A Long Hike Finished

A son’s tribute to the sacrifice and dedication it took for his father to earn his college degree

By Conor Walsh
Late night, in a dark room with a bright screen, he sits with the light bouncing off of his eyes. He wipes his hands over his face trying to shake off the tiredness and ignore the call of the bed, where his wife is fast asleep. It’s just another late night before an early morning, one in a long string of days that lead him toward his goal at a sloth-like pace. Sleep must be sacrificed. Sacrifice is something he is used to, though this one is different. This one is for him.
Patrick Walsh graduated from George Fox’s Adult Degree Program at the age of 50 with a bachelor’s degree in management and organizational leadership. The scene above is a small part of his college experience. His path reminds us that the journey of students is as unique as the students themselves. These journeys are filled with obstacles, detours, ups and downs, sacrifices and many late nights.
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Curriculum Choices and the Be Known Promise

By Melanie Springer Mock, Professor of English

As the end of another semester swiftly approaches, I’ve been reflecting on my first months ever at George Fox, back in 1986, when I was a college freshman. That fall was a horrible one, and after folks had told me college would be the best years of my life, I silently suffered, because I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong and why I felt especially miserable.

Conflicts with my roommate had made my dorm room almost uninhabitable, and I didn’t have the skills to navigate our different communication styles or sleeping schedules. The transition to college academics was also rough, and because I lacked the tools to succeed in classes, I maintained only a tenuous grasp on passing grades. Though I came to George Fox to run cross country and track, a serious medical condition, a major operation, and one week in the hospital that fall signaled the end of my season and my connection to teammates, the only friends I had made on campus.

Lonely, depressed, unmoored: I thought seriously of transferring. Only inertia kept me from cutting ties with George Fox altogether. I’m incredibly grateful that I decided to stay, because my college experience was ultimately amazing; and now, 18 years into my teaching career at George Fox, I can’t imagine anywhere else I would rather be.
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Lost and Found

How Mike Arzie’s time at George Fox altered his perceptions about Christianity and redirected the course of his life

By Isaac Bruns, junior English major

Stepping onto the stage in Bauman Auditorium, Mike Arzie found it difficult to believe he was returning to chapel at his alma mater. Confronted with an audience of distracted students and “a sea of glowing Apples” from open laptops, he vividly remembered the time he had spent in their seats.

“It never crossed my mind during chapel to think, ‘I’ll bet someday I’ll come back to do one of these,’” he says. But as he took the podium that day, he began to tell the story of how he had learned of salvation in that very room 21 years before.

Arzie is now in his 17th year of ministry at Southwest Bible Church, a sizeable church in Beaverton. As the student and children’s ministries pastor, he interacts with a number of George Fox students, but his connection to the university runs much deeper. After all, it was at George Fox that he began the two most important relationships of his life.
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When Being Known Means Sad Goodbyes

Professor Melanie Springer Mock with senior English majors Ryan Lackey and Julia Howell.
Professor Melanie Springer Mock with senior English majors Ryan Lackey and Julia Howell.
By Melanie Springer Mock, Professor of English

Over 25 years ago this week, I celebrated my first George Fox graduation, as a student. Just days before our processional into an already-overheated Wheeler gymnasium, I stopped by Minthorn Hall to say goodbye to a favorite professor. Yet as I stood at his office door, trying to tell him how much his mentorship had changed me, my professor refused to engage, keeping his head focused on his desk and the papers he needed to grade.

I couldn’t understand why this usually warm, friendly man had suddenly turned distant, and I left his office that day feeling perplexed and a little hurt. It only took me about one decade to figure out why my old professor had acted so disconnected: he couldn’t say goodbye. Or, more pointedly, he couldn’t say goodbye without crying.

Turns out, graduation can be emotionally difficult for faculty members, something I discovered my very first commencement as a professor at George Fox University, and rediscover every April, when graduation rolls around again. Read More

Reflections on Easter: A New Orientation


IMG_0303-2By Brian Doak, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

As a way of reflecting on the core Christian message and connecting that message to a learning process, I often suggest to students that we can think of our journey in terms of three phases: Orientation, Disorientation and New Orientation. I picked up these exact terms from the eminent biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann, but others have used them before. For example, the philosopher Paul Ricoeur spoke of “first naïveté,” “critical distance” and “second naiveté” to describe something of the same journey.
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Herrera Discovers Passion for Bringing Stories to the Stage

By Emily Lund, Class of 2015

Cambria Herrera sits back in her chair. Listening, thinking. Her arms and legs are crossed as she watches the scene in front of her unfold, pauses and all. Her eyes move from actor to actor, then stare out into the rehearsal room. Every once in a while, a slight smile appears on her face, then fades before reappearing.

