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greg patton
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Greg Patton

Graduation year: 2013

Majors: Accounting and political science

Minor: Geography

Activities: Rho Nu Delta fraternity, varsity track & field, Student Government Association (SGA), Young Life, Office of Student Activities (OSA)

Post-grad plans: I plan to journey on the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries! After my journey, it would be ideal to gain employment for one of the country’s beautiful national parks.

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?

The location being two hours away from home was ideal; I fell in love with the beauty and character of the campus; I felt a liberal arts college would help me find my passions; and the men’s track program were all a huge part of my decision to become a Viking.

Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago? 

I am nowhere close to where I thought I would be four years ago. The one constant I have had at Augustana is endless opportunities to push myself to new academic, athletic and personal experiences. Mission work, studying abroad, working in a national park, and interning in downtown Chicago are all things I never would have imagined four years ago. Entering freshman year, I was planning on going into psychology and sociology, and I have never taken a class in either major! Geography swept me off my feet and revealed my passions for the natural world, and although it’s just my minor, I have spent much of my time exploring future options in the field.

Who helped you get to where you are now? 

Eric Rowell, formerly of the Career Center and now Admissions, got me my big break with my first internship. Speaking with him about my interests led me to the Associated Colleges of Illinois, an organization geared to help students from small liberal arts schools get internship experiences with not-for-profits in the Chicagoland area. Paul Olsen has been my track coach for the last four years, and his constant positivity and mentoring has been a steady guide.

A peak experience?

Studying abroad in Brazil with 30 other Augie students has been my peak experience. Discovering my passion for other cultures and out-of-the-classroom learning opportunities puts it at the top of the list. Living with a very hospitable and loving Brazilian family for two weeks made me realize that as college students we have it very lucky to be able to travel and learn in a relatively open and receptive world.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice to study abroad in Brazil.

What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you? 

For the most part, my interests and passions have not changed very much from high school. What has changed that has surprised me is the sense of empowerment that I can control the outcome of my future and pursue my ideal life in a meaningful and tangible way. Little habits like asking lots of questions and putting myself in new situations have taught me that the things I enjoy the most in life are conversations with people, self reflection and the pursuit of what makes Greg Greg. I have found a surprisingly therapeutic and calm attitude as I leave Augie on my ability to end up doing what I am meant to do even though my majors may be a little random to most people.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the people the most. Augie is an environment where I am surrounded by people from rural, urban and suburban environments, all with views and beliefs at both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between. I appreciate the fact that although the student and faculty populations are very different, we all at least superficially coexist with the common denominator of supporting Augustana whether through research, passionate lecturing or all the other functions that make this campus a prideful place to learn and grow.

"Greg is indeed a student-athlete. This captain of the track team carries a 3.6 GPA with majors in political science and accounting with lots of additional time in environmental studies and geography. In addition, his summer internship at Yellowstone National Park, his winter term in Brazil, and his four-time "All-American" status in track (with a season to go yet!) surely qualify him as ‘outstanding.’"

- Dr. Paul Olsen Professor, English Head Coach, Men’s Track & Field and Men’s Cross Country