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Doug Erickson reflects on family’s Lewis & Clark legacy

April 30, 2012

  • Nick Erickson '12, Doug Erickson, and Stacy Johnson Erickson M.A.T. '98
    Nick Erickson '12, Doug Erickson, and Stacy Johnson Erickson M.A.T. '98
  • Albany College's first graduating class. Top: Maria Irvine. Center left: Cora Irvine.Center right...
    Albany College's first graduating class. Top: Maria Irvine. Center left: Cora Irvine.Center right: Weltha Young. Bottom: Mary Hannon.

This weekend College Archivist Doug Erickson and his family will celebrate their latest family member’s graduation from Lewis & Clark. Doug’s son Nick Erickson, who will graduate on Sunday, is the great-great-great-grandson of Cora Jean Irvine Stewart, a member of the first graduating class in 1873. Doug’s wife, Stacy Johnson Erickson—who graduated with her M.A.T. from Lewis & Clark in 1998—is Cora’s great-great-granddaughter.

The Source caught up with Doug to find out more about his family’s legacy.

What can you tell us about your wife’s great-great-grandmother and Lewis & Clark’s first graduating class?

Cora Jean Irvine was one of four women to first graduate in 1873 from Albany Collegiate Institute, as it was first known.

In her book Lewis and Clark College 1867-1967, author Martha Frances Montague wrote: “Albany always received women on equal terms with men, never keeping them separate in academic work or making special rules for them, as some neighboring colleges. Both were ‘scholars’ or students, and often the scholastic records of the women were higher than those of the men. The only concession made to the women was that English courses might be substituted for higher mathematics.”

What was her major—did they have majors back then? And what did she go on to become?

Cora married on June 4, 1877. Her daughter never mentioned a major. She did not work outside the home because they were well-to-do. She became a mother of 10 children: 8 boys and 2 girls. Stanley Stewart (b. 1878); William Edgar Stewart (b. 1879)—this is who left all of the money for the dorm and the trust; a son (name not found) who died in 1884; Mary Raine Stewart (b. 1881); Charles Hall Stewart (b. 1882); Elliot Harper Stewart (b. 1886); Samuel Stewart (b. 1887); Ralph Stewart (b. 1889); Kate Stewart (b. 1890); and Robert Lansing Stewart (b.1895). Her husband, C.H. Stewart, was a county commissioner in Albany.

Can you tell us what made your son choose to come to Lewis & Clark?

There were a few different reasons that made Lewis & Clark a natural choice for Nick. To begin with, Nick was incredibly familiar and aware of the culture here at Lewis & Clark. I came to work for Lewis & Clark when Nick was 1 year old and it is as if Nick grew up on campus. Nick’s mom, Stacy, started graduate school here when Nick was 2 and finished when he was 8, which meant he spent a great deal of time running around campus. We lived across the street when Nick was a teenager, which brought the campus even closer. When Nick was due to graduate from high school, he fell ill and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. He decided that he wanted to stay close home and the natural choice was Lewis & Clark. His experience was so positive that his younger brother Colton decided to attend also and is currently finishing up his freshman year.

Besides your wife’s great-great-grandmother and your son Nick attending college here, are there other parallels in your family’s history as it relates to Lewis & Clark?            
  • Stewart Hall is named after Cora Irvine Stewart            
  • Cora Irvine Stewart’s children attended Lewis & Clark            
  • Nick’s mom, Stacy Johnson Erickson, graduated with her M.A.T. in 1998
  • Nick’s younger brother, Colton Erickson, is a member of the Class of 2015
What strikes you as the most unique moment in Lewis & Clark’s history during the time that you’ve been here?

There are so many. From an institutional standpoint, I think the acquisition of the Corbett Estate; the building of Howard, Miller, and Fields; and the expansion of Watzek were important moments that improved the physical plant of the college and helped to provide excellent spaces for learning. Personally, I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch my family grow up here, my oldest two sons going to school here, and my wife graduating with her M.A.T. and then going on for her doctorate in education at University of Oregon. Having my closest friends being my coworkers. I could not be happier or more proud.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Lewis & Clark has been a place I have called home for 21 years. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me and my family.