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Honoring the Cause


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As Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Director of Alumni Relations, Dianne Travis-Teague facilitates collaborations between the Office of the Chancellor and the Alumni Association to extend and nurture the Pacifica experience in the world. News & Notes collects her posts to Pacifica’s growing family of alums.

Honoring the Cause

originally posted on 27 Feb 2012


I spent the past few days in Washington, D.C., attending to a cause dear to me. As a survivor of heart disease, I speak and travel widely as an advocate of health awareness. In receiving the American Heart Association’s Ambassadors Award at this weekend’s convening at the White House, I am especially honored and reminded that recognition is a natural outcome of diligent, tireless work.

This lesson comes through another cause dear to me. At the airport today on my way back to California, five alumni met me at the American Airlines Admiral’s Club for an impromptu meet-up. We had a great time sharing stories and marveling at all the progress that the Alumni Association of Pacifica Graduate Institute has made in the past few short months. Again, any recognition that may be given is the result of a boundless energy coming from a group of committed alumni who believe the time is ripe for its newly formed association to spread its wings and fly.

I am proud to say my causes both exude and teach me about the nature of spirit and passion. On the matter of heart disease, I try to give back because it’s important to me. I survived because people cared about me and cared for me. Through their acts, they taught me the value of fighting, and of what it means to become your own advocate. On the matter of Pacifica’s alumni, I put in the time and energy that I do because the people who have graduated from this wonderful institution never cease to amaze and inspire me. I have met alumni from coast to coast, and from overseas as well. What Pacifica alumni everywhere share in common is a deep respect for each other, the institution that brought them together, and the overall mission of making the world a better place.

Not every organization can boast this kind of triumverate of values. To that end, it’s always been my intention to facilitate the Alumni Association’s evolution as an organization that serves its intentions while providing a model of how a heart-centered, soul-centered organization looks, feels, and works. My work as this facilitator has been given the nod. This month, my role at the Office of Alumni Affairs was formalized with my appointment as Associate Director. As with any recognition, I know the long hours that have led to this are preparation for the effort that lies ahead.

On behalf of everyone on the team at the Office of the Chancellor, Pacifica stands with full support and enthusiasm for where the Alumni Association has come from and for where the Alumni Association is headed. I am excited to draw attention to two new sections on the website released today. They are both born from ideas put forward by Pacifica alumni. As well, both highlight the importance of Pacifica alumni as a vital aspect of the Pacifica community and the Pacifica experience.

A deep respect for the institution is reflected in the new Faculty Voices blog series, which seeks to create dialogue between a faculty so devoted to its students and an alumni body so fondly appreciative of its experiences with its teachers. Tom Elsner, core faculty from the Counseling Psychology program, offers the first post in what is sure to be a fascinating and eclectic blog series. Tom is the Alumni Association’s faculty liaison, a role that both the faculty and the alumni can be appreciative he has accepted.

The alumni body honors its community and shares stories of how it is taking the Pacifica mission out into the world in a new section of alumni profiles [Alumni Spotlight]. This section features first-person stories from alumni from all of Pacifica’s academic programs, and provides an organic look at the impact Pacifica, its programs, and its alumni are making throughout the world. If you or anyone you know has ever wondered what someone does with a Pacifica degree, this is the section to visit and explore. The seed of this section comes from Jennifer Selig, a Pacifica alumn and now academic director of Pacifica’s hybrid programs. Jennifer’s work over the years cultivating alumni profiles has provided a compelling storytelling framework that will help sustain alumni engagement for a long time to come.

We continue to build excitement as we build community. March is our big month to invite all alumni into virtual circle. Invitations to register a free website user account are already under way and will take full steam come the start of the month. We will attempt in a few weeks’ time what alumni have been dreaming about for months, even years. This coming together will cap our first quarter launch cycle of the website, and will start the Alumni Association of Pacifica Graduate Institute on its grand future. A fitting way to start the journey for a cause worth supporting.


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