• Print
Pacific News

An incubator for success

Four Pacific female leaders are moving into new chapters in their lives after cutting their “leadership” teeth at Pacific
May 27, 2014

As Janet Dial, Joanna Royce-Davis, Lisa Cooper and Corrie Martin leave the University this spring, we asked these four women who boast impressive track records of growth and success to reflect on their experiences at Pacific.  

What they say they found in the years since they first walked through the gates of Pacific was as a culture of support and mentorship, an environment that encouraged them to take initiative and to innovate. It's a place where these four women could not only grow and succeed, but could leave their mark and impact the University for years to come.

We look back on their tenures here-- which range from 7 to 28 years-- as they share how the Pacific community has contributed to the legacy of leadership they will leave and has prepared them well for future leadership roles and accomplishments.


Janet DialJanet Dial '89 '10

At Pacific since 1985: Associate Vice President for Development; Interim Vice President of Development; Director of the Annual Fund (currently Pacific Fund); Director of Major Gifts for the Eberhardt School of Business; Director of Admissions; Admission Counselor

I have been fortunate to have had wonderful mentors throughout my time at Pacific. Some of these have been women and some have been men; they have also included both faculty and staff.  From emeriti faculty like Doris Meyer, who was a leader on the faculty and has continued to inspire me by swimming side-by-side with me over the years, to the 96-year-old Les Medford who hired me at Pacific in 1985 and who instilled the wisdom and knowledge of professionalism in me, Pacific has given me so much. Dean Lynn Beck has also been one of my colleagues whom I admire and whose example I aspire to. She presents herself in a genuine way with great warmth, yet she is so accomplished in her career. Pacific has been a wonderful place to grow my career. 

At Pacific not only did I have the opportunity to gain great experience and close mentoring from faculty and staff but also our esteemed alumni. Our loyal donors have given me insights about philanthropy and have continued to inspire my work as well as my own personal philanthropy. Working with people who give so much of themselves has given me the opportunity to reflect on my own philanthropy and ways to give back to contribute to the greater good of society. I will be forever grateful for my years of working with Pacific alumni and friends and the inspiration they have provided.

[In addition to the leadership roles she held in both admissions and development, Dial received a Master of Arts, Educational and Counseling Psychology/Communication at Pacific as well as a Doctor of Education, Higher Education and Leadership.]

 Dial will become the Vice President for University Advancement at Cal State Los Angeles. Read more about her in this campus announcement.


Joanna Royce-Davis

Joanna Royce-Davis

At Pacific since 1999: Joined Pacific as a member of the Career Resource Center leadership team in 1999, moved to the leadership team in Student Life in 2003, and became Dean of Students in 2006; Founder and director of the degree program for the Master of Arts in Educational Administration with the Specialization in Student Affairs and a faculty member in the program

A number of people at Pacific know the story I have shared of how I came to Pacific from my doctoral program all but dissertation (ABD) and planned to stay only a year or two before moving on to serve as full-time faculty. They also know that, even after finishing my dissertation and interviewing and receiving offers for faculty positions, I chose to stay at Pacific. That one year turned into 15 years.

I stayed because Pacific quickly had become home to me. I also stayed because Pacific was a learning community where the investment in whole-student learning and care for students was palpable, where initiative and interest was rewarded, and where collaboration was expected and engaged across every institutional boundary. This organizational culture and this set of institutional values allowed me to start my Pacific experience in the Career Resource Center and, over time... to serve as Dean of Students. 

I have cherished each of these opportunities because of the related chances to partner and become friends with faculty and staff from across Pacific's three campuses and, most of all, because at Pacific a role in administration still allowed me to know students well and to share directly in their learning and college experience.

I have been especially appreciative of the mutuality and mentoring that I discovered in each of these relationships and the wide exposure to issues affecting higher education- and the corresponding chance to contribute to solutions and responses. Being on Pacific's WASC writing teams and other key groups and contributing to numerous initiatives have all been key parts of my experience and taught me about what it means to develop organizational capacity to serve students in ways that matter to their overall growth and success. They have also taught me about who I am as an educator and a leader.

