Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight attended the University of Oregon before founding Nike and revolutionizing the athletic shoe trade. Ann Curry was a journalism major here before she went on to cover wars and work with journalists the likes of Brian Williams. And before Ty Burrell was part of an Emmy award-winning ensemble cast on “Modern Family,” he called Oregon home.
Earlier this year we posed a simple question: Who among us will change the world after life at the University of Oregon?
You replied. And from those responses came the 25 Ducks contained in the pages that follow. They express the gamut of interests and specializations the university is known for, from music to business, journalism to human services. These folks have already made a noticeable impact on their respective and overlapping communities and were nominated by the people whose lives they touched.
They’ve travelled the world. They’ve created clubs and other organizations. They’ve raised money for charities, social services, fraternities and sororities, and proven that one person can make a difference. These are the movers and the shakers, the future leaders of the world. They embody the mission of not just the UO but of any educational institution, from preschools to middle schools, high schools to colleges and universities: They are the future.
These people come from a variety of backgrounds. Some of them attended the university for all four years of their academic careers while the number of months others have been with us can be counted on two hands. Arsalan Kazemi, Oregon basketball standout and Iran native joined us fall term 2012. But his ambition to strengthen ties between his home country and the U.S. make him worthy of these pages.
Brandi Freeman has been here just as long and made an impression on programs such as Alpha Phi Omega and Ducks After Dark. After struggling with an alcohol addiction for years, she decided to go through a 12-step program and make her way down to Eugene.
Jason Irrgang also struggled with drug addiction for a time before he decided to enroll at Lane Community College then transfer to the UO. Now he’s helping at-risk youth avoid the same vices and subsequent consequences he faced before deciding to turn his life around.
And Lindy Mabuya has made it her life mission to help others. Hailing from South Africa, Mabuya has spent four years at the UO and intends to attend law school upon graduating in 2014 with her sights set on issues of poverty and inclusion on a local and international scale.
So who will be the next Ken Kesey? The next Steve Prefontaine? Five former Oregon governors — John Kitzhaber included — walked away from this campus, degree in hand. Just how far will these 25 Ducks go?