Top Alumni moments of 2012

Written by Mark Kemball 

The Mayan Apocalypse may have passed, but the year still has a few days to run. With this in mind, therefore, here aresome informal , unordered Top Nine-and-a-Half Alumni Moments of 2012. (For the Fractional Arithmophobes, we are fully confident that at least half a moment of alumni magic will happen before Dec. 31 to bring the number to ten.)

These are all moments that signaled small victories in long-running projects, celebrated defining moments in our alumni community or just flat out made us happy in 2012.

You Re-united

Our reunion numbers were WAY up this year, thanks to almost 600 alumni and their guests who attended a reunion this year. Once again the School of Dentistry led the way, but it was wonderful to see so many friends from all schools and to catch up with careers, children, grandchildren, travel experiences and so much more.

You H.O.S.T.ed

Our alumni in the School of Medicine stepped up to the Help Our Students Travel (H.O.S.T.) program in a big way, talking with or looking after the fourth year M.D. students who are traveling on residency interviews. So far we’ve recorded 30 matches in 16 states from Alaska to Virginia. Quite apart from the shared information, our HOSTs have helped shave the costs of what is a significant additional expense for our students.

You Logged In

Our annual School of Nursing Puhaty Endowed Lecture, delivered inimitably by Dr. Patricia Benner, had a record physical and online attendance. The OHSU Auditorium wasfull, we saw over 70 logins to the streaming video (hello Chicago and Murfreesboro) and scored almost 100 tweets from Marquam Hill, New York City and places in between.We’re now working on how to replicate this response for events across the whole OHSU alumni community.

You Got Mail

After many years of patient work, email addresses became a reality in 2012 and were given to the graduating class in June. We look forward to providing an address to all alumni in 2013.

You Re-Defined Philanthropy

We continue to be inspired by the many ways in which our alumni contribute. Philanthropy comes in many forms – time, expertise and resources – and we have been honored and humbled time and time again in 2012 by the many ways we have seen it at work. From the dentist who donated not one but two continuing education lectures to the physician who dedicated Friday mornings to rating applicants for the School of Medicine to the nurse who organized and hosted a reception for the Interim Dean of the School of Nursing in central Oregon, we have witnessed countless acts of generosity and support for our missions.

We Grew Our Councils

After a number of years of no formal organization (although plenty of activity) the School of Nursing Alumni Advisory Council was not only re-established but re-energized by our volunteer leaders. Now the real work begins!

We Learned More About Our Home

Fifty-seven percent of our alumni live in Oregon, so it felt especially good to be able to travel to La Grande, Bend, Ashland, Klamath Falls, Coos Bay, Roseburg, Monmouth and Salishan to meet them. Thank you to everyone who hosted and joined us, and a special shout out to the small family of elk that walked us through the Eastern Oregon University campus in the half-light of a frosty March dawn.

We Listened

This has been a year of surveys: communication surveys in the School of Medicine, a “pulse” survey of all our alumni, and planned communications surveys of our School of Dentistry and School of Nursing alumni. Thank you to all who participated: we know completing surveys takes time and the dangling promise of an iPad drawing will only fuel so much perseverance. Your opinions really do help us.

We Awarded

The impact that our various 2012 award recipients have made was nothing short of amazing. We recognized alumni who invented the first home dialysis machine and who created the rehydration protocols that continue to save millions of cholera-sufferers; we thanked outstanding faculty members for their excellence in educating our future alumni; and we honored alumni leaders for the many ways they bring their skills, their leadership and their passions to bear on improving the health of their communities.

You Endowed

This half-moment, not technically complete until early in the new year, celebrates the power of persistence. Twenty years ago a small number of dental alumni got together to play a round of golf to raise money for a project in the School of Dentistry. Year by year others joined them until eventually they booked out an entire golf course for a half day. The result of this decades-long accumulation of drives, chips, putts and divot-replacement is the full endowment of a continuing education lecture, open to the entire dental community and free to OHSU alumni. Could we ask for a better end to the year?


Mark Kemball and the alumni relations team are proud to count almost 34,000 dentists, nurses, physicians, researchers, technicians and other health professionals as OHSU alumni. The team strives to keep them all connected with the university, with its students and with each other.

You can also follow Mark on Twitter.