Jared Zabaldo ’94 grew up between the towns of Central Point and Rainier in Oregon and Kelso, Washington, with the dream of someday serving in the military. At a relatively early age, he had heard about SOU because of his years in the Rogue Valley. He graduated Kelso HS in 1989 but moved to the Rogue Valley and started school at SOU the fall of 1990.
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Entries by kuriyamf
Spend a few moments listening to Kim Rhodes ’91 and words like love, passion, creativity and collaboration, all come to the forefront. Raised in southeast Portland, Kim found out about what was then Southern Oregon State College (SOSC), through her guidance counselor at Benson Tech High School, then travelled to Ashland for an open house and immediately fell in love with the campus and the community. “I knew right away that this was the place for me so I didn’t even bother applying to another college,” she said.
It’s not often that young people who grow up in Ashland want to stay home and attend SOU for their college education. But Esther Holbrook ’97 made the decision to stay home after graduating Ashland High School and earning a full academic scholarship to her choice of any state school. With six kids in her household, finances were tight so she decided it would be best for all if she stayed in her hometown. After all, three of her siblings, Stacie Lynn Holbrook-Krieger (‘89), Bradley Christopher Holbrook (‘89) and Trish Whitehouse (‘04) also decided to stay and become SOU alums!
Born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Kavinda Arthenayake ’90 & MS ’92, is one enthusiastic Raider. Kavinda heard about Southern Oregon State College through a high school friend, applied, then received an admissions letter directly from Admissions Director Al Blazak. A few months later, Foreign Student Advisor Bob Bennett picked him up at the Medford Airport. Kavinda had never seen SOSC’s campus – that lack of knowing the campus would change however, in a few short weeks!
Todd Hofford ’96 & ’97 grew up in Ashland and spent many hours working at the historic Mark Antony Hotel while in high school. He started out as a dishwasher and moved on to become the number one chef working for current SOU business professor Dennis Slattery ’96 and MBA ’98, after being trained by world famous Chef Christophe Baudry, who was the Executive Chef at the hotel for several years.
After growing up east of Portland in Troutdale and graduating from Reynolds HS in 2008, Molly Troupe ’12 knew that Southern Oregon University would be in her future after visiting a couple of preview days for schools where she could find a program to become a forensics anthropologist. With the great reputation of SOU’s chemistry program, she knew it would be the perfect fit.
Kelly LaChance ’96 grew up in rural Siletz, Oregon, a very small coastal community west of the upper Willamette Valley. She is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz and is proud of her Shasta and Dakubetede heritage, where her ancestors lived in the Ashland and Jacksonville area since time immemorial.
Luis Sanchez grew up in the Rogue Valley and graduated from South Medford HS in 2009, working part time at Rogue Credit Union (RCU) along the way. His SOU journey began right after graduation but he didn’t finish in four or five years as he had planned. However, he persevered and stayed with it for the better part of a decade to earn his degree, proudly becoming the third in his family to earn college degrees, all from SOU. Growing up, his father Luis, Sr. ‘09, worked graveyard shifts and went to SOU in the mornings, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2009. That same year, his sister Bea Sanchez Goldman ’09 graduated from SOU with a bachelor’s in psychology.
Born in Wenatchee, Washington, the daughter of two retired US Forest Service employees, Aly McAlexander ’12 later grew up in Christmas Valley, Oregon, graduating high school in a class of 13 students. Her journey to SOU began her freshman year in high school with her English classes’ annual trips to Ashland to see performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “I knew growing up in a small rural area, I didn’t want to go to a huge school where I could potentially become a number. So, after eating lunch on campus one year during one of our visits to Ashland, I thought SOU would be a good fit for me,” she said.