Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Alumni from 1960's remembering the Columbus Day Storm

(Photos submitted by Jim La Berge '65)

By Clark Peters '65, MSEd '70 
I remember so clearly where and what happened on that fateful day! Phi Bete fraternity brother, Greg Mock, and I were returning to campus in his car when the big wind came through Forest Grove. 

We pulled over to the side of the road and RAN to the front of the Congregational Church. There were about 6 or 7 steps up into the Church in those days. We crouched down where the corner of the steps met the Church building and let the big breeze blow by. In all my life here in Oregon, I have never seen or felt such a thunderous wind! It was really awesome!

By Joanne ’63 and Barney Howard ’62
We will never forget that day. Our new born son, Barney, was just 3 months old and we were still sterilizing milk in the bottles with our "sterilizer." Then electricity went out. How could we sterilize because our stove was electric? Thank goodness, the Hingstons who lived up the street did have electricity, so I put Barney Jr. in the "pram" and walked up to the Hingstons to take care of the bottles. 

Tom Jaasko '66 pretending to hold up a tree!
My husband, Barney, was teaching in Tualatin and was driving home as the trees were ripped out of orchards by their roots and rolling across the road. The power lines were whipping across the roads torn from their poles. Many were still sparking as he drove trying to get home. Our car was a 1953 Ford and not very road reliable. Transformers were exploding! A big tree went down in the front of our triplex on Main Street. Barney can still see the whole trees blowing by as he was trying to get home to his little family in Forest Grove!

By Jim La Berge ’65 
I remember the Columbus Day Storm happened around dinner time. Most people living on campus had already gone into McCormick Hall basement to eat. With all the trees down it was a wonder that no one on campus was hurt or killed. Trees were down everywhere. It took days for the cleanup.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All in a Year's Time

By Kudrat Kahlon '11   

By the time I graduated from Pacific University, I had already clocked in over a year of legal work, which included a year at the District Attorney’s office as a paralegal and a victim’s advocate and various summer internships in India.

I got an exciting offer to work in Oakland as a social worker (part of the training at the DA’s office included victim advocacy certification). This manifested after I spent an agonizing senior year where I’d send at least 2,000 job applications a week if not more. I’d hear nothing from most, a rejection from a few, and after hounding even the rejecters, feedback from a select few.

I packed my bags and landed up in San Francisco excited about my new job at a domestic violence and human trafficking center, there was no high greater than empowering women, and while the problems can be overwhelming, that one chance that you might have changed someone’s life is priceless, it made social work the most glamorous job in the world for me.

That had been my experience at the DA’s office under an inspiring supervisor. So much that I was rethinking my application to law school and thinking about pursuing social work instead.  But then two weeks into my new job, the management changed, the people I was working for were replaced by a bureaucratic bunch who were so cold and reclusive, a far cry from comfort and protection that the advocates offered.

Not so keen on law school, dismayed with the social work break I got, I mulled over a paralegal position for a corporate law firm which dealt with diamonds in Dubai and found me ethnic enough to work with them (even though I didn’t speak Arabic but probably looked the part).

Kahlon '11 with star Ashton Kutcher
But jumping into an intensive patent law environment when I wasn’t even keen on law anymore didn’t seem right. So I packed my bags and headed back home to India after 5 years and thought I’d take it from there. I have always been open to new experiences, always kept myself busy even if it didn’t fit the plan; because success does not have a linear trajectory it’s non-linear.  So at a friend’s suggestion I joined a local news station, and subsequently found myself working on documentary films.

I am now working as a researcher/producer and occasionally assistant director on documentary films, pursuing a master’s at a liberal arts university in Delhi, trying to kick start an NGO and write as freelance columnist for a national newspaper on socio-political issues. 

This past year has shown me one thing, where your minds at are where you end up.

Kahlon '11 studied politics & government at Pacific under the watchful guidance of Jules Boykoff, James Moore and Jeff Seward who taught her the unconventional and critical world views. Her current interests are socio-political issues, developmental economics, pop-culture, film-making, poststructuralism, philosophy and cultural studies. You can follow her on Twitter here:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

For the Spirit of Boxer

By Kenneth Colman '84 

My memories of Boxer flashes with Boxer II include mobs of students struggling to get the Boxer for themselves or their groups’ keeping. There was an energy on campus following a flash that helped make me realize I was part of a special place.

It brought students together sometimes in ways they would never have before. It took planning and organizing to get Boxer and have him in a safe place before another was able to.Once in possession, there were many nights in McCormick Hall where we would plan flashes to create a buzz of Boxer pride across campus. It was a way to bring crowds to sporting events and have a pride in black and red.

I just read a history of Boxer, and how he came to campus the first time and how the tradition of Boxer grew over the years. You can read that history here:

Boxer was made and created in China brought and made as a gift in the late 1890’s. Boxer, I believe, triggers the very spirit of Pacific University and connects us to those who brought this tradition to Pacific 112 years ago. Every flash and every scrub to be the possessor of Boxer has built a pride and memories of our years at Pacific University. So as Boxer, or a piece of Boxer returns to campus, we need to remember that we are all connected to this long tradition of Boxer pride. Our education and our years at Pacific have taken us all over the world to continue to learn and give to the world working at making it a better place.

For those who have had a chance to have Boxer, you know what I am talking about, for those who long to hold and flash Boxer your time will come. We all need to remember that we are connected to a long tradition where Boxer has watched over many alumni all over the world in many different situations.

I would like to think that as each one of us has gotten our diplomas, moved out into the world using the gifts of learning to think for ourselves and creating better places wherever we are, we have Boxer watching over us.

May the pride and the spirit live on in all of us.

Colman '84 is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and currently lives in Washington state.