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Judy Havlicek

Judy Havlicek

Associate professor | School of Social Work

During move-in week ’19, we asked UI faculty members to tell us a story about their own experience of leaving home for the first time. Here’s associate professor of social work Judy Havlicek, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Wisconsin, her master’s from the University of Washington and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

“I was 17 when my mom packed up the car to take me to orientation at UW-Madison. I had a feeling of dread because I did not want to leave my friends. Most were either going to community college or staying local and attending the University of Minnesota in the twin cities.

“However, as a single mom who worked two jobs, my mom was worried about the time to graduation of those options. Since Madison had better graduation stats, it is where she agreed to invest her hard-earned money. No discussion.

“We unpacked my belongings, and then decided to have lunch on State Street. We sat outdoors and my mom was trying to cheer me up when we heard what sounded like chants and protests coming down the street. We were both surprised to see about 50 women — many without shirts — protesting the right to go shirtless like men in public. Neither my mom or I had ever witnessed women protesting in our small town.

“Then my mom turned to me and said: ‘I mean, what’s there not to like about Madison?’ That was that.

“It turned out she was right. Madison and college drove home the idea of speaking up and out early and often and showing others my colors.

“For this, I am forever grateful.”