strong “thirst for knowledge”. My guess is that would not be the only time he was surprised while teaching at the university.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

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