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Yesterday in La Crosse

It was like the 60’s, when the radical priest came to UW-L, 43 years ago, yesterday in La Crosse

Brad Williams



In 1976, Father James Groppi of Milwaukee spoke on the La Crosse campus, and was back in the headlines.  Groppi had become famous for civil rights activism.  In ’76, the priest announced he had gotten married, for which the Catholic Church kicked him out because he violated celibacy rules.  Groppi said celibacy for priests should be optional, not a mandate.  

The anti-war protests of the 60’s were back in the news with the arrest of another suspect in Madison’s Sterling Hall bombing.  A researcher was killed in that U-W campus explosion in 1970.  David Fine was on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, as one of four young men accused of plotting the bombing.  One suspect, Leo Burt, still has never been found.   

La Crosse colleges were busy with summer theater in 1976.  UW-L took touring theater productions to eight towns around Wisconsin, performing “Alice in Wonderland,” “Treasure Island,” and “She Stoops to Conquer.”  Viterbo offered three summer shows at the Fine Arts Center, including Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town.” 

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