Cassie Finley, a Boxer alum, came back to campus this year. This time it was to teach and not be taught.
Even after graduation, Pacific’s Forest Grove campus remains meaningful for graduates; the crisp fall air, a quaint downtown, and welcoming campus environment beckons them back even after they receive their diploma. With homecoming week on the horizon, alums will travel globally to return to their second home. Pacific will host events and tailgates from October 13 to the 15 to celebrate their return, reminding alums about what it means to be a Pacific Boxer.
Pacific’s Alumni Association is organizing the shin-dig. The organization dedicates itself to keeping alums close and connected by maintaining ties with graduates even after they move away. In return, Pacific graduates provide the University with valuable resources and skills. As former president John F. Kennedy once declared, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
It seems as if Pacific President Jenny Coyle not only could repeat those words, but lives them! And not only Coyle, but dozens of Pacific alums seem to have taken the quote literally. Some come back to coach sports teams, while others assume administrative roles.
Cassie Finley, an adjunct philosophy professor, is no exception. Finley graduated from Pacific in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and found her way back in a manner reminiscent of a Hallmark movie. For Finley, returning to Forest Grove was an opportunity she could not squander. “I loved my undergraduate experience at Pacific, so when I heard the philosophy department was looking for someone to teach a couple of classes this term, I jumped at the opportunity to come back and be a part of the Pacific community again.”
After spending the past few years in Iowa for a graduate program, Finley returned this semester. “Going away to graduate school at a very large state school, I have really come to appreciate how committed students, staff, and faculty are to Pacific and one another,” Finley articulated. “So many students are involved in so many projects, clubs, and events, and it’s really great to see how supportive and engaged the faculty and staff are with students, too.”
She also loves eating at her favorite restaurants: FG Sushi and Pac Thai. Apparently, their quality is just as high as when she left.
However, Finley has explained it is like a “double-exposed photograph”; with echoes and glimpses of her past as an undergraduate returning with new meaning. “As a student, the majority of the familiar faces on campus were other students,” Finley expressed, “but now the familiar faces are other faculty members.”
“I definitely spend my time on campus in very different places now than I did as a student,” she added. “I remember spending a lot of time in the UC, Starbucks, and Trombley Square, but now it’s really just going back and forth between classrooms where I teach and my office.” — Avari Schumacher and Zander Breault