Willamette University

The WU Connection

As if you needed any more incentive to attend alumni events or come back for Alumni Weekend, let’s observe the tangible ways alumni and friends help us all out.

For instance, by creating the WU goodies we enjoy giving out so much and providing us the space to host our events.

Ron Koskondy ’88 is one of many people who make a living perfecting the promotional materials that endear businesses and universities to their audiences. The business economics/ sociology major went on to create GELZEEZ, a series of USB thumb drives encased in figures that scream school spirit (see left, top). The drives themselves are removable, adding utility to a product that is already very handy, and the Office of Alumni Relations recently teamed up with the Office of Student Activities to offer Bearcat editions to all incoming students (they need somewhere to store all those papers). Alumni at events can still score some, too.

“It’s been quite a process trying to make these work,” Koskondy says. “I wanted to be an entrepreneur before college, but Willamette taught me how to ask smart questions and adapt. Working with partners in China, that’s what it takes.”

Alongside Koskondy and the GELZEEZ is Sarah (Bischoff) Knepper ’97 of Jumping Ink Promotions, who has been with us for several years providing giveaways like WU-branded gum, hand sanitizers, various writing implements and plenty of imaginative T-shirts over the years.

And speaking of events, remember the Portland holiday reception a couple months ago? We were able to hold it in the spectacular ZGF Architects building in downtown Portland in part because of Trustee Bob Packard ’73. The vintners and brewers who provide adult beverages at Alumni Weekend? They’re all alumni connections, too. We partner with alumni for many other projects and venues, but you get the idea.

Next time you attend an event or pick up some swag, remember that these are WU-family productions.