So summer has officially arrived in the Pacific northwest and I always laugh as the re-emergence of the sun brings out the vampire tendencies in hard core Oregonians as they shield their eyes and run in doors. Personally, I welcome the sun but with the sunshine comes a bit of bad news this year. This week marks the last week for the incomparable Jeanne Sutter, our School of Medicine administrator extraordinaire as she moves back to the east coast to pursue a Master of Arts in Food Studies in Pittsburgh. Her departure is a mixed bag for me because while I’m unendingly excited for this new chapter of her life I am also very sad, both for our collective loss in the School of Medicine and for my personal loss of a friend and ally here on campus.
Jeanne has worn many hats during her tenure at OHSU and she made an indelible mark on me my first year of graduate school as our program coordinator. I first met her during my interview week where she wrangled all of us frazzled prospective students with ease, scheduled faculty interviews, coordinated transportation, and tried (rather unsuccessfully I might add) to get me to an interview in Shriner’s without getting drenched by the rain. While this was a small encounter it was memorable, because when I officially joined the ranks at OHSU Jeanne was not only the first face I met but she fielded my barrage of first year questions with patience and in retrospect was my first friend on campus as well. She was very much our den mother first year and continually goes above and beyond for her co-workers and graduate students. She’s answered every question I’ve posed her, waved late registration fees for me, alerted me to free food, and counseled me (and I’m sure others) through several ugly-cry breakdowns about the trials of graduate school.
Now there is most likely a faction of you out there wondering why you should care about my rambling reminiscences, but my divergence comes with a purpose. For my fellow current graduate students and co-workers this is a formal request that you send Jeanne an e-mail, comment on this post, or go visit her to let her know she’s impacted you in some positive way. For incoming/prospective students and those looking to get a feeling about graduate studies at OHSU my respect for Jeanne and the caliber of her work is a perfect example of the supportive network of folks that exists here on campus. I was as panicked as a person can be about moving to a new city and starting a competitive graduate program but I was quickly put at ease by the community of people here, including but not limited to Jeanne, who bent over backwards to make my transition easier. I’m not sure every top ranking graduate institution can say that. Congratulations and good luck to my good friend Jeanne, you will be missed!