SOU Alumni News Archives

Burton Weast ’72

Navy veteran turns campus academic and social experiences into lifelong success

Burton Weast ’72 grew up in the northern California coastal town of Crescent City, attended Del Norte High School then attended College of the Siskiyous in Weed, CA and Humboldt State University (HSU) in Arcata, CA. During his fifth year at HSU, he got his draft notice so immediately joined the US Navy, hoping to avoid Vietnam altogether. He was trained as a radioman and ended up doing two tours in the combat zone. After earning his honorable discharge, he met his future wife Ann in Brookings and after doing a summer school term in Ashland at Southern Oregon College, they enjoyed it so much that they decided to stay.
Scott Hudson

Alum circumnavigates the globe twice in long US Navy career

Unless they’ve lived it, most of our community doesn’t understand or conceptualize how difficult making a career of service in the armed forces is. For Raider alum Scott Hudson ’99, it’s an easy thing to understand because he’s lived it for 25 years. Scott graduated from Ashland High School in 1992 then joined the US Army shortly thereafter. He trained in air defense artillery and soon was stationed with the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii and was also deployed to Haiti.
Gwendolyn Bogard

Chemistry alumna helps advance science through communication

Gwendolyn Bogard ’20 grew up in the Philomath and Corvallis areas and loved her high school science courses and trips to the Oregon coast. She also enjoyed the performing arts, balancing her love of playing the violin and taking theatre courses as well. With her lab work in high school not so appealing, she focused on theatre arts as she looked for colleges. With SOU also having a thriving Honors College with cohorts added every year, she applied thinking she would major in theatre arts.
Cynthia Pemberton

Alumna works hard to overcome dyslexia then becomes a college president

Dr. Cynthia Pemberton MS ’83 grew up in Medford then headed off to Willamette University in Salem where she competed as a student-athlete in swimming and earned degrees in biology and psychology. Her initial small-college experience would have a deep impact upon her entire career and life.
Helen RedBird-SMith

Elmo’s School: Dr. Helen Redbird-Smith’s Journey through Education

A love of learning is in her bones, said Helen Redbird-Smith ’51, member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a professor emerita of Western Oregon University. “Cherokees are notorious for education. We are driven by wanting to know,” said Redbird-Smith. Though she is long retired, Redbird-Smith still finds joy in learning and education, taking classes in film, science, Japanese, and philosophy.
MSEE program students

MSEE program brings geographic diversity and experiential wisdom to campus

The beauty and diversity of our region in southwest Oregon is what makes it so attractive for residents and tourists but it’s also a lure for SOU graduate students in the Master of Science in Environmental Education (MSEE) program.

SOU Alumni Association launches Raider Network platform

The SOU Alumni Association has launched a networking platform for all Raider alumni and students with our partner, PeopleGrove. The new platform will generate hundreds of new connections and provide insight and accessibility in new and engaging ways.
Carrie Kirkley

Non-traditional alumna’s hard work and remarkable achievements pay off for healthcare patients

Carrie Kirkley ’16 took the long road to SOU after growing up in Sacramento, CA, but her accomplishments as a non-traditional alumna are second to none. Carrie’s father was battling cancer for seven years about the same time Carrie’s first son was born in 1997. Sadly, her father passed two years later when she was nineteen but the hard work, dedication and compassion of his nurses, inspired her for a lifetime. 
Mark Cogan

Alum applies SOU and United Nations experiences to his university teaching in Japan

Mark Cogan ’04 grew up in Gold Beach on the Oregon Coast and attended and graduated Gold Beach High School. His first full time job right out of high school was as Webmaster for Wind Tracks magazine, which covered windsurfing on the Pacific coast and across the country. Before pursuing higher education, he worked for a country living magazine, followed by a year at the Medford Mail Tribune as a Publications Specialist.
Hilary-Morgan Watt ’09

Alumna’s Schneider Museum of Art experiences on campus, helped lead to a career at the world-famous Smithsonian in Washington, DC

It’s not often that small-town Oregonians have the opportunity to help manage and promote world class exhibits in one of the most bustling cities in the world, Washington, DC, all while working at the legendary Smithsonian.