Faces of Pacific: ‘Mother hen’ makes finances simpler

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She’s the face behind the refund checks students joyously receive at the beginning of every term.

For 15 years the “mother hen” of the business office has dedicated extra hours during snowstorms and worked tirelessly to accommodate every student possible.

Accounts Receivable Manager Renee Vanzant holds the hearts of her employees and strives to uphold her motto of “we are here for the students.”

Despite its reputation for “taking everyone’s money,” the business office, specifically Vanzant’s team, works around the clock to make sure each student is treated fairly and genuinely regarding their finances.

The Oklahoma native began working for Pacific University at the front desk of the business office after admiring the job from across the street at U.S. Bank.

She said she loves working here and plans to retire from Pacific.

Along with working in the business office for over a decade, Vanzant’s family is heavily involved in the Pacific community.

Her daughter graduated from the education program and her son is currently working as a CPS officer.

Vanzant is in charge of setting up all of the billing tables and sending out online bills, issuing refund checks and serving as the student veteran’s affairs coordinator.

She and her team are currently working on bringing billing to mobile devices so students have more convenient access to their statements.

Assistant Accounts Relievable Manager Bernie Phillips said Vanzant goes far beyond her job description in trying to serve the students and make their education more affordable.

From coming in during holiday breaks to working through severe snowstorms, Vanzants’ top priority is getting the refund checks out to students within the first week of term, a service unique to Pacific.

“I want all of our students to be successful and I want to do whatever I can to make that happen,” Vanzant said. “I try to see things from their set of eyes.”

Vanzant supervises a team of four employees who regard her with the utmost respect. In their office,  Phillips beamed at Vanzant and said they all see her as their fearless leader and would be lost without her.

Phillips said whenever Vanzant is out of the office she has a special saying to get her through the day, “WWRD: What would Renee Do?”

When they are not teasing her for her southern accent and continual use of “y’all,” Vanzant said the community and faculty are what makes working at Pacific so fulfilling.

“It’s like a family here,” Vanzant said. “The best feeling in the world is being able to see our students graduate after watching them grow.”

Vanzant said she wants students to know that she and her team are approachable and personal.

Outside her life at Pacific, Vanzant is a diehard Portland Trail Blazers fan. She said she loves spending time with her children and her dog, who she regards as a granddaughter.

Her favorite ways to spend her time are watching scary movies and hunting for “treasures” at Goodwill and the antique shops downtown.


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