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John Hensley ?02, brewmaster for Leinenkugel's, spoke to faculty and students March 3, 2023, at a...

When John Hensley ’02 took a job in the brewing industry after graduating from Carthage, it was supposed to be a temporary thing.

After gaining some experience and building some savings, the chemistry and biology major would take the next natural step in his education — maybe even medical school. He never made it there.

Twenty-one years later, Mr. Hensley holds the top position — brewmaster — for Leinenkugel’s, a well-known beer label based in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Returning to campus as a special guest on March 3, he told faculty and students it was the right career choice.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else now,” he said. “There aren’t too many unhappy people in brewing.”

Mr. Hensley shared his story with students at a lunch event sponsored by the Engineering Program and a Biochemistry class taught by Professor Erin Weber.

He’s thankful for the well-rounded education he got at Carthage.

“I really appreciated the smaller classes and personal attention we got,” says Mr. Hensley, whose friends had a much different college experience at larger universities.

The scientific knowledge helps the brewmaster regularly, as he adjusts ingredients and other chemical properties to create new recipes. An emphasis on communication in core courses has also helped Mr. Hensley become a comfortable public speaker.

Through the Aspire Network, alumni like him guide today’s students in several different ways. Faculty frequently invite them to speak in person or remotely, and many Carthage graduates participate in one-on-one mentoring.