Personalities

These UO alumni remind us that success is more than GPA



The term is finally over. But for some, the stress continues, or worsens, as we wait for what seems like an eternity for judgment day — the day our term grades, our future and our worth is decided for us.

As we count down these last few days before grades are released, let’s remind ourselves that spring break is here. Our precious moment of rest before we are hurled back into the ring should not be wasted.

So for a little well-deserved encouragement, here’s a reminder that even though it might not feel that way right now, you may be well on your way to success. These University of Oregon alumni went down in history for doing great things and making positive change. We know what they’ve created, where they’ve been published, who they worked with, but we don’t know what their GPA’s were.

Ken Kesey — Most famous for his novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Kesey graduated from the U of O in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. While here, he was a star on the wrestling team, contributing to what was then its four most successful years.

Colin Meloy — Most people know him as the lead guitarist of the band The Decemberists. What most people don’t know is he attended the U of O for two years in the mid ’90s, before returning to his home state of Montana to earn his degree in creative writing.

Ann Curry — She’s famous for her anchor roles on the Today Show and Dateline NBC. Graduating in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Curry is one of Allen Hall’s most accomplished alumni.

Tom McCall — One of seven governors of Oregon to attend the UO, as well as a reporter for KGW and the Oregonian, McCall graduated in 1936.

Pam Coats — Best known for producing the Disney film Mulan, Coats received her master’s degree in directing from the UO, before moving to Los Angeles to find success.

A few additional UO alumni worth mentioning include Ty Burrell, actor in Modern Family; Harry Glickman, founder and president emeritus of Portland Trail Blazers; Dan Wieden; co-founder of international advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy; Bill Bowerman; co-founder of Nike; and Parisse Boothe, actor in Deadwood. But there are many more where they came from.

These alumni have gone on to do many great things, from winning Nobel Prizes to helping make key decisions as representatives in our national government. And rarely do we question their academic merit.

But whatever their success, they did it through hard work and perseverance — that, unfortunately for some of us, doesn’t show through a transcript.


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Andrea Harvey

Andrea Harvey

Andrea is an arts and culture editor for the Emerald, and recent graduate of the UO School of Journalism and Communication.