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Larry and Connie Wiget smiling.

Academic Excellence for All: The Wigets’ Commitment to UNC Libraries

Larry Wiget, LEC ’80, and his wife Connie Wiget found a meaningful way to them both and provide current students with opportunities to learn and grow just as Larry had.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Larry Wiget, Ed.D. ’80, was studying at St. Cloud University to earn his master’s degree in Communication and Educational Media in St. Cloud, Minnesota when he met professor R. J. DeSanto, Ph.D. who earned his doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). Unfamiliar with UNC, Larry researched the university and its programs, finding that it fit his needs as well. As Larry’s advisor, Dr. DeSanto helped guide Larry on the path to Greeley to earn his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. 

Larry credits his time at UNC with allowing him to build confidence, hone skills and open up opportunities throughout his life. It was the experiential learning he found especially beneficial. From these experiences, Larry’s academic career was punctuated with fascinating stories about trips to New Mexico to complete assignments with unconventional professors and even meeting his wife, Constance (Connie) Wiget, while completing his degree. 

“Overall, the university provided me with opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have had in my life otherwise. I had some excellent professors. One was Dr. Seager, who also became a mentor to me. I appreciate the staff and experiences I had at UNC,” said Larry. 

An event that stuck with Larry came during an internship he pursued at Red Sandstone Elementary School in Vail. While interning, he was helping fifth grade students work on a project about famous people. He asked one student if he needed any help finding information. The student responded he didn’t need help, because he was having dinner with President Ford Sunday afternoon. 

After graduating, thanks to Connie finding a job posting in The Chronicle of Education while in UNC’s library, Larry and Connie moved to Missoula, Montana where he worked as an assistant professor. After four years in Montana, they moved to Anchorage, Alaska where Larry became the library media supervisor in the Anchorage School District. He later became the instructional technology supervisor and finally executive director of public relations and public affairs where he created their government relations program. 

While living in Alaska, the state celebrated its 25th anniversary of statehood, allowing Larry to meet the individuals who wrote the constitution. Larry’s time with the Anchorage School District proved to be a time full of adventure and opportunity.  For example, through his involvement in the community he met the king of Norway, the president of Iceland, and represented the Anchorage School District in the Soviet Far East in 1989 and 1990.  

Stemming from Larry’s passion for the quality of a UNC education and his and Connie’s recognition of the importance of libraries, the pair have generously contributed to UNC’s Friends of the Libraries fund through annual contributions and an estate commitment to further improve the education that students receive. 

Connie’s first-hand experience as a librarian gave her the opportunity to personally support many students. She and Larry feel strongly that providing resources and tools that everyone in the university can access benefits the campus community on a large scale, reaching students regardless of their field of study or personal interests. They hope that through access to enhanced libraries and materials it might inspire students to develop new talents and skills. 

“Your education doesn’t end at UNC, your education just begins,” said Larry. “The rest is up to you.”

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