Photos and story by Laurie Krasin
The University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Paul Thelen, director of liturgy and music for Holy Family Catholic Community.
Thelen grew up in New Holstein and attended UW-Fond du Lac from 1977 to 1978. He then transferred to Silver Lake College in Manitowoc and earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1982. After graduation, he studied sound engineering at UW-Oshkosh.
He has been involved with many Fond du Lac Community Theater productions, often provides accompaniment for musical theater shows at local schools and is an accompanist for Fond du Lac High School, Marian University, St. Mary’s Springs Academy and Woodworth Middle School. He was also an accompanist at UW-Fond du Lac for several years.
Thelen is a regular performer with several local bands including The Downtowners, The Lighthouse Big Band and Just the Two of Us. He has appeared with the Fond du Lac Symphonic Band, the South Shore Chorale and the Fond du Lac Chamber Singers.
He and his wife, Julie, have three daughters – all three are musicians and two of them also attended UW-Fond du Lac.
In addition to his community involvement as a musician, Thelen works with Adult Care Consultants and Fond du Lac County Social Services in providing transition housing for those moving back to the community from half-way houses or institutions.
He was presented with the award at the UW-Fond du Lac Foundation’s annual donor and scholarship reception in October 2014 in the University Center Commons.