Love comes in many forms

For Tim Blotz ’85 it was love at first sight. The object of his affection was the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the Jenkins Theater where, as a high school student, Tim competed in the state one-act play competition. But another major love interest awaited him on the UWSP campus in the form of future wife Susan Higgins ’85.

When they met in the fall of their sophomore year, Tim and Susan discovered they shared not only an affection for UWSP, but also a commitment to serving the school as leaders in student government. Each was a senator from what was then the College of Fine Arts. Susan was speaker of the senate under Student Government Association president Scott West ’84 and vice president Tracy Mosely '79 with John Jury as their advisor.

“We all collectively captured lightning in a bottle during the early 80’s, and we thrived by supporting each other and helping each other grow,” said Tim.

Both had chosen UWSP to study communication. Susan, who had planned to go into the “family business” and become a print journalist, wrote for The Pointer.

“UWSP gave me a lot of opportunities to learn inside and outside of class,” she added.

She said that Professor John Oster's Russian political science class "sticks out" in her memory. Also among her favorite instructors were professors Laura Terlip and Hyun Kim. 

"Terry Porter was in my class with Dr. Kim when Porter was drafted into the NBA." she recalls. "He didn’t come to class the day after the draft, which gave Dr. Kim a chuckle.”

She and Tim had several classes together. “I knew I wanted to study journalism,” Tim said, “and Stevens Point had one of the better programs in the state at that time."

He counts himself fortunate that he took classes with teachers who lit the fire of his future-career passions, including professors Jim Haney and Ed Miller. "I remember hanging on every word in Dr. Miller’s classes,” he said.

Miller helped him secure a scholarship to further his studies in political science study at The American University in Washington, D.C. Haney also has offered Tim valuable advice numerous times in the years since.

Tim’s “great escape” from classes was the university's radio station. “As a young student interested in broadcasting, 90FM could not have been a more perfect place to dive in, get involved and have fun," he said. "We were an organization of diverse personalities and eclectic interests. Yet, we were all united by our love of music, and, in my case, news.”

A multiple Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Award winner, Tim has built a successful career in television news, with “a slight detour” as communications advisor to New Mexico’s lieutenant governor. Currently, he is weekend TV news anchor at KMSP Fox 9 in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Susan's career goal had shifted while she was still an undergraduate, when she decided to become a librarian. “It worked out because I have spent 20 years working in library systems,” she said.

So, getting back to young romance for a moment, when exactly did love between the Blotzes happen? “You could say we didn’t exactly start dating,” Susan explained. “It’s more like we discovered we were dating. But that wasn’t until the third semester of our senior year.”

To be absolutely accurate, Susan had heard about Tim before she met him. “Our mutual friend Joan Spink ’86 called him ‘Perfect Tim,’" she said. "I thought, 'This I’ve got to see.'”

In 1985, armed with their new degrees, they set off on separate career paths, waiting six years before getting married. St. Patrick’s Day 2016 marked their 25th wedding anniversary.

For the Blotzes, reconnecting to UWSP has been a gradual process. “For many years, UWSP was just a line on my resume,” said Susan. That changed a few years ago when Tim began reconnecting with professors and 90FM alumni. On these visits, their daughters became familiar with the campus. When it came time to pick a college, Maddy, the eldest, made UWSP her number one choice.

“We are on campus regularly now that Maddy is here," said Susan.

As her parents had before her, Maddy, who is studying dance, has found teachers who inspire her. That fact serves to reinforce something that now rings true for the entire Blotz family with regard to a UWSP education.

“Teaching matters,” said Tim. “More important, teachers matter. Point personifies the value of exceptional teaching."