Past & Present

Nov. 12, 2013

Past & Present Dinner unites alumni and current students to share stories and build relationships.

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Oh, that awkward moment when you walk up the steps of an alumnus’ home wearing sweatpants and find yourself face to face with the mayor.

Students Today Alumni Tomorrow organized its annual Past and Present Dinner on Nov. 10, shuttling students to alumni homes for dinner in an effort to offer students an opportunity to make connections with alumni and learn about life after college.

The invitation said “casual” so I showed up to the shuttle in my oversized sweater and pants. Little did I know I would be eating the best three-course meal of my life with Pete and Pat Truax.

Once I got past the fact that I felt severely underdressed for such company, I was taken aback by the couple’s kindness and comedy. They certainly were not what I was expecting — in the best ways.

While we waited for dinner, three other students and I sat in the living room with Pete, Pat and their adorably overzealous dog, Abby. Between teasing jabs at each other, Pete and Pat told us the story of how they met and fell in love at Pacific more than 40 years ago. They asked about our majors and hobbies and showed a genuine interest in our activities.

After only a few minutes, I had forgotten that the man whole-heartedly laughing and making quips at his wife was, in fact, the town’s mayor.

When we sat down to eat, we were told dinner would be roast, macaroni and cheese, and squash, followed by homemade brownies, ice cream and caramel. I’ve grown so accustomed to top ramen, I had forgotten how to distinguish between a salad fork and dinner fork — hopefully I was sly enough in my confusion.

During dinner, Pat told us about all the different things going on in Forest Grove that we should know about. It blew me away how much I didn’t know. As a student, my world basically revolves around campus, and I tend to forget that there is a whole universe out there. It was eye-opening and refreshing to hear how alive the city really is.

What surprised me the most was how down to earth the Truaxes are. Though we were clearly hosted graciously and fed an amazing meal, it felt like we were eating with family or friends.

It’s easy to get swallowed by the college bubble and forget about anyone outside the dorms. The Past and Present Dinner let us learn about the other side of the diploma. Because of my particular placement, I was especially lucky to also get a glimpse of what Forest Grove has to offer.

I would like to think I gave Pete and Pat the same entertainment and company they so graciously gave me. Because of their hospitality and the efforts of STAT, I feel more connected to Forest Grove, the alumni and reality, after just one dinner.