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New employees and notable changes | February 2017

Feb 13, 2017

Office of the President

New position: assistant general counsel
Margaret DentonMargaret Denton is the new assistant general counsel in the Office of the General Counsel. She began January 9. In her new role, Denton will substantially increase the capacity of the Office of General Counsel to serve the legal needs of the university on all three campuses.  She brings a strong background as a seasoned in-house attorney in business and litigation settings, with a broad and highly relevant experience in higher education. She has extensive experience in both the corporate and higher education environments and had served as associate general counsel for Drexel University since 2011. Her experience spans a wide range of legal practice, including health care, real estate, finance, employment, regulatory compliance and corporate training. Denton has a JD from Temple University and an MBA from Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Paul Rapp is now the Marketing and Academic Communications Director in the Office of Marketing and Communications. In this role, he is responsible for providing both academic and university communications plans and assisting with the university's marketing and branding efforts, as well as working with the Academic leadership team to produce communications on behalf of the Office of the Provost.

Student Life

New position: director of African American/Black student support and success
Zahida ShermanZahida Sherman was hired to the new position of assistant director of African American/Black student support and success, effective Jan. 3. The new position was created as a result of the student success initiative to develop, partner, deliver and assess student support services that improve student success, with an emphasis on serving African American/Black students. Sherman comes to Pacific from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP in Los Angeles where she served as the associate development coordinator for diversity and inclusion. While there, she researched and implemented best recruitment, retention and promotion strategies for women attorneys, LGBTQ attorneys and attorneys of color. Prior to that, she served as the assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where she advised students of color and first-generation college students on academic, professional and personal success strategies. In a previous position at Kenyon as assistant director of admission and director of multicultural admissions, she created an implemented recruitment strategies that increased enrollment for domestic students of color by 14 percent. She holds a master's in African history and African American studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a bachelor's in anthropology and Africana studies from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

Amber Kavehkar is the new assistant director of fitness, marketing and member services in Pacific Recreation.

Feliks Kazak is a new patrol officer in Public Safety on the San Francisco Campus.

Jerrell Kelly is the new assistant director of competitive sports and facilities in Pacific Recreation.

Development and Alumni Relations

Lacresha Mason is a new administrative assistant II in Planned Giving.

Rowena O'Connor has transferred to the position of manager in Alumni Relations for Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry Alumni.   

Kathleen Fritz, planned giving coordinator in the Office of Estate and Planned Giving, will retire from the university on March 3 after 18 years of service to the Pacific community. She joined Pacific in January 1999 following a 15-year career at St. Joseph's Medical Center. While at Pacific, she served in a variety of roles in Development and Alumni Relations, including as assistant to the director of Foundations and Grants and as a member of the development research team. Fritz has been a key staff member working behind the scenes at a number of donor and community focused university events, including the Heritage Society Luncheons, the Kennedy Center children's theatre outreach projects, and the Orange and Black Ball. She also served on the executive board of the Staff Advisory Council. The staff of Development and Alumni Relations invites members of the Pacific community to join them to celebrate Fritz's years of service to Pacific and wish her well in her retirement at a reception in the Presidents Room at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.

Academic Division

Erica Barr joined Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in December 2016 as an assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Barr received her doctor of pharmacy from University of Arkansas and completed her residency at Christian Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

Laura Merry, formerly project manager of new programs for Distributed Learning and Enrollment Management, has taken a new position with UOP International, the partnership between University of the Pacific and Shorelight, effective Jan. 4, 2017. As student services director, she will be responsible for developing orientations and student programming for new Pacific International students focused on helping them succeed as Pacific students. Her office is located on the Stockton Campus in Baun Hall, Room 208.

Myrna Barrera-Torres
is a new marketing and e-communications specialist in Enrollment Management.

Nancy Hernandez is a new cataloging and digital repository assistant in the Law Library on the Sacramento Campus.

Esther Hill was rehired as a programming manager in the Department of Dental Practice in Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

Linda Selvidge was promoted from administrative assistant II to professional program and outreach coordinator in the Office of Professional Programs in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Thyphanh Son is a new web specialist in the University Library.

Business and Finance

Dylan Bacon transferred from Student Life and was promoted to human resources representative in Human Resources.

Jacqulyn Estes and Jessica Melchor were promoted to the position of university financial analyst in the Budget Office.

Nicanor Morelos has transferred to the position of building operations technician in Physical Plant on the San Francisco Campus.

Pacific Technology

Derek Heath was promoted to network engineer I in Pacific Technology.


Jeffrey Passwater is a new video specialist for water polo.  

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