Charlie Moe (BA/Comm ’82, MA/HR ‘85) was the very first student that brand new professor Bob Bassett met when he came to campus in 1981. Charlie graduated with his B.A. in Communications, Mass Media and Public Relations, the very next year. Thirty-four years later, his daughter Kayla Moe (’16) graduated from Dodge College with a B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising.
Although their Chapman experiences are separated by decades—and by major changes in the curriculum & campus—common threads bind them together: mentorship by passionate professors, challenging opportunities inside and outside of class, and deep friendships that have and will carry into the future.
When Charlie (and Bob Bassett) arrived, the Communications degree spanned a wide range of disciplines, including film, theater, mass media, PR, and even dance. Chapman had just a little more than 1,000 students (versus 1,500 in just Dodge College today). But even then, the seeds of a hands-on education were in place.
Charlie remembers how he “learned communications theory, message design and delivery (early storytelling) and practiced those skills for class projects, Greek events and department shows. We learned television and film production by doing –planning and leading production teams, traveling on location, designing and building props.
“Kayla had many similar opportunities but she also had a much greater specific major-focused curriculum that better prepared her for work within her chosen field,” he says. “She left Dodge College with tangible, current technology skills, relevant knowledge, confidence and job experience through her internships. Through one of her internships, she’s just accepted a full-time professional position with a leading advertising agency (72andSunny) and is working on a major national retailer’s account.”
Did Kayla feel pressured to attend Chapman, where her mother, Julie Ozbun-Moe (BA/MES ’83) also graduated? She says no, but they “brought me to my first Discover Chapman Day my sophomore year of high school because they were impatient to show me around campus and introduce me to the Chapman community!”
Her response was immediate: “I fell in love with the beautiful campus and vibrant, welcoming community I saw that day.” When she returned the next year, a tour of Dodge sealed the deal. “Seeing the opportunities students had at Dodge to follow their passions and create work that could be showcased in real world settings outside of a classroom immediately appealed to me. It was the hands on approach and collaborative community I saw at Dodge that ultimately swayed me to choose Chapman.”
Both found faculty mentors and friends who challenged them and pushed them. Charlie remembers Bill Womack, Dick Doetkott, Bob Bassett, Ron Thronson and Janell Shearer as “engaged, not just working a job.
“We could reach out for help, run into them at the student union or in the circle and they were supportive, challenged us to figure it out or pushed us to do our best,” he says. “But the key for me was their trust. We would be given suggestions or direction, advice and then with oversight, trusted to deliver a work product, production, or performance.”
For Kayla, being on the National Student Advertising (NSCA) team taught her more about herself and about what it means to be an effective and helpful leader than she had ever learned before. “NSAC is a demanding competition that prepared me for the hard work and sleepless nights of working in the advertising world,” she says, “and without the guidance of our advisor Cory O’Connor we would not have been as successful as we were.”
Of course times do change. A favorite family story is the time Charlie and friends Antonio Dominguez ’82 and John Lunning ’82 shot aerial footage of Memorial Hall for a college fundraiser by landing and taking off from the (then) Sunken Lawn in a helicopter provided by Fluor Corporation. Though the students met with Orange Police and Fire and Chapman Security to arrange safety, got permits to block Glassell, and arranged for stand-by emergency support, Charlie ultimately got the shot by “standing on the helicopter rails, camera in hand, with the door off and Antonio holding me in by my belt!”
These days? A drone would do. But such is the stuff that college memories are made of—adventure, sometimes risk, and learning along the way. As Charlie says, and Kayla agrees, “the magic is still alive at Chapman.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of In Production. Read other great articles, and catch up on older issues, by clicking here.