winter 2008 Edition
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For our Alumni

‘Old Boys’ Rejoin Willamette’s Rugby Tradition

RugbyAlumni sporting events are commonplace on college campuses, but people tend to notice when the competition involves that grizzliest of sports: rugby.

In September a group of former WU rugby players known as the Old Boys (whose name is really more affectionate than it seems) helped the Willamette Rugby Football Club (WRFC) celebrate its shared sporting tradition. Alumni from years past joined the current rugby squad for a high-spirited reunion match at McCulloch Stadium, where the newly energized WRFC has met with remarkable success in the last few years.

alumni travel program

Full 2009 Schedule Now Available

In the last edition of The Scene, we reported on three of 2009’s Passport to Learning alumni trips: Wonders of the Galapagos ( Jan. 30–Feb. 7), Paris and Normandy (April 25–May 3) and Aegean Adventure ( June 12–24).

The remainder of the 2009 schedule has been set. Below are the trips that will round out the full schedule — but be sure to check online for details on these and future trips.

Shakespeare in Ashland July 9–12, 2009

Shakespeare in AshlandA recurring favorite, Shakespeare in Ashland, is a time to celebrate one of the state’s true gems: the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Join your friends and enjoy incredible performances by world-class actors — right in our own backyard.

Shakespeare in Ashland is one of the most popular and affordable trips we’ve ever offered. If you’re versed in Shakespeare — or if you’d like to be — this is your opportunity to broaden your horizons while staying close to home. This trip fills up quickly, so book now.

South Pacific French Polynesia Cruise Oct. 29–Nov. 7, 2009

South Pacific French Polynesia CruiseIf autumn’s chill has you dreaming of a dose of summer, take note: Next fall you could be cruising the South Pacific, discovering the cultures and people of French Polynesia and the Tahitian Islands — and the unrestrained natural beauty that comes with the territory.

Based from the small but luxurious Pacific Princess cruise ship, this trip will prove to be one of the more memorable adventures for the alumni travel program.

Canada’s Atlantic Coast Sept. 29–Oct. 8, 2009

South Pacific French Polynesia CruiseIEastern Canada is truly a destination on the rise, and this trip — new for 2009 — will be perfect for alumni and friends who want to see Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

One highlight of the trip will be a visit to Cape Breton Island and the famous Cabot Trail, whose rugged, mountainous beauty promises one of the most scenic and refreshing drives on the Atlantic Coast, especially given the colorful time of year.

Further details about these and upcoming trips can be found by logging onto the travel program website. You can also contact Jim Booth ’64, senior director of alumni relations, at or 503-370-6746.

career network spotlight :

The Modern Professional's Career Guide

Stacey LaneIn October the Career Network produced a new alumni workshop series called The Modern Professional’s Career Guide. Aimed at Willamette alumni who are in the midst of a job search or who want to explore their options down the road, these workshops were held at Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) Portland campus in the Pearl District.

The series, organized and presented by Stacey Lane, associate director of alumni and career networking, is intended to answer the common questions — and alleviate the common worries — associated with the job search process. Already more than 60 alumni have taken part in the workshops, and many have attended several or all of the meetings.

Here’s a glimpse of what each workshop is all about. We’re thrilled that our alumni have supported the Alumni Career Network so eagerly and continue to provide us with the energy to keep expanding. As always, stay tuned for many more events and services to come in the near future.

Session 1 — Brand You: Positioning Yourself in Today’s Job Market

You know you could do that job, if only you could figure out a way to get there, right? Learn ways to survey the professional environment for new opportunities to use your unique expertise (even if you don’t think you have any), evaluate your most marketable skills and experience, and strategically position yourself for a new career or an improved opportunity.

Session 2 — Marketing Yourself (especially if you’re shy, introverted or marketing-averse)

Find it difficult to talk about yourself? Most people do. But modern professionals are savvy communicators with targeted resumes, relevant cover letters and online application smarts. Learn how to stand out from the competition without sending silly packages to the hiring manager or wearing a gorilla suit to the interview.

Session 3 — Don’t Be That Guy: Network like a Pro

We’ve all met him. He gets your business card, tells you how fantastic he is, and calls you the next day to ask for a job. If that’s what you think networking is, we need to talk! Learn a whole new way to think about networking — including some tips on using the Willamette Career Network and social networking sites to maximize your results.

