By Troy Espe
Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
The article below features Manish Joshi, a December 2004 UW-Eau Claire business management graduate who's come a long way since his childhood in a small village in Nepal. The article appeared in the Dec. 17, 2004, issue of the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and is reprinted with permission.
Manish Joshi worked at a gas station and as a janitor when he came to America nine years ago.
On Saturday, he will receive a diploma from UW-Eau Claire with a job waiting for him at Luther Midelfort.
“It seems like a piece of paper, but it’s not,” Joshi, 28, said. “A lot of hard work went into that.”
He will graduate with a degree in management with an emphasis in human resources and a minor in management information systems.
“It was a good learning experience,” he said. “You get to meet a lot of good friends.”
Joshi grew up poor in a small village in Nepal. With $600 in his pocket, he moved to River Falls to live with a family friend in 1995.
He could read English but hadn’t mastered speaking it. He took menial jobs to save money for college.
“I didn’t have basic skills,” he said. “I knew I had to start at the bottom.”
Joshi earned a nursing license at Winona Technical College in Red Wing, Minn. He worked in Minneapolis but kept his dream of furthering his education. “I wanted to get a four-year degree,” he said.
While several universities accepted him, Joshi chose UW-Eau Claire. He worked at Clairemont Nursing & Rehabilitation to pay for school.
He completed an internship at Luther Midelfort. He taught computer skills to the mentally ill for his service learning requirement. He welcomed other international students to campus.
“I would get them familiar with the system, help them out and take them around town,” he said. “I didn’t have a hard time assimilating with the crowd. It’s up to you to go up to people and ask for things.”
Joshi never took his education for granted.
He left his small village at age 9 to attend a prestigious British boarding school in Katmandu 300 miles away.
“They sacrificed a lot for us,” Joshi said. “They always instilled education in us.”
The sacrifice was worth it to see their son graduate from college, said his mother, Muna, who is in town to attend commencement.
“Now my dream comes true,” said Muna Joshi, wiping away tears.
Joshi became an American citizen two years ago. He starts next week as a trainer at Luther Midelfort where he will teach employees to use the computer system.
“He will definitely do well,” said management professor Scott Lester who was Joshi’s adviser. “We’re always excited when our good graduates decide to stay in town.