Royal Purple Staff Goodbyes: Chris Kuhagen

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All good things must come to an end.

Chris Kuhagen - Editor in Chief

This is the reality I face as my time at the Royal Purple has come to a close.

It’s tough to put this chapter of my life behind me, because working at this publication has meant so much to me.

After all, when you’ve been at one place for so long, saying goodbye is the hardest thing to do.

But after four years, eight semesters, close to 130 editions and a lifetime of memories and friendships, this is what I have to do.

So how do I describe this experience?

In order to do this, I have to start at the beginning.

It started in the fall of 2007 when I followed my father’s advice and got involved.

As a young, ambitious 18-year-old freshman, I walked from my dorm in Bigelow Hall and knocked on the Royal Purple’s office, which was then in a tiny closet-like office in Drumlin Dining Hall.

I had little experience, but then-sports editor Matt Cullen gave me an opportunity. While I’ve done hundreds of articles in my four years, I still remember that first article on Sept. 26, 2007.

The article was an intramural article, and my first interview was with Missy Pritzle, the then-intramural and club sports coordinator.

That story is no award-winning piece and hasn’t gone in my portfolio, but I didn’t give up and I took the advice of Cullen and assistant sports editor Cherome Owens.

I asked questions and tried to pick the brains of others around me, such as Mike Daly, a fellow sports writer.

The following year was eventful as I became the assistant sports editor under Mike. I was the young kid around the office but knew I wanted to be here for the long haul.

This is also the year where I went on my first Royal Purple trip when we traveled to Kansas City, Mo., for a national journalism convention. Later that year, I traveled to Green Bay for a state convention and a couple weeks later I was on my way to Minneapolis for what turned out to be one of the most fun weekends of my college career.

The following year, I was off to Austin, Texas, (which also ranks up there in exciting weekends). That year, I also flew to New York City for yet another trip of a lifetime.

I, along with our paper, have won awards at these conventions. However, it wasn’t the awards that made these trips noteworthy. What made these trips around the country memorable is the people I experienced them with and the laughs and stories we shared along the way.

Overall, the Royal Purple has given me so many opportunities. I’ve gotten to cover a game at the Kohl Center in Madison; I got to cover a national championship game in Salem, Va., where I got to freelance for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a snowstorm for the ages.

Still, the reason I loved doing this so much is because I enjoy telling other people’s stories. And I’ve had the privilege of sharing so many. From telling a story of a former student’s battle with cancer, to a story of a war veteran to a student who overcame criminal problems, these are the kinds of stories I wanted to share.

However, none of the stories would have been possible without the students, coaches, administrators and faculty members sharing them with me. So I say thank you to all of them for giving me your time.

And I thank you, the audience, for reading the Royal Purple each week.

I also have to thank others who have had an affect on me while at UW-Whitewater.

The first is to all the former and current editorial members (50) over the last three years. There are too many to thank individually, but you each have played a role in this experience.

I also want to thank Kyle Geissler, our adviser, who has been with me the last two years. Thank you for allowing me the freedom and guidance as the editor in chief this semester.

This letter would not be complete without mentioning Sam Martino. You’ve been my mentor and the most influential person in my college career. You’ve told me that I don’t always listen to you. But I want to let you know that I do listen and do appreciate everything you’ve done for me.

To the three other editorial graduating seniors, Alyssa Skiba, Matt Gardner and Tim Gumz: We’ve had some great times together and it’s sad it’s over.

It’s strange all four of us were in Carol Ludovissy’s Journalism 240 class almost three years ago and none of us barely said a word to each other. Now, as we leave the Royal Purple together, I can say you three have become some of my closest friends.

Tim – It’s been fun with your ma and pa stories over the years.

Matt – It’s been great to watch the transformation you’ve made since being one of my sports writers a couple years ago. You’ve developed into a great writer and your dedication and improvement was apparent to me everyday.

Alyssa – We’ve come along way from our first day in management together last fall. There have been challenges and obstacles for us but I wouldn’t change anything. We were a good team, and I’m glad I got to join you along this journey. I wish you the best at your new job, but I know you’ll do great.

I also want to thank my family for all their encouragement. Thanks for reading all my stories and providing tons of advice along the way.

My word count is probably well over what I should have, and there are other experiences and people I’m sure I forgot to mention. But I’ve had a blast at the Royal Purple, and I took great pride every week seeing the paper hit the newsstands.

That being said, I knew the end had to come, but it always seemed like I had another year or another semester.

However, what started as just something I wanted to try has now turned into my career. As I enter the next phase in my life, I will never forget about my time at the Royal Purple.

But it has indeed come to an end.