Gwynn Klobes

Gwynn KlobesCurrent Position: P4 Program Director, Pamplin School of Business

Alma Mater: University of Portland

Major/Undergraduate field of study: Theology

What was it like being among the first in your family to go to college? 

As a first-generation and non-traditional student, I had always desired education but was not afforded the opportunity until I came to UP as an employee.  As an employee, I have been able to finish both an undergraduate and a MBA degree.  If it was not for the mission of the University, I would never have been able to achieve that dream. 

Since it wasn’t the norm in my family to go to college, there was a definite lack of understanding of collegiate systems in terms of financial aid and opportunities within the schools.   I believe my mother wanted to go, but without financial support, it was just a thought.  It is different today with all the support that University of Portland gives its students through financial aid. 

Are there any unique challenges you faced as a first gen student?

I had to take one class at a time, and it took 14 years to do both my undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Although not an easy route, I feel like it gave me a unique perspective being a parent, staff and student at the same time.  I have a strong sense of gratitude for the University of Portland because they afforded me this opportunity.   

Being one of five and the only girl in my family, I always felt like I had to fight to do the same things the boys were allowed to do.  Many in the family would tell me that I couldn't do something because I was a girl.  This only made me want to do that something more.  There were many people in society then that thought girls didn't need to go to college. 

Do you have any advice for FGEN students at UP that are facing challenges?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you need help.  There are more resources on campus so ask questions.  Use this four years to explore who you are as a person so that you are better able to find a right fit vocation in life. 

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