It has been just about five years since I graduated from SUU. Looking back, I can’t help but feel grateful to have been and to still be a part of the T-Bird family. Incredible professors that took the time to know who I was and what I was interested in. Superb staff that sought opportunities to help me and never said the words “I don’t have time to help.” Fellow students that became my closest friends (one of whom became my incredible wife!) through unique adventures in the outdoors, late night study sessions, and university events.
My experience at SUU changed me and yet strengthened my resolve in who I was. I remember sitting with some fellow students while serving as student body president during lunch talking about all of the lessons we had learned through our various leadership experiences at SUU. One person had been the president of the Service Learning Club, another had gotten involved in the Alumni Relations Team, there was also a student athlete from the golf team, and another was the student director of the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics. It amazed me that at a relatively small rural campus we had all been able to find things we were passionate about and we had all been given the opportunity to get involved in ways we never would have at larger, or smaller institutions.
SUU was truly a unique place where one morning you could be hiking a slot canyon like Kanarraville falls, for lunch you could be playing in the annual mud football game, and then in the evening you could watch a Tony Award winning theatre perform a Shakespeare play. My days as a student were never boring or dull and that is why I still look back at my time there with gratitude, especially during homecoming.
I have never missed a homecoming since I graduated because I love the feel of the campus during homecoming week. There is a sense of gratitude for the great legacy and saga of the institution. It is inspiring to think about all that has been done over the 110 years of the institution from the community mortgaging their farms to the service that students now engage in for the community. It all seems to coalesce during homecoming week and the feeling is contagious (let’s just hope it is enough to beat the Vikings).
I know that for many their years since attending SUU are for some slightly, and for others significantly greater than mine, but I would imagine we can all look to our alma mater and be proud that we were a part of the legacy that continues to grow and be excited to feel the energy on campus this week.