From Alumni Director

Telling Their Stories

One of the great things about my role as the Director of Alumni Relations is that I am paid to connect with our alumni and to hear about the amazing things that they do once they graduate from George Fox. What a great task this is, and what a blessing it is to share these stories with other alumni, current students, employees, and parents. Going back through our history, it seems that we’ve always had these great stories to tell. But in the past year, there have been several that really stood out to me. Here are a couple stories that I think you’ll find inspiring.

Kristen Shielee ’09
This may be a name that you know. Kristen was the starting center on last season’s George Fox Women’s Basketball team that won the NCAA Division III National Championship to cap a perfect 32-0 season. She was the unlikely star of the team, earning several All-American honors (among other accolades), after playing limited minutes off the bench during her first three years. But the most amazing part of the story is that despite her love of basketball, she almost didn’t play her senior year. Kristen always wanted to be a teacher, and she was in the midst of the long hours of student teaching when practices began. As much as she loved basketball, she loved teaching more and wanted to give that everything she had. In the end, she decided to do both. And because of her success on the court, she was given the opportunity of a lifetime that combined both passions. Kristen is currently playing professional basketball and teaching in Pamplona, Spain. It certainly wasn’t something that she had planned. And to think, it almost didn’t happen.

Kelly Bachran ’08
As a student, Kelly Bachran was a member of the university’s Chapel Band for several years. She loved to sing and always had a smile on her face. After graduating, she continued singing as a hobby when she wasn’t working in a local insurance office. Then, she got the inspiration to take a run at American Idol. She flew to Denver on a whim, making it just in time to sign-up for auditions. It didn’t take long to earn her “golden ticket” to Hollywood, one of only 180 to do so (out of more than 110,000 people that auditioned). In the end, her dream came up short, when she was finally eliminated in the last cut before the finals. The experience helped her to realize that she needed to find a way to use her God-given talent. As a result, she recently took another leap of faith and moved to California to pursue music.

Joel Hoffman ’06 & Rachel Colbourne Hoffman ’06
After getting married, this couple felt a deep call to move to Haiti as missionaries with Mennonite Central Committee. They were living there, and had just returned to their fifth floor apartment when the tragic earthquake hit. Their building collapsed completely, but somehow through God’s grace, they were relatively unhurt and able to crawl through the rubble to safety. They returned to the United States, still feeling a passionate pull to the people that they were serving. In fact, the Oregonian featured the couple in a series of articles. To read them, click here.

These are just a hint of the types of stories that I hear in my job. Our alumni do amazing things. They live out their passions with fervor for God and others. They follow their hearts and have remarkable adventures. And I sit here in Newberg, waiting to hear the next incredible story. So that I might share it with you next time.

Robby Larson
Director of Alumni Relations