May 11, 2015

Emilie Cortes, a former investment professional turned adventurer and entrepreneur who now makes her home in Central Oregon, will provide the commencement address at the Oregon State University  - Cascades commencement ceremonies on Sunday, June 14.

“Emilie embodies both professional excellence and personal passion,” said OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson.  “Her story of taking a risk to find her true professional calling will inspire our graduates as they prepare to embark on their own careers.”

After a successful 17-year career, in 2012 Cortes left the security of the financial services industry in San Francisco to find a career in adventure travel and mountaineering. Today she is president of Call of the Wild Adventures, Inc., an adventure travel company that leads excursions for women around the world. An accomplished climber, Cortes has climbed on six of the seven continents and today leads backpacking, trekking and snow camping trips for Call of the Wild, Castle Rock Climbing School, Wild Women and non-profits such as the Sierra Club and GirlVentures.  She made her home in Central Oregon in 2013.

Cortes serves as treasurer of the Compton Foundation, is a member of the Financial Women’s Association and Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition, and has served on the National Associations of Women MBAs Board.  

Cortes received a master’s in business administration in finance from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in business administration summa cum laude with a concentration in international business from American University. She is fluent in French and Spanish and also speaks Russian and Nepali.  She contributes regularly to blogs including the Sierra Journal and The Scree.

The commencement ceremony will take place at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in the Old Mill District on at 12:00 p.m.  For additional information visit

About OSU-Cascades: Located in Bend, Ore., Oregon State University’s branch campus features outstanding faculty in degree programs that reflect Central Oregon’s vibrant economy and abundant natural resources. Sixteen undergraduate majors and three graduate programs include Energy Systems Engineering, Exercise and Sport Science, Hospitality Management, and Tourism and Outdoor Leadership. The branch campus will expand to a four-year university in fall 2015.