UWGB Transformed Amanda and Marcus by…

…giving them the tools to give more than 2,000 animals a “happily ever after.”

In its 50-year history, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has been the home to countless siblings. Few siblings have accomplished as much with their UWGB education and contributed as much to the greater Green Bay area as dynamic brother-sister duo Marcus and Amanda Reitz.

From humble beginnings, the elder Marcus, says he was simply another face in the crowd in the early days of his UWGB education before discovering his path and flourishing.

“When I arrived at UW-Green Bay, I was in a similar position to many freshmen. I was undecided about what degree I would pursue,” Marcus says, “but once I learned of the Communication Processes degree with emphasis on Organizational Communication, I was intrigued,” Marcus explains.

Amanda found an almost  immediate educational fit with UWGB’s Phuture Phoenix program.

“I greatly loved and appreciated my opportunity to participate in UWGB’s Phuture Phoenix Program, which shows disadvantaged and underrepresented young people that post-secondary education is attainable,” Amanda says. “It was a chance to inspire young people within this community to follow their dreams and to always hold on tight to what they want to accomplish.”

However different their initial experiences, both Amanda and Marcus forged long-lasting relationships at UWGB that streamlined their educational careers. These relationships, Marcus says, made it very easy for him to become involved with the campus and the community despite being a commuter student, yet one relationship in particular was exceedingly memorable.

“Without question, I was most influenced by Professor Phil Clampitt,” Marcus begins. “As a student of Communication Processes with an emphasis in Organizational Communication, I spent the majority of my classroom hours in ‘Phil classes,’ which offered incredible opportunities for applied learning. Through everything I learned, it is Phil’s simple axioms that I come back to daily.”

For Amanda, her relationships with the UWGB Education, specifically with Professors Linda Tabers-Kwak and Scott Ashman, provided her with the direction she needed.

“They greatly impacted my time, life, and education while at UWGB,” Amanda asserts. “I was going to complete my degree in education, but I was going to be going down a little bit of a different path and starting a 501c3 organization. They continued to support me during this transition and transformation in my life.”

Amanda’s transformation was catalyzed by her volunteer experience at an animal shelter allowing her to connect her UWGB education to a critical community service.

“I wanted to help make change,” Amanda explains. “While I realized the importance of obtaining my education degree and had the support to do just that from my professors and fellow students, I needed to follow my heart. The community I was and still am a part of (UWGB and greater Green Bay) gave me the drive and support needed to pursue this dream.”

The dream that Amanda speaks of is her founding of “Happily Ever After,” a non-profit, “no-kill” animal sanctuary in 2006. It’s a passion and organization that she shares with her Marcus, and a bonding endeavor.

“Amanda and I have really grown as siblings through this venture, and Happily Ever After has seen tremendous growth and community commitment to their cause,” Marcus asserts. “HEA has adopted more than 2,200 animals into loving homes; spayed or neutered more than 2,000 animals through their low-cost spay and neuter programs; rehabilitated hundreds of companion animals that would have been destroyed in many other facilities; and educated our community on the importance of the no-kill philosophy.”

Marcus used his UWGB education to transition from college student to professional.

“I was pleasantly surprised as the success I experienced in the classroom translated into multiple job offers, and I was able to display immediate confidence in the work of my career following graduation,” Marcus says. “Once hired into my first opportunity, it did not take long for me to realize that nearly every business or organizational problem was a result of a communication breakdown.  This was exciting for me as I was immediately able to provide value to the organizations I worked for. My degree is used with tremendous regularity to enhance organizational, team, and team-member success by sharing what’s been shared with me. Not only have I transformed personally, but I’ve been able to transform others.”

Names: Amanda Reitz and Marcus Reitz
Grad Years: 2008 (Amanda) and 2003 (Marcus)
Amanda’s Major and Minor: Elementary Education and English
Marcus’ Major and Minor: Communication Processes and Business Administration

We’ve asked alumni to either share stories of how their lives were transformed by the UWGB  experience or how they are making the world a better place with transformational work in their careers, homes, or volunteer experiences. As UWGB celebrates its 50th Anniversary, meet an alum each week who has experienced a “UW-Green Bay Transformation.” Stories were self-submitted and then edited by Zachary Taylor, a 2010 English Education graduate currently serving as Interim Associate Director of the Phuture Phoenix program.