Diversity on campus: Hawaii students choose to attend Pacific

posted in: Opinion | 0

Diversity is important in so many different areas such as academic diversity, ethnic diversity, extracurricular diversity and so on!

Diversity itself helps to create a rich mix of individuals from many backgrounds and cultures with different interests and differing ideas and ideals. The interactions we have with those diverse populations give us an opportunity for growth.

That being said, we have a great mix of cultures here at Pacific University. I truly believe the students from Hawaii add a great deal to our campus community and they help to provide us with a different perspective on life.

This subject is one that can and has been discussed, researched and argued about for centuries. It will continue to be since no two of us are the same.

Why do the students from Hawaii come to Pacific? There are so many reasons but suffice it to say that “recruiting” in the islands began long before

I was born.
There has been a very long standing tradition of students from Hawaii attending Pacific. Dr. Fred Scheller and Coach Frank Buckiewicz recruited me.

When I arrived there was about 10 percent of the student body from Hawaii. At that time Pacific had about 650 undergraduates and one graduate program, Optometry.

Barely 1,000 students in total. Since that time and through the efforts of many people, that number has increased dramatically, as have the programs being offered in the undergraduate and graduate schools.

We have visited the high schools in Hawaii for many years (I started recruiting in Hawaii as counselor in 1985), but the time spent there visiting the high schools and developing support programs has really increased since the early 1990s especially after I retired from coaching football.

As the interest in Pacific was growing and the numbers began increasing, it was vital to develop support programs and systems so those students could thrive. Not survive, but thrive!

We have a tremendous academic and personal reputation in Hawaii that has been built over time with the help of our outstanding alumni, the parents of those alumni, our current students and their parents, Aunty Edna, the faculty, staff and coaches of Pacific.

As well as the college counselors that have come to know us so well and trust us with their students. We deliver on what we say we will do and the families and counselors know this. They know they can reach out at any time and we will be there.

The word TRUST is so important in our culture and it goes a long way when the “coconut wireless” goes into action. I cannot stress enough that the kokua (help) given by family, friends, alumni, students and the staff here at Pacific has helped us become “the” place to be for many students from Hawaii.

We might not have the largest numbers, but we do have the largest percentage of students from Hawaii attending college here in the mainland.

We work really hard recruiting students. As no admissions officer in the country spends more time visiting schools in Hawaii than I do.

Aunty Edna has played a very important role in all of that growth as she developed the support programs and systems along with our academic offerings that truly set us apart from any other school in the mainland.

The peer mentor program, booking flights program, along with shuttles to and from the airport, rice at every meal and plate lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays and other things, make our prospective students feel at home and this makes a difference.

Of course as the counselor for all of our haumana (students) and ohana (family), I would like to think that I have hopefully played some small role in all of this.

It has ALWAYS been my desire to make a difference in someone’s life. I hope through my work and my passion for Pacific I was able to do that for all of the students and families. It has been my distinct pleasure to work with this over the last 35 years.

It has taken a lot of very hard work and a ton of love by many people to get us where we are today. Who knows where we will be in the future, but I can assure you all one thing. We will not rest on our laurels. We will do our best to live up to and surpass the standard of excellence we have set. Forever forward. Imua Pacific University! Go Boxers!


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