Pacific Honors Top Donors at Celebration of Giving

Celebration of Giving inductee awardsPacific University honored the generosity of its most committed donors at its annual Celebration of Giving on Sept. 11.

The university inducted 10 new members into its President’s Circle, an honor society recognizing donors who have given more than $100,000 to the university cumulatively. Pacific also welcomed one new member to its 1849 Society, recognizing donors who have given $1 million or more cumulatively.

“Through scholarships, program support, renovations, and research opportunities, their generosity is not only creating the future for Pacific, but also is transforming the lives of Pacific students, today,” said Pacific Vice President Cassie Warman.

Keynote speaker and recent alumnus Skyler Erben ’18, an economics major now working in wealth management, told guests that their support made his education possible.

Growing up with a challenging home situation and responsible entirely for the expense of his education, Erben said he started college elsewhere on the wrong foot but found his way to Pacific as a transfer student.

“I was excited about the small class sizes, beautiful campus, and great thing I’d heard about the wholistic approach to education,” he said. But, he added, the bottom line was financial: “Thanks to the folks in this room, Pacific was the most financially feasible of each of the schools I was accepted to.

“At the time, you were people I hadn’t even met, but you had enough empathy and faith to help me — and countless numbers of my peers — finance a college education.”

Pacific is in the midst of an $80 million comprehensive fundraising effort — Lead On: The Campaign for Tomorrow at Pacific University — which has, to date, yielded gifts and pledges of more than $55 million to grow the university’s endowment and perpetual support for student scholarships, develop and enhance learning environments, and invest in innovation.

About a quarter of all Pacific students are, like Erben, the first in their families to attend college. About half of Pacific students are in graduate and professional programs, most on their way to careers in healthcare professions like optometry, pharmacy and dental hygiene. In addition to its academic programs, Pacific also is the No. 1 private research university in the Northwest, translating into meaningful hands-on experience for students. And, the university operates healthcare clinics throughout the Portland area. 

Each facet is supported by the philanthropic commitment of Pacific alumni, families, employees and friends.

“I see a direct connection between your gifts and our mission,” President Lesley Hallick told guests at the celebration Wednesday. “You fund research programs for students and faculty. You endow faculty positions that attract the best and brightest to teaching at Pacific. You make health and vision care outreach possible in underserved communities. And, most importantly, you bring these opportunities to future generations of Pacific students.”

President’s Circle Inductees

Keith Argow | The son of the renowned sociology professor and prison reformer Claire Argow, Keith Argow has generously supported a scholarship in his late-mother’s name, providing support for students seeking careers in social services or law enforcement.

Carl Zeiss AG | A German-based optical systems and industrial measurement and medical device manufacturer, Carl Zeiss AG and its worldwide subsidiaries have helped remodel the Pacific University College of Optometry’s Jefferson Hall, supported continuing education for faculty and alumni, and are helping Pacific bring its expertise to students and faculty in China to address the public health crisis of myopia.

Ford Family Foundation | Committed to awarding grants to initiatives benefitting communities in rural Oregon, the Ford Family Foundation is supporting the Pacific School of Dental Hygiene Studies’ Dental Therapist Pilot Projects to train dental hygienists to become dental therapists who provide important direct care to underserved low-income and rural patients.

John Hamm ’68 and Mary Anne Seibert | A Pacific University alumnus, John Hamm and his wife returned to Pacific for his 50th reunion last year, when he met a recipient of the Golden Guard Endowed Scholarship supporting first-generation college students. Deeply moved by her story, the couple made a bequest to grow the scholarship to help even more students. 

Dr. Peter and Judy Kohler | President Emeritus of OHSU and retired vice chancellor of the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences’ campus, Dr. Peter Kohler and his wife Judy have generously supported Pacific since he joined the Board of Trustees in 2012. They created the Kohler Endowment for Undergraduate Research, which provides scholarships, stipends, travel support and equipment to students to aid them in their pursuit of discovery. They also support the College of Health Professions.

Marchon Eyewear | Marchon Eyewear is one of the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and distributors of glasses and sunglasses. Last year, the company donated nearly 3,000 frames and sunglasses to the Pacific College of Optometry, where they have been distributed to underserved and low-income Oregon patients through Pacific EyeClinics and community outreach programs.

Nelson Olf | Nelson Olf is a decorated marine, inspiring leader, and beloved former Pacific professor who led business classes at Pacific before the university had a College of Business. He created the Nelson Olf Business Management Scholarship Endowment for students studying business management, supported the inception of Pacific’s club handball team (now six-time national champions), and most recently established the Boxer Opportunity Fund, a student-management investment fund in the College of Business.

Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute | PCLI specializes in cataract surgery and laser vision correction and is one of North America’s most experienced eyecare facilities. For the past decade, PCLI has generously supported Pacific’s Optometry Technology Fund to maintain the most current equipment and technology. Last year, PCLI also established the Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute Endowed Scholarship to support optometry students interested in careers in medical surgical consultative care or medical practice.

Lisa Rowley | Lisa Rowley served as the founding director of Pacific’s School of Dental Hygiene Studies, where she built the program from the ground up. She was instrumental in securing support from the Willamette Dental Group to establish the School of Dental Hygiene Studies Alumni & Friends Endowed Scholarship. This past year, she also made a bequest to provide her own significant support to the scholarship fund.

Bill Studdiford ’49 | After studying journalism at Pacific University, Bill Studdiford went on to work for IBM’s World Trade division for 26 years, living around the globe. Upon retirement, he turned to creative enterprises, becoming an accomplished playwright and painter. He has created a bequest to provide a substantial gift to Pacific’s theatre program.

1849 Society Inductee

Laura K. Phillips Trust | Laura K. Phillips was a senior editor at Binfords & Mort Publishing, where she worked with company owner Thomas Binford. When Binford died, he let Laura some of his personal papers, along with a book collection that had belonged to his father. Laura, in turn, set up the Laura K. Phillips Trust, which upon her death created the Thomas Binford Endowment Fund for Writing, along with the Binford book collection. Both initially went to Marylhurst University until its unfortunately closure last year. Claudia Robertson, the trustee for the Laura K. Phillips Trust — then worked to have the endowment and the book collection transferred to Pacific University, where her late husband was a former trustee and her son was an alumnus. Thanks to Claudia Robertson’s efforts, the legacy of the Laura K. Phillips Trust lives on at Pacific, where the Thomas Binford Endowed Scholarship in Writing will support students studying English literature or creative writing, and the Binford Book Collection is now part of the Tim & Cathy Tran Library.

Sep. 12, 2019