University mourns the passing of Dr. Fred Scheller ('43, MA '54)

One of the University's most beloved and respected alumni and professors leaves a legacy of discovery, vision and hope

Pacific University mourns the loss of one of its greatest community members, alumnus and professor Fred Scheller ('43, MA '54), who passed away on Saturday, May 8 at the age of 89.

Few, if any, have embodied Boxer Spirit more so than Fred, whose love for the University and dedication to it spanned more than 70 years.

His unsurpassed commitment to Pacific's growth into a comprehensive institution of higher education began as an undergraduate student in 1939.

Despite limited financial means, Fred's desire to discover was so strong he hitchhiked to Pacific's Forest Grove campus from his family farm near Aloha. 

Fred embraced the tutelage provided by professor and mentor Hap Hingston, who encouraged Fred to lead the speech team.

After earning his baccalaureate degree in 1943, Fred served in the Navy in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands during the last year of World War II, and later said his military training made a key difference in his life. 

He returned to the University in 1953 where he taught for 30 years. He earned his doctorate in speech education from the University of Oregon while at Pacific.

In addition to teaching a full load of speech courses and mentoring hundreds of speech students, Fred founded a University radio station and developed the University’s audio-visual program, opening a media lab, television studio and language lab.

His countless hours of time spent fundraising to make the program a reality is just one example of his extreme generosity.

Fred became one of the University's first recruiters of students from Hawai’i and played an instrumental role in the development of the Hawaiian Club - Na Haumana O Hawai'i.

He is perhaps best known as the catalyst to the birth and development of one of the largest Lu’aus in the continental United States, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

A longtime supporter of the University’s music program with his wife Ruth, Fred also taught theatre courses and directed stage performances.

He retired in 1983, but remained active as a prominent voice and face for the University’s Alumni Association and Speech and Forensics Team, and was a key part of “breaking in” each new President as they came along. The Scheller Scholarship and annual Scheller Speech Breakfast honor his love for the University and speech and debate program.

Fred’s legacy lives on and he will be remembered and loved for dedicating his life’s work and energy to Pacific. The Boxer community is forever grateful to he and his family.

The University will honor Fred with a moment of silence during its annual Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 13.

Fred's memorial service took place at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Hillsboro on Saturday, May 15.

View "Lu'au 2010: Behind the scenes," a video featuring Dr. Scheller and his work with Pacific's annual lu'au.

Pacific University Scheller Scholarship

In lieu of flowers, Fred's family requests donations be made to the Pacific University Scheller Scholarship.

To donate in honor of Fred, please choose online giving and type 'Scheller Scholarship' in the 'Additional Comments/Instructions' field at the bottom.

You can also make a donation by personal check or phone (503) 352-2211. Other ways to give.

Posted by Joe Lang ( on May 12, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Edited by Stephanie Haugen ( on May 3, 2012 at 2:12 PM

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