Notes From Under the Oaks

We lost two students last week in a terrible car crash. This has gripped the University community with shock and sorrow, as the loss of young life should. In a particularly poignant moment, one of my colleagues advised us "not to wish our lives away."

This loss is part of a bigger story. This story of what it means to be part of a rather intimate community. When one part of this community hurts, we all hurt.

As director of alumni relations, I am a keeper of stories. Over the last week I’ve talked with multiple alumni about this loss. In every case I’ve encountered a moment where the alumnus becomes lost in their own memories. I’ve visited with these alumni about the tragic stories of their own classmates lost. They’re not alone in this -- the classmates we lost when I was a student have been heavy in my heart lately, as well as the students we’ve lost in my years working at Pacific.

Last week’s tragedy has truly made us pause in the too-quick scramble of life and appreciate.

Although this is a somber and sad moment, it’s also a chance to remind oneself about what’s important in life – as my colleague did when she reminded us not to wish our lives away.

This leads me to ask the question, what’s your advice?

Several hundred students will graduate next month from programs in all five colleges. What advice do you have to share for these new alumni who are beginning their next chapter with their freshly-minted degrees in hand?

Perhaps your advice addresses the issue of appreciating life, or maybe you’ve got some specific wisdom to share about job searching, setting up a practice or remembering to call your parents?

I’d love to hear and share what you have to say! Please send your advice my way at I’ll be sharing alumni advice with students as they prepare to graduate.

I dedicate this issue of the Alumni eNews to Kiden Dilla and Ayan Osman and to all the students and alumni we’ve lost at too tender an age.

Keep your loved ones close and keep in touch.

Best wishes,

Martha Calus-McLain ‘03
Director of Alumni Relations

Posted by Martha Calus-Mclain ( on Apr 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

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