Bill Medland Tributes

It was my privilege to serve as the chair of the Viterbo University Board of Directors for eight years while Bill was president. This quote from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant sum up for me the meaning of this time of loss. "Death is no enemy, but the foundation of gratitude, sympathy, and art. Of all life's pleasures, only love owes no debt to death . . . the lotus never dies. It is the same for people who are loved. Thus can something as insignificant as a name with two syllables, one high, one sweet, summon up the innumerable smiles and tears, sighs and dreams of a human life. If you sit on the bank of a river, you see only a small part of its surface. And yet, the water before your eyes is proof of unknowable depths. My heart brims with thanks for the kindness you have shown by sitting on the bank of this river, by visiting the echoes of [our]names. Blessings on your eyes that now gaze upon the full vision of your God, and on your children. Blessings on the ground beneath you.." (Pages 320-321). Peace now and forever.

-Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA, family friend, colleague

I will always be thankful to Dr. Medland for providing me the opportunity to join the institutional advancement team at Viterbo University. His dedication to family was always evident as I remember his daughter Jeanne sitting on his lap the day I signed my first contract. We will always be reminded of his tremendous impact on the university and his courageously active approach to life. Thank you Dr. Medland for the opportunities, the many stories, and the example your life serves to others.

-Gary Klein, colleague

My favorite memories of Dr. Medland took place while I worked in campus ministry. Each weekday, Dr. Medland would come for daily Mass in San Damiano Chapel and then he, Father Tom O'Neill and I would gather with students in the Caf for lunch. It was clear that he enjoyed hearing the stories of students' lives and activities. I know that the students, and myself as a new employee, felt welcomed and appreciated in his presence. His presence and legacy have enrich the university community.

-Emily Dykman, former Viterbo student/colleague

It was a privilege to serve with Bill for his entire tenure at Viterbo University. Yes. My first ever conversation with him had to do with the Wunder Bar! He lived and breathed Viterbo in all that he said and did. I admired the great courage in which he battled cancer and so many of us who witnessed this could not fail to be moved. For all that you did for Viterbo.... For all that you meant to so many people... Rest in peace William J. Medland. And thank you for the legacy you leave behind.

 -Patrick Kerrigan, former Viterbo student, colleague

This is a sad day for Viterbo University and for so many people and their organizations who have been touched by the leadership, service, and friendship of Bill Medland. One of the significant reasons I accepted the presidency in 2006 was the opportunity to follow Bill's outstanding leadership and to build upon a very solid foundation created by him and others. The academic presidency is a difficult position. There are many competitive pressures and many constituencies to serve. Bill served Viterbo as president for 15 years, twice the tenure of the average college president-testimony to his leadership and to his commitment and dedication to Viterbo. He then continued to serve Viterbo in the role of chancellor, and was honored by the board of trustees with the title of chancellor emeritus when he retired in December 2008. The academic presidency is also a privileged position and I know Bill appreciated and enjoyed the unique opportunities we have to shape and influence lives and contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of a community. I am grateful for the warmth and kindness with which Bill and Donna welcomed Joan and me to Viterbo. Bill leaves a significant legacy as the longest serving president of Viterbo. Our prayers go out to the Medland family. Even as we grieve his passing, we celebrate his goodness and his many contributions to our academic and civic communities.

-Richard Artman, colleague

My first meeting with Dr. Medland took place in Waukesha, Wis., in fall 1991. Bill wanted me to come to Viterbo to help him with his vision for the growth the M.A.E. program. I could tell that he was sincere and really cared about my vision for the future of the program as well. Bill and I would joke in later years that his tenure was mine as well, since I was one of his first personal hires. In the last several years, I have thought about him a lot and his legacy at Viterbo. I miss him as not only one of the employees that he would always greet with a friendly hug and ask how I was, but also as someone who changed my career and my life. Rest in peace, dear friend. I know God has carved a special place in heaven for you.

