Updated: Mar 28, 2018
When Bob Poulsen began classes at the University of Maine in 1963, he didn’t imagine that his ultimate resume would include positions as sports information director, San Diego Superior Court research attorney, and part-time traffic court judge.
As a UMaine freshman, Bob also hadn’t planned on becoming an ΣΑΕ—because the chapter (Maine Alpha) was suspended. However, when an ΣΑΕ Colony was formed the following year, he accompanied a friend to a meeting of potential members. Although he could have joined other fraternities, Bob opted for the “purple and gold,” as did 14 other pledges. “It was ΣΑΕ’s second chance (to be on campus) and my opportunity to be part of something new,” he said. “Plus I liked the history and the True Gentleman pledge.”
Bob was initiated in April 1965 and served the chapter as steward and social chairman, and also attended Leadership School after his junior year. “That experience going to Evanston reaffirmed that I made the right decision to become an ΣΑΕ,” he said.
Graduating with a BA degree in Speech Communications, Bob’s initial plans were to be a radio broadcaster. Yet, after attending graduate school at UMaine and Kansas University, he decided to take a job as assistant sports information director (AsstSID) at Eastern Michigan University and two years later was appointed the SID at Tufts University.
Of course, when Bob visited San Diego in February 1974, he realized that it might be time to exchange the severe East Coast winters for a more temperate environment. He relocated to the Pacific Beach area and subsequently joined the Vista Press, which was the start of his 17 year journalism career. “It was my first newspaper job and I was responsible for the food, social and church pages,” he said. He later became sports editor at the Poway Chieftain, where he won several writing and editing awards.
Like many of us,Bob eventually hit a professional speed bump—his sports editing job had become routine.“I was covering the same teams year after year and felt there were no new challenges.”
Attending law school at National University seemed to be a wise move, but he wanted to be sure. “An NU Dean suggested that I audit an introductory law class to see if I enjoyed it before enrolling. I did and started night classes soon after, while also continuing to work at the Chieftain.”
After passing the California bar exam, he worked briefly for a divorce attorney, and then made another decision that would have a major impact on his life.“I heard about an opening for a San Diego Superior Court research attorney and took a chance—applying for something entirely new. I was there for the next 24 years.”
He and other research attorneys assisted presiding judges by evaluating and summarizing complex motions related to divorce, probate and other civil cases. “We would review the facts and make recommendations as to which side we thought had the best position,” he explained.
Bob also spent time mediating divorce settlement conferences, helping couples agree on the most reasonable solution.“I had an 85 percent success rate (parties settling) and really enjoyed working with people to reach a fair decision.”
Recalling his almost quarter century of legal service, Bob added “I thoroughly enjoyed my second career as a research attorney. I had an opportunity to work on both divorce and criminal cases and the judges were appreciative of the work we did for them.”
Retiring in 2013, Bob wasn’t concerned that he could keep busy.Volunteering at major sporting events has been his primary “extracurricular” activity. He and his wife Peggy first developed an interest in this volunteer work when they assisted at the college hockey Frozen Four tournament in Anaheim (ironically won by Bob’s UMaine team). Then in 2001, Bob helped compile stats for the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament held at San Diego State University, and later served in the merchandise tent at the Men’s U.S. Open golf tournament and then as a marshal at the annual PGA tournament, both in Torrey Pines. His extensive sports background also includes a long-time position on the Holiday Bowl/Poinsettia Bowl Red Coat committee.
Bob is currently looking forward to being a walking scorer at the U.S. Amateur Women’s Open tournament in August and marshaling at the 2018 U.S. Senior Men’s Open. “I love the sports environment,” he said. “You’re outdoors at exciting events. It’s a lot of fun.”
Bob also was appointed a Pro Tem Judge for San Diego traffic court, where twice a month he wears a robe and issues judgments for a variety of driving offenses. “That has been a fascinating experience. I have heard a lot of interesting stories.”
Of course, he also finds time to support the ΣΑΕ San Diego Area Alumni Association. “I had been attending the lunches and other events for a long time and was asked to be a Board member. Everyone in the Association (and ΣΑΕ) has something special in common, no matter what chapter we are from. ‘In the Bonds’ has great meaning. Being an ΣΑΕ isn’t just a college experience, it’s a lifetime commitment.”
~ By David Robinson