Mike Steele

Mike Steele, English Professor and Handball Coach. (Photo by Heidi Hoffman)

A Working Retirement

There are many things that Distinguished University Professor of English Mike Steele is passionate about. His love of handball and his interest in Holocaust studies are only a couple.

Steele, who has taught at Pacific for 36 years, will not be completely leaving the University community when he retires at the end of the year. He will continue to teach a few specialty courses as a part time professor, including English courses that focus on the Holocaust and Native American studies.

One of the highlights of during his time at Pacific, was traveling to Pacific’s sister school in Hiroshima, Japan where he taught his Peace Studies course. It was, he said, “a very sobering yet promising experience.”

In addition to teaching countless Pacific students about the Holocaust, Steele also at one time served as executive director of the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, which partnered with Pacific University from 1994 to 2007.

Besides teaching part time, Steele will also continue coaching the handball team, which he lead to their greatest success in over 30 years in 2010, as the team finished in second place nationally over many larger schools, including perennial power Texas A&M.

One of Steele’s most memorable moments at Pacific was his wedding day in 1986. Steele married his wife, Geri, in Old College Hall. The couple’s children were in attendance and served as flower girl and ring bearers.

In addition to his wedding day, Steele says that the “horrendous” photos of his “very long, bushy, curly hair” from the 1970’s, which appeared in Pacific publications, are something that he will never forget.

Steele, who was elected the United States Handball President in 2006, said that his handball players have also created some of his most memorable moments.

-- Ashleigh Simons '12