Pacific Welcomes New Trustees

Pacific University is proud to announce the selection of eight new members on its Board of Trustees. Among the new members are four Pacific University alumni.

Mark Truax ’09 was elected to the board in December and began his term at the board’s March meeting. 

At that same meeting, the board elected independent Trustees Gary Pacarro ’74, Heidi Nielsen ’96, Chris Tuffli ’84, Amelie Brazelton Aust, Greg Dinges and Jim Baker, whose new terms begin in May and continue through June 2026.

Undergraduate Faculty Trustee Lorely French was selected to complete the term of Jim Moore, starting in March and continuing through June 2024.

The Board of Trustees is tasked with fiscal and strategic oversight of the university, which serves more than 3,500 students in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, health professions and optometry.

Mark Truax, a 2009 graduate of Pacific’s undergraduate politics and government program, currently serves as president of Pac/West Strategies, the Denver-based division of Pac/West Communications, where he has spent much of his career. He also has served as western issues specialist for the National Association of Conservation Districts and is an active member of several nonprofit organizations and associations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International and Western Stock Show Association.

“I have a deep love for Pacific University,” Truax told his fellow board members. “There’s a lot of excitement and joy I get coming back to Forest Grove. I look forward to learning from you and working with you and serving beside you.”

Gary Pacarro, a 1974 alumnus of Pacific’s undergraduate sociology program, previously served on the Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2013. He is the retired founding director of Pacific’s Hawai‘i Office, partnership manager for the national nonprofit Positive Coaching Alliance, and a former financial advisor and broker with Morgan Stanley. He also has worked as a travel industry executive and an education strategy specialist for the Pacarro Group. He is a former teacher and coach, leading the men’s and women’s basketball program at his alma mater, Punahou School, for more than 25 years. 

Heidi Nielsen, a 1996 graduate of Pacific’s undergraduate art and Spanish programs, brings more than 25 years experience in design, marketing and communications, with a focus on socially-responsible clients and justice. She was chief operating officer and managing partner at Brink Communications, and previously held positions with Summit Projects, Minga Creative, and GoodWorks — A Design Studio. She recently founded In Common Agency, where she is a creative strategist.

Chris Tuffli graduated from Pacific with undergraduate majors in history and political science in 1989, when he was valedictorian. He went on to earn an MBA through UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 1998. He served as a Capitol Hill staffer for Rep. Les Aucoin (also a Pacific alumnus) and Earl Blumenauer. His career has included leadership positions with the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, DEI Worldwide, Paramount Farms and Towers Perrin. He currently is founding partner of Rethink H2O and chief executive officer of BDBH Global LLC, providing engineering advice on water issues and water re-use planning.

Amelie Brazelton Aust is vice chair and second-generation owner of Fall Creek, the world’s leading blueberry genetics and nursery company. She joined Fall Creek in 2008 to manage the company’s intellectual property and licensing and previously served as co-CEO. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and a Master of Laws from the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, where she was a Fulbright Scholar. She also is a volunteer board member for the International Fresh Produce Association.

Greg Dinges is executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer at Servco Pacific Inc. He previously owned GCD, a company offering strategic consulting services focusing on consumer products, emerging markets and cross-border operations, and also has held leadership positions with Cole Haan, Renaissance Capital, Nike, PepsiCo, and MEI Diversified. He graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1989 and has served on Pacific’s College of Business Executive Council since 2013.

Dr. Jim Baker is a physician and owner of Baker Allergy and Asthma in Portland. He and his wife, Diana, a dermatologist, previously practiced together at Baker Allergy Asthma and Dermatology in Hillsboro, which closed upon her retirement. The building, now part of Pacific’s Hillsboro Campus, was recently named Isabel Baker Hall. Dr. Baker holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, where he also completed a residency in pediatrics and was named chief resident. He also has completed a fellowship in allergy and immunology and participated as an investigator in clinical trials, with particular interest in insect allergies, food allergies and hives. 

Lorely French has taught at Pacific since 1986. Originally from Vermont, she holds a bachelor's from McGill University in Quebec, as well as a master's and PhD from UCLA. She teaches German, as well as international studies and gender and sexuality studies, and she has led multiple study abroad courses to German-speaking areas. She recently published the first English-language translation of the memoirs of Ceija Stojka, an Austrian artist, activist and child survivor of the Holocaust.

Thursday, March 16, 2023