We’ve started a new series, featuring grads that have ended up doing a pretty wide variety of things after leaving their REL classes (graduating either recently or a little while ago). So we posed a few questions to each and let’s see what we learn.
1. When were you enrolled at UA and what major(s) and minor(s) did you graduate with?
I enrolled way back in 1992, and I earned a BS in Business Management.
2. When you first came here from high school, what did you think you wanted to do for a career?
I wanted to be a psychologist.
3. Any memories from your REL classes in Manly Hall that stand out and, more importantly perhaps, that you can share without incriminating anyone?
I did not discover the Department of Religious Studies until I was a senior. If I had found REL sooner, I would have taken more than one class. Our class was divided up into small groups. Each group was assigned a major world religion, and we were asked to teach the basics of that religion to the rest of the class. I was in the Buddhism group and found inspiration in the concept of the middle way. Virtue is a mid-point between polar extremes. It was completely different than the spectrum we typically use in the West where good is on one side and evil is on the other. Instead, balance was healthy and virtuous, and extremes were harmful. Courage was a mid-point between cowardice and recklessness. A healthy diet was a mid-point between gluttony and starvation. I did not become a Buddhist, but I did gain a new perspective. I was (and I still am) skeptical of supernatural claims, but I did gain an appreciate for Eastern philosophy and religion.
4. So what have you ended up doing and what path led you there? Tell us a little about your career now.
I am the Director of Risk Management here at UA. I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity four years ago to work for my Alma mater. And that lesson about the middle way is still with me. Finding the middle path between cowardice and recklessness is a great description of what risk managers do daily.
5. Is it fair to think that some of your REL undergrad classes or skills continue to be useful to you? If so, do you have any examples?
I’m a step ahead of you. See number 4.
6. If you now gave some advice to your earlier self, the one in classes in Manly Hall, what would that be?
I would give advice to my freshman self: Take more REL classes. Perhaps get a minor or a double major.