Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Family, friends, UW remember Ellefson

On another seasonally warm night in November, friends and family members gathered at the University of Wisconsin to share memories about a student whose impact on their lives will never be forgotten.

Drinking UW senior Dylan Ellefson’s favorite soda Dr. Pepper and dining on Oreos, which he ate every day before class, those who gathered to remember Ellefson shared smiles, laughter and tears as stories were told about Ellefson’s life.

A slideshow set to Ellefson’s favorite artists, Lady Gaga and Evanescence among others, showed a young man full of happiness.


Those in attendance watched as photos of Ellefson catching fish, graduating from high school and laughing with his friends flashed across the screen.

The occasional video interrupted photos, revealing a young Ellefson co-anchoring a television show. Footage included him interviewing people on the street about their favorite seasons, with Ellefson adding at the end that his favorite season was also summer.

He also played Superman on the show, gliding across the shot on an office chair, arms outstretched, cape taped to the chair back.

It was this super hero-esque desire to help the world that shone through as Ellefson’s classmates in the School of Education shared his teaching philosophy with the group.

In the philosophy, Ellefson said he wanted his love for Spanish language and culture to influence his teaching style, because if it weren’t for teachers passionate about the language influencing him, he wouldn’t have wanted to pursue the language himself.

He added he wanted his lessons to reach every student, accommodating students who learn in different ways so they have every opportunity.

“If we let one student slip through the cracks in our education system, we are failing them,” he wrote. “If we are failing one of our students, it’s not much different than failing them all.”

Ellefson’s love of Spanish and the Spanish culture motivated him to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. UW junior Kinsey Bice met Ellefson in Spain and said the two spent nearly every day together.

She said some of her favorite memories from Spain were their “Bad Movie, Good Night” Tuesdays, where they would watch bad movies before going out for the evening. 

UW alumna Brianna Glanzman said she met Ellefson in the residence halls, and said when she first saw him thought he looked like a nice, fun guy. In fact, she said to herself, “I need to meet this kid.”

From there the friendship blossomed. Glanzman said she and Ellefson had a friend who loved the candy chicks Peeps, and one day she and Ellefson decided to rub the Peeps on their faces, laughing the whole time.

She said she was sorry for the loss of Ellefson, and knew he would have made a tremendous teacher.

“He was going to change so many lives and open so many hearts,” Glanzman said.

Childhood friend Susan Kurutz said her brother and Ellefson were best friends, and cited the Nickelodean cartoon Rugrats. She said Ellefson was her “Pickles,” like the character Dill Pickles.

Ellefson’s roommate, UW senior Melissa Janssen said one of her last great memories with Ellefson was one night when he decided to make Spaghetti O’s for dinner.

She said he was opening the can and the next thing she knew, sauce covered Ellefson’s face and hair in what he called a can opener malfunction.

Ellefson’s ability to brighten her Wednesday was one of UW senior Maggie Jaszewski’s favorite memories. The two would cross paths each Wednesday, and Jaszewski would always see Ellefson, arms in the air, jumping up and down, yelling her name.

“He was always able to make my crappy Wednesday a little better,” she said.

Associate Dean in UW’s School of Education Jeff Hamm presented Ellefson’s parents with a degree, and thanked them for helping to create a scholarship in Ellefson’s name.

The Dylan D. Ellefson Memorial Scholarship will help undergraduate students planning on majoring in education, specifically those hoping to teach Spanish.

Despite the tears and sadness, those in attendance honored Ellefson’s memory, carrying it with them as they departed off into the night, where Lady Gaga could be heard on the street.

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