In 1869, when the nation was just beginning to heal from the Civil War, Harriet Hoover Killin became the first woman to graduate from Pacific, joining two men to make up the university’s fifth graduating class.
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Neither Lillian Kurahara nor Yukie Katayama Sumoge cut a wide swath when they were students in Forest Grove in the early 1940s. Japanese-American students interned during World War II, they were awarded honorary degrees by the university in 2007 because of the circumstances around their departures.
Mary Richardson Walker and her husband donated part of the land that became Pacific's Forest Grove Campus. After her husband's death, Mary remained active in the early life of the school and the community of Forest Grove. The qilin statue that became Boxer, Pacific University's mascot, was donated to the school in her honor.
Even if she had done nothing else at Pacific, Varina French ’56, MS ’65 would have been remembered for her 17 years spent coaching women’s volleyball, softball, track and field and gymnastics, and for becoming the first female physical education department chair in the West.
Tabitha Moffatt Brown was already an elderly woman when she came to the Oregon Territory in the late 1840s. That didn't stop her from helping to establish the Tualatin Academy, a school that would educate children in 1849. By 1854, the school officially began offering college classes as Pacific University.
A 1942 headline in The Campus, the undergraduate newspaper of City College of New York, set the tone: “First Female Invades Tech School Faculty,” it blared. Cecilie Froehlich led Pacific's math department until 1970 and was an outspoken advocate for recruiting women into the fields of math and engineering.
By the time she came to Pacific in 1960, Claire Argow already was well known for her work to abolish the death penalty and reform the penal system. She was driven by the belief that people convicted of crimes still deserve to be offered opportunities and treated humanely.
Frances Clapp ’08 — that is, 1908 — was a revered figure from the turn of the last century. She was a skilled pianist who appeared in many musical programs from the era, playing Chopin, Beethoven, Grieg, Rubinstein, Bach and other composers.
Autumn Davis MBA ’19, Breanne Davis ’16, OT ’19, and Carmel Nichol ’16, MSW ’17 completed a family triple play this summer when Breanne was awarded her doctorate in occupational therapy. She was the third triplet in the family to earn a graduate degree from Pacific.
Back in the late 19th century, when Pacific University was an outpost of higher education in the Pacific Northwest, the school took part in an ignoble American experiment. With Pacific’s support, the Forest Grove Indian Training School brought Native American children to a nearby campus, where they were forced to abandon tribal culture in favor of learning the skills and religion of the dominant white society. Some didn't survive the transition.