Krebs 'Make a Difference' Award Helps Student Stay at Pacific

Last summer, Lilly Meek ’21 wasn’t sure she’d be able to return to Pacific University for her sophomore year.Pacific sophomore Lilly Meek

Meek is the first in her family to attend college. An environmental biology major and a Spanish minor, she also plays on Pacific’s softball team.

Pacific, she said, gave her the best option of being able to do everything she wanted to do: “They were going to let me travel abroad, play sports, major in a science, and have a job,” she said. “It just gave me the whole package, which is really hard, being a student-athlete.”

But Pacific also brought a challenging price tag for her family.

“I was making my decision whether or not to come back, because Pacific was starting to become out of our price range,” Meek said. “We didn’t anticipate me coming to a private school.”

When Meek learned she had received the Eva C. Krebs ‘Make a Difference’ Boxer Spirit Award, she and her mother were ready to celebrate.

“We were really happy and she gave me a high five, and then we went to go eat, as a celebration,” Meek said.

The Eva C. Krebs ‘Make a Difference’ Boxer Spirit Award is a character-based award, celebrating “somebody who is doing things, perhaps overcoming some form of adversity, who is paying it forward, and has a social conscience. It goes beyond just recognition of financial need and academic success,” said Rick Krebs, who started the fund in memory of his late wife, Eva Krebs, the former dean of students (1995-2012) and later vice president of enrollment management and student affairs at Pacific.

“Eva was more than an administrator, she was a substitute parent,” Rick Krebs said. “She was there for the student, spent hours discussing their issues. Time, date, location didn’t matter. She was there 24/7, she was not a 9 to 5 person. Whenever a student needed help, she was there.”

Following Eva Krebs’ untimely death in 2012, her husband wanted to ensure that her legacy would live on.

“When you see somebody doing what it is she did, it needs to be remembered, honored and respected,” Krebs said. “Because it was extraordinary. Eva was too extraordinary not to remember.”

Now, Eva’s former assistant, Ingrid Unterseher, helps choose the annual recipients for the scholarship. She says she always looks for someone who has gone through hardship and overcome it to get to Pacific and someone who wants to use what they learn at Pacific to make a difference.

“I am always trying to channel, ‘What would Eva say?’ ‘What would Eva think?’ and I think about the students she really supported and helped,” Unterseher said.

Meek, for example, balances her studies and sports activities with work on two research teams, as a Boys & Girls Club outdoor educator, and as a student representative on the Forest Grove Sustainability Commission. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree and hopes to work either as a conservation geneticist, helping to stop illegal trade of endangered species, or as a marine biologist.

None of that would be possible, though, without support like the Eva C. Krebs ‘Make a Difference’ Boxer Spirit Award.

“This scholarship meant everything to me. It enabled me to continue my education at Pacific.”

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May. 14, 2019