Reverence for Pacific

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As the executive assistant to the president, I have been very fortunate to work closely with Phil Creighton for six years. It is a viewpoint that not many are able to experience. Phil’s tenure as our president has been a remarkable chapter in Pacific’s long history, and I’ve been fortunate to have a seat in the front row as the transformation of our University has unfolded.

The new buildings, new programs and sense of momentum are all accomplishments that have raised Pacific’s profile substantially and have increased our campus pride. While these accomplishments are truly remarkable, what most impressed me in the past six years has been Phil’s reverence for the people of Pacific.

Whenever I walk across campus with Phil, I know we won’t get very far before he stops to chat with whomever crosses our path. He is the type of person that truly is interested in knowing the details, the ups and downs, the victories and adversities of the individuals we meet. A trip across campus with Phil isn’t the quick five minutes it normally takes without him. Often for lunch, Phil and I will go to the University Center. Sometimes we’ll invite ourselves to sit with a group of students and other times with faculty and staff.

Within the Office of the President, Phil has emphasized that our small group is a team, and all of us have an equal voice. We make decisions democratically, and voting on issues is a common practice. For example, every year the Office purchases a piece of art from the Senior Art Show for the permanent art collection. Phil, Sue (Weinbender, assistant to the president) and I each cast a vote for our favorites. The piece with the top number of votes is purchased.

Phil not only cares about me professionally, but also personally. A few years ago, Phil was completely supportive while I struggled through some health issues. As an ornithologist, Phil was my counselor when my husband and I adopted a stray rooster as a pet - and the flock of 9 additional chicks from the feed store that quickly followed.

It’s hard to believe six years has passed since Phil’s Investiture. I still have the keepsake from that day in my office. And in that time, Phil has become more than my supervisor. He and Leigh are my friends.

-- Kris Bilderback, Executive Assistant to the President