Man makes a career out of staying young

Call him a real life Van Wilder. Now one of People Magazine’s hottest bachelors, Johnny Lechner has been attending the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater for the last 12 years and is looking forward to number 13.

Twenty-nine-year-old Lechner loves college life and is savoring every minute that he possibly can with rumors of having his own reality show.

Originally attending college with the mindset of a four-year plan, Lechner decided he wasn’t quite ready to leave the laid-back atmosphere of college. He watched his friends graduate and wanted to stay and make more friends along the way.

Former girlfriend, Erica Ciskowski, said she had no problem with him being in school for 12 years, because she could tell he was following his heart.

“College is just so laid-back, and I love both the social side and the academic side that college offers,” Lechner said. “I’ve learned how to balance the two very well, which is a hard thing to do.”

According to Registration and Records, a student here started in the fall of 1966 and just finished classes in 2002, so extending the college years is not so rare. There were a couple gaps in her college career, but for the most part, she attended college for 30 years.

Legislation passed a law two years ago known as the Johnny Lechner law, requiring students to pay double the tuition if they have completed 150 or more credit hours without graduating. Lechner is currently up to 275 total credit hours since beginning college in 1994.

Andrea Thoma-Haney at University of Whitewater Registration confirmed that Lechner has been enrolled with them since fall of 1995. She believes Lechner came to the University of Whitewater already having a year under his belt at another university.

“It doesn’t bother me that they raised tuition because of me,” he said. “I would pay triple the tuition, because there is no substitute for the experience

of college.”

Raising tuition because of him is not the only criticism he receives in Wisconsin. The newspapers are fond of him, and he has gotten a lot of negative responses to his thirteen-

year plan.

“I understand that his behavior is not praised, but he’s a genuinely good person, and he’s not doing any of this for attention,” Ciskowski said.

His new graduation date is looking to be May of 2007 after adding one more year to his original plan to graduate this past May. Lechner felt there were more things to accomplish before leaving the safety of

college life.

Number one on his list was studying abroad which he just started as of Friday. He is completing a travel study through London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Italy. Falling in love and making a visit to the playboy mansion are also at the top of his list.

Lechner is confident about himself and his future. His confidence may have something to do with being named one of the hottest bachelors of 2006, which he is flattered about.

“Even though I know I am not really one of the hottest bachelors in the world, this was totally the highlight of my day,”

Lechner said.

He’s been a guest on shows like Good Morning America and David Letterman, been profiled by CNN and does frequent

radio shows.

Lechner also sings and plays guitar in his own band, which people can listen to on his Web site. He has put out five CDs already and will be returning to the studio in August.

All in all, Lechner is a laid-back guy who enjoys the college atmosphere.

“A lot of the time Johnny, and I would just hang out, make dinner together or watch a movie,” Ciskowski said.

According to the Web site, there are plenty of misconceptions about Lechner. It is believed that his parents are paying for everything, which he said is

not true.

They did help him a bit his first year, but he took out some student loans his first four years. He has been paying his tuition as he goes along for the past 8 years, according to Lechner.

“I’ve done everything from camp counselor to sub maker to waiter to selling my acoustic CDs,” he said. “It has been pretty costly, but the college years are worth much more than money.”

Lechner admits that he isn’t quite sure what he wants to do with his triple major and triple minor. His focuses of study are education, communications, liberal arts, theater, women’s studies and health.

“I believe that everyone is confused no matter what path they take for the future,” Lechner said.

Another misconception is that Lechner is nothing but a slacker. However, he has gotten good grades for many years, been involved in a number of organizations, been active with various volunteer work and started a scholarship program.

“I’ve been an A/B student at an accredited University where I have become quite possibly the most educated undergraduate in the world,” Lechner said.

He is also looking for anyone to drop him e-mails offering advice and support. He has an active donation system on the Web site for anyone who wants to donate toward his college fund. Donators can receive gifts like CDs and T-shirts.

Editors Note: To offer Johnny advice, listen to his music, make donations or anything else visit