Security with a Smile at Hillsboro Campus

The guy with the smile. That’s what many people think when they see Campus Public Safety Officer Terry Hummel strolling around Pacific University’s Hillsboro Campus.

Hummel’s smile and friendliness were rewarded in May, when Pacific University recognized him as one of the recipients of the Dedication to Students Award given every year.

Hummel is “one of the friendliest people you will ever meet,” emcee Chris Wilkes said at the awards ceremony May 8. “Terry is always cheerful and happy to help out anyone in need.”

Hummel, who has worked at Pacific for the past eight years, returned the compliment, calling his position “the best job I’ve had.”

“It’s the one I enjoy the most and I get satisfaction out of seeing these wonderful people’s faces after I’ve finished helping them,” he said. “The reward is displayed on their faces. The perks are the appreciation they show me.”

Hummel did not start out in public safety work. He moved to Oregon from San Jose, Calif., at age 15, when his father, an engineer with Hewlett Packard, was transferred to Corvallis. After graduating from high school there, Hummel worked as an electrical mechanical technician for Cascade Microtech in Beaverton.

“All I had was a high school diploma,” he said. “I started as a tech level 1 and ended up as a tech level 3, training other techs.”

In 1997, while working full time and raising two young boys, ages 7 and 8, Hummel decided to go back to school full-time at Portland Community College.

“I just wanted to get at least a two-year degree,” he said.

And he did.

In 2003, however, the recession hit, and Hummel lost his job at Microtech. For two years, he worked odd jobs, then started working as a security officer at Washington Square mall.

After 15 months, he saw an online ad for Campus Public Safety at Pacific University. He spent his first six years with Pacific at the Forest Grove Campus. Since then, he’s been at the Hillsboro campus.

“I just love it,” he said.

“Because there are graduate students, they’re older, they’re focused on being professionals and doctors. There’s less mischief, less rule-breaking compared to the younger undergrads,” he said.

However, he said, he feels it important for public safety officers to maintain a presence on the Hillsboro campus.

“It’s very laid back, very mellow, but it’s still important that I’m here,” he said. “My priorities are making a physical presence so that the public, students and staff see me as often as possible.”

Although Pacific’s public safety officers do not carry guns, Hummel does admit to being a competitive target shooter with the Tri-County Gun Club in Sherwood, where he’s been a member for 20 years.

“I love shooting paper targets,” he said. “It’s a personal discipline test: How well can I shoot a rifle and hit the smallest possible paper target.”

Hummel also makes his own ammunition for target shooting.

The only major incident Hummel recalls at the Hillsboro campus was last semester, when a nurse at the Virginia Garcia Clinic said one of the patients at the clinic appeared to have a gun in his waistband, sending the campus into an electronic lockdown.

As it turned out, the man had a legal stun gun, and the episode ended peacefully.

“We were very proud of the procedure … that we kept the student body, faculty and staff safe,” Hummel said.

Hummel said he is proud to be a member of the Pacific University community, but as a single father, he’s most proud that he was able to hand his son, Kevin, a Pacific University diploma on stage at undergraduate Commencement May 18.

Kevin earned his bachelor’s degree as a music major.

Hummel’s other son, Brian, is earning a degree in criminal justice at Portland Community College and, following in his father’s footsteps, is a safety officer at Washington Square mall.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013