Thursday, March 29, 2012

Celebrating Speech and Debate

David Maile '10

In 2006, I traveled from my home in Honolulu, Hawaii to attend Pacific University. One of the largest attractions for me was the Pacific Speech and Debate Team. Coming into the mix as a freshman was seamless and after six years, I’m still mulling around with the team as the Assistant Director of Forensics. It is safe to say that a tradition of excellence, pride and success remains a persistent set of values that the team represents. This vignette is about the direction of the Boxer speech and debate program and the amazing individuals that drive it.

Dan Broyles, the Director of Forensics for the team, does it all in manufacturing a phenomenal trajectory for our students. A native of Illinois, Dan brought his talents to Forest Grove in 2008, after the departure of former Director Sam Mathies. An alumnus and graduate assistant coach of the renowned Illinois State University, Dan perpetuates an open door policy to students he coaches and teaches which grounds the team in a very special situation. 

After all, what isn’t special about teaching and coaching students to speak well and with confidence? Simply put, nothing. Especially when it takes them to the cities like Berlin, Budapest and Rome for competition.

That brings me to the students, those tremendous “kids,” as I affectionately call them at times. The students who compete on the speech and debate team are why Dan and I entered this field. Seeing a competitor have a moment of enlightenment, build confidence, conquer fears or overcome competitive adversity is transformative. What sets our activity a part from others is the complete immersion into a student’s life, and the close impact public speaking can foster. A special group of these students truly represent all that I praise.

It has been an honor to work with the seniors that will be graduating this academic year: Lilly Huynh, Lindsey McLaughlin, Gustavo Morales, and Ryan Terao. All of who built an undying passion for the craft of rhetoric and argumentation and will forever be remembered in the tradition they invested in this program. I want to dedicate this vignette to Dan and the students of our team. Without them, our tradition would not sustain. Without them, we would not be a close community and family. But with them, anything and everything are possible. 

Maile '10 is pictured in the above photo on the left. He continued his education at University of Portland and earned a masters in science degree in communications studies with a concentration on management communications. While attending Pacific, David was also involved with Track and Field, Student Giving Committee, Hawai'i Club and Phi Eta Sigma (Honor Society).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Building the Foundation for Boxer Football

Bryce Kerschner '14

I hail from the small town of Jordan Valley, Oregon. If you have just paused and asked yourself where you might find this quaint little town, believe me you aren’t the first. I arrived at Pacific University in June for a quick tour of the school I had already committed to sights unseen. Why would any person in their right mind choose to attend a college without setting foot on campus? The answer of course would be the offensive coordinator for Pacific’s football team, Coach Jim Craft. 

Jordan Valley is approximately nine hours away from Forest Grove and one mile from the Idaho border, which puts it roughly in the southeastern corner of Oregon. My graduating class was 13 students and the student body consisted of 30 students. Also, being a 1A school in Oregon, we played 8-man football, a completely different game than I experience now every fall Saturday in a Boxer uniform. 

My senior year, needless to say, recruiters weren’t exactly breaking down the door to get the Player of the Year for the High Desert League. Of the letters and emails I received, Pacific had a different appeal; brand new team, brand new coaches, and uncertainty about how the program will perform. I was slightly skeptical of actually being successful on such a team, but my perception greatly changed one December afternoon when coach Jim Craft arrived at Jordan Valley High School.

Winters in Jordan Valley are filled with snow, sleet, hail, and every adverse weather condition you could imagine. However, Craft managed to get himself from Portland to Jordan Valley in a two-wheel drive car. Of course, being from a small town, everyone is up to date about each other and I am fairly certain they all knew who he was once his car entered city limits. If they didn’t, they all were informed when he checked into one of our finer accommodations. After a few brief encounters with our friendly neighborhood service station staff, Craft became aware of small town life; one filled with doors without locks in our local bed and breakfast. 

After surviving what undoubtedly was one of the longer nights of his life, Craft pitched his recruiting spiel to me in our locker room during lunch. Despite the skepticism I earlier felt about the program, I can honestly say my perspective was drastically changed. If this guy was so bent on getting me to this college that he plowed a Toyota Camry through the slush, stayed in a motel room without any definite security system, and endured the locals at the Basque Inn; perhaps this was the place I needed to be.

I chose to attend Pacific University only two weeks after I had met with Craft and could not wait to start the next chapter of Boxer football. Despite being already committed, I felt the need to visit the campus. Fast forward to June after my senior year; I stood in the locker room devoid of the lockers in which I now use frequently. Before, I visited a field lacking any football markings or field goal posts next to the field house which is now covered with field turf. 

It’s amazing what I would have missed if I judged Pacific by its cover. I hope to look back after I hang up the cleats for good and reflect on what my fellow teammates and I built with a sense of fulfillment and pride. So far as a team we have taken enormous steps forward but the journey is still far from over. 

Kershner '14 is the Communications Assistant for the Office of Alumni Relations and is seeking a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing and is a fullback for the varsity football team. More information about Boxer Athletics can be viewed at

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Giving Baby Weight the Boot

Jenni Luckett

I’m sore.

It’s kind of sad, really. I didn’t actually exercise on Friday. I just completed a baseline fitness test that involved repeatedly stepping up and down on a stool about the height of my knees for five minutes.That act alone, however, led to a weekend of achy…um…let’s say gluts and hamstrings.

I guess that’s just more evidence for why I need to do a better job of consistently getting exercise.

Luckily, Pacific offers a pretty cool perk each spring for its employees, in the form of a learning experience for students majoring in exercise science. As part of their course work, exercise science students sign on to act as “personal trainers” to employees in an annual event called Boxer Boot Camp. The students get the real-life learning experience of meeting one-on-one with clients, conducting fitness tests and monitoring progress, and designing personalized workouts. Employees like me get 10 weeks of personal coaching to help establish better exercise habits. Win-win!

My trainer is Trevor Schongalla, a senior hoping to start working toward a doctorate in physical therapy next fall. He’s pro-water consumption, anti-fad diet and much nicer than the scary boot camp, yell-in-your-face trainers you might see in some movies. (At least, I think so…our first full session is this afternoon.)

On Friday, Trevor spent about an hour talking about my goals and health—I think my son’s second birthday in November probably was the limit for blaming my extra pounds on “baby weight”—then putting me through a few baseline fitness tests, like the 5-minute stair steps, which, to be fair, didn’t seem that hard at the time.

I don’t really know how I did. Between the body measurements in centimeters and the strength tests in newtons, I mostly learned that exercise science isn’t about hanging out in the gym; it’s a scientific field that requires a deep understanding of biology, the human body, and even math. Trevor also assures me that exercise science students are skilled in Microsoft Excel, and he’ll be charting my progress for me.

Jenni Luckett, Senior Writer
In turn, I’ll be sharing my progress with you. Maybe not all the charts and measurements, as a girl needs a little privacy, but definitely my experiences with one of the most popular undergraduate degree programs here at Pacific.

Luckett is the editor of the PACIFIC Magazine. Follow her editor's blog at