Careers don’t always proceed in a straight line. In fact, they are often more interesting and more rewarding when they meander a bit. In this issue of "OU Magazine", several of our stories take a look at people moving purposely toward a goal, but getting there in their own time and in their own way.
One of our featured alumni, Gregory Walterhouse, knew he wanted to go into management, but wasn’t too sure of exactly where that would take him when he enrolled in Oakland’s business school in the mid-1970s. He got an unexpected answer in an unexpected way: When he was a senior, he took a part-time job with the Rochester Hills Fire Department as a firefighter. His intention was to get some professional experience, give something back to the community and earn extra money. He got a whole lot more than that. He discovered that he loved public service and spent the next 28 years with the department, moving eventually into the top position of fire chief.
You’ll find others in these pages that made similar discoveries that helped them along the way. The Oakland County judge who, as a college student, had trouble getting to class, now uses his position to help youngsters in his community stay on the right road; the mayor who spent 24 years as an educator is now using that knowledge to help turn his hometown around; and the up-and-coming pop star who took a business degree and a lot of raw talent, established herself as someone to watch in today’s music business.
Maybe it comes down to the idea that life takes unexpected turns, but fundamentally, college, no matter how straight away the curriculum, teaches you how to think. So if getting from A to B requires a hook and ladder, grab your hat, boots and hose and head on in — after all it’s what you went to school for.
Lillian Lorenzi, editor