Notes from Under the Oaks | October 2014
As a current student, I rarely look at Pacific University holistically. Undergraduates like me are focused on a 4-year track that will ultimately lead them to the next stage of their life. Current students don’t think in terms of who came before us or what this university looked like 50 years ago. Yet, for the past two years I have worked during Homecoming for the Office of Alumni Relations and seen firsthand the legacy of this prestigious university.
At Homecoming 2014, the Alumni Barbecue joined together current students, who participate in university affinity groups and clubs, and alumni. While working at the check-in table, I met Marion Sigel ’66 and had a conversation that really defined my experience at Homecoming.
We talked about her time at Pacific, and she gave several examples of how things have changed. She met her husband, Terry Sigel ’65, while she was an undergraduate. She explained how he had to “ring up” to her room to see her in Walter Hall. My freshman year, I lived in Walter. There wasn’t a landline system during my time there and I rarely had courtly gentlemen randomly knocking on my door. My generation has cell phones for such communication.
Marion also talked about the freedoms she felt entering college and being away from her family. She was finally an adult, and acting and thinking for herself. I had a similar feeling my freshman year, which was of both relief and anxiety.
This was such a defining moment, because of all the similarities and differences we drew from our time at Pacific, some 50+ years apart. Not only did I have a wonderful conversation with an alumna, I reflected on all of the graduating classes that had come before me. They had walked the hallways of Walter, Marsh and Washburne Hall. They had made friends under the oaks, struggled through difficult classes and, after 4 years, became graduates of Pacific University.
This May, I will graduate as an alumna of the Class of 2015 and make way for the incoming freshman class. Those freshmen will begin making their own imprint on the history of Pacific and build on this institution’s vision of community oriented, top rate education that was first established in 1849.
It’s easy for me to feel like this is my time at Pacific and what came before me doesn’t relate to my experience today, but this isn’t true. Whenever I talk to alumni, such as Marion, I discover the true vitality of an education at Pacific no matter how many years have passed.
Keeping an eye on the past and present is what defines us at Pacific University. Homecoming 2014 was a great way for me as an undergraduate to get a better grasp on the institution I attend and also meet alumni who used to be in my shoes.
Victoria Hampton '15 is a senior at Pacific majoring in journalism and creative writing. In addition to serving as the current editor of the Index, Victoria is a Communications Assistant in the Office of Alumni Relations.