Born in the USA
Most people around here know that Puget Sound President Ron Thomas grew up on the New Jersey shore in a town just up the beach from where Bruce Springsteen lived, and that he is a huge Springsteen admirer and even sat behind Springsteen’s bass player, Garry Tallent, in high school. So, as our good captain’s big six-oh neared, Assistant to the President Laura Ficke began a furious correspondence with Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, which resulted in this present for our boss from The Boss. It’s a record album, the real 33 1/3 vinyl kind, on which Bruce himself has written: “To Ron. Happy 60th. I’m right behind ya!”

Blue-ribbon blogging
Bloggers of cyberspace, take hope. Someone out there is reading—and recognizing talent.

Less than two years ago Puget Sound English majors Nick Martens ’09 and Kevin Nguyen ’09 decided to consider a venue other than The Trail for writing about the things they love: film, music, travel, politics, and excellent prose. They created a blog they called The Bygone Bureau: A Journal of Modern Thought ( and quickly filled it not only with their own musings but those of additional Puget Sound students, alumni, and students from other campuses. People noticed.

On March 15 the guys were in Austin, Texas, collecting the 2009 blogging award at the South by Southwest Interactive Web Awards.

A reporter from Wired magazine noted that prizes in other categories went to big names like the photo Web site Flickr and video site Hulu. The audience response when The Bygone Bureau’s win was announced was “underwhelming,” the reporter wrote.

“We haven’t heard of us either,” quipped Martens as the duo took the stage.

The Bygone’s mission statement partly explains the reasons for the site’s success. “We believe in publishing good ideas and polished prose. We edit everything. We argue about every inch of our site because we care about details,” it says. “We know how often smart voices get lost in the overwhelming expanse of the Web. So we invited some of them here to be found.”

— Shirley Skeel

Now it’s
In late April the university’s World Wide Web and e-mail addresses changed from to The reason? As the college’s national reputation increases (these days more than 75 percent of students come from outside the state of Washington), so does confusion with that other “UPS.” No need to worry about bookmarks or address books, and UPS isn’t going away. The old addresses will continue to work pretty much forever. And alumni addresses ( and the bookstore address will not change. It’s just that now when people search for us they’ll be more likely to find the college and not the guys in the brown shorts. Think of it this way: “University of Puget Sound” is our official, formal name; “Puget Sound” is the preferred short version of that name; and “UPS” is the intimate name by which those of us who have worked and studied here affectionately refer to the University of Puget Sound.

OAR Northwest, the movie
Three years ago, Puget Sound rowing team crewmates Greg Spooner ’01, D.P.T.’10, Dylan LeValley ’05, Brad Vickers ’05, and Jordan Hanssen ’04 formed OAR Northwest for the purpose of rowing a 29-foot boat across the North Atlantic ocean in a race. After 18 months of preparation and 71 days at sea, the guys pulled into Falmouth, England, winning the contest, setting three world records, and looking quite thin. (On day 17 they discovered they had not brought enough food; they lost a collective 135 pounds.)

”There is a very human story in between those numbers,” says Jordan. Dave Robertson ’72 of Gig Harbor Boat Works designed and built the sliding seats that were critical to the team’s success. The seats have since become the design standard in the sport of ocean rowing. Jim Scroggs ’68 introduced the guys to the American Lung Association of Washington, which became OAR Northwest’s charitable partner, helping the four young men raise more than $40,000 for asthma research.   

Through it all, they kept a video log, which has been edited down into an always interesting, occasionally frightening, and often visually breathtaking feature-length documentary. The film is in the can; now the Puget Sound Office of the President and the Alumni Association are working with OAR Northwest to help find alumni who think the story is inspiring and might be able to help with distribution.

“It’s a story started by Loggers, and it is appropriate that it should be told by Loggers,” says Jordan.

Interested? To see preview footage produced by the Northwest-based studio Flying Spot Entertainment click on