Notes from Under the Oaks

Those who pay attention to these things might notice we're a few days late delivering this issue of the Alumni eNews. This is due, in large part, to a number of celebrations welcoming nearly 700 members of the Class of 2014 into the Alumni Association.

I have to admit, much of my time during these events has been spent pondering the peculiar origins of the mortar board hat, but I was also deeply moved by the words I heard during these ceremonies.

At the school of Pharmacy awards ceremony, the class president Blake Larson, PharmD ’14, quoted the poet John Donne “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of a continent, a part of the main.”

He used this quote to illustrate the unity of the class and the commitment to their mutual success. In a world too often torn apart by competition, I find it poignant to see how Pacific students support one another. There is ferocity to that support. I see it in every program and I heard it in the cheers and applause at every award ceremony. These students care deeply about one another.

At the undergraduate awards ceremony 64 awards were given in 50 categories. Each one was unique, but the common element was the strong personal connection and deep pride conveyed by the faculty. These citations were not read by strangers, but by proud mentors who work tirelessly in support of their students.

At a dinner hosted by the College of Education alumni chapter alumna Melissa Timm ’98, spoke about her 16 year career as a teacher and described each day as different. She went on to explain, it is not the task of teaching that is different, but the kids themselves. Their temperaments shift daily depending on factors outside of school, including whether they’ve had enough to eat or whether they’ve seen their parents lately.

By the time she finished explaining how kids in her class get to choose a hug, a high five or a hand shake a the end of each day, most of the graduates were wiping away tears. Melissa’s story and the response of the graduates embody our core value of service to the world. The work of Pacific alumni is not just work – it is a dedication to improving lives.

At the Optometry awards ceremony we heard from the class valedictorian, Amber Jeannotte, OD ’14, who hails from Yellowknife the capital of the Northwest Territories of Canada who will return to Yellowknife with her doctorate in hand poised to help countless individuals achieve a higher quality of life through improved vision.

We also graduated our first class in the recently restored Speech Language Pathology program – this class of 34 graduates has 40 job offers between them. At their graduation party the students attempted to given an award to one of their professors, but found they couldn’t choose just one and ended up honoring every professor and staff member in the program. It was a lovely way of acknowledging the mutual hard work and faith found in starting a new program and in being the first class in a new program.

I’m never prouder of Pacific and of my own degree than I am during Commencement week. I feel so fortunate to count myself among these incredible new alumni with their deep commitment to one other, to their profession and to changing the world.

I hope you’re proud too.

Welcome Class of 2014!

Best wishes,

Martha Calus-McLain ‘03
Director of Alumni Relations


Posted by Martha Calus-Mclain ( on May 19, 2014 at 2:32 PM

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