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Former Titan To Receive UW-Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award

Former Titan To Receive UW-Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award

Titan pride runs deep for 2019 UW-Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award winner John Dobyns, who works on campus using the knowledge and skills he learned while attending UW-Oshkosh to serve his alma mater.

Dobyns, who played football for the Titans from 1987-90, will be among those honored at UW-Oshkosh's Alumni Awards Celebration on Oct. 18.

Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize individuals active in their professional fields and widely recognized for their career accomplishments.

Dobyns jumped right into graduate school after receiving his bachelor's degree in biology from UW-Oshkosh in 1992. Through Dobyns' graduate work he discovered and published about a new species of spider that bears his name: Theridion ellicottense Dobyns and Bond.

When Dobyns began working towards his doctorate in ecology at Miami University in Ohio he had an opportunity to teach two biology sections that altered his intended career path.

"I had zero idea what it meant to be a real teacher. But through that experience I fell in love with teaching biology, so much so I abandoned my Ph.D. pathway to earn my second master's degree in secondary science education," he explained.

Dobyns moved back to Wisconsin where he began his career as the sole biology teacher at Freedom High School. Over time, he added duties and responsibilities to his resume, ultimately teaching advanced placement courses for UW-Oshkosh's Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP). After 17 years in the classroom, Dobyns joined the UW-Oshkosh staff as the outreach and operations director of CAPP, enabling over 400 Wisconsin high school students to take college credits that shorten their time to degree completion.

CAPP colleague Cathryn Bryan said Dobyns deserves the alumni honor because of the high level of success and leadership he has attained in his academic field and his leadership role in the CAPP program.

"I have seen tremendous growth in John as a thought leader in concurrent enrollment programs in Wisconsin and at the national level. This is clearly shown by his dedication to continuing to grow the CAPP program (40 new schools in the last three years) and expanded access to college courses provided for over 1,000 high school students throughout the state," Bryan said.

Dobyns is a high school graduate of Saint Mary's Springs Academy in Fond du Lac. After playing three seasons at center for the UW-Oshkosh football team he moved to tight end for the 1990 campaign. During his final season with the Titans he caught 17 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

This year's UW-Oshkosh Alumni Awards Celebration will be held at the Culver Family Welcome Center. The cost is $40 per person and includes dinner. For more information or to RSVP for the event, call (920) 424-3449 or send an email to

Written by Carey Behnke, UW-Oshkosh University Marketing & Communications