-Christine Valenti, colleague

I remember Dr. Medland's love for his family the most. I had the unique chance to see him as a father and husband, both at which he seemed to love and was very proud of. I still remember bits of his speech when I graduated in 2002; he was very practical and inspiring at the same time. He will be missed by his colleagues and students.

-Maria Korir, former Viterbo student

Bill and I started at Viterbo in fall 1991. Two years later, on a fateful day in September I led a campus wide walk out. It's a day I'll never forget. Through it all Bill treated me with respect. Later the same year, he came to visit my floor after one of the residents attempted suicide. During his tenure, he lead Viterbo to great things, by overcoming some early challenges. He had a calming presence about him-I believe that is a reflection of his faith and his character. To his wife Donna and his children, you have my deepest sympathy.

-Elizabeth Kazmierczak Gindt, former Viterbo student

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend about a trip I took to Viterbo a year or so after I graduated. I had mentioned that I had passed by the university President's Office, and Dr. Medland had greeted me and then gave me a short tour of the new building on campus (the Reinhart Center). My friend was a taken aback that the president of the university was so cordial. I always appreciated Dr. Medland's visible presence on campus and his hospitality while a student and later as a graduate of Viterbo. He will be sorely missed by the community for his multiple contributions; but I will miss him for the multitude of positive interactions I had with him during my time at Viterbo.

-Nic Gilbertson, former Viterbo student

I remember Dr. Medland from as early as my first weekend as a student at Viterbo in 1999. He was warm, compassionate and welcoming. I never interacted with him much, but when I would see him in the hall of Murphy Center he was always kind enough to say hello. When a situation arose during the winter of my senior year, he was most helpful in sorting the matter out with my parents while I was abroad. I appreciate all he did to help me as a student, to help my family and for what he was able to do for Viterbo. I will always remember him fondly. Dr. Medland, may eternal rest be upon your soul. You will be missed.

 -Molly (Nesbitt) Maka, former Viterbo student

 So many memories of Bill come to mind but most impressive were his love of his family and of Viterbo plus his faith and stamina during all the years he dealt with cancer. My sympathy and prayers are with Donna and the family.

 -Mary Ann Gschwind, FSPA, former Viterbo student

 I appreciated Bill as a courageous person leading with his best foot forward in the face of many challenges in all aspects of his life. His family remains in my prayers.

-Julie Tydrich, FSPA

Bill led the way in developing a collaborative partnership with Western Technical College. Western and Viterbo had a positive relationship prior to Bill's arrival as president. But his openness brought the relationship into high gear. The best example of this was in the development of Viterbo's Associate of Arts degree. The degree was designed to share coursework between our two institutions with the majority of the courses taught by Western faculty. This unique model was the first of its kind in the nation. Approval by the Higher Learning Commission was required before student enrollment could occur. The initial meeting Bill and I held about this potential new degree was in February 2004. By August 2004, the first class was enrolled. This would be an incredible timeframe for any new collaborative program. Considering the need for accreditation approval, the timeframe was just amazing. Simply put, without Bill's passionate and dedicated leadership, this would not have been possible.

-Lee Rasch, colleague

In 2001, my daughter was a nursing student at Viterbo University. One afternoon, she was assaulted while running through the marsh in La Crosse. Sarah survived the attack, thanks to terrific medical care at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital. To our surprise, Dr. Medland came to the hospital to visit Sarah. Surely, he had many other responsibilities as president of Viterbo University but his support was appreciated and not forgotten. Sarah took off a short time from her classes to recover but felt compelled to return to her nursing education. Soon she was overwhelmed and needed additional support which was extended to her through the university. Sarah went on to graduate and was an excellent nurse. She is a well adjusted person, wife and mother. Thanks for the help and loving concern Dr. Medland gave our family and especially to Sarah. Certainly, he made a difference in countless lives but he certainly touched our family. With great sympathy, Sue and Jim Binder and Family.

