A Little Means A Lot


Pacific University Eye Van with Students Posing in Front
Pacific University members gathered in front of the EyeVan.

Fay Littlefield was preparing taxes for a Pacific University student when it occurred to her that she could do more to support students.

The student had brought in a list of all his scholarships, and that’s when Littlefield realized that it didn’t take much to make an impact.

“A scholarship could be $1,000 and still count … it would still make a difference,” she said.

Littlefield, whose initial connection to Pacific started with her daughter Susan Littlefield OD ’94, a College of Optometry alumna and now faculty member, has established two funds to support Pacific and its students.

The Littlefield Family Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually to one optometry student from a rural community. The Littlefields are originally from North Dakota and witnessed first-hand how Pacific’s nurturing community benefits students.

"A scholarship could be $1,000 and still count ... it would still make a difference."
– Fay Littlefield

“People coming from rural areas don’t have access to many scholarships,” Fay Littlefield said. “I could invest in the people. You just don’t know who is out there who is going to make a difference.”

Susan Littlefield, for example, has touched lives in ways she never imagined. She spent a year in a teaching fellowship at Pacific after earning her doctor of optometry, then moved to Seattle to practice optometry. She later returned, though, to take an outreach position at her alma mater, where she launched the College of Optometry’s outreach program.

She was the first driver of the Pacific EyeVan and ran the outreach program for nine years. Today, she teaches third-year patient care and refractive surgery and is also the director of the Pacific EyeClinic Beaverton. But the outreach program remains close to her heart and she’s proud of its growth, including the brand new mobile clinic that debuted last spring.

“It was a major accomplishment, coming from North Dakota and doing what she has done with the EyeVan,” Fay Littlefield said, explaining that she surprised her daughter by naming the award for her.

The Dr. Susan Littlefield Public Health Outreach Program Award is given to a third-year optometry student in recognition of their work with the EyeVan and outreach program. It recognizes “someone who is out there, working with the people,” Fay Littlefield said. 

What is an Endowment?

An endowment is an invested fund that provides support for Pacific University students and programs through its earnings. The principle of an endowed fund is never spent. Earnings benefit the particular scholarship or program named by the donor and also sometimes reinvested to further grow the principle.Endowed funds are critical to the long-term success of Pacific University and its students because they provide perpetual support. Pacific’s total endowments currently total about $74 million, and the goal of the Lead On campaign is to bring that figure to $100 million. Donors can establish new endowments with a minimum of $25,000 — or contribute to existing endowed funds to help them further their goals.

This story first appeared in the Winter 2018 Philanthropy edition of Pacific magazine. For more stories, visit pacificu.edu/magazine.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018