Pacific is bidding farewell to a faculty member who has dedicated his expertise and services to the art department and its students for the last 40 years.
Art professor Jan Shield has decided to accept the university’s offer of retirement to all faculty members who are at least 60 years of age.
Shield came to visit Pacific four decades ago traveling by bus and initially mistaking McMenamins Grand Lodge for the university. At the time the art department consisted of one faculty member, Robert Spencer. When Shield hired on, he made it a two-man team.
Shield recalls when he started the photography program with one student and a closet they made into a dark room.
According to Shield, although the arts programs have grown substantially throughout the years, there have not been many improvements to their facilities. When he was newly employed at Pacific, the art department was in Tabitha Brown Hall, but it wasn’t supposed to stay there.
According to Shield, the unfulfilled promise was that Brown and Warner Halls were going to be demolished and replaced. He feels the university’s focus is not on the arts, but on the sciences and athletic departments and believes the university should demand the same high standards for the arts facilities as it does for the rest of its programs such as the science programs.
“It’s not that those aren’t really important aspects of the academic sphere,” Shield said. “But it would be a value to this institution to value the arts, the media arts and all of those programs and to follow up on their promises.”
The art professor values his fellow faculty members and said they make the most of their resources.
Shield admitted to hoping there would be more of a vision for arts programs. “If there had been that kind of vision,” said Shield, “I probably would have [stayed].”
Shield is proud of many of his accomplishments at Pacific including the endowments he helped secure for the arts, the assistance he provided to starting the Cawein Gallery in Scott Hall, his involvement in the creation of Trombley Square and the selection or creation of various art works found in most of the buildings on the Forest Grove campus.
“The entire experience has been really rewarding. It’s been fascinating as well as challenging,” Shield said. “Pacific has given me some great opportunities to be involved with students.”
Because he has kept in touch with many of the thousands of students encountered in his years at Pacific, he hopes to do more work with alumni after retirement. He also plans to dedicate more time to his writing, illustration work, painting and sculpting. He said he may even teach an adjunct class from time to time.
In addition, he said continuing to travel would be ideal. Many of Shield’s opportunities to travel have been through Pacific, “which was just really great to be able to see the world and what was happening in it.”
For now, Shield plans to stay on his 25 acre property which overlooks the Yamhill Valley and provides space for a few animals and his personal studio.
However, none of his plans are set in stone.
“I may just split the whole scene and do something that’s even more far out than what I’ve done before,” Shield said.