Session 4 — Insider Secrets: Tapping into the Hidden Job Market

Did you know that more than 80 percent of all job openings are never advertised? Get real advice and examples on tapping into the jobs you won’t find online. Find out what recruiters and hiring managers are really looking for. Learn how to make an impeccable first impression and target the right companies at the right time.

Session 5 — Ask Stacey Anything

Stacey LaneYou’ve got questions, and the Career Network’s resident career coach, Stacey Lane, has answers. Concerned about your resume? Need help finding a specific networking contact? We’ll also discuss common mistakes professionals make and how you can avoid them.

To learn more about these workshops and other Career Network events, visit or contact Stacey Lane directly at or 800-551-6794.

what’s for dinner?

Sam Elliott is one of those admirably quiet actors. He usually speaks to us from the shadow of a worn cowboy hat in bigscreen Westerns, but he’s also served as the rugged purveyor of the beef industry’s branding messages. In those familiar commercials, he tells us “what’s for dinner” with a drawl so seductive it’s hard to imitate.

But despite the marketing hook, recent discussions about our food choices can make us wonder: Is beef still on the table?

jack WilsonJack Wilson ’52 and his wife, Meredith, have made a fruitful life’s work out of raising cattle in Oregon’s expansive eastern half. The longevity of the family business, now in its fifth generation and run by Jack’s son John and nephew Jim, says something about the sustainability of the industry as a whole.

Despite the beef industry’s reputation for moving about as quickly as the animals it raises, Wilson articulates the continual need for ranchers to adapt. Wilson Cattle Company is a case in point. As the beef industry has been shaped by a dramatic recent increase in the scale of production, with large conglomerates either absorbing or brushing aside small farms, Wilson’s company has grown to keep pace. Wilson Cattle has joined others in conscientiously marketing their products to answer consumers’ concerns and provide fresh incentive to eat local beef. As governments have enforced stricter environmental regulations, Wilson has used them to generate a discussion and, ultimately, reaffirm a set of priorities his family’s business has always shared.

“ Most ranchers are realizing that, instead of just selling a commodity, we now have to brand our products,” Wilson says. Wilson Cattle has joined a group of Northwest ranchers in a co-op known as Country Natural Beef. The brand label guarantees the beef to be free of hormones, antibiotics and other additives. Health-conscious consumers buy it for reasons beyond flavor.

But maintaining a commitment to quality and building a brand identity are only parts of the equation. When asked about the daily worries of the job, Wilson’s response is one that resonates with the Willamette community: sustainability.

“In the last 20 years, we’ve focused on being environmentally aware,” he says. “We’ve always believed in it, but there are new methods of achieving it.” And ranchers would know. They are necessarily connected to the land in ways most businesses are not, and environmental preservation is both an ideological issue and a purely pragmatic one. Wilson welcomes government oversight of the industry. “There’s been a need to regulate,” he says, and while those regulations can be cumbersome, many of them ultimately serve the best interests of ranchers.

Bonnie West (mother of Stacy West ’06), project director with The American National Cattlewomen Inc., also appreciates the working relationship between the industry and regulators. Wilson’s business is a good example, she says, that “[ranchers] live on their land for decades — sometimes centuries in the same family. If they don’t take care of their water and land, they wouldn’t still be there.” In a sense, she says, “they could consider themselves the original environmentalists.”

Of course the relationship between ranchers and government isn’t always seamless. Sometimes regulations that are meant to be environmentally mindful can end up missing the mark. “One example is when the EPA was trying to put up nationwide particulate regulations,” West recalls. “What it meant to a rancher in Texas or Wyoming was that they couldn’t herd their cattle if the land was dry because they would create too much dust. [But] if the land is dry, that’s when you need to move your cattle to different pastures so you don’t over-graze.”

The challenges of getting cattle to market have changed dramatically from the days of warding off rustlers during long cattle drives. Today ranchers survive on flexibility and innovation as they seek to meet regulatory requirements, adapt to economic changes and appeal to consumers who make food choices based on increasingly complex factors.

Just ask Jack Wilson — beef is still on the table.