Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A Lifetime of Connections

By Steve Dustrude '73
When I graduated from Pacific in 1973, I never imagined reconnecting nearly 30 years later. Other than maintaining relationships with a few college friends, following Boxer Athletic programs, and keeping up with events and people through the Pacific magazine, I really made no effort to stay “in touch.” In fact, honestly, I was rather angry with Pacific for cutting my program – Speech Pathology. 

Dustrude '73 with his Pacific family
In 1969, having graduated from a small high school in Marcola, Ore. with a graduating class of 26, Pacific’s small size seemed just right to me. I grew up on a farm where my father raised cattle, sheep and pigs, and my mother was an accounting assistant for the City of Springfield. My father didn’t finish high school and my mother did not go to college. I never could have attended Pacific if it weren’t for generous scholarships, grants, loans and work-study.

My four years, living in Mac Hall, later Clark Hall, then in a duplex near McMenamins Grand Lodge, were incredible years. I met amazing friends and had truly caring professors, participated in baseball, track and intramurals, and with my roommate, Jim Remensperger ’75, ran the football and basketball ticketing and concession stands for two years. Yes, there was football in the 70s, and at one point Pacific actually beat Linfield!

Most importantly, at Pacific I met my wife, Cyndy Schlueter ’74 and we married in June 1974.  Cyndy’s brother Jon Schlueter ‘78 and his wife, Pam (Young) ’77. Our youngest daughter, Erin Dustrude ’05, PT ‘08 spent seven years studying at Pacific. Erin recently married Joel Lampert ’05, Psy.D. ’10. The way I figure it, any grandchildren who attend Pacific ought to get a substantial tuition discount!

When I first reconnected with Pacific, when Erin enrolled in 2001, visiting campus and attending events like Lu’au, felt very familiar. I also became involved with the College of Education Consortium via Pacific’s Eugene campus, and attended meetings over a couple years representing the Springfield School District.

In December of 2009, I attended a holiday event in Eugene, sponsored by the Pacific Alumni Association. I visited at length with Eugene/Springfield Pacific alumni, also very friendly and knowledgeable staff from Alumni Relations which ultimately lead to my joining the Alumni Association Board of Directors. My short tenure on the Alumni Board has been very rewarding. I have met many alumni, faculty and staff who are passionate about Pacific and attend alumni events and football games. 

Another connection occurred recently when Pacific brought back my program. Pacific now offers an undergraduate minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. As a graduate of the previous speech pathology program, I was contacted and had an opportunity to visit with the School’s director, Dr. Martin Fischer.

With my career as a public school speech-language pathologist, I know there is a need for young professionals in this field, not only in our schools, but also in clinics, hospitals and a variety of settings. I’m glad Pacific decided to bring back this program.

My experiences at Pacific, both as a students and alumnus, have enriched my life. I encourage all alumni to stay in touch and check the university and alumni association websites to see what's happening on campus. I also encourage alumni to donate to Pacific, and choose your favorite program if you wish, attend events and contact the Office of Alumni Relations to see how you can be involved. Pacific continues to provide an amazing educational experience, enriching lives of students, alumni and the community. 

Dustrude '73 is the President Elect for the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He lives in Springfield, Ore. and has been busy over the last 33 years as a speech-language specialist in the Springfield School District.

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