Steve Dustrude '73 | Alumni Board Profile

Alumni Board Member Steve Dustrude answers questions about Pacific University.

What is your favorite thing about Pacific University? 
The small size and sense of family.  When I attended in the early 70s, I knew everyone on campus by sight, if not by name and that was a great feeling.  Also, the personal interest shown by professors.  I always felt like my success was important to them.  They always had time to talk with me about classes and life. 

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Pacific community? 
Having attended a small high school (100 students) and having grown up in a small farming/logging/ranching community, I appreciated the intimacy of the Pacific community, as opposed to attending larger universities like the U of Oregon.  Also, having come from a very non-diverse community, I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of Pacific in terms of the students, not only the economic diversity, but also the cultural diversity.   

Why do you think Pacific is a high-quality place for students to attend? What do you think sets Pacific apart from other Universities? 
Again, the small class sizes, the interest by professors.  Also, the opportunities to be involved in more than just the academic side of college.  At Pacific, a student can be involved in student government, drama, music, athletics to a degree that would be much more difficult in a larger university.   

What is one thing you would change about the University if you had the power to do so? 
Make Pacific more affordable for students.  This isn’t unique to Pacific, but students today often leave college with debt that holds them down for years to come.  Another thing I would like to change is what I have noticed to be a decreased cultural diversity among students, compared to when I was on campus in the 70s.  When attending campus events while my daughter attended from 2001-2008 (undergrad exercise science and doctoral PT programs), both my wife and I saw very little cultural diversity among students compared to our experience.  I think that kind of life experience is very, very important as our world becomes smaller every day. 

What do you admire most about the University? 
At this point, I guess I admire most Pacific’s commitment to make sure Pacific is relevant, especially by increasing their presence in the health care professions.  This suggests some long-term thinking, which is key to keeping Pacific relevant to students needs.  The recent building on campus and at the Hillsboro site also impresses me; suggesting Pacific has been successful getting grants, donations of a significant nature. 

What is your fondest memory from your time at Pacific
Loaded question, but certainly meeting my future wife, Cyndy, at Pacific, is my fondest memory.

Why did you decide to take a position on the board
I was asked, and I have a hard time saying “no”.  Actually, I had thought about becoming more involved in something like this related to Pacific for a number of years, and now in retirement, I feel I have the time to do it.  Also, even more than my own positive feelings from attending Pacific, I feel Pacific was the PERFECT setting for my youngest daughter.  It was an ideal match for her. Consequently, I have felt I needed to be more involved, to “give back” in some way to a school that has been so good to my family and me.

What do you like to do when you’re not working
In retirement, I am involved in a number of education related activities in the Springfield/Eugene area, including participation on a couple of Springfield School District committees as a community member (I taught for 31 years in Springfield); being on the Springfield/Eugene Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors; being a member of the Ford Family Foundation Scholarship review committee for Ford Scholars.  I also love Oregon Duck athletics, playing golf, traveling, and reading.  My wife continues to work, so I especially enjoy when she is able to take vacation time, so we can travel.  Our most rewarding trip in the last few years was one to Russia. 

What do you think is the most important quality in a person

What is/are your favorite phrase/words of wisdom? 
I believe the following words, said by the late, great Oregon distance runner, Steve Prefontaine, to be very powerful:  “To give anything less than your very best, is to sacrifice the gift.”  

What is something you have always wanted to do
I’m not sure of the real intent of this question, but other than traveling to Norway, where my family originally came from, I guess playing golf at St. Andrews in Scotland. 

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done
Traveling to Russia, where you not only need a passport and visa, but also documents that track your whereabouts in the country.  Due to some unusual circumstances, my wife and I didn’t have the tracking documents, so while on our own in St. Petersburg, where it seemed there were police or military at every street corner, we were very nervous.

If you could have dinner with anybody who would it be
There would be a number of people, so it’s very difficult to choose one, and I’m not sure if the question is restricted to people from the past or present.  So, I would pick my paternal great-grandparents, who emigrated from the Buskarud Valley in Norway.  I would love to hear about their life in Norway.

If you could be born in a different time period, what would it be
In the future, perhaps 100 years from now.  I would love to see how the world has changed, and hopefully for the better.

What is one skill you don’t have but wish you did
Easy one.  After a rather unsuccessful attempt at piano lessons as a young boy, I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument, so I could play it today.  I am envious of people who play, as they seem to get so much enjoyment from it.  My wife and two daughters all play the flute quite well, and I feel that musical piece is lacking in my overall education.

Posted by Alumni Relations ( on Mar 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM

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