-Sue and Jim Binder and Family

 I didn't have the pleasure of being a student during Mr. Medland's time with Viterbo (I graduated in 1976), but I did keep abreast of what was going on at Viterbo through the Strides magazine and through the local media. Mr. Medland did wonderful work in bringing Viterbo into the future. I greatly appreciate what he did to make Viterbo a highly desirable education destination.Sandra (Swinghamer) Fanning, former Viterbo student

What a joy it was to work with Bill at Catholic Charities. His kindness and compassion were truly an inspiration. He will be missed by so many.

-Linda Jawson, colleague


I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Bill at Catholic Charities. He was a truly amazing man. His compassion for others, his sense of humor, his willingness to step in and do what needed to be done to see a job completed are just a few of the characteristics that made it such a privilege to know and work with him. I learned from Bill that every day is truly a gift from God; it may not be the way we want it, but it is a gift. We owe it to God to use that gift to serve God by serving others, not ourselves. I feel my life is richer from having known Bill. He will be missed.

-Karen Becker, colleague

Bill Medland could always been seen around campus, interacting with students and other faculty. Unlike other institutions of higher education, Bill was seen and talked to people. He had the time to say hello-and that is appreciated.

-Keren Moaney, former Viterbo student

Dr. Medland was a great part of Viterbo and was always visible around campus and would always have a smile on his face and say hello.

-Christopher Gebert, former Viterbo student 

I graduated in 1987 but I was proud of the growth and the improvements William made to the campus. He improved our standing in the educational community. It makes me proud to have graduated from such a fine institution. God Bless his family in this time of sympathy.

-Deb Shanley, former Viterbo student 

 Dr. Medland was the president when I was first hired. I took the job, in part, because of the time I spent with him on my interview. He seemed to really listen and was very welcoming. When several of us new faculty would have lunch in the cafeteria, he would come sit with us and was genuinely interested in how things were going. He did a lot of great things for Viterbo. My deepest condolences to his family.

-Kim Fredricks, professor, biology

Bill will be missed, but the memories of him are good. I had the pleasure of serving on his board of trustees during his entire service as president. There were tough times but many more very pleasant times. His accomplishments are many. He made the campus look beautiful. His innovation in course offerings were many. The school's growth was great. He did a wonderful job in those 15 years. And Viterbo is better for having him as president. He was a good choice and the university (one of his accomplishments) is fortunate to have him as leader. My condolences to Donna and the children.

-Dick Record

Bill was a remarkable man that touched the hearts and souls of all he encountered. He was a friend and a mentor. Simply said, he was the most humble person I knew. He was the definition of a Servant Leader and he will be greatly missed. Bill, may you always know you will never be forgotten.

-Mary Jacobson

I remember very early in my career at Viterbo, I found myself in a difficult place in life-like most college-age kids I figure. At that time, the president, academic vice president, and chaplain kept office hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday respectively. I stopped by Dr. Medland's office to have a conversation after this difficult experience. He took all the time I needed, listened intently, and was so human. I have never forgotten that conversation and he always said hello and talked to me every time he saw me-even almost a decade after my graduation. I will miss Dr. Medland terribly. I hope people who aspire to positions of leadership at Viterbo follow in his footsteps.

-Juan Jimenez, former Viterbo student

I will always be grateful to Bill for giving me the opportunity to serve as Viterbo's Athletics Director. Without his faith in me, I truly do not know where I would be today. Fortunately, I was able to tell Bill that in person last winter when we went to lunch at Perkins. We had a wonderful conversation and his mind was sharp as a tack. We talked world news, community events, and Viterbo updates and he hadn't missed a beat. And yes, after lunch, we both had dessert. Bill always had a sweet tooth :) I will never forget that day. I also saw the softer side of Bill. It was so apparent how much he loved his family, cared about his friends, and valued his time at Viterbo. He had a heart of gold. My sympathies to the entire Medland family. Rest in peace my friend.

-Barry Fried, Viterbo athletics director