Feb. 6, 2017 Newsletter

Here we are in February already. Just a little over 5 weeks to go till our annual auction! Yes, it IS early this year. March 18. Have you had a chance to secure a donation yet? Bought your tickets? Better get on it….it’ll be here SOON. Denise Bacon stepped up big time to chair it for us this year; let’s all pitch in and help out with our largest fund-raising activity of the year.2017 rotauction

Bob Ficker‘s guest at our meeting last week was Terry Weldon, who is V-P commercial relationship manager at Premier Community Bank. Terry has already applied for membership in our club.

Auggie Gonzales has invited club members to think about going along on the upcoming Guatemala dental services trip to help out. Two dental hygienist students will be accompanying the group for the first time ever. For more info, please see Auggie. And congratulations to Auggie and his wife, who celebrated 40 years of marriage yesterday!

Laura Tilrico informed us that Dale Welcome will be in Nepal at the end of March and will have a chance to visit our club’s water project there and check on progress. We’ll be looking forward to the update and to some wonderful Dale Welcome photography of this important development.

Dawn McClard reported that Don Skei is continuing to recover from a recent stroke, and the folks at Providence rehab are working him pretty hard. We wish him the best.

GFU Presenter President Robin Baker 020117

Dr. Robin Baker discusses George Fox University

It’s always interesting to learn more about what’s going on at our local university, so we were honored to have fellow Rotarian, Early Bird Club member, and George Fox University President Dr. Robin Baker as our speaker last week.

As you may have seen from the flags around town, GFU is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The vision of the university is to “Be Known,” and they are driven to knowing the students personally. One way they do this is through personal interviews with all scholarship applicants. Robin said he noticed a real shift in attitude with applicants this year. “We ask them to talk to us about someone they really admire. Most times it’s someone like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or some other nationally known figure. This year was different. This year, most of the students said ‘my parents’.”

A major focus recently has been trying to increase diversity in the student population. Robin said the numbers have increased from 15% to 33% diverse now.

The university now serves 4200 students, of which 2500 are undergrads. There were 46 full-time faculty members in 1986, and 193 in 2016. He contrasted those numbers with the university’s 50th anniversary in 1941. The president at that time had a goal of increasing enrollment to 200 students and maybe adding football to the program!

Of course, George Fox did add football to the program again just a couple of years ago, and the team finished third in the conference last year–not bad.

Many types of degrees are offered, but Robin updated us on the School of Engineering, which began in 2003 and now accounts for 15% of the total. GFU offers mechanical, civil, electrical and computer engineering, and the average starting salary for a grad is $90,000! Plus, they have a 95% placement rate. GFU is also focusing on health care…including physical therapy and nursing. (Nurse practitioner and physician’s assistant degree programs are coming.)


Early renderings of GFU 020117

Early renderings of GFU

Robin gave some background on the “religious folk” who settled Newberg and started the Friends Pacific Academy in 1885. By 1891, the Academy had transitioned into a college. One of the original buildings, Minthorn Hall, is still on the campus today. And Robin himself lives in the Jesse Edwards House, built in 1883.

In terms of current projects, the Canyon Commons dining hall was a major project that recently opened. A tennis facility is under construction and beginning in May, construction will start on a 45,000 square foot Student Center.

In the future, due to increased competition with other universities, there will be more focus on master’s level students. Plans are to move the graduate studies program from the old hospital on Villa Road to a new facility to be built on land donated by the Austin family at the corner of Crestview and Villa roads. There will also likely be one more new residence hall and more parking.


Relationships with the community are important. Robin mentioned they have various partnerships: with Newberg Christian Church, Friendsview Retirement Community, Providence Hospital, and an announcement is coming soon with CPRD. Hmm….water polo team? Swim team?

Hope to see you this Wednesday, when our program will be Alan Lertzman from the Korean War Veterans Association.

Special thanks to Auggie Gonzales for the photos.