Five Order of Pacific honorees leave indelible impact

For their tireless dedication and visionary leadership, five of University of the Pacific’s most impactful leaders, teachers and mentors will receive the 2023 Order of Pacific, the highest honor awarded by California’s first university.

The Board of Regents voted unanimously for this year’s Order of Pacific nominees:

  • Norman Allen ’88, ’94, chair of the Board of Regents
  • Daniel Bender, assistant dean of academic affairs at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
  • Deb Crane ’01, ’08, director of career services
  • Bill Herrin, professor of economics
  • Maria Pallavicini, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs

The award was established more than 70 years ago to recognize faculty, staff and regents who have made lasting contributions to the university.

“I am deeply grateful to our Order of Pacific honorees for their extraordinary contributions to our university,” said President Christopher Callahan. “They have had a transformative impact on this university, guiding Pacific through pivotal moments in the school’s history, teaching, advising and mentoring our students, reimagining how we can best serve students and finding innovative ways to propel the university forward.”


Norm Allen

Norm Allen

Norman Allen leads with fervent dedication

From student body president to chair of the Board of Regents, Allen has selflessly devoted his time and energy to Pacific’s students, faculty and staff for more than three decades.

“Norm embodies the spirit of service,” said Judy Chambers, vice president for student life emerita. “He has provided outstanding leadership to our university in a variety of roles, a journey that began in his freshman year and continues to this day. The countless hours he has volunteered have truly made a lasting impact.”

Allen has served on the Board of Regents since 2014. He was chair of the presidential search committee in 2019 and became chair of the board in 2020, just three months into the coronavirus pandemic. Allen skillfully led the board to ensure the safety, financial and social health of Pacific.

Allen’s endowed scholarships for first-generation, Stockton-area and LGBTQ students have directly supported students as they pursue an education at Pacific. He also created the “Lift Every Voice” scholarship supporting Black students.

Prior to becoming a regent, Allen was vice president and president of the Pacific Alumni Association. He also served on the Pacific Fund Advisory Board, the Reunion Committee and the Student Panel of the National Commission, and as an Alumni Association volunteer mentor, a Career Resources Center volunteer mentor and a Pacific Club Officer.

His service extends further back to his time as a student. As an undergraduate, Allen was president of ASuop (the student governing body), was a resident hall assistant and senior class gift agent. As student president, he served on the Presidential Search Committee which led to the selection of William Atchley as the university’s 22nd president. He also was a founding member of the Pacific chapter of the national fraternity Phi Delta Theta. As a student at McGeorge School of Law, Allen was a writer and editor for the Pacific Law Review.

Allen is the only person to serve as ASuop president, Pacific Alumni Association president and chair of the Board of Regents in Pacific’s 171-year history.

“Norm is, quite simply, the quintessential Pacifican,” the president said.

Daniel Bender

Daniel Bender

Daniel Bender had profound impact on students

Few people know students at Dugoni better than Daniel Bender.

The assistant dean’s dedication to students earned him the university’s Podesto Award for Excellence in Student Life, Mentoring and Counseling and honorary memberships in Tau Kappa Omega and Omicron Kappa Upsilon dental honor fraternities.

“Whether he is counseling an at-risk student, supporting enrichment, inviting student input on committees or training peer tutors, Dr. Bender clearly shares demanding expectations with the support and resources necessary for students to excel beyond what they may not otherwise have imagined for themselves,” said Nader A. Nadershahi, dean and vice provost.

Bender joined the dental school as registrar in 1994, became the director of Academic Affairs in 2008 and moved into his current role as assistant dean in 2009. Bender also is an adjunct assistant professor.

He was instrumental in developing the Helix Curriculum in 2010. The unique model integrates content across disciplines and years-in-program, emphasizing active learning and critical thinking. He also spearheaded reform of the International Dental Studies program to get students clinical experience earlier in their studies.

Deb Crane

Deb Crane

Deb Crane brought steadfast dedication to Pacific

For 46 years, Deb Crane shaped the lives of thousands of Pacific students. She was one of Pacific’s longest serving staff members when she retired earlier this month.

As director of Career Services, Crane elevated the types of support and services available to students. A four-year career development plan she created has improved students’ sense of belonging and commitment to Pacific and her on-one-one counseling has had a lasting impact.

“Deb was deeply dedicated to students throughout her time at Pacific,” said Vice President of Student Life Maria Blandizzi. “The relationships she cultivated across the university and employers have strengthened the resources we can provide to students, setting them up for success when they graduate.”

Prior to her role with Career Services, Crane worked closely with Greek Life for many years, providing support with recruitment, financial records, housing and student activities.

Crane earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Pacific in 2001 and a master’s degree in educational administration and leadership in 2008.

Bill Herrin

Bill Herrin

Bill Herrin exemplifies the teacher-scholar model

Throughout his 37 years at Pacific, Herrin has inspired his economics students, served as a leader in the department and contributed to the field as an accomplished scholar.

His students have directly benefited from his impressive research (he was a Fulbright Scholar twice), with his work incorporated into his classes.

“What impresses me are the countless number of students that mention his classes are exciting and rewarding despite being rigorous and challenging,” said Sharmila King, professor of economics and department chair. “He helps students develop critical-thinking skills by having them think intuitively about complex economic or statistical concepts and applies these skills in his courses.”

His student support extends beyond the classroom. A relationship he fostered with the Federal Housing Finance Agency in Washington, D.C. has led to summer internships and job offers for students.

He is the current Alexander R. Heron Professor of Economics and has received numerous awards, including the Pacific Alumni Association Faculty Mentor Award (2019), the Faye and Alex Spanos Outstanding Teaching Award (2019) and the Eberhardt Teacher/Scholar Award (2014).

Herrin also has guided the department in a variety of roles. He was director of the School of International Studies for nine years, the economics department chair for five years, chair of International Programs and Services and most recently was a member of the Academic Council Executive Board.

Maria Pallavicini

Maria Pallavicini

Maria Pallavicini led with purpose

Pallavicini has made a significant mark on the university over her 12 years as provost, strengthening and expanding academic programs across all three campuses. She also served for a year as interim president and helped lead the university through the global pandemic.

“Whether as our chief academic leader or interim president, she has brought a spirit of energy and innovation to Pacific and her extraordinary contributions have had a tremendous influence on our university,” President Callahan said.

Pallavicini enhanced the San Francisco Campus through the design of a multi-story building in California’s South of Market district, enabling the expansion of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and other academic programs.

She was a driving force behind the launch of the School of Health Sciences in 2020 on the Sacramento Campus. The school is rapidly becoming one of the largest at Pacific. She also played an integral role in the transformation of the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center on the Stockton Campus.

As interim president during the 2019-2020 academic year, Pallavicini adeptly guided the university through the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure students’ learning continued. Her leadership also enabled Pacific to be one of the first university COVID-19 vaccination sites.

The Order of Pacific honorees will be recognized during the commencement ceremony on May 13.