William Witmer

L&C taught me to never stop asking questions. This keeps me stimulated, on my toes, and aware of what is going on in the world.

William Witmer BA '20

Degree and Class Year

BA ’20


Phoenix, Arizona

Current City

Portland, Oregon




Student Government, Swimming, New Student Orientation

Job Title, Organization

Advocacy Specialist, Oregon Medical Association

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Integrated, Green, Curious

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

I thought it was time to live in a different state, and I wanted to continue swimming while in college. Lewis & Clark’s D3 swimming program was what I was looking for, and I fell in love with the city as well. It is so green here compared to the Arizona desert!

What have you been doing since graduation?

Since I graduated, I have wanted to work in the field of health care administration. My first job was as a residential counselor for a behavioral healthcare facility for about nine months. I learned a lot about our mental health care system. Afterward, I worked at Clackamas County’s public health department and did COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Following that temporary position, I started an internship at Genentech, a biotech/pharmaceutical company. I was interning in their patient support division to help patients get access to medications they need and how they would pay for said medications. After my internship, I worked in Genentech’s free drug program as a foundation specialist, and helped patients obtain the medication free of charge. Most recently, I started as the advocacy specialist at the Oregon Medical Association, and now I help doctors, medical students, physician assistants (PA), and PA students stay up-to-date with health care billing, legislation, and policy.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your job?

Lewis & Clark prepared me by helping me with my critical-thinking skills. All of the jobs I have had post graduation were easier and more enjoyable due to this skill. I have always had an innate sense of curiosity, but L&C really helped me hone it. For example, in my previous jobs I was able to help patients, families, and physicians figure out what their needs are and guide them in the right direction on a case-by-case basis.

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?

The most important thing was to never stop asking questions. This keeps me stimulated, on my toes, and aware of what is going on in the world.

Why did you major in biology?

I chose biology because initially I wanted to go to medical school. However, after two semesters of organic chemistry, I decided I liked health care but did not want to spend up to eight more years in school. I loved the biology program at L&C—I learned a lot and every so often something I learned in class, such as disease ecology, applied directly to my life (March 2020).

How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?

I attend the yearly alumni swim meet and go to Alumni Weekend.