What the University of the Pacific needs in a new president

by Cherylann Block Sabraw (School of Education, 1972)

Although I broke my father’s heart when I transferred from USC to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, my decision to attend this small liberal arts gem in California’s Central Valley was a good one.

My days spent at UOP were thoughtful ones as I took my studies in English and education seriously. So seriously, that the professors at the School of Education–now known as the Bernerd School of Education–invited me to be the student speaker for the 1972 graduation.

My speech, titled” The Great Teacher” I delivered as a naive 21-year-old on her way to making the education of our youth substantive.

For 42 years I endeavored to be the main character in my speech.

In other words, I have been an alumna who should have made the University of the Pacific proud, from whom the university might have sought ideas in addition to monetary donations.

Last month, an announcement for a speaker coming to  the Bernerd School of Education slipped into my email box, inviting attendance at an event where Renato P. Almanzor was the speaker.

He is, the email text read, ” …a transformation catalyst whose experience emerges from dedicating over 30 years to developing leaders committed to equitable communities, multicultural organizations and social justice. An expert in leading social change, he has taught at a number of universities and currently teaches leadership at CSU Humboldt. Almanzor also has held executive roles at UC Berkeley and Oakland Unified School District….”

In the State of California where test scores and student abilities to write, compute, and calculate rank 44th out 50 in K-12 education, we are inviting speakers  focused on social justice, equitable communities and multicultural organizations? Really?

Within a week of this email, a young man called our home at dinnertime to solicit donations for UOP.

” You know, I am not sure the University represents my values any more,” I said. ” For example, I just received an email from the School of Education, advertising a speaker who is known for focusing on equitable communities, multicultural organizations, and social justice when most speakers ought to be concerned with the quality of education being delivered in the State of California.”

I went on, ” In my 42-year experience in education teaching students of all races, religions, and ages (including business students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business) and in the academy I founded in 1998 , I observed that people are people, hungry for the knowledge they need to succeed in their next educational or vocational choices.”

After several minutes, I realized no one was on the other end of the phone line. How long I had been speaking to the flowers on my kitchen counter or to my old yellow Labrador rolling her big brown eyes, I do not know.

My donations are over to the University of the Pacific.

Perhaps I will now direct my educational funds to St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where education is the main goal of the university.

As UOP searches for a new president, it may want to consider  getting back to basics and away from programs that fragment rather than unify people.

Those are my suggestions to the search committee for a new president.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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8 Responses to What the University of the Pacific needs in a new president

  1. Carol McCann says:

    You need to tell that to all of the other schools that profess to “teach the children” or who want raises because it is “for the children” This push to become a socialistic society is a bunch of —- to say the least. Yes, Cheri, spend your hard earned money where you know will actually do good. I like your soap-boxes. Keep it up!!!

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks, Carol. You are one of my readers who can speak with experience about the diminution of basic skills like writing, analyzing, and speaking in the comprehensive high school. Social justice? Yeah…let’s create automatons who can write basic slogans on protest signs but have no idea why WWII was fought.

  2. Bruce Brown says:

    Cheri: I would day ditto’s. If you have not discovered the voice of Candace Owens you may
    enjoy Her perspective. Bruce

    • Cheri says:

      Thank you, Bruce. I appreciate your weighing in to this discussion as you have one child on her way to university life and another considering his college selection. I will check out the words of Candace Owens. Would the University of the Pacific invite her to speak?

  3. Brig says:

    I’m beyond tired of all the socialist crap coming from our places of higher? learning. Good on you for holding true to your values and actually trying to make a difference. We all need to be doing more along those lines.

  4. Cheri says:

    As my nephew told me today, we need to own our beliefs.

  5. Bill Ogard says:

    Bravo, Cheri. As an avid follower of campus politics and retired professor, I find it abhorrent that the academy has become a bastion of leftist identity politics, group think, fascism and bigotry. Yes I said leftist. As you know, I have taught at both private and public universities, and freedom of ideas and speech is practically nowhere to be found. Like you, I have supported our undergrad alma mater financially over the years, but there may come a time when that stops for me as well. If UOP can’t find a president along the lines of Mitch Daniels at Purdue or the president at U of Chicago, the school will find itself in trouble. And I agree with Bruce Brown above (hi Bruce) and would add Ben Shapiro as someone to hear in this area. The guy is absolutely brilliant. So fight on sister, I am with you, and thanks for your courage.

  6. Cheri says:

    I say Amen, Brother Bill. If anyone can weigh in with experience in the area of academia, you can. Somehow, that email from Bernerd sent me over the top. And, when the caller hung up on me (typical group think), that ended it. I sent my blogpost words to the UOP Alumni email and received an immediate answer. They would send it to the Search Committee. Based on the politics of California, I doubt if I will ever hear from UOP again. And yes, Ben Shapiro is fabulous. What intellect and clarity. Ben Shapiro for President.

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