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Lechner's Learning Legend

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

It doesn't take long…for U–W Whitewater students to learn the legend of Lechner.
"I think this is great, you know, I'm not in an office right now—I'm 28 years old—that's usually what people my age are doing."

But when it comes to 11th-year-junior Johnny Lechner—expect the unusual.
"I'm listed as 234 credits but, actually some credits I haven't gotten credit for multiple times—I actually took a few classes more than once—didn't realize I did it," Lechner explains.

While his academic advisor calls him 'Peter Pan,' his critics call Johnny a 'waste of taxpayer money and resources,' adding their feeling that he's exploited the system. But Johnny claims he's made a contribution during his college career.
He says, "There's a lot more to me than just being a guy who's been in college for, you know, for quite a few years. I do a lotta different volunteer work, I work at some different camps, you know, with mentally–disabled, physically–disabled."

Since his story was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal a couple weeks ago, Lechner has enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame…appearing on a variety of t–v programs—including David Letterman, and Good Morning America.
"My phone's been ringin' off the hook from, you know, from old friends just sayin' 'Man, I shoulda stayed with you.' Especially on a day like this—you're just like, 'Man, life is good.'"

Lechner says he'll graduate with only about 30–thousand dollars in student loan debt, and—with a degree in—the most liberal of studies.
"Basically, it's a triple–major, triple–minor, it's all kind of worked together. Who knows if I'll even use the degree, but I've learned a lot about myself, you know, what makes me happy, and, you know, what I can do—I mean—I'll be successful—I'm not too worried about that."

You saw Lechner politicking there…now…he says he was the underdog—and didn't win the election for President of Whitewater's Student Government—but I spoke with him today, and he says National Lampoon—the production company responsible for the films Animal House and Van Wilder—has offered to pay for Lechner's last year of college…as well as his graduation party.


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