It’s five weeks into rehearsals for David Auburn’s Proof, last fall’s production at Valley Repertory Theatre in Newberg, Ore. Tonight is the first night the four actors are off-book – no scripts in hand – and such a transition inevitably means some pauses, some “ummmms,” some exasperated laughs and calls for “line.”

The scene reaches its end. Herrera stretches her arms out to the ceiling. “Great!” she says, and sits up straight. “How did you guys feel about it?”

They answer, laughing, groaning. Herrera nods in agreement, leans forward in her chair and asks questions. “How did that go for you guys? The last bit?” “Did you feel good sitting there for that long?”

They’re good questions, and the actors know it. “She’s never dismissive, never impatient,” says Nicole Greene, one of the four actors Herrera directed in Proof. “She’s creative, she’s highly intelligent, and most of all, she’s deeply talented.”

She’s also 20 years old.
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Student Recognized for Cancer Research Presentation

12194599_10153620213005470_4848853462791335245_oBiology major and pre-med student Lael Papenfuse earned high honors with her research project, “AKAP7 and Calcineurin Control CaM Kinases and Cell Growth,” at the 24th annual M.J. Murdock College Science Research Conference in Vancouver, Wash., as her presentation was selected the top poster within the event’s Cell and Molecular Biology category.

According to biology professor John Schmitt, in whose laboratory Papenfuse worked this past year, this was the first time a George Fox student earned a ribbon of any kind at the Murdock Conference, held this year at the Vancouver Hilton Hotel Nov. 5-7. “I am really proud of Lael and the other students on my cancer-fighting team,” Schmitt said. “I’m really pleased that our students have already been able to put our new confocal microscope to good use, as Lael was able to show that these two proteins may be contributing to cancer.”
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Hostetler Challenges Individuals to ‘Better My Town’

Casey HostetlerAlumna Casey Hostetler doesn’t recall the exact moment the idea hit her. She just woke up one day last summer with a thought: What are practical things people can do to help make their hometowns a better place?

It was a simple concept, but profound in its potential. What would happen if – like the massively successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 – this thing went viral? What kind of impact would it have in Yamhill County … Portland … Oregon … the nation?

Hostetler couldn’t wait to share her idea, dubbed the “Better My Town Challenge.” She started with coworkers at her place of employment, Hagan Hamilton Insurance in McMinnville, Ore., thinking it might make for a nice marketing campaign. She told friends, who suggested it might work but weren’t sure, before ultimately consulting with Nathan Knottingham, president and CEO of the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Nathan and I talked for quite a while before finally saying, ‘Why not, let’s do this,’” says Hostetler, who earned both a degree in business management (2013) and an MBA (2014) from George Fox. “We obviously didn’t know what to expect because you just don’t know how people will respond. But I was encouraged by what I saw with the Ice Bucket Challenge. This was the same idea, just that you would be doing practical things rather than dumping a bucket of cold water on your head.”

The idea: Post a video on social media in which you state your name, who nominated you and what task you are performing to better your town. It could be anything from disinfecting doorknobs around town to donating food or clothing to a local charity. Conclude the message by nominating three people and encouraging them to keep the chain going by nominating three individuals each.
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My Serve Day Experience

imageBy Alexis Cavanaugh (Class of 2017)

Every year, George Fox sets aside a day during the first semester to gather together as a school and pray for our community. Serve Day starts off with breakfast on the quad followed by worship and prayer over our city and the people in it. After the morning session is finished, everyone goes out in groups into the community to serve for an entire day.

I think one of the many great things about Serve Day is how different each experience is every year for each student. This year is my third Serve Day and I was blessed to be able to serve with all the girls in the house I live in! We went to one of the Habitat for Humanity sites in McMinnville and got to clean up the site so the construction workers could continue building houses. Before we started working, some of the people who worked there gave us a tour of the site and the houses that were being built or were almost finished. It was neat getting to see houses that were in different stages of construction.
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Video & Time Lapse: New Bridge Installed at George Fox

Aug. 12, 2015 – The installation of a 220-foot pedestrian bridge provided quite a spectacle on the Newberg campus of George Fox University.

It took about two hours for two massive hydraulic cranes to lift the 29.5- and 36.5-ton preassembled bridge halves into place so they could be joined to span the Hess Creek Canyon in the middle of the campus.

The Liebherr LTM 1500/8.1 and Grove GMK7550 mobile cranes each have booms over 250 feet and each can lift more than 550 tons.

The clear-span timber bridge will connect a new 30,000 square-foot dining facility (to be completed summer 2016) on the east side of the canyon with the primarily academic west side. Anderson Construction Company is overseeing both projects.

The bridge project is projected to cost about $600,000. Pedestrians should be able to use the bridge by Aug. 27.