Quintin Kreth named an Oregon “Inspirational Leader”

Quintin Kreth is forging new paths, leaving impressive tracks for others to follow.

The University of Oregon undergraduate’s most recent milestone: being named an “Inspirational Leader” in Oregon who is representing the Willamette Valley in the Conference on Volunteering and Service in Washington, D.C. in June.

The conference is the world's largest gathering of volunteer and service leaders from the nonprofit, corporate and government sectors.

Kreth’s award comes via the “I Am Oregon” campaign, a Meyer Memorial Trust-sponsored project that asked Oregonians to nominate neighbors, friends and community-minded individuals who inspired them. More than 1,000 nominations were submitted. Only 11 were chosen as winners.

Kreth, who will graduate next winter, is in the Clark Honors College and is a dual major in mathematics and Planning, Public Policy and Management. His academic achievements and community service propelled him to the presidency of the Mortar Board honor society.

Kreth has attended the UO since his sophomore year at Monroe High School. With only 35 students in Kreth’s graduating class, Monroe is a small high school that offered no advanced courses. To meet his academic needs, Kreth began taking UO courses, including Honors Calculus, in 10th grade. He traveled to UO first by taking a bus to Junction City, then another to Eugene. Kreth was valedictorian of his class and the only one who attended the UO.

Kreth’s activities, however, span more than mere academia. He is an Eagle Scout – his project was to redo the landscaping around Monroe High School's parking lot – and he’s involved in politics. He was the treasurer and recruitment chair for the UO College Democrats and, last fall, was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He is also the chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon's Rural Caucus and secretary of the 4th Congressional District Democratic Party.

“I've always been really dedicated to serving my community and giving back,” Kreth said.

Dylan Larkin, co-president of OSU College Democrats, was one of Kreth’s nominators. He said, “Quintin helped me to become actively involved in the political process. He took an interest in helping me to become more involved with the party, which allowed me to be able to make a difference around the community.”

Kreth’s sister, Veda Rose Kreth, also nominated him. She wrote about her brother’s “bold move” in taking UO courses in Eugene when he was a high school sophomore. “It was simply incredible!” she said.

“It's not your average high school student with the motivation, drive or talent that will do that,” Veda said. “Quintin has showed many of us in Monroe it doesn't just take brains to get ahead and succeed: it takes heart and some serious dedication.”

After graduation, Kreth plans to move back to his family’s farm in Monroe and work in the Democratic Party to support his mother and sister. His father, Ray Kreth, an oceanographic physicist at OSU, passed away from an aggressive oral cancer in October 2012, only eight months after his diagnosis.

“The last year has been extremely difficult, due to his illness and death, and my academics have suffered, but I have had a lot of personal successes at the same time,” Kreth said.

“Quintin inspires me to get out into the community and help others,” Veda added. “He inspires me every single day to be the best I can be.”

- by Aria Seligmann, UO Office of Strategic Communications