Funding a Dream | Eva Forrester '14

Eva Forrester pictured with her 2 young sons.
Eva Forrester ‘14 and her sons count on each other to help out around the house as the single mother works to earn her bachelor’s degree in math and finance at Pacific University. The recent award of the Eva C. Krebs “Make A Difference” Boxer Spirit Award is going a long way to making the effort more possible for the family.

Eva Forrester ’14 didn’t know how she was going to pay for her final year at Pacific University.

Forrester, a 37-year-old student who transferred from Portland Community College, received an academic scholarship to study mathematics and finance at Pacific.

That went a long way — in fact, it’s what brought her to Pacific.

But it hasn’t solved her long-term challenge: affording housing, food, clothes and the like for herself and two young sons while attending school full time.

The family lives on the cheap. They stay in the Boxer Apartments, just blocks from the Forest Grove Campus. The boys, 8 and 5, go to school nearby and come to Pacific to hang out after class while their mom studies. Forrester is up front with them about the reality of finances, and the family motto is all about teamwork: Everyone pitches in to do chores and help out.

"It's been a 100 percent uphill battle. ... the Eva Krebs Scholarship came right on time."
– Eva Forrester '14

Still, Forrester has been on the brink of dropping out more than once.

“It’s a 100 percent uphill battle,” she said.

Recently, though, she got a piece of good news. She has been awarded the Eva C. Krebs “Make A Difference” Boxer Spirit Award, in honor of the late Pacific University vice president who was so committed to helping students through those rough patches that get in the way of education.

“I was really super shocked to find out I won the award,” Forrester said. “It gave me the boost I needed. It came right on time.”

The life changes that led to Pacific were dramatic, but ultimately positive. Her route to pursue an education started when her youngest son was just seven weeks old — and her husband, the boy’s father, decided to leave the family.

“I had to think about what I was going to do,” she said. 

A minimum wage job may have been more expedient, but it wouldn’t have been the best long-term plan for her family. The work is hard, but she hopes that she’s inspiring her boys.

“I wish she could be at home a little more. I sometimes miss her,” said her oldest boy, Ethan. “But she goes to school so she can get a good job and get us a better house.”

Forrester said she hopes that someday, when her boys hit that point where they just don’t want to push themselves any further in school, they remember what she did.

“When they get to that point, I want them to think, ‘Wait, Mommy did this with me and Brother. I can do it.’”

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This story first appeared in the Fall 2013 - Philanthropy issue of Pacific magazine. For more stories, visit

Friday, Oct. 4, 2013