Farewell, Blugolds

Graduating seniors make the most of their remaining time at UW-Eau Claire


Photo by Tyler Henderson

UW-Eau Claire senior Calvin Franke will graduate this semester before moving to New York to dance for a company. – Photo by Tyler Henderson

Story by Tyler Henderson, Multimedia Editor

There was a time when neither Calvin Franke nor Graham Pollack thought their paths would lead through UW-Eau Claire.

Now, Franke and Pollack will both graduate next week and leave their home of four-plus years, but both will carry their skills and lessons learned with them, they said.

Franke originally went to Luther College in Iowa, then transferred after one semester at the private college. His reason was simple, but the result was pursuing a career in what he really loved to do: dance.

“I went to Eau Claire because I had a lot of friends here,” he said. “but it was a good choice for me … I feel I’m getting a superb education.”

He supplemented his dance minor with his major in business administration, with the goal of one day becoming a fine arts administrator when his dance career is over.

Although Franke is “excited to get his little piece of paper,” he is nervous for what lies ahead as he takes a position with a dance company in New York following graduation.

“I guess making that big move is a little (nerve-wracking),” he said.

Pollack had questions about his future when he was looking into colleges. He eventually chose Eau Claire and trumpet professor Robert Baca.

“I came here not really knowing what I wanted to do, but knowing that I love playing trumpet and that I wanted a good leader and mentor,” Pollack said. “That was Mr. Baca for me.”

More than four years later, Pollack is preparing for graduate school auditions and planning for a future in trumpet performance and education, following in his educator’s footsteps. Baca’s career has been in both of those fields, as well.

If all goes well, Pollack will be attending the University of South Florida for graduate school next fall, he said. There he will be surrounded by a variety of styles of music and he hopes to continue to perform in those styles to make him a well-rounded player.

Pollack stressed the importance for young students to find a professor or mentor to learn from while studying at Eau Claire.

“Don’t come to Eau Claire for the school or for anything other than having teachers, professors, mentors for you that will help you grow,” he said. “That was the biggest thing that I found was successful for me.”