Casey Ragghianti – University of Oregon
Casey graduated with his degree in Business Administration and Marketing from U of O. after transferring from Western Oregon. Post-college, he has been working at Adidas in the basketball division after having spent some time living in Arizona.
Western Oregon and University of Oregon, Class of 2016
Degree: Business Administration & Marketing Degree
How do you think being a first-generation student affect your college experience?
It made me want to work harder and prove to my family, those few that told me not to go to college, that I could do it and will succeed. I was thankful to have mentors who gave me advice, but it was still humbling and powerful to be the first in my family. I want to be able to look my child in the eye and be an inspiration for them to want to attend a university and be the best they can be.
What do you love about your specific universities?
I loved Western because of how small and connected everyone was – the honors program had fantastic professors who helped shape me into who I am today. I met some of my closest friends to this date there including my current girlfriend, Laura. I eventually outgrew the small town and it was always a passion/dream of mine to attend the University of Oregon.
UO was an amazing experience to say the least. I was challenged at a deeper level than Western due to the sheer size of classes. I had never experienced a 100+ person class before and it was pretty daunting to step into on day one. The professors in the business school, much like Western, were extremely insightful and engaging. I still communicate with a few of them to this day.
Were there any people along your collegiate journey that made a special impact on you? How?
I was so fortunate to have a strong supporting cast while in school. I had a family who brought me in during high school, Rick and Henry. As mentioned above, my girlfriend Laura and a multitude of friends I met along the way. My girlfriend, her family, and Rick and Henry were always there to support along my journey. I also was lucky to have established a close connection with Ted Gilbert, a mentor and someone I also consider family today.
It goes without saying that all the support I had from my scholarship foundations played one of the most Impactful roles. They were one of the first to believe in me and bet on my success. I’ll forever be thankful for their generosity, willingness to listen, and validation that I mattered. ”
What was the most impactful experience during your time in college?
That is a tough question. The moment I turned my tassel and became a college graduate was the most impactful. I have never really thought highly of myself based on my background, but at this moment I couldn’t help but smile and know I made it despite all the obstacles.
How did you adjust to life post-graduation?
I have been fortunate to have adjusted well since graduation. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t stress or lose night of sleep because of it. Graduation is just the beginning; the exciting life journey continues after graduation.
What have you been doing since graduation?
I moved to Arizona for a little bit but got tired of the heat and moved back. I’m now living with my amazing girlfriend and enjoying the time we have together. I currently work at adidas in their Basketball division alongside intelligent, hard-working colleagues. Don’t know what I want to do long-term, but I’m learning every day and enjoying it the best I can.
If you have ever attended our scholarship brunches, how did those go for you? Any specific memories?
I attended a few brunches and conferences over the years and met so many wonderful people. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds while in college and it’s helpful to come back down to earth and be reminded and humbled about what it is all about and to see those that come after you. It’s one thing to be told you won and another to hear someone’s story and be able to empathize with their story and be excited for their future.
What does it mean to you to have been chosen as a Renaissance Scholar?
As mentioned above, it means the world. Winning a scholarship was the first moment I had the feeling that I mattered and could succeed in life. There is no way to put this feeling into words, but it is one I will never forget. I am in the current situation position I am now because of those that took a chance on me.
Any advice for students applying for the Renaissance Scholars program?
Tell your story. I know it is easier than it sounds, but no one will know what you are going through if you don’t tell someone. I know how much pain it causes to let it all out, but the feeling you have once you do greatly outweigh the pain it takes during the process. Take it slow, one paragraph at a time – remember, this is your story and you’re the only one who can tell it.