Some students change their minds several times throughout college before pinning down a major, let alone a career. Sophomore Duncan Boone, a business administration major with a concentration in sports business and a minor in digital arts, isn't one of those students.
“I came in with one mindset and I've stuck to it," he said.
Immediately after classes began fall of his freshman year, Boone joined the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Business Club to prepare for his major studies. He has since become the vice-president of digital media for the club, which has amassed a membership of 357.
Just as he always knew what he wanted to study, the thought of being a Duck was in Duncan's mind ever since he can remember.
“The UO was this mecca that I could only think about," he said of his childhood.
Boone didn't grow up in Oregon, and the only time he'd seen the UO was to watch a Ducks game when he was in the 10th grade. It was Duncan's father David Boone who inspired an early draw to the university. David Boone worked in the Navy for 30 years, and the Boone family was constantly on the move from base to base. Duncan has lived in Guam and Italy, but he considers Chesapeake, Virginia—where he was born and later went to high school—his true home. Though Oregon football games would usually run late into the night because of the time difference, Duncan's dad made it a point to watch them as a family.
“I remember 10:00 p.m. start times, and I'd be falling asleep in the third quarter," Duncan said.
David Boone attended school at UO for two years in the mid-1970s. He was just in time to be hired on as an extra for National Lampoon's Animal House, a majority of which was filmed on and around campus. Boone described how John Belushi would come talk to him and his friends between takes.
“He wasn't all there," he said of Belushi, “kind of different."
Perhaps it was the Blues Brother's charm or a more profound, unnamable appeal, but Boone's time in the state left an indelible mark, despite an extensive travel résumé from his years in the Navy.
“I've lived all over the world, and when people ask where I'm from, I say I'm from Oregon," he said.
Since leaving the state, Boone has become a leader not only in the military but in business. In the Navy, he ascended the ranks to rear admiral, becoming only the 43rd military officer of Japanese descent to achieve the rank of admiral or general. He has since retired from the Navy and now serves as the president of CB&I Services, an engineering company that conducts environmental cleanups, especially in superfund sites that pose risks to human health. Most recently, Boone and his company have been working in the Tōhoku region on Japan's Honshu Island, the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that occurred in 2011. All his life, and especially now that he's a businessman, Boone said that serving his community has come hand in hand with his work.
“To me it's not about money—it's about what you do," he said. “There's a balance between profit and all of the core values a company has."
Along with a love for Oregon, Duncan inherited his father's dedication to service, melding his career aspirations with good works. He is currently the design director of Youth Movement, a program that seeks to empower Native American youth through sports camps. This marks his first experience with the program, but he said he plans on continuing his support.
“I hope to give back someday to teach kids how valuable youth sports are," he said.
With eyes to the future, Duncan dreams of working in digital marketing for a sports franchise.
“The Seahawks are my team," he said, “but I've heard from a lot of people not to work for your favorite team."
As much as he loves the rain, he said a job back east—maybe in his home state of Virginia—appeals to him.
Duncan applied what he has gleaned from his business classes and from the Warsaw Sports Business Club—including numerous portfolio pieces and tips on how to craft a good résumé—to obtain a job with the University of Oregon athletics department. Starting this fall, he will work on the marketing team to help with the promotion of the university's basketball and football games. He hopes the experience will jumpstart a long-term job in the sports marketing industry.
As for the elder Boone, “I ultimately want to teach at the university level," he said.
He wants to provide interdisciplinary courses in the business school that draw on his experiences as a serviceman, engineer, and business leader. Despite still living in Virginia, he'd like his university career to begin further west.
“I would love to teach at Oregon," he admitted.
Duncan knows that no matter where the future leads, his dad won't be able to resist the call to return to the home of his Animal House days.
“He's just got to wait until his kids get out of the house," Duncan said.
—Derek Maiolo, Multimedia Communications Assistant, Clark Honors College