Matthias Bollmus '02 is an example of a young alumnus carrying out Carroll’s mission of lifelong learning. He attributes Carroll for much of his accomplishments providing a diverse climate that continuously challenged him, and reawakened his desire for continuous learning.
Bollmus is a native of Germany who came to the U.S. following the fulfillment of his mandatory civil service. He arrived in Denver, Colorado studying in the international exchange program, Up With People. This international education organization works with youth in pursuit of their own global education and personal growth goals through service, music and travel. Following his youth experience with Up With People, he stayed on as a staff member for three more years. During that period he traveled to 16 countries and over 40 of the U.S. states. He recalls that period as a formative time in his life gaining an invaluable experience to leave home at a young age, live out of a suitcase, and stay with host families for four years.
Due to the amazing recruitment skills of Greet Provost '98, Director of International Student Admission, Matthias decided on Carroll for his undergraduate degree indicating it just felt right. Matthias enjoyed learning from many of the professors at Carroll—but the one that had the most profound impact on his life was Merlene Moody. She was not only was an exceptional advisor, but provided life lessons that Matthias carries on to this day. She was skilled at relating to the struggles of a non-traditional international student, and his own words, "kept me honest by calling me out when I was flat out wrong."
Moody was also instrumental in helping Bollmus find his first job. His last class at Carroll was an internship with the Milwaukee Brewers. He had long wanted a career in the professional sports field, but he quickly learned he had to go to "plan B" because of the limited pay and mobility options. Moody connected Matthias to alumnus, Jeff Cummisford '73, who owned a mortgage company. Bollmus called him up, sent him his resumè, had an interview the next day, and was hired the day after. Bollmus worked in the mortgage industry for 5 years as the Secondary Market Manager and Director of Wholesale Services. In 2007, Bollmus was looking for a change and applied for a part time position at Carroll where he ended up being offered a full-time position.
In the classroom, Bollmus is known as a strict but fair teacher always encouraging of students to take advantage of the small class sizes and the accessibility to their professors for help. He believes being a successful student is only half of the equation indicating you also need to build a strong network of people who can help you along the way. His favorite quote is "Hope is not a strategy." He emphasizes that you have to have a plan A, B, and C—and continuously work toward those goals. One cannot hope that things will work out or that things will fall into place; you need to take charge of your life.
Currently, Bollmus is an instructor in the business department. In addition to his professional and collegiate connection, he is also married to Carroll alumna, Kay (Wright) Bollmus '02. They live in Waukesha and have three children.