Schumacher to retire from UWP after 26 years
PLATTEVILLE - As a teacher, the impact one has on a student is often evident - seen through the progress the student makes in class. An educational administrator, however, can change a student's life forever without even knowing it - as is the case with University of Wisconsin-Platteville Dean of Admission and Enrollment Management Richard Schumacher. UWP student Eric R. Heuvelman felt his life spiraling downward when he met Schumacher several years ago.
"I was on probation for drug charges and working in a factory when I woke up one day and said to myself, 'This isn't the life I want to lead'," Heuvelman said. "My high school grade point average was poor because of my drug problem. Colleges were rejecting me even before receiving my ACT scores. Then I came to visit a friend at UWP.
"Instead of filling out an application, I set up a meeting with Mr. Schumacher. I told him my story and said I wanted a second chance. I didn't have the exact grades, but he must have seen something in me, because he worked with me and gave me that second chance. Now, I attribute much of my success as a student to Mr. Schumacher. He gave me the opportunity to prove to myself and to others that I could do well in college."
Heuvelman anticipates graduating in May 2004 with a degree in public relations. He, like many other students, feels sincere gratitude toward Schumacher and will be sad to see him go. After 26 years of commitment and dedication to the University, Richard Schumacher will retire on June 30.
A native of Eureka, S.D., Schumacher received a bachelor's degree in sociology and history and then a master's degree in counseling and school psychology, both from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. He completed his education at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, earning a doctorate of education. Schumacher joined the staff at UWP in1977 as the chair of the counselor education department. After several years, he was appointed to the position of associate dean of student development. Over the years, his position and title evolved, covering areas such as high school relations, multicultural services, financial aid, admissions and recruiting. With each new role, Schumacher welcomed the opportunity to face new challenges and achieve new successes.
"It's always a challenge to make wise decisions for good student graduation rates and to meet the needs of our students, the faculty and the constituents we serve," Schumacher said. "There have been a lot of changes at UWP since I came here. The students seem to be more focused and career centered, although they've always been hard workers. The diversity on campus has changed tremendously. We have more international students and students with culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds. The campus itself has changed greatly, and I'm glad to have been a part of all of that."
As the dean of admissions and enrollment management, Schumacher has worked with a number of outstanding students and individuals. Working with the student ambassadors has been one of the highlights of his tenure at UWP.
"It's been very rewarding working with the student ambassadors," Schumacher said. "When our students won the Ambassador Corps Spirit Award, that was one of my proudest moments - that this small university could compete against the larger universities and receive the greatest honor was a real moment of pride for me."
As Schumacher looks forward to his retirement - playing golf, flying airplanes, woodworking, volunteering and spending more time with his wife - he said he will miss the day-to-day ritual of coming to work and the comraderie he has shared with his colleagues.
"Over the years, I've worked with some really wonderful people," Schumacher said. "I'll miss seeing my colleagues every day. There are a lot of people whom I care for very much, people whose kids grew up with mine. After 26 years, that comraderie doesn't go away."