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Serving With Purpose

Three Pacific leaders create meaningful pathways to success

Wyatt Bacon '17Wyatt Bacon '17, former president, Associated Students of UOP

Being from Stockton, I was looking to get out of the area. Big schools with big names appealed to me. If it wasn't for the Community Involvement Program (CIP), I wouldn't have attended Pacific.

I was a first-generation college student, and CIP provided me with a need-based scholarship and a wide range of support. I worked with others in my cohort to build a literacy program for Stockton youth. In freshman year I met with my mentor about student life, grades and paving my way through college. It was the most helpful aspect of CIP.

It wasn't until I pledged Sigma Chi and started playing for the club rugby team that I got involved in campus life. I took the opportunity to grow as a person — socially, career-wise and academically.

I never expected to serve as student body president. Still, my major was political science and I knew serving as president would provide me with political science experience, add a challenging job to my resume, and the salary would pay my rent.

The major point of my campaign was to build a stronger student presence on campus and generate better school spirit. That is how I led with purpose.

During college I served several internships on campus and in Sacramento, and now I'm applying for jobs on the East Coast. I've always lived in Stockton, so I want to have new life experiences in an active, vibrant city. The East Coast appeals to me because it is so different for me.

Pacific created a great environment for me to learn and experiment without worrying about failure. I'm enthused about taking my purpose-driven education and experimenting as I move on.


Sharmila King

Sharmila King, associate professor of Economics and past chair, Academic Council

University of the Pacific is reaching more students than ever before. More graduate degrees and adult learning programs are available. We have done a lot to position ourselves as a leader in higher education.

From the faculty point of view, we recognize that higher education institutions must adapt to a changing landscape as parents and students wonder if it's worth going to college. Many young people are determining that college is not for them and exploring work that does not require a degree.

This is a challenge we face as an institution. We have become a leader in new areas of study by developing degree programs using existing faculty in subjects that are in demand in today's world. Our data science and graduate programs, the physician's assistant program and the cybersecurity program — all are examples of how Pacific is leading with purpose.

Yet even though we as an institution are repositioning ourselves in the market, we haven't lost the Pacific Experience. That is, we retain our high touch with students. We're maintaining the same close relationships with our students. I teach a hybrid data science class; part of it is online and the other part is in a traditional classroom. But the hybrid format doesn't stop me from giving students the Pacific Experience. One recent Sunday at 8 p.m. I spent four hours on the web with my students.

Here at Pacific, faculty take weekend field trips with their students and invite their students to their homes for dinner. We get to know our students well. We know who we are — even though Pacific is changing quite a lot, we keep to our values as faculty.


Janice MagdichJanice Magdich '79, '96, past president, Pacific Alumni Association

Ask Janice Magdich about University of the Pacific or McGeorge Law School, and her response is the best endorsement possible for her alma mater.

"I've always said that Pacific made me who I am," declares Magdich, city attorney for Lodi, Calif. "The university and the law school provided me with leadership opportunities that I wouldn't have seen myself stepping into — and each opportunity has helped me grow professionally."

Magdich chose to attend Pacific largely because her mother wanted her to do so. She found that the university had an individualized touch. It didn't hurt that during orientation she met Professor Walter Payne, who became a mentor and later, inspired her to mentor others.

"The one thing Pacific instills in you is a sense to give back," she notes.  "I have a profound sense of pride in the university and the law school, which does a tremendous job of training lawyers to be practice-ready."

After eight years in private practice, Magdich went to work as Lodi deputy city attorney, where she served for more than nine years. She intended to remain as deputy city attorney, but a colleague encouraged her to apply for the top position four and a half years ago.

"Every day is a new challenge and so satisfying," she says. Her government job presents many volunteer and community service activities as well as diversity in the work she does. "It's given me a real sense of purpose."

Leadership opportunities are important to Magdich: She was an officer in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, and then elected Panhellenic president. She now serves as immediate past president of the Pacific Alumni Association and appreciates the opportunity to meet Pacificans from every college and campus, and from every decade.

"I can meet and talk with alumni from the '50s and those one year out of college, and there is that connection," Magdich notes. "The connection is our love of Pacific. I always knew there was a sense of connectivity, but it's great to have the opportunity to see it at work."

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