Notes From Under the Oaks


A sketch of the ealiest building on Pacific University's Forest Grove campus

As I look ahead to 2014, only two weeks gone and the rest full of possibility, I have many resolutions. Among them is a hope to acknowledge people who make a difference. This week I am thinking about the great teachers I had throughout my education.


Over the past six months my husband has been reading the Little House books to our daughter, who is completely enthralled with them. I recently overheard them reading a passage describing conditions in the one-room school house where Laura is teaching in negative forty degree weather.

“At half past three they were all so cold that she thought of dismissing school early. The mile that Martha and Charles must walk, worried her. On the other hand, she should not cut short the pupils' opportunity for learning, and this was not a blizzard.”

This passage brought to mind the spirit of the pioneers who founded Pacific in 1849 in the face of immense adversity.

It makes me think of the students who were so deeply committed to their education they found time for it among the competing responsibilities of frontier life.

It reminds me of the courage of teachers, both in 1882 when they commanded one room school houses throughout the west and today when they risk, and sometimes sacrifice, their lives to save the children in their care.

I shared this passage when I welcomed a dozen new students into our special ed program earlier this week. In a few years, these students will be alumni who spend their days dedicated to the success of young people. Based on the reactions of the students it was clear the passion and dedication Laura conveyed in her memoirs is still true of aspiring teachers.

Last night we hosted the Student Teacher Alumni Reception on the Forest Grove campus. During the evening we got to hear teachers speak earnestly and candidly about their experiences. Again, the passion and dedication was evident.

I hope none of our alumni are teaching kids who have to walk a mile in negative forty degrees, but I’m sure these alumni have a few stories of their own to share.

I’d love to hear from alumni who are teachers. What inspires you? Do you have a great story to share about students who walked a metaphorical cold mile for their education?

I’d also love to hear from alumni about the teachers who helped them. Who was your favorite teacher at Pacific, before or after? How did they inspire you? Did you ever walk a cold mile for your education?

Send us your stories and as always don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

Best wishes,

Martha Calus-McLain ‘03
Director of Alumni Relations


Posted by Martha Calus-Mclain (calu0689@pacificu.edu) on Jan 17, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Edited by Rachael Burbank (rburbank@pacificu.edu) on Jan 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM

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