Dozens of Russ College alumni arrived from all over the country to tailgate, share how they create for good, and in one case, pop the question during Homecoming weekend.
“It’s been awesome,” said Debbie Burke, ChE ‘85. “I’ve gotten to see a lot of people who work for Russ College and I’ve gotten to see some old friends. So, it’s been a great day for hugs and enthusiasm,” added Burke, a Russ College Board of Visitors member.
The first female manager of engineering construction for Columbia Gas of Ohio and Kentucky, Burke said the Russ College’s dynamic of being a high quality but smaller engineering college in the midst of a large liberal arts university prepared her for the opportunity.
“You get these great opportunities to do a million different kinds of things and you also get really hands on with your engineering,” said the self-proclaimed Russ College cheerleader. “So you don’t just get to do your engineering -- you get to touch these great bits of the world before you go out and take it on.”
Recent grad Brian Davis, CE ’13, says the Russ College prepared him for his leadership position as project manager at McDaniels Construction in Columbus.
“It prepared me for leadership by putting me in difficult situations and challenging my mind, and I appreciate that, because when I’m out in the field and I’m looking at things and I have to make a decision right there on the spot, I feel confident enough in myself to make that decision.”
He also considers the college a place where he learned to create for good.
“As a civil engineer and a project manager, the thing I build, whatever it may be, is in the public’s eyes and is for the public,” he explained. “My number one goal is to please the public. Anything I do is a reflection of the public and a reflection of my company. So I want it to be creating for good.”
Scott Abramson, BSA ’07, traveled from Chicago to do more than reunite with old friends -- he also proposed to his girlfriend on Saturday.
“I chose to do it here because this was actually the first trip we did together when we first started dating -- we went to a friend’s wedding here in December 2010. So, I thought I would surprise her. I did it right by my freshman year dorm, actually.”
Two-time grad Sonja Abbey, BSEE ’10, MS ’12, said the weekend was her first Homecoming experience, and that it echoed her Russ College experience.
“The tailgating is great. I’m running into people who have already graduated. I look forward to it because it’s networking,” said the control systems engineer for DuPont, where she says she creates for good through environmental stewardship and respect for people.
What does Abbey remember most strongly about the Russ College?
“The community. I loved how I felt very close to my professors. It was always an open door policy. I could go ask them for help with classes or for advice,” she said. “Your professors really give you a lot of time, and I don’t think I would have gotten that anywhere else.”