The drive to succeed
Back in 1983, I would have found it difficult to believe the Ducks would end 2013 with a 10-2 football season … especially since we had just battled the Beavers in a 0-0 tie at Autzen Stadium. But all along, the alumni have believed. That, in turn, encouraged the team to believe in itself. The drive to achieve personal success, and the spirit to make a difference, is the very essence of what it means to be a Duck.
With so many alumni out there, I could tell 185,000 different stories about Ducks who have made a difference in themselves and others. It’s wonderful to know there are so many of us taking flight and leading the way. Here are just a few examples:
- My wife, Lisa. She enrolled in the UO’s College of Education to make a difference in the lives of children. And she’s done just that, transforming fifth graders throughout her teaching tenure in Eugene.
- The four Ducks who set out to make a difference in catsup—my favorite condiment. Kurt Barajas, Karen Bonner, Shannon Oliver and Jessica Zutz Hilbert, all young alumni, looked at the ubiquitous condiment and said, “We can make it different and better.” They sure did.
- Tiana Tozer, an alumna who embodies the very spirit and essence of being a Duck. She fought back after a life-changing accident more than a decade ago, and she continues to motivate the lives of tens of thousands with her inspirational story.
- John Dahlem, an alumnus who played freshman football for the UO before serving in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star. Now retired, Dahlem hasn’t slowed down one bit: he volunteers at schools, brings a paralyzed fraternity brother to a Duck football game each season, and in 2010 climbed Mt. Everest with his son, Ryan.
The spirit to make a difference and push for personal success is the very essence of what it means to be a Duck. It’s also what makes me proud of our student-athletes, who have worked so hard, both off and on the field, and brought home an incredible record this football season. Let’s all reflect on that spirit as we, ourselves, strive to bring forth change in 2014.
Way to go, Ducks! See you in San Antonio.
Tim Clevenger ’86