Sam Gale '07

Sam and Joanna Gale
Alumnus | American Studies | Class of 2007

Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, Sam Gale ’07 knew he’d be going to college in either New England or Southern California.

 “When I visited Oxy, I experienced that perfect combination of being at a liberal arts school—small classes, small community—but also right in the heart of L.A.,” he says. “I got the two things I wanted.” 

As a student, it was the “quality of the education and the really broad diversity of students” that kept him engaged. Sam loved the interdisciplinary nature of his American studies major, and after a three-year stint working in finance after graduation, academia called him back to pursue a Ph.D. in U.S. history, with a focus on African American and sports history. 

David Axeen, emeritus professor of American studies and longtime dean of the College, was instrumental in helping Sam build his major and eventually encouraging him to attend graduate school. 

The lifelong friends Sam made at Oxy—students and professors alike—keep him connected. He’s also grateful to be able to expand opportunities for first-generation college students through giving to his alma mater.

“I want to help make Oxy accessible to anyone with the ability and desire to pursue a liberal arts education, regardless of their background. It not only expands the pathways of opportunities into Oxy but it further fulfills its mission to serve all students.”