Luke’s journey from the track to the classroom

Luke Ramirez leads on the track and will soon be leading in the classroom. Photo by Larry Lawson

Inspired by his family legacy, Luke Ramirez used his time at Portland State to earn a master’s degree in elementary education, following a bachelor’s degree in Arts and Letters with a minor in English. Upon graduation, he’ll be teaching English Language Development at Ron Russell Middle School in east Portland’s David Douglas School District, working with immigrant students from all over the world.

For Luke, it’s a fitting career for the grandson of an immigrant from Mexico who traveled to this country as an olive picker in 1948.

“All my family is very excited and supportive of me getting my master’s degree and that I’m going into education. My grandfather coming to his country and thinking about all the struggle that he had to endure and the privileges he afforded my family has certainly motivated me,” he told John Wycoff, who shared Luke’s story over on the PSU Vikings website.

Luke’s journey to PSU began when he accepted the offer to become a student athlete and join the Viks as a middle-distance runner who grew into a team leader and captain for PSU’s distance running program, making everyone who works with him both on and off the track very proud.

Luke is a recipient of the Four Years Free tuition benefit — now Tuition-Free Degree — and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in his graduate work.

“Luke has exceeded my expectations here at PSU. He has grown into a fine young man with a big heart. I would take a dozen Lukes on my team,” said his coach, David Hepburn.

Read Luke’s full story on

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