2013 Grand Marshal - Les Medford
The name Les Medford is well-known to the Pacific community. His name is synonymous with loyalty, honesty, trust, and kindness. Those that don't know his name certainly recognize him, because even now, 25 years after he retired from his job as Dean of the Office of Admission, Les is a familiar face at Pacific on a daily basis.
Les first came to Pacific in 1962 as the Assistant Dean of Admission. A retired Lieutenant Colonel, Les ran his staff much like a platoon in the Marine Corps. During his 26 years of leadership, he motivated his colleagues to be good citizens and careful stewards of the University's hard-earned resources. Known for his meticulous record keeping and regimented approach to leadership, he demanded excellence of his employees and modeled that behavior himself to the highest degree. He is regarded as a great relationship builder who branded a communication style between administration and faculty that forged lifelong friendships, while at the same time focusing on students and their transition to Pacific. Students were always his number one priority and, according to former staff members, he treated each prospective and admitted student with respect and dignity, providing college guidance to thousands of young men and women during his tenure at Pacific. Former President Bill Atchley said of Les Medford, "He has undoubtedly talked to more prospective students and parents about the University than any other person in the University's history."
Les is credited with many hallmarks in the history of the Office of Admission, including building the staff from just two to more than 30 employees, and hiring and mentoring many distinguished individuals who have continued to serve Pacific, such as Darlene Hall, hired by Les in 1969, and still at work in Admission today, forty-one years later; Dr. Gene Bigler, Raymond Class of 1967, who is a visiting professor in the College of the Pacific; and Dr. Janet Dial, who is now a gift officer in the Eberhardt School of Business. Some employees, including Janet Dial, came to Pacific just for the opportunity to work under the legendary Les Medford. In 1985, Janet remembers responding to an advertisement for an Admission Counselor position at Pacific. Les flew her out to Stockton for a two and a half day interview. When she returned to her current job at her alma mater, she had three job offers waiting for her. Torn between leaving her alma mater, she discussed her options with her supervisor. His response was, "If you have the opportunity to work for Les Medford, don't pass it up."
Upon his retirement in 1988, Les was highly regarded as a national leader among college and university admissions officers, receiving the Outstanding Service Award from the Western Association of College Admission Counselors and the Exemplar Award for Distinguished Service to Higher Education from the Western Region of the College Board. As a capstone to his more than 20-year career at Pacific, he was awarded the Order of the Pacific, the highest award the University can give, as a testament to his distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the University.
Today, after over 50 years, Les is still an unwavering supporter of University of the Pacific. Since his retirement he has served for more than 20 years as a member of the Pacific Library Associates and as an advisor to the School of International Studies. As the founder and one-time President of the Emeriti Society at Pacific, Les can be credited with uniting former faculty in an active organization that now numbers over 100 members. A well-known face on the Pacific campus, he is seen having lunch in the DeRosa University Center on a daily basis and holds season tickets to several of Pacific sports teams. As a testament to his love for Pacific, even his daughter Ginnie Sue became a Tiger, graduating in 1980.
In 2010, Les Medford was recognized as an Honorary Alumnus of University of the Pacific. This is the highest honor that the Pacific Alumni Association can present to someone who did not attend University of the Pacific and recognizes individuals who through their leadership, personal involvement and support have contributed significantly to the advancement of the University.
Over the years, Les and his wife Marie have been committed to supporting Pacific financially as well. The two have given generously, recently establishing an endowed scholarship that will benefit future Pacific students for many years to come.
As if his commitment, generosity and faithful service to Pacific weren't enough. Les Medford is highly respected as a man of great character and honor. Former staff members remember him for his leadership style, the important life lessons he taught, and the relationships and good will he fostered between departments across campus. One of the greatest testaments to his strong character and leadership are the more than 100 people who attended his 90th birthday party. Many in attendance were former employees who traveled great distances to see and honor this outstanding Pacifican.
With over 50 years of dedicated service to Pacific that span everything from recruitment and faculty relations to fundraising and athletic support, it is fitting that Les Medford be recognized today as the 2013 Grand Marshal of the Pacific Homecoming Parade.