When Brandon Wick was a young boy, he visited UW-Eau Claire’s Phillips Science Hall many times. His father, Michael Wick, a UW-Eau Claire professor of computer science, had his office in Phillips Science Hall and sometimes brought Brandon to work with him.
“I liked to go down to see the mosaic mural on the first floor, which shows the image of a man,” Brandon said. “I used to measure myself against the man to see how tall I was.”
A junior majoring in psychology, Brandon is now as tall as the man in the mural. But now, instead of visiting, he is attending UW-Eau Claire. He is among the third generation of the Wick family, and one of 12 members of his extended family, to attend UW-Eau Claire.
Michael received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from UW-Eau Claire in 1984. He continued his education at the University of Minnesota and received a master’s degree in 1986 and a doctoral degree in 1989. He joined the UW-Eau Claire faculty in 1991 and became associate vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2009.
When Michael was young he spent a lot of time on campus with his father, Marshall Wick. Marshall was a UW-Eau Claire professor of mathematics from 1956-91. When Michael became chair of the computer science department in 2004, he worked out of the same office his father had occupied. Marshall graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1951 with a degree in mathematics. When Marshall joined the UW-Eau Claire faculty, there were only 100 professors, most of whom were housed in Schofield Hall.
“We were crowded, but it was like a family setting; you got to know everyone personally,” Marshall said. “It was an interesting, stimulating environment. Many of us still think of it as the golden years of the university.”
Marshall’s sister, Joan Gunderson Cassata, graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1963. Her husband, Philip, and their three sons also graduated from UW-Eau Claire: Anthony and Brent Cassata in 1994 and Kevin Cassata in 1998.
Michael’s brothers, Jeffrey and Steve, also attended UW-Eau Claire: Jeffrey from 1978-79 and Steve from 1972-74. Jeffrey’s daughters, Jennifer and Julie, graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
Brandon said he hopes one of his children will attend UW-Eau Claire someday.
“I’d definitely like to make it a fourth-generation thing,” Brandon said.