Published: October 7, 2015
Oct. 7, 2015 (Pasadena, Calif.) Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School (POC) proudly celebrated the inauguration of its 10th President, Dr. Patricia A. Breen, on Friday, Oct. 2, at Pasadena’s historic Castle Green. Addressing the POC Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students and teachers—as well as such local leaders as Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, Viola Van from Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office, and several dignitaries from area colleges and universities—Dr. Breen delivered a speech full of unwavering dedication and optimism. The ceremony was presided over by the POC’s Dean of Academic Affairs, Carol Rinkoff.
Dr. Breen began her inaugural remarks by thanking those who consistently help her and the college accomplish all that they do, including members of staff, faculty, and the community. She then took a moment to humbly thank her family for “keeping it real” and standing with her through her endeavors, before turning to the question of the evening: “What do we care about?”
In surveying the Pacific Oaks community and speaking to outside constituents, Dr. Breen said she has come to the following conclusion: “We care about the belief we hold in the potential of every individual, the courage it took to buck the educational establishment of the day with a progressive approach to education, and the determination it took to make it happen.”
Addressing the evolving world of early childhood education and the unconventional approach required to excel within it, Dr. Breen recalled the founders of Pacific Oaks and their shared vision to challenge the societal trends of the time by providing an education that would develop young children with appreciation and respect for all races of people. Reminding everyone in the audience of the school’s roots, she touched upon the changing mannerisms of education contrasted by the unwavering value in the Quaker principles the school was founded upon.
Dr. Breen said she had “no doubt that in times of tremendous and rapid change, which might just be the ‘new normal’ in our world, our capacity to adapt to, make progress, and thrive with change will come from our fidelity to what must be permanent in our lives.”
She also highlighted the school’s core values. ”These values,” she proposed, “will guide us as together we prepare our students for a world of complexity, diversity, and change with considered and sometimes courageous action.”
The resilience of Pacific Oaks was reinforced as Dr. Breen proudly lauded the school’s recovery from a temporary slump. “Despite current national trends, we have increased our enrollment, stabilized our finances, strengthened our academic infrastructures, and attracted new faculty with familiar values and deep expertise,” she added, reminding everyone that her purpose as president was to “rediscover what we care about so that we know where we are going, and how to get there.”
The address ended with a promise—a promise of resolute commitment to the success of Pacific Oaks and for all those who choose to take this journey with her.
About Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School
Founded 70 years ago on the belief that every individual has unique gifts and infinite potential, Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School has gained international acclaim for its progressive approach to teaching and learning. Pacific Oaks Children’s School provides early childhood education programs for children ages 6 months through 6 years and has pioneered achievements in the areas of anti-bias education, emergent curriculum, and peaceful conflict resolution. Pacific Oaks College is known for serving non-traditional and adult students—valuing real-world experiences in addition to academic achievements.
A nonprofit institution, Pacific Oaks is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU). Offering bachelor and master degrees, Pacific Oaks graduates are a community of change agents and have made a profound impact in the fields of education, human development, and marriage and family therapy. In addition to the Pasadena campus, the institution offers learning opportunities online and at instructional sites from Sacramento to Santa Cruz. For more information, see pacificoaks.edu.