Grad Guide 2017: Notable UO alumni
In honor of the upcoming graduation ceremony, the Emerald has a complied a list of notable University of Oregon graduates.
Randy Shilts (1951-1994):
After working at the Daily Emerald as an award-winning managing editor, Shilts came out as gay and began lifelong work as a social justice journalist. While he struggled to find full-time work at first as an openly gay man, he started his career working for LGBTQ magazine The Advocate. In 1981, Shilts earned the position of national correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. He also wrote the groundbreaking biography of openly gay politician Harvey Milk, “The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk.” Shilts devoted much of his time and remaining life as a journalist covering the medical and social impact of the AIDS crisis.
An acclaimed author of more than 20 books, Chuck Palahniuk graduated from the University of Oregon in 1986, after which he worked in Portland for a local newspaper before leaving journalism and working a series of odd jobs. He began writing fiction in his mid-30s. His first novel, “Fight Club,” is his most well-known; filmmaker David Fincher brought it to theaters with a critically lauded 1999 adaptation starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Palahniuk’s work, which has been labeled “nihilist” by some critics, continues to be published. His latest narrative project, “Fight Club 2,” is a graphic novel.
Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Patty Larkin fit right in with her family of musicians, where she self-taught herself guitar and experimented with pop and folk songwriting before coming to the University of Oregon as an English major. She played music in local coffee shops in the Eugene area before graduating and moving to Boston where she could fully devote herself to music. Larkin has produced 14 albums, her most recent being “Still Green” in 2014. At age 65 she is still touring around the country and sharing her gentle nature and confident spirit with all those willing to listen.
Before she was the co-star of the FX hit-comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Kaitlin Olson did the same bar crawl many other University of Oregon students have, even having her fake ID taken from the bouncer at Rennie’s. But that didn’t stop her from earning her degree in Theatre, which started her career in the TV industry. She picked up her first role in 2000, when she starred in the horror film “Eyes to heaven.” Since then, Olson has become known for her over-the-top characters and crude, improvisational humor.
Watch the Emerald’s interview with Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney below:
First known by his acting and radio persona Don Sturdy, Hesseman is a University of Oregon attendee who’s been acting since 1968. Born in 1940 in Lebanon Hesseman attended UO before moving down to San Francisco to start his comedy career, where he was a founding member of the improvisational comedy troupe The Committee. He is best known for his role as Charlie Moore in the 1986 sitcom “Head of the Class” and the 1978 sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” as DJ Dr. Johnny Fever. His most recent role was Vespucci from the 2016 comedy “Wild Oats.”
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