The Pacific community and experience have become an essential part of who I am, and the Tiger spirit will continue to serve me-and students-well in my future endeavors. I continue to be grateful for that and so much more.

Royce-Davis will become Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.


Lisa CooperLisa Cooper

At Pacific for a combined total of 10+ years: Founding Coordinator of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities; director of the Educational Resource Center and assistant professor in the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education; Interim Assistant Provost for Diversity; returned to Pacific in 2010 as Associate Vice President for Student Life

I have been very fortunate throughout my career at Pacific to have reported directly to individuals who did not merely see their role as my direct supervisor, but also embraced being both a mentor and a coach to me. They were all leaders that I looked up to because of their integrity, authenticity and their deep commitment to making Pacific a better place for students, faculty, staff and our local community.  

Each of them seemed to understand the importance of intentionally articulating their belief in my potential as well as my abilities. I am so grateful for their investment in my success by entrusting me with important projects and initiatives, giving me challenging assignments that helped me grow professionally, sharing constructive feedback even when it may have been difficult to hear, and making resources available so that I could participate in critical leadership development opportunities.

My efforts to be a committed member of the Pacific community and any resulting accomplishments, most of which were collaborations with many amazing students, faculty and staff with whom I had a chance to work, were merely a reflection of what Pacific has given to me and empowered me to do throughout the 10+ years that I was fortunate enough to be a part of this very special place. For that and much more, I am very thankful!

Cooper will become Dean of Enrollment Services and Student Development at San Joaquin Delta College. Read more about her in this campus announcement.


Corrie MartinCorrie Martin

At Pacific since 2007: Director of the Women's Resource Center; Assistant Director of Clubs and Regional Programs in the Alumni Association; Served on numerous University boards and committees

In some ways, Pacific has been a pioneer in women's leadership, and in other ways, it has struggled. I feel that the last seven or so years have been an incredibly exciting period to be a part of Pacific, not the least of which was the selection of the University's first female president, and the first openly lesbian student as well as the first African American woman student elected by their classmates as presidents of ASuop! When I arrived at Pacific in fall 2007, there were lots of conversations going on about women's leadership in different pockets of campus. The Pacific Feminists student group ran a women's leadership conference for undergraduates with support from Student Life and some faculty. Women like Dr. Edie Sparks and Dr. Cynthia Dobbs in the College were addressing issues such as sexual harassment, institutional barriers to retention and promotion of female faculty and professional advancement of staff. These efforts were built on a long history of women faculty, staff and students attempting to change the status quo, such as leading efforts to apply Title IX law and to address the need for campus child care. Former Vice President for Student Life Elizabeth Griego was working to improve sexual assault policies, resources and campus procedures. When I got here, there were so many colleagues and students with whom to collaborate and from whom to draw mutual inspiration. 

The creation of a full-time professional staff position to head the campus Women's Resource Center and my appointment as director opened an opportunity for me personally to be fully engaged in promoting women's leadership, both institutionally and in my personal professional development. It gave me the human and other resources with which to build relationships on campus with student organizations, faculty and academic departments across the University, as well as beyond campus with alumni and organizations like the AAUW-Stockton, National Council of Negro Women-Sacramento Section, among many others.

Apart from my official role, I appreciate that I have also had the opportunity for leadership experiences on a variety of University committees and the Staff Advisory Council. Peg Cicollela taught me the mantra "eternal vigilance," that a true leader understands that every victory or step in the right direction is probably temporary because any victory worth a damn will always be under attack. And campus leaders like Dr. Caroline Cox, history professor and former interim dean of the College, taught me the essential lesson of keeping your sense of humor-no matter what.  

 Martin will be moving with her partner and their daughter to Massachusetts, where her spouse will teach at Phillips Academy in Andover.