Cort Brazelton has never regretted choosing Oregon State University over the Ivy League schools he was also considering for his undergraduate education. In fact, because he was in OSU’s Honors College, he is convinced he had a better experience than his friends who went to big-name colleges on the east coast.
“They didn’t have the smaller classes, the quality time with and access to professors, or the rigor, in their first three years,” Cort says.
“I remember sitting in an elective class with nine students, from every field. It was an entertaining class which sought to apply the thinking behind chaos and string theories to business,” Cort recalls. “The class itself was a bit unruly but fascinating! It was my introduction to a truly high-level intellectual and multi-disciplinary environment – very cool and even more intoxicating than the subject. The class became less about business and more about life and the world.”
After graduating from Oregon State in 2003 with an Honors Bachelor of Arts in history and a minor in German, Brazelton attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies, with linguistic specialties in Spanish, German, and Italian and a specialization in macroeconomics and policy. He then worked in management at Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates and was later partner in a consultancy for agriculture investors.
He is now the Director of Global Business Development for Fall Creek Farm and Nursery Inc., the largest blueberry nursery and blueberry genetics company in the world.
Although “it couldn’t be farther from what I do now,” Cort also does not regret his Honors thesis topic on the end of the Mediterranean Bronze Age, ca. 1200 BC., 1300’s Bronze Age archaeology and classical history. “The process of the thesis project was so valuable to me,” he says. “That, and all the tools developed in a liberal arts education, still informs how I help run this global business and navigate the world.”
In 2014, Cort joined the HC Board of Regents with ideas to help preserve and expand what made his HC experience so successful.
“Technicians are important, and people can learn sciences, but we also need creative thinking and people able to understand the global economy and cultural context,” Brazelton says. “My time studying abroad helped me become a global citizen; when I graduated summa cum laude, I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I did know I wanted to connect with the world.”
Since taking on leadership in his family’s business, he has worked throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa leading the development of new partnerships and the creation of new wholly owned subsidiaries in these territories.
He is excited for the HC to bring in more international students and create new opportunities for global engagement, to help students become “better, well-rounded people.”
The Honors College, he believes, can be key in “keeping Oregon’s best and brightest in the state and bringing in others who will stay in Oregon.” He hopes these students will be prepared to support their communities once they leave OSU.
Cort himself is settled in Eugene, with his wife and son. While his business keeps him more than occupied, he too strives to stay well-rounded as an avid fly fisherman and musician.
“In the Honors College, I see a program that provides an affordable, rigorous education. It generates real value for the greater campus, and it brings vigor to the community,” Cort says.
Brazelton says his passion for the HC is paralleled by his commitment to Oregon State’s history program and the College of Agricultural Sciences.
“It’s important to keep them all well-funded and healthy,” Cort says.
By HC Staff
CATEGORIES: All Stories Alumni and Friends Community