Willamette University

You’re Doing What With Your Degree?

In the fall of 2007, we had an interesting conversation with a group of alumni. They remarked that one of the most unifying characteristics among Willamette graduates is that they succeed by following unique — sometimes surprising — paths. It made a lot of sense to us, and before long we were jotting down the names of alumni who were coming to mind.

We decided to build an event around the idea. In April 2008, we organized a program at Portland’s Jupiter Hotel to recognize alumni who are doing remarkable things with their liberal arts degrees. Among the award recipients was a French major who became an entrepreneur and trains ski instructors on the side; another alumnus majored in English and is now an optician.

These alumni embody one of those fundamental liberal arts ideas: that being able to adapt in life is a necessary skill and — as they would put it — part of the fun. It was a wonderful event. The stories and outcomes we all got to hear were lighthearted and inspiring.

In the following pages, we’ve highlighted more alumni whose paths are intriguing and fun. Most of these are new stories that we’ve come across since we organized the first event, and they certainly comprise only a small sample of what’s out there (even though, at 10 full pages, this is a jumbo feature). If you’re interested in reading about more alumni, you can find their stories at the alumni relations website. The following people are connected only by their shared academic lineage. They are all Willamette alumni doing what Willamette alumni do best: whatever they’re passionate about.

2010 Event Details

The group of alumni we have showcased in this issue of The Scene are being considered, with others, for an award at this year’s “You’re Doing What With Your Degree?” program on May 20. We invite all Willamette alumni to vote for the people you feel deserve special recognition; we also hope you’ll join us at the event.

You can also nominate someone else for a future award. Just use the form at the site below and we’ll handle the follow-up. To see more alumni profiles, cast a vote for your favorite or nominate someone, go to the Alumni Relations Career Network.