Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh

Gaede, WSU-O art professor Franklin Utech, Crane and Guiles describe the growth of WSU-O - 835k mp3
Jon Guiles describes the life and career of his father, WSU-O president Roger Guiles 854k mp3
Gaede, Jorgenson, Crane and Harriman discuss the WSU-O administration
627k mp3
Former student John Schuh and Utech describe WSU-O students - 280k mp3

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A WSU-Oshkosh student poses in front of Dempsey Hall, the campus administration building, ca. 1967


WSU President Roger Guiles


Construction projects blanketed the WSU-O campus throughout the mid and late 1960s. In 1968, the university had more than $20 million worth of construction in progress or in planning stages.


All photos on this panel are courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Archives.

Situated just north of downtown Oshkosh, Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh was the largest public university in northeast Wisconsin. As the flagship institution of the Wisconsin State University system, it had grown rapidly during the 1960s in order to accommodate the rising numbers of “baby boomers” (Americans belonging to the sizeable generation of Americans born after World War II) who flocked to the campus in order to obtain an education or, in the case of more than a few male students, evade the draft for the Vietnam War. By the fall of 1968, WSU-O, among the fastest growing universities in the United States, had an enrollment of 11,000. Although the disposable income of so many students proved a boon to the local economy, the presence of so many young people ruffled the feathers of many townspeople. Concerns about student troublemakers and the impact the university and its personnel were having on the traditional culture of Oshkosh grew throughout the period.

Overseeing the growth and operation of a university such as WSU-O was no easy task. University President Roger E. Guiles had been chosen by the director of the Wisconsin State system, Eugene McPhee, and the Wisconsin State Board of Regents—a group of men and women appointed by the Wisconsin governor to oversee the policies of the universities—to lead WSU-O through this period of great growth. Although a competent man who had spent a lifetime working in education, President Guiles, like many of his peers who came of age before World War II, struggled to keep up with the rapid pace of change that defined the “sixties.”

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