What unique and wondrous gifts our friendships provide! Evidence of that observation was given hundreds of times recently at our Reunion Weekend. Reconnecting and renewal of friendships were continuing themes as a record number of alumni returned to campus. I delighted in the sharing of stories and reflections of our alumni experiences at Pacific. I sincerely encourage you to plan on joining us next year – Reunion is planned for the third weekend in June.
Reconnecting and renewal took other forms this year as well. As part of conferring a record number of degrees at our Commencement ceremonies in May, we had the pleasure of presenting a special honorary Bachelor of Letters degree to Yukie Katayama Sumoge. Born and raised in Hood River, Oregon, Yukie entered Pacific as a freshman in September 1939 and continued her studies here the next academic year. According to our official records, Yukie was a superior student, earning all A’s and B’s. However, when World War II broke out, the world changed and like so many Americans, Yukie’s pursuit of a college degree was interrupted. But unlike those who enlisted, were drafted, or chose to work in support of the war effort, Yukie’s life was changed by internment. Thousands of Americans of Japanese descent were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps. Yukie and her family were taken to the Tule Lake Relocation Project, just south of Klamath Falls in Northern California, and then to another camp in Idaho, where they spent the remainder of the war years. After the war, Yukie returned to the Hood River area, eventually marrying and becoming mother to three daughters. But her studies at Pacific were never completed. Pacific reconciled this interruption in her academic pursuits when we bestowed upon her an honorary degree at Commencement this year. Also receiving an honorary degree was Lillian Hirasawa Kurahara, another Pacific student who was sent to Tule Lake.
Also in this issue of Pacific is a feature story on the 40-year history of the magazine; first-person recollections of the University from new retirees Nancy Watt from the College of Education and Bobbi Nickels, director of Upward Bound; and a personal essay from a winner of this year’s undergraduate “Best of Pacific” writing competition. I hope you enjoy connecting with everyone in this issue.
As we move forward into another academic year, I look forward to renewed relationships with current students, alumni, faculty and friends. I encourage you to share your thoughts and suggestions with me and others at Pacific. Please drop me a note.
Phil Creighton, President