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Bruce Jacobsen

In 1975, at age 15, Bruce Jacobsen attended his first NOLS course, an Adventure course in the Beartooth Mountains. He was a five foot three inch, 105 pound high school freshman from Northern New Jersey, and he was awestruck by the majesty of the mountains. The experience was so powerful that over the next six years Bruce attended two more NOLS courses, a winter mountaineering course and a rock climbing course.

Until recently, Bruce has been employed as the President and COO of RealNetworks, a company that develops and markets software products and services.

When asked what he learned at NOLS, he answered, "First, the need for leadership. Second, leading by example. Third, a strong sense of teamwork. I've had the pleasure to work with some leading business people from Bill Gates to Steven Spielberg and the chance to learn from them. I've been a manager at companies like Microsoft and served as the president of a public company. I view elements of my NOLS education as crucial to my business practices."

Bruce credits NOLS with incredibly affecting his perception of the wilderness and his interest in environmental issues. "I do a bunch of work with the Trust for Public Land and tried to practice my enthusiasm for the environment in the corporate world, for example working to use recycled packaging at Microsoft."

Since leaving RealNetworks, Bruce spends time with his family while also pursuing his strong interest in local environmental issues. He also heads out to the wilderness as much as possible and uses the outdoor skills that he learned at NOLS. "I use all the skills. I try to Leave No Trace, I route-find using topo maps, and I still tie my knots 'NOLS style'. Basically, I drive my wife crazy as I repeat NOLS homilies about this or that".

"I have an incredible appreciation for what NOLS did for me. Two of the most important parts of my life- love of wilderness and appreciation for teamwork- come from NOLS."

Grad Profiles in Alphabetical Order

Pete Athans
Janice Bloom
David Breashears
Diane Brinkley
Carlos Buhler
Caroline Byrd
Archie Clemins
Columbia Crew
Mike DiDonna
Chris Gergen
John Grunsfeld
Ryan Hughes
Bruce Jacobsen
Sebastian Junger
Tom Kiernan
Alex Matthiessen
Tori McClure
Kitty Phillips
Guy Santiago
Tom Scott
Kat Taylor
Terri Watson
Louisa Willcox

Wyoming Adventure - NOLS adventure students return home with life skills like effective communication, confident leader-ship and backcountry cooking.
Photo: Jason Buchovecky
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