UW Platteville educator celebrates 51 years

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis (WMTV) -- Dr. Marilyn Tufte started her career as an instructor at UW Platteville in the late 1960s after receiving her master's degree from UW Madison.

"The standards for me were higher. I had to get better grades and yet told they weren’t good enough. I literally had interviews about a woman in science and wasting the investment," Dr. Tufte said.

When she came to UW Platteville, she was the only woman working in the science department.

"She is an exemplar for women that are going in science. I mean, she lived through the transition where the gender gap has not only closed, but flipped," Dean of College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture, Wayne Weber, said.

During her time at UW Platteville, Dr. Tufte has worked with as many as 10,000 students in her microbiology courses and her research lab.

"There were a lot of barriers that she's broken down that has made it so that the rest of us have been able to have at least an easier road or an easier path," former student and now fellow instructor at UW Platteville, Amanda Trewin said.

"It’s wonderful to feel that somehow the impact that I make becomes a legacy and that means that hopefully there are 10,000 people out there who might be tweaked a little differently because they’ve had me," Dr. Tufte said. "I care very much about people and I care very much about my obligation to make them feel good."

Now Dr. Tufte is getting a say in the future of the science department. She's helping with the layout and design of the remodel the college has planned for the building she's been teaching in for 40 years.

"I do have a large say and the architects have been good because I've told them I want this layout," Dr, Tufte said. "I know that we have to do certain things certain ways."

"Marilyn is a pillar of this department and a pillar of this university so for her to be influencing the future is paramount to us," Weber said.

Construction on the new building is scheduled to start late this summer.