Royal Purple

Famous people of Whitewater

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Feb. 25, 2015

By Kelli Viele

Have you ever wondered if anyone famous has attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, possibly a public figure or famous person that you follow?

The Royal Purple complied the list below  from online sources and were confirmed with Lauree Miller at the Alumni Center.

Check out the list of names to see if you recognize any of these people who once walked the campus.

  • Joan Wade – A former member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, UW-W 1984 graduate.
  • Isabella Hofmann – An actress. She is best known for her lead role in the TV series “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Hofmann is from East Troy, Wisconsin and attended UW-W in the 1970s.
  • Dave Kraayeveld – National Football League player, in 1978, for the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive end and tackle. He played at the collegiate level at Milton College and UW-W. He attended UWW in the 1970s.
  • Kenn Hoekstra – Game developer and producer at Pi Studios. He graduated from UWW in 1995.
  • Bob Wickman (Robert Joe Wickman) – A former Major League Baseball relief pitcher, age 46. He has played for the Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks. He batted and threw right-handed. He was a UW-W graduate in 1991.
  • Reince Priebus (Reinhold Richard Priebus) – The chair of the Republican National Committee. He graduated from UW-W in 1994.
  • Stuart Rindy – A former football player, as a tackle, for the Chicago Bears. He played at the collegiate level at UW-W. He was an attendee at the UW-W in the 1980s.
  • Jim Holperin – A Wisconsin State Senator, American Democratic politician and administrator. From 2009 to 2013 he served as a member of the Wisconsin State Senate representing the 12th District in Northern Wisconsin. He was a UW-W graduate in 1973.
  • Corey Anderson – Age 25, professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Division. He was The Ultimate Fighter 19 winner. He graduated from UW-W in 2012.
  • Barbara Lorman – A former Wisconsin State Senator from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. She was an attendee and took some classes at UW-W in the late 1970s.
  • Jeff Jagodsinski – A football coach for the Green Bay Packers (tight ends) and Boston College (head coach). He graduated from UW-W in 1985.
  • Craig Coshun – A pre-game host and sideline reporter for the Milwaukee Brewers on the Fox Sports Network. He was a 1990 graduate from UW-W.
  • John Belushi – He was a “Saturday Night Live” comedian and known for his role in the 1978 comedy film “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” He was an attendee of UW-W for two semesters in the 1960s.

UW-W has had many notable individuals come through its doors, but one of the most debated has been John Belushi, a “Saturday Night Live” comedian best known for his role in the popular 1978 comedy film “National Lampoon’s Animal House” which has been said to be based around Whitewater.

Are the ‘Animal House’ rumors true?

UW-W students have heard rumors that the Hamilton House was once the original animal house where Belushi spent his time partying and that “National Lampoon’s Animal House” was inspired by events that happened in the Hamilton House while attending UW-W. Is there any truth to these rumors?

Kathleen Fleming, a co-owner and innkeeper of the Hamilton House – which is now a bed and breakfast – confirmed that the rumors are true. Belushi attended UW-W for only two semesters in the 1960s.

Belushi did not actually live at the house, but a bunch of athletes who he was friends with did, Fleming said.

“A lot of the actors and producers went to parties at the house,” Fleming said.

The character “D-Day” in the film, comes storming through the front door of the Delta Tau Chi house and up the stairs on a motorcycle. This was not just a scene produced for Hollywood but actually happened at the Hamilton House. Even to this day there are big gouges out of the Hamilton House stairwell from the motorcycle, Fleming said. On Sunday mornings over breakfast, the history of the Hamilton House is shared with guests and once hearing this news, many enjoy walking up the stairs to take a look at the gouges from the motorcycle, according to Fleming.

“In the fall of his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, John changed his image into a bad-boy appearance by growing his hair long and began to have problems with discipline and structure of attending classes,” according to Belushi’s biography at imdb.com.

Even though Belushi only attended UW-W for two semesters, that did not stop him from coming back to Whitewater. When Belushi moved back to Chicago, the required drinking age had increased to 21 in Illinois. Belushi was not yet 21 at that time and came back to Wisconsin to party, Fleming said.

Belushi passed away in 1982 but he will live on through the comedy “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” Since then, the Hamilton House owners have received many calls from people telling of their times at the house with Belushi, Fleming said.

Students interested in seeing where the original animal house is look for the Hamilton House Bed & Breakfast, 328 W. Main St., Whitewater, Wisconsin. It is located on the corner of West Main Street and Prairie Street.

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Famous people of Whitewater