After 30 years working at Pacific, David DeMoss, Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, has announced his retirement effective by July 1.
DeMoss has taught ethics and philosophy courses at Pacific, and became an Associate Dean for the university even before it had distinct schools and colleges. Since his addition to the administrative team, DeMoss has been an integral component to the success of the School of Arts and Humanities. He will be greatly missed by the Pacific community as he steps into retirement.
From inside his cozy cabin, DeMoss shared that his decision to retire was made over a year ago when he and his husband had finally saved up enough money to afford it. “I’m 60 years old now, and we managed to save enough so we went ahead and made the plans,” said DeMoss.
DeMoss originally discussed this plan with Sarah Phillips, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, early on in the 2018-2019 academic year. This gave the School of Arts & Humanities plenty of time to find another faculty member to take his place.
“That was a really lovely thing that David did,” said Phillips. “It gave us time to have a faculty member … move into that role of Director when David did retire, and it gave David a year to sort of teach that person, who is Mike Geraci, parts of the job during this year.”
Though DeMoss is looking forward to what retirement holds, he admitted that leaving will be hard for him. “I’m sad to leave [but] I’m ready mentally to go ahead and retire, and I will miss Pacific greatly,” he shared.
“With the onset of the pandemic of course, I feel some guilt about having to leave at this point, because there’s a lot of work to be done to help everybody to make it through this time. I will be here through June 30 to help to do that, and hopefully the pandemic will have receded by then.”
In the sweet life of retirement, DeMoss looks most forward to diving into his extensive collection of books on the history of philosophy. “I’m just going to take some of those down and start reading them fresh, not with an eye towards teaching, but just in enjoying philosophy again,” he said.
Before he digs out those books, however, DeMoss is determined to finish his newest read, Les Miserables. “Being able to sit down and read what I want to read when I want to read it without worrying about the next email [is what I am most excited for],” he shared, chuckling a bit. “Really, that’s it!”
DeMoss has made quite the imprint on Pacific.As a long time coworker, Phillips described how she will miss DeMoss both “professionally and personally.”
“I will miss his sense of humor— he’s funny, and he is good at reminding us to be human. It’s easy in bureaucratic positions to get bureaucratic in your thinking, and he is a good reminder that we’re all talking about people and human beings.”
While the School of Arts & Humanities is facing a loss with the retirement of DeMoss, Phillips said that she is not worried about the leadership of the school, as Mike Geraci prepares to step in as Associate Dean this July.
Geraci has been a Boxer since he was 18, a first-generation undergraduate student. Ever since, he has been involved with and dedicated to the Pacific community. As a web programmer, he was hired to create Pacific’s first ever website in 1991. He then attended the University of Oregon to receive his master’s in technology and soon after returned to Pacific to become a professor in the first ever Integrated Media program at Pacific.
After 20 years of teaching for the School of Arts & Humanities, Geraci now prepares to take the next step in his professional career as Associate Dean.
Geraci explained, “While I think teaching has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I’m really going to miss it, I think this does give me an opportunity later in my career to work more closely with faculty, and to have a larger impact on the student body of Pacific— which I care very deeply about.”
Geraci also explained how he is looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective to Media Arts students with his replacement professor. “I haven’t worked as a professional graphic designer or web designer outside of Pacific University for a very long time. So, I think it’s a good opportunity for the students in Media Arts to get some fresh perspectives, some new talent,” he said.
Likewise, Phillips is grateful for the new talent being brought onto the administrative team. “One of the things that is always a good thing about leadership change is that when you have a new person, they see things a new way … that is always helpful,” she explained.
Though Geraci has been planning for his promotion throughout this year, he discussed how the onset of COVID-19 has adjusted some of the goals he has for himself as an administrator.
“We have to figure out how to deliver on the Pacific promise of quality, private, liberal arts education, and I think that first and foremost has to be my number one goal to make sure that we are still doing the best that we can in the situation,” Geraci said. “My second goal now— which again is fairly modified— is to make sure that we’re doing a good job communicating to students and their families the value of a liberal arts education, particularly in these times.”
Despite the stress of dealing with the pandemic, however, Phillips is positive that Geraci has what it takes to be the next Associate Dean for the School of Arts & Humanities. “I am very grateful for Mike’s ability to work across the whole college,” she explained. “He is very good [at] working with faculty from any department and any discipline. He is super smart, he is very good at project management, and those are all things that will help him in his job and then ultimately help me in mine.”
DeMoss will be greatly missed by the Pacific community, but Geraci is well-prepared for this advancement in his professional career.
“I’ve been a student, I’ve been a staff member, I’ve been a faculty member, and now I’m going to be an administrator,” Geraci shared. “I’m just really happy to have been able to spend such a great portion of my life at a place that I really believe in.”