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Q&A with Jay Waldron

June 19, 2009

Lewis & Clark

In a recent address to the campus community, Trustee Jay Waldron pledged to run the presidential search process with as much transparency as possible. The Source caught up with Jay to learn about his own journey to Lewis & Clark and hear more about his approach to the presidential search.

How did you come to join the Lewis & Clark community?
I became interested in Lewis & Clark through former football players from the college with whom I played rugby. And from L&C law school graduates in my law firm. Over the years I worked out at the track, played attorney league basketball in Pamplin and attended numerous functions on the campus. Like everyone else, I became captivated by the setting and the beauty of the campus. Then, several years ago, Judi Johansen asked me to join the Board of Trustees because she knew I was interested in the school.

Can you share a bit about your background?
My background mirrors the schools at Lewis & Clark. I graduated from a liberal arts college, went to graduate education school for a teaching certificate, and graduated from law school. During that process, I received a Masters Degree in English, writing my thesis on Emily Dickinson, then worked on my Ph.D., was an instructor at the University of Virginia, and taught seventh grade in rural Virginia.

In 1974, I came to Oregon to clerk for a federal District Court Judge, and to ski. Since then I have practiced environmental and energy law at Schwabe, Wiliamson & Wyatt. I have always been committed to public service having been chair of a school board, a founder of a pro bono legal clinic, and chair of the Port of Portland Commission.

How would you describe Lewis & Clark to a prospective presidential candidate?
What’s not to like! It’s an interesting challenge intellectually, leading not only a liberal arts college, but two professional schools; it is in the best urban campus setting in the United States; all three schools are on an upward swing academically; and there are some very unique, distinctive features such as the global perspective of the liberal arts college, the environmental ranking of the law school; and the strong contribution of the graduate school to the Oregon education system. This is a school on the move with great deans and a golden opportunity to make your mark.

What will be the principal challenge for the next president?
To take all three schools to the next level. The key will be to continue the upward academic trajectory while raising the necessary funds to finance that trajectory. This is a great chance for the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees to find someone who “gets” Lewis & Clark, is comfortable in his or her own skin and will lead the entire Lewis & Clark community to greater achievements.