Bill Koutsky, WSU retiree

“I wanted to do something for people of need."
On a Friday in late August 2001, Bill Koutsky retired from his job at Winona’s Home 101 Radio after working in broadcasting for 33 years. His career had been fulfilling; he traveled and met many popular recording artists and radio personalities. But when ownership of Home 101 changed, Koutsky thought it was time for him to take a new direction, too.

On his walk home, Koutsky passed Winona State University, where he’d graduated with a degree in communication studies in 1975. He happened to see facilities manager Dick Lande outside. Half joking, Koutsky asked, “Hey, Lande, you have any job openings for me?”


The following Monday, Koutsky found himself working as a part-time facilities worker in Kryzsko Commons. He shifted to West Campus and Lourdes Hall before a full-time position opened in Somsen Hall. On his first day there, Koutsky was told that he would be working in the Performing Arts Center.


Koutsky was thrilled. “I had most of my classes in PAC, and I love dance, I love music, I love theater — it was a perfect fit for me. The perfect building.”


He attributes his love for music and theater to his uncle, William Koutsky, a teacher and Christian Brother who deeply influenced him. Brother William passed away in 1981. In his honor, Koutsky is establishing two Winona State student scholarships: the Bill and Brother William Koutsky Music Scholarship and the Bill and Brother William Koutsky Theatre and Dance Scholarship.


Inspiration for the scholarships came from the Floretta May Murray Scholarship, for which Koutsky is a trustee. “I was impressed by the Murray scholarship,” he said. “I wanted to do something for people of need.”


The Koutsky scholarships demonstrate Bill’s respect and appreciation for the Music and Theatre and Dance Departments, and he hopes the awards will help preserve the dance minor and encourage deserving students. After all, students and faculty from both departments rehearse, teach, and perform around him every day as he makes his rounds in the Performing Arts Center.


“The people in PAC have been so good to me, and I wanted to give something back,” Koutsky said. “I just see so much talent there.”
 

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