Notes From Under the Oaks

Over the past several months I've been part of several conversations exploring the concept of post-graduation outcomes, which now lead me to ask the question -- are you doing what you expected with your Pacific University degree?

In many cases it sure seems simple – earn a doctorate in Optometry then become an Optometrist.

Yet we have alumni like Shirley Abbott ’52, O.D. ’53 who has served as ambassador to Lesotho and as a Texas legislator. Or Irv Zemrau '62, O.D. '63 whose primary focus in recent years has been schizophrenia awareness. Or Bill Nelson '51, OD '53 who left his Optometry practice to become a tree farmer.

Perhaps it’s not so simple.

And then there are the cases no one expects to be simple. How often do philosophy or art history majors have to answer for their choice as skeptical parents and well-meaning inquirers ask “well what are you going to do with that?”

I can say from personal experience I frequently have to explain how my degree in journalism impacts my career in alumni relations – a 100 year-old profession with no associated major. The rest of the Office of Alumni Relations staff hold degrees in creative writing, social work, theater and English. There was no direct line from majors to our jobs, but I think I can speak for the entire office in saying we love our jobs.

So what about you?

Are you doing what you expected?

Did you follow a straight line or were there some twists and turns along the way?

Is this the last stop or do you have dreams of doing something very different?

Most importantly, are you happy where you ended up?

I’d love to hear your story – please feel free to share by sending me an email or by giving me a call.

We’d also love for you to share your story in person at Speed Networking or Portland Networking Breakfast. No matter what you’re doing your story will benefit current students and recent graduates.

As always please keep in touch! Send us your stories and don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

Best wishes,

Martha Calus-McLain ‘03
Director of Alumni Relations

Posted by Martha Calus-Mclain ( on Apr 12, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Edited by Rachael Burbank ( on Apr 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM

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