It's like coming home

Photo by Parrish Evans
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Confession No. 1: When I was a high school student looking at colleges, I didn't hear about Pacific University.

Though I grew up just 40 miles south of Forest Grove, Pacific escaped my radar entirely. I ended up attending another small, liberal arts school in the Pacific Northwest—an NWC rival, in fact.

Confession No. 2: I don’t regret that decision.

What a waste of time and energy that would be! Most importantly, because the experiences I had in college launched a series of adventures I have cherished, from my newspaper and public relations jobs in Alaska and Wyoming to personal ventures, like living in some of our country’s most amazingly scenic—and rural—areas; encountering bears, moose and antelope in my front yard (usually not at the same time); meeting and marrying the love of my life; or beginning the endless voyage that is raising a beautiful baby boy.

Last year, though, my family made the decision to embark on a new adventure and return to the Northwest. And, finally, I found Pacific.

It wasn't just the job that sounded like a good fit—though certainly it did. It was Pacific as a community that drew my interest.

I heard immediately about the Center for Civic Engagement, about the B Street Permaculture project, about the sustainability initiative. And every day I learn more: Health Professions and Optometry programs providing direct service in the community, students volunteering at the winter emergency shelter, staff growing crops for local food pantries, young adults mentoring in schools and community centers.

This is a place where people care about their world—environmentally, socially and educationally—and work to make a difference. It made sense to me to focus my first issue of the magazine on community service and engagement, because that is what first drew me to Pacific.

I am so excited that my job is now to celebrate that work and to tell you all about the amazing things that Pacific people—be they students, faculty, staff or alumni—are doing to make this world a better place. My goal is to find more and more ways to share these great stories—in this magazine, on our magazine website, on our University website and in my new blog, to name a few. Some you'll know, but, I bet, like me, you'll find there are new things happening at Pacific every day.

Jenni M. Luckett