Investiture symposia will showcase Pacific’s excellence

Chris Callahan

The investiture of Christopher Callahan as University of the Pacific’s 26th president on Oct. 20 is the focal point of a week-long celebration tailored to the president’s priorities and fostering campus and community involvement.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the 3 p.m. ceremony on Knoles lawn on the Stockton Campus. The schedule details the week’s events, which include five special symposia.

“The events that we put together are by design,” Callahan said. “There are a thousand things that are important to higher education and a thousand things that are important to University of the Pacific. What I tried to do is frame some of what I think are the most important topics.”

He designed five one hour-long symposia, scheduled on Oct. 18 and 19 that align with the university’s values: Student Centered, Academic Excellence, Diversity and Inclusion, Respect and Civility, Community Engagement and Integrity and Accountability.

“People ask me ‘what is our new mission? What are our new values?’ And to me it’s like, ‘no, we already have established fantastic values.’ Those six values … that’s why I’m here at Pacific. The values this university holds dear are the values (First Lady) Jean and I also embrace.”

“I think the week will be a success if people feel united with the importance of our past and our present, and realize the unbelievable potential for our future.”

The symposia topics are:

The Master Teacher: A panel of professors discuss forming lasting bonds with students.

The College Student Experience in the 2020s: Recent graduates and current students speak about opportunities and challenges.

Public Service through Experiential Education: Professors discuss community-based work by their students and the impact.

Diversity and Higher Education: The session will focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and how it drives policy, innovation and student success.

The Future of College Athletics: West Coast Conference Commissioner Gloria Nevarez is interviewed by Pacific student-athletes.

“The panels were put together so that we have expertise and diversity in our conversations,” Callahan said. “We have the best collection of teachers I have ever seen in my life. And we will be able to feature some of them in the Master Teacher panel.

“DEI is a hallmark of what we want to be focusing on, and we have a fantastic panel for that discussion. Our students and faculty are involved in so many experiential learning efforts. Whether it is administering life-saving vaccines, providing legal help to those who cannot afford it or providing dental care to literally thousands in the Bay Area, we serve our communities.”

The investiture ceremony and location are important to Callahan.

“We had serious conversations about whether we should even be doing this. It’s almost a year and a half late because of COVID,” Callahan said. “I was convinced by people that this has institutional importance. The embrace of our traditions and values is a reminder of what we are.

“And we are doing it on Knoles lawn, with all of the surrounding beauty. The pomp and circumstance has a certain gravitas. It signals to folks that we are important, our mission is important and we are doing this together.”

Norman Allen ’88, ’94, chair of Pacific’s Board of Regents, reflected on the impact Callahan has made in his year-plus leading the university.

“Chris has been the right leader for Pacific during this time,” Allen said. “His ability to communicate well and inspire others is impressive. His background in communications, media and social media has allowed him to stay connected to the Pacific community and lead us during the pandemic.”