John Schaefer has a thirst for knowledge that can’t be quenched.
Originally from Potosi, Schaefer is on track to earn his fourth academic degree.
“I love learning,” he said.
In 1967, Schaefer earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry from UW–Platteville. A year later, he earned a second bachelor’s degree in medical technology from UW–Platteville. Then, in 1971, he completed his master’s in microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.
“That same year, I started working for Pathology Associates of Dubuque, Iowa as a consultant in microbiology,” he said. “And later, I became acting manager of the Mercy Medical Center Lab.”
Schaefer went on to become the chief executive officer, president and administrative director of United Clinical Laboratories, a medical laboratory located in Dubuque that provides routine, emergency and reference laboratory services to health care providers in the Tri-State area. He retired in 2010.
Now, Schaefer has returned to UW–Platteville to pursue a degree in health and human performance.
“I like it because it fits with my lifestyle,” he said. “My family is very active.” In fact, three of his daughters have also pursued degrees related to nutrition and medicine.
Certainly, Schaefer enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. As part of his fitness internship for the UW–Platteville Department of Health and Human Performance, he taught lab sections of the Fitness Assessment and Management course, and trains two clients twice a week in the Pioneer Activity Center.
Additionally, Schaefer organized a series of presentations at Bridgeway Commons to educate students about infectious diseases, including syphilis and Lymes disease.
“As a microbiologist, I have worked with many different types of microorganisms,” he said. “I just want to alert people to the dangers of Lyme disease. I don’t believe people know the different stages and the potential life altering consequences of Lyme disease.”
On top of his studies at UW–Platteville, Schaefer is involved in extra-curricular activities on campus. “I belong to the ballroom dance club and the swing club,” he said.
He has also farmed since 1971.
Looking forward, Schaefer plans to graduate in 2018, the same year his grandson will graduate from high school. He hopes to work part-time at a wellness center and would also consider continuing his education.
“I’ll go for a finance degree next,” he said.
Yet, with all the academic and professional success he has enjoyed in his life, Schaefer lists his six daughters as his greatest accomplishments. “They are all doing very well, and I’m proud of them,” he said.
And when asked what advice he would pass on to young people, Schaefer responded, “Watch for opportunities, and no matter what you do, do your best.”