Olin Blackmore ’15 is determined to make the most of his last year at Pacific University.
Blackmore first discovered Pacific on a bit of a whim. Originally from Anchorage, he visited at the urging of his uncle, who attended physical therapy school at the university.
“I didn’t schedule a tour or anything,” he said. “But they were so welcoming. It just felt like a very personable school.
“The person who gave me the tour, we still stay in touch, even though she graduated about three years ago.”
Later, he attended the Pacesetters Scholarship Competition, where he got another glimpse at Pacific’s culture. Most Pacesetters attendees — high school students who visit to compete for a scholarship and learn more about the school — bring their parents, but the expense prevented Blackmore’s mother from joining him.
“I felt a little left out, but then some students took me in and sort of acted as my makeshift parents,” he said. “That’s where I truly fell in love with the school.
“I am very much a family dude, and I’ll be honest, coming from such a great distance was hard, but the students made me know I could do it.”
Ultimately, though, Blackmore’s decision to attend Pacific centered on financial aid.
“I got an academic scholarship, and that’s when I realized Pacific was a solid contender,” he said. “My parents both work, and they work hard. I had a job in high school. I wanted an affordable college education.”
Blackmore also auditioned for and received scholarships for theatre and dance, and he recently received a M.J. Murdock Trust scholarship — all of which are closely tied to the experiences he’s had as a student.
He originally came to Pacific with dreams of becoming a doctor. He took several exercise science and biology classes, but found that he was more interested in chemistry. This year, he will do research with Professor Rick Whiteley, who is looking at nickel hydrogen batteries.
“Every day I wake up and think, ‘I’m going to do research with someone who worked at NASA!” Blackmore said.
Whiteley, in turn, calls Blackmore a “star” in his classes.
“Simply put, Olin is a great kid, full of energy, ambition, curiosity, and he is smart, too!” Whitely said.
A dancer since second grade, Blackmore also has performed in both theatre and dance productions at Pacific.
“I considered not dancing at all, but then I met Jennifer Camp, and she rekindled my love of it,” he said. “I definitely thought I wouldn’t be dancing as much, but now I’m thinking of perhaps pursuing a career in it.”
Camp, the director of dance at Pacific, said Blackmore has become an artist in his time at Pacific.
“He has utilized his time at Pacific to grow into an accomplished performer and a gifted choreographer through his complete dedication and discipline to dance,” she said. “Olin is a true inspiration to everyone around him.”
Meanwhile, Blackmore serves as president of the Undergraduate Student Senate.
“At this school, you can see the changes you want.
You get an immediate benefit,” he said, citing recent work to extend sustainability with a covered bike shelter, water stations around campus, and an elliptical machine in the gym that converts exercise into energy.
“I like to think we’re making a little impact on the school as students.”
Blackmore isn’t sure what will come next.
“At this point,” he said, “I’m focused on my senior capstone, and I want to leave my mark on the dance and theatre programs.”
He spent the summer at a nuclear forensic summer school in Columbia, Mo., which led to his plans to start applying to graduate school soon, and he also did an intensive stint with a dance company in Seattle, which piqued his interest in further performing.
“I would like to keep those two passions intermingling,” he said.
“Pacific has offered a lot of fantastic opportunities … I’m so lucky to be at this school and where I am right now.”