Valedictorian: Pacific 'Checked All My Boxes'

For Charli Elliott ‘19, Pacific University “checked off all my boxes.”

Where else, she reasoned, could a young woman from Seattle start writing her novel, study in China, and play college basketball, all while attending a school small enough for her to receive individual attention from professors?

Elliott has been named undergraduate valedictorian for her 2019 graduating class and will deliver an address at Undergraduate Commencement on Saturday, May 18. Pacific hosts two commencement ceremonies that day: The undergraduate ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m., and the graduate/professional ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. Both ceremonies are held at Hanson Stadium on the Forest Grove Campus and are open to the public, with no tickets required.

Elliott majored in creative writing and played on Pacific’s varsity women’s basketball team. As she graduates this month, she will have the beginnings of a novel, polished by workshops and mentoring, which she can use to apply to graduate schools or writing residencies. 

But her immediate priority, she says, is to improve her fluency in Chinese, preferably by teaching English in Taiwan. She plans to sharpen her language skills while earning some money and traveling the region — all while continuing to write.

While overseas, she said, she plans “to use the beautiful setting of Taiwan as inspiration for further work.”

Charli Elliot '19 appears on the inside cover of the Fall 2019 issue of Pacific magazine. For more stories, visit

Monday, May 6, 2019