As the 50-year reunion for the Class of 1971 approaches this October, at least one Wildcat grad will probably take it all in stride.
Buzz Stroud has been involved in college life almost since the fall day in 1967 when he entered Linfield following his graduation from Woodland High School in Washington state. With his degree in Communications in hand Buzz almost immediately found himself traveling the country for two years visiting college campuses on behalf of Theta Chi Fraternity as the traveling chapter consultant for the fraternity’s international professional staff.
“I had joined the Thetas my first year at Linfield and the friendships I started continue to this day,” says Buzz, who still remains involved as the president of the local chapter alumni corporation.
And while Buzz kept close to his fraternity he also was close to Linfield, joining the administration as an Admissions Counselor in 1974 and eventually serving as Assistant Dean of Admissions in 1977-78. Ultimately though Buzz wound up a the University of Portland where he carved out an impressive career in athletic administration.
“After I left Linfield I was working in commercial radio sales for several stations in the Portland area when I was hired in June of 1984. I stayed there until I retired in 2016,” Buzz said.
Buzz, who’s given name is Leon (his older sister gave him the nickname that has stuck with him since he was a little boy), was an honor student and three sport athlete at Woodland High, where he says he had a “pretty normal small town experience”. His father was a science teacher at Woodland and his mother Woodland’s librarian. Although he assisted his dad – who was also a professional photographer – camped and was fly-fishing by the time he was eight years old, Buzz was mostly into team sports.
He chose Linfield after his campus visit when Wildcat baseball player Barry Stenlund hosted him on campus.
“I wanted the small, private college experience and found the connection at Linfield with the people I met,” he said.
At Linfield Buzz was hoping to play either baseball or basketball and competed on the JV level.
“That was my hope,” he said. “but I didn’t have much success with either but I did enjoy competing and participating.
Still, he found the school an “excellent fit”.
“The small college academic, cultural, social environment and the activities I was involved with plus the relationships I developed were reasons enough to stay.
His work with the Pilot athletic programs ultimately landed him a spot in the University of Portland Athletic Hall of Fame. It is no wonder. Buzz has done just about everything from the day he started as the athletic marketing director. From ticket and advertising sales, to radio and television broadcast production, game management, to a myriad of duties as Associate Athletic Director.
Buzz oversaw the UP Athletic Hall of Fame banquet for many years as Chair of selection committee. His fellow committee members recognized his amazing contributions over the years and in 2018 Buzz joined the elite group of members when he himself was inducted.
“I was making additional copies of documentation about the finalists for the committee review and when I came in the room to convene the meeting, committee member Jim Sollars said that he would like to amend the agenda and include my nomination,” Buzz recalled. “I started to demur but he told me the decision to include me in the 2018 class had already been made and I could not rescind or postpone it.”
His energy on behalf of athletes at the University of Portland and his list of accomplishments make it no surprise he earned induction. He was UP’s Compliance Coordinator for 13 years and Tournament Director for National Championship (cross country and women’s soccer) and numerous NCAA postseason, regional championship and conference finals competitions involving soccer, basketball, baseball and golf. He also represented UP, including as committee chair, on the NCAA West Region Women’s Soccer Advisory Committee. During his tenure at one time or another he had oversight for baseball, men’s and women’s golf, tennis, cross country and track, Sports Medicine and athletic facilities.
And that is really just the surface. It was no wonder he received the only standing ovation from those in attendance at the 2018 induction ceremony.
“It was a bit surreal since I have always worked on behalf of those nominated. I have always thought of the Hall of Fame inductees as exceptional and I’m not sure I see myself in that category,” he says. “I have preferred to work behind the scenes and being among those honored was a new experience.
Even in retirement Buzz isn’t taking it easy. He has worked with the Etzel Agency in Portland to assist in the production of the Oregon Sports Awards which recognizes outstanding high school, college and professional athletes in the state.
“I’m still involved with Linfield’s chapter of Theta Chi in an advisory role,” Buzz noted.
Among all that activity he still finds time to golf twice a week and would like to play golf in Scotland or Ireland in the coming years as part of more travel.
Buzz also manages to return to the Linfield campus when he can. He is a football season ticket holder and plays in the Wildcat Open and the BWC Golf Tournament each year. And one more thing.
Buzz is a volunteer reader with the SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) Foundation. He has been a reader for 16 years first at Sutton Elementary School and more recently at Astor Elementary which is just two blocks from the UP campus.