Gabe Castro was a talented graphic designer who was beloved by many at Nike.
PSU alumnus Drake Ramberg ’85.
Drake Ramberg (‘85) is changing the face of his profession. Years of conducting job interviews set Ramberg across the table from hundreds of designers. It didn’t take long to notice something was missing.
“It’s always been difficult to get people of color or women in the mix despite recruiting efforts,” Ramberg says. “We need to represent a diverse population, and that starts with the schools and opportunities early on. I reached out to PSU to help solve that problem.”
An Oregonian who got his degree at PSU in Fine Arts and went to work for Nike right after college, Ramberg currently serves as Design Operations Director for Nike’s Blue Ribbon Studio. The studio is a creative hub, dedicated to growing, supporting and inspiring designers on the Nike campus.
“It’s almost like an art school,” describes Ramberg. “Our designers can meet, make concepts, collaborate and attend events. We’ve had PSU faculty come for tours and brought in groups of senior students to make inroads with the fabulous generation of designers coming out of PSU.”
Engaging faculty and students creates connections, but Ramberg knew completing school is a critical step in creating a diverse workforce. So he channeled his personal funds into a graphic design scholarship to support underrepresented students in the arts.
“I wanted to help locally and support my alma mater,” Ramberg says. “Beyond that, I dedicated the scholarship to people of color and women to give them an opportunity they haven’t had so far. And I thought it would be nice for the scholarship to help an individual student.”
In 2021, Ramberg established his $2,000 annual scholarship and named it after a former colleague: the Gabe Castro Graphic Design Scholarship.
Gabe Castro was a talented graphic designer who was beloved by many at Nike. Ramberg worked briefly with Castro in the global football division, and the two connected. When the young artist died in a car accident, it was a devastating blow for those who knew the 29-year-old.
“Gabe was one of those people who put themselves out there. He was really positive, and a great guy to be around,” Ramberg recalls. “We were all shocked when he passed away, and I thought putting his name on the scholarship would be a good way to honor his memory.”
Ramberg reached out to Castro’s family with the idea. They agreed it was an ideal fit.
“His brother told me Gabe always talked about how hard it was for people of color to get ahead without having resources, guidance and mentorship. He thinks the scholarship really shines a light on who Gabe was,” Ramberg says.
PSU student Steph Bianco