Bob Fitzmorris '08 | "Think About What You Love to Study"

Bob FitzmorrisIt wasn’t long ago that Bob Fitzmorris’ 08 was sitting right where his students are.

Fitzmorris grew up in Aloha, just a few miles from Forest Grove, with a love of science.

“My teachers pushed me to go to college, but I didn’t know anything about it,” he said.

At the time, however, Pacific University faculty members would volunteer to go to high schools and help students with college applications — and that’s how he learned about Pacific.

Once he got started, Fitzmorris kept going. He started at Pacific in 2004, graduated in 2008, and went on to a PhD in physical chemistry in 2013. He spent 2015-2016 as a visiting professor of chemistry at his alma mater, Pacific.

“My family thinks it’s strange,” he said. “There’s this perception that you go to college to make a lot of money. That’s just why you go.”

Fitzmorris’ advise to students is different, though: “Rather than focusing on the job you want to have and getting boxes checked off, think about what you love to study.

“They way the economy is, it’s likely that your dream job doesn’t even exist yet.”

First-Generation at Pacific | About 24 percent of Pacific University undergraduate students are “first-generation,” meaning they are the first in their families to attend college. Pacific faculty and staff are seeking out ways to better support those students through their college experience, including a recent luncheon where staff and faculty like Fitzmorris shared their own first-generation experiences. “There are people here to help you,” said College of Arts & Sciences Dean Lisa Carstens. ”We already know you can do it; you’re here. We just want to make it smoother.”

Apr. 11, 2016