The Fruits of Love and Hard Work

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Krista and Robert 2014

UCC graduate learns that individual success is often shared.

How do we measure individual success? If finding true love makes one successful, then Robert Johnson did indeed hit the success jackpot. While attending UCC, Johnson met the love of his life. All of the success that followed: graduating from UCC with an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree (emphasis in Communication), a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University in political science and subsequently a law degree from the University of Oregon. These are the fruits of this love.

Looking at Robert’s list of accomplishments, one would never imagine that the odds were against him. Johnson's parents were heroin addicts that left him an orphan at 20. He graduated from high school with a 1.7 GPA, fourth-grade reading skills and a learning disability.

Krista and Robert 2008What became the catalyst for Robert’s personal success? He explains it simply, "I met my wife, Krista, the summer of 2006. She grew up in the Roseburg area, and I had recently moved here to play basketball for UCC. So much had already happened in my life up to this point that I felt college was not supposed to happen for me. Even after I arrived at UCC, I doubted whether or not I could do it. Luckily, God brought my wife Krista into my life. While taking a course together, Krista noticed that I would stumble through or improvise when reading class material. At this point she began reading to me and teaching me how to read. We spent many late nights going over assignments and readings. These are the moments that cannot be found on a transcript. Krista showed me the importance of an education and how I had to complete my degree and graduate. There were job opportunities that presented themselves while I was a student at UCC. These offers were enticing and came with paychecks we could have used, but Krista always encouraged me to stay on track and look forward to something bigger. Krista earned her degree from UCC while working three different jobs. She didn’t have financial support to pay for school, but she knew there was something better coming in the future. Her work ethic was unmatched, and she always inspired me to keep pursing my goals. That sort of selflessness drove me to fall in love with Krista. I knew that I had found someone that I could love forever."

Johnson’s success also stems from other people that he met during his time at UCC. "There are a few other people I would be remiss if I didn’t mention. Mike Matteo, Paula Usery, and Cheryl Yoder also played a significant role in my success at UCC and beyond. They challenged me, watched me struggle and overcome, and through the years have become family. I am truly blessed to have a support system like I do, and I have UCC to thank for many of these relationships."

Robert goes on to explain, "If there is one thing I could tell students at UCC, it would be this; getting through college, and life for that matter, is not designed to be attempted alone. There will be many moments throughout your time as a student that you are going to need a helping hand, and the good news is, those people are available at UCC. I encourage you to develop your support system. Don’t forget where you came from, look forward to where you are going, and remember there are people every step along the way."

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