Steve Sandstrom, '78 has made it his life's work to imagine possibilities both for himself and others. Today, this charismatic CEO uses his unique vision to redefine and create identities for brands marketed worldwide. Yet, he came to the university as so many other young people do - with energy, enthusiasm and a dream.
As a student, Steve served as graphic editor of the Oregon Daily Emerald where he developed the mischievous cartoon character Mallard Drake. The cartoon, called "Duck Soup," was so popular that students and faculty started a movement to replace the existing mascot with Drake. Although the movement gained enough momentum to lead to a university-wide vote on the issue, the proposal was soundly shot down by a 2 to 1 margin. But to Steve this was not a set-back, only harbinger of big things to come.
Not long after graduation Steve landed a job with Nike where he worked as Senior Art Director and worked magic on several athletic apparel lines including those inspired by Michael Jordan. Eventually though, Steve felt he needed to strike out on his own which led him to found Sandstrom Design in 1990. Today, Sandstrom Partners is known world-wide as an award-winning brand design firm with clients ranging from ESPN and Coca-Cola to Full Sail Beer and Tazo Tea. Walking into Steve's office in downtown Portland, visitors enter a colorful world filled with creative marketing displays and award trophies so plentiful, they're overflowing their shelves.
A pivotal event occurred during Steve's time on campus that affects him even today.
Although he'd worked every summer to pay for tuition and living expenses, affording college wasn't without challenges. During his senior year when finances were especially tight, a $500 scholarship from the Department of Art came when he needed it most.
Steve takes every opportunity to acknowledge both those who made his university education possible and those who made his experiences rich and meaningful. "I received a well balanced education at the university where my professors challenged me to do better and pursue my interests" he says.