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The Source

Comings and Goings Update: Photos capture love of Lewis & Clark

July 16, 2012

On Palatine Hill, he’s known as Morgan Grether, web guru. Around Portland, he’s the guitarist and singer Stone Grether. To 150,000 fans on Instagram, he’s @grether, iPhone photographer extraordinaire.

Last month, Grether was named director of new media. The Source caught up with him to learn more about why he loves working at Lewis & Clark.

How did you become interested in the field of new media?

I have always been into computers, technology, gadgets. With the dominance of the web in modern life at the turn of the last century, I decided I could not sit on the sidelines any longer. I had to dive in. I am a dive-right-in-the-deep-end kind of guy, and I have been developing websites ever since. I love to be on the leading edge of what’s new, what’s shaping our futures. But more generally speaking, I love helping others, love helping the L&C community get the web tools we need.

What will success look like for Lewis & Clark’s new media team this year, and what is your long-term vision?

This year I have several big, fun projects and a host of little ones. The most exciting one to me is what I call the “100 percent uptime“ project, which means that our website should never go down. Catastrophe or minor hiccup, our website should always be up and running for anyone who needs it. With that, I want to build a strong environment of trust. I want L&C community members to always feel confident they can get the support and leadership they need from our new media team.

Longer term, we need to be able to roll with the changes in our modern lives. One way to address that is what I call the template project. We are rebuilding the shells that hold the content on all our webpages to be more easily changed around or switched out. So for instance, as new types of devices (phones, tablets, things we haven’t even dreamt of yet) appear, we can push our content into different, more appropriate formats. It will help us move smoothly over the next few years of the web’s surprises.

Finally, success to me as director of new media will be that I can help L&C continue progressing as a spectacular place to get an education. I want to help strengthen our community through partnerships with groups like the libraries, Information Technology, and others, and through continuing to introduce the best and most helpful tools to keep our website great. And I want to get us all (faculty, staff, students, alumni) to come together with a sense of pride and ownership of our website. It represents us to billions of people across the whole world. How cool is that?

How do you keep yourself up to date with technology?

I’m a big reader, consuming tons of tech blogs and news sites and listservs. Additionally, I go to events around town, and conferences to learn more. It takes a lot of energy to keep up, but I love it.

What part of your job excites you?

I love the constant changes of the web, the shifting sands. It’s never boring. And as a lifelong learner, I love to be challenged on a daily basis.

Also, I love being where the buck stops for the L&C website, to paraphrase Harry Truman. It’s a great honor, being given that responsibility for a place I love so much.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ll say three things. First off, I love being a dad to my amazing family. That’s always top priority for my time and endlessly enjoyable. Secondly, I’m a singer-songwriter, playing around town in different little nooks and crannies. And thirdly, photography has become a great passion of mine the past couple of years. In particular, I have gotten into Instagram, an incredibly fun social media app for taking and discussing pictures. I have nearly 150,000 followers there. I helped pioneer the notion of Instagram meet-ups, and we have been holding monthly get-togethers here in Portland for over a year and half. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people from all across the area.

What can you share about yourself that might surprise some people?

I was a Kansas farm boy, living out in the middle of nowhere, until third grade. Technology for me as a kid was a tractor. But since then I’ve traveled the world, spending summers in Paris, the Riviera, Madrid, and more. And now I’d be lost without my laptop and smart phone!

Additionally, I have a PhD in English and have taught literature off and on for years. My expertise is America and Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries. Let’s talk poetry! 

Comings and Goings Update

Several people have joined the community recently, and some continuing employees have taken on new roles and responsibilities at Lewis & Clark:

Mandy Alperin, development assistant, Institutional Advancement; Mark Dahl, director of Aubrey R. Watzek Library; Jared Delahaye, lab technician, Department of Biology; Morgan Grether, director of new media, Public Affairs and Communications; Lindsay Kadish, program coordinator, Business Law Programs; Barbara Lipinski, compensation and benefits analyst, Human Resources; Sarah Petersen, director of alumni relations, Law Alumni Relations; and Tracy Sullivan, director of career services, Law Career and Professional Development Center.

The following people have left Lewis & Clark. Here’s wishing them good luck in their new adventures:

Kylee Brandt, admissions counselor, CAS Admissions; Marsha Dexter, accountant, College Bookstore; Chelsea Harper, program coordinator, Center for Community Engagement; Susan Hubbuch, director, Writing Center; Robin Jerke, director of alumni relations, Law School Alumni Relations; Ellen Jones, director, Law Career Services; Stacie Pacheco, program assistant, Business Law Program; Corey Parrish, campus safety officer, Campus Safety; Nicole Pelletier, lab assistant, Department of Biology; and John Stewart, area director, Campus Living.