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A good fight

Darwin Slocum put up a hell of a battle.  

It was the early 1980s, and the tiny University of Wisconsin campus in Medford was attempting to stay open. It was the smallest campus of 27 that made up the University of Wisconsin system. I was dispatched from the central office in Madison to assist Dean Slocum in the final, futile effort to keep serving the 90-plus students and the little community of Medford in the tradition of The Wisconsin Idea: the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state.

Late one night, I remember having a beer with Darwin at The Tombstone Tap (home of the original Tombstone Pizza). He told stories of students who had begun their education in Medford and went on to graduate with honors at the Madison campus. He pulled a program out of his vest pocket from a production of “The Music Man,” which had drawn packed audiences five nights in a row.

His eyes glistened. “The board of regents must recognize our county needs this campus.”

I already knew the battle was over. Only one member of the board was in favor of keeping the doors open.

But I recognized there is valor in defeat if the cause is noble. 

“Darwin,” I said, “let’s keep fighting for Medford.” We did.

The buildings were shuttered three months later.

Author: Don Kuhl

Don Kuhl is founder of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® He has authored hundreds of Journals that have assisted over 10 million people in making positive life changes. While Don was aging (think of a side of beef at a fine restaurant), he managed motel properties, started several sports publications, worked in college and health care administrations and started about a dozen corporations. Some of them failed miserably, a few flourished.