This issue: Summer 2020

A Century of Mentorship

Professors Paul Chamberlain, Steve Grant and Tim Tsohantaridis retire this summer after teaching at George Fox a combined 113 years

By Sean Patterson

Paul Chamberlain: 43 Years

As a college student in the early 1970s, Paul Chamberlain never intended to teach at the collegiate level – or even pursue an advanced degree, for that matter. But an organic chemistry professor took it upon himself to mentor the young scientist and, in turn, change the course of Chamberlain’s life.

The influence of a caring professor forever impacted him.

“I would not have gone on to graduate school and ended up teaching at George Fox but for the mentoring of that professor,” Chamberlain reflects. “I trust that I was able to carry on that legacy while at Fox with my students, and that my interaction with them has made a difference in their lives personally, professionally, and most importantly, spiritually.”

Paul Chamberlain

Chamberlain is retiring from the university this summer after serving at George Fox for 43 years – the first 37 as an organic chemistry professor and the last six as director of the Center for Study Abroad. He also directed the Juniors Abroad program for 23 years. Between mentoring opportunities in the classroom and his experiences with students abroad, his memory bank is full.

One such memory makes him chuckle. In preparation for a Juniors Abroad excursion to East Africa in 2004, a student kept pestering Chamberlain to get on the trip, which was full. The student’s girlfriend was already booked, and he was No. 1 on the wait list. After several visits to Chamberlain’s office, the professor finally relented and let him join.

“Unbeknownst to me, they had some interesting plans for their trip to Africa,” Chamberlain recalls. “They ended up graduating on Saturday, getting married on Sunday, and leaving for their honeymoon on Monday to East Africa with 19 other students, spending much of their time in tents. When I asked them about this very unusual honeymoon, they reminded me that George Fox was paying for half of the cost.”

Chamberlain’s favorite class to teach was organic chemistry, “because I enjoyed helping students come to grips with very conceptually difficult material, seeing most of them survive, and watching some actually come to love the subject,” he says.

His reasons for remaining at George Fox for more than 40 years? Chamberlain provides three: the interactions he had with students both inside and outside the classroom, the close relationships he developed with colleagues, and the freedom he had to share his Christian faith in the classroom.

Looking ahead, Chamberlain says he’s looking forward to four activities: “travel, backpacking, woodworking and, of course, naps,” he laughs.

Steve Grant: 38 Years


When asked what kept him at George Fox for nearly four decades, Steve Grant is quick to offer a quip: “The opportunity to become filthy rich,” he laughs. But “rich,” by his definition, has little to do with monetary gain.

Rather, it has more to do with the wealth that comes from memorable experiences and friendships – the kind of things money can’t buy. “I got ‘rich’ by being surrounded by amazing faculty who value their ministry and by being around wonderful students, many of whom have become great friends,” says Grant, who retires this summer after 38 years as a George Fox faculty member. “I was blessed to have spent 34 of my 38 years as a coach working with not only great athletes, but more importantly, great people – and being inspired by seeing so many of them living as a testament to the grace of Jesus in their lives.”

Grant arrived at then-George Fox College in 1982 to teach in the health department, serve as an assistant men’s basketball coach – a position he held until 1995 – and coach the women’s volleyball team. His 1984 and 1987 women’s squads won National Christian College Athletic Association titles, and he retired from the program in 2015 after amassing more than 600 career wins. His teams posted a winning record 13 straight seasons, from 1987 to 1999, and he was named NAIA District 2 Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1990. In 1998, Grant was selected Northwest Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Bruins to a 31-8 record, a league championship and an NAIA National Tournament berth.

On the administrative side, he served as associate athletic director (2007-14) and as chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance (2003-20). In the classroom, he especially enjoyed teaching two classes – Comprehensive School Health Program and Ballroom Dancing. “

I enjoyed the former because I was working with highly motivated students who would use what they learned to improve the health of our children,” he says. “In the ballroom class, I loved seeing many who thought they wouldn’t like the class leave with a deeper appreciation for what they were capable of learning and using what they had learned, often at their own weddings.”

Asked what he loved most about his George Fox career, Grant simply says “the fact that it lasted so long.” As for what’s next, he looks forward to spending time with family and friends, having time to travel, and perhaps finding a hobby he can do well – “obviously, that’s not golf,” he says. He also plans to continue learning, read more and volunteer.

Tim Tsohantaridis: 32 Years

With so many fond memories – from introducing students to his native Greece on Juniors Abroad trips, to coaching soccer, to performing in chapel skits – Tim Tsohantaridis is hard-pressed to pinpoint his favorite George Fox moment.

An easier task is identifying the reasons he remained at the university for more than three decades: his love of the Bible, students and colleagues.

“Those three things kept me here all these years,” says Tsohantaridis, an associate professor of biblical studies and Greek in the College of Christian Studies who retires this summer. “I love my students and felt a call from God to do so, and I appreciate the friendships I’ve made. I also enjoyed introducing students to a deeper understanding and love of the Bible.”

Tim Tsohantaridis

As a native of Thessaloniki, Greece, Tsohantaridis has always been fascinated by the Apostle Paul’s Macedonian call, and he relished the opportunity to teach the value of Greek – the language in which the New Testament was written – in an individual’s devotional and pastoral life. He had the opportunity to do so not only in the classroom, but also as a chaplain at the university from 1985 to 1990.

Among his other loves is soccer, a sport he grew up playing and one he coached at the high school and collegiate levels. He arrived at George Fox in 1985 and served as an assistant men’s coach for one year before taking the reins of the program and ultimately leading the Bruins to a National Christian College Athletic Association title in 1988. In his four seasons as head coach in the 1980s (1986-89), George Fox qualified for the NCCAA National Tournament three times. On both the soccer pitch and on Juniors Abroad trips, Tsohantaridis developed a particularly close working relationship with fellow coach and professor Manfred Tschan.

Aside from a three-year hiatus in the early 1990s, when he pastored the Greek Evangelical Church of Boston, Tsohantaridis was a fixture on the Newberg campus – and often in unconventional settings. His role as chaplain allowed him to act with student chaplain George Myers in chapel skits, playing the part of a Christmas tree one year and that of “Tex” – a singer/guitarist with no musical ability – another. On another occasion, he performed a Greek folk dance with his sons Demetrius and Thaddeus in a Mr. Bruin pageant.

Academically, his favorite classes to teach were Greek, Bible Survey, Contemporary Religious Life, and Between the Testaments. “It was a joy to introduce new students to God’s redemptive plan, from Genesis to Revelation,” he says of the Bible Survey class. “And the Contemporary Religious Life course gave us a chance to explore the issues of the day from a biblical perspective.”

As for the future, Tsohantaridis plans to spend time in New England with the Greek community in Boston, on the beaches of Rhode Island, and at Newport Evangelical Friends Church. He also looks forward to seeing more of his children, grandchildren and friends on both coasts.

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