Jack Paduntin headshot with definition of word "hope"

Hope: A word from President Jack Paduntin

This year's theme from Voices magazine shows how Pacific Oaks has been a light in trying times.

“The light at the end of the tunnel.”

Theodore Cuyler, a religious writer, first used this ubiquitous phrase in an 1882 book following his daughter’s death during a typhoid epidemic. It’s fitting, now, how this idiom has gained new relevance and traction in 2021 as we begin to near a possible end to the COVID-19 pandemic, with multiple vaccines approved and distributed. We talk of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel—that a return to normalcy is near. We have hope.

I challenge you all to reconsider this phrase. We aren’t waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. The light has been with us all along. We are the light.

I’ve witnessed this light at Pacific Oaks throughout the pandemic. From the very beginning, our students, faculty, and staff
have stepped up to serve their communities and themselves—marching forward with our mission while up against life-altering events, rising to the occasion during racial unrest and economic uncertainty. I had a profound feeling of pride during our first virtual commencement ceremony because of the extreme circumstances our students overcame to arrive at this year’s graduation.

This issue is a celebration of the light. We see it in how different populations are adapting in these trying times. “The
next generation social worker” looks at how those in this profession continually evolve to meet the needs of their clients.
“Ordinary magic in extraordinary times” explores the resilience of children through traumatic events. And “Losing lifelines, keeping connections” discusses the need for the LGBTQIA+ population to have community—and how they are still finding ways to connect.

I continue to be amazed at the Pacific Oaks legacy we’ve all inherited. The school’s social justice roots have allowed
us to continue to meet the moment—both living out the mission and expanding it. It’s a timeless attribute—one I see in
each and every community member. As a community of problem solvers, we’re leading the movement to a more
equitable world. I am proud to call you all accomplices in this mission.

Learn more about Pacific Oaks College

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