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Video calls on Pacific family to meet challenges, embrace change

May 15, 2020

“Dear Pacific family, our world looks very different now. Full of challenge and change.”

The opening words in a 1 minute, 10-second video commissioned by the Pacific Alumni Association speak of depth and purpose during a difficult time.

Dean Butler ’79 produced and narrated the video, which is meant to inspire alumni and other Pacificans as the university copes with hardships from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The video concept came from Janice Wagner, director of alumni relations.

“It was the first week of shelter-in-place, and everything was changing so quickly. While we waited for answers about what the future would look like, we wanted to remind alumni that Pacificans are family and that we’d be waiting and ready to welcome them home,” she said. “I showed a similar video from Valdosta State University to Kelli Page (associate vice president of alumni relations) and she immediately suggested that we reach out to Dean.”

“You’ve been called to sacrifice and innovate and adapt, to embrace courage in the face of uncertainty.” 

Butler was a natural choice to produce the video. His varied background includes stage and screen acting (notably as Almanzo Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie”). Butler also is a producer for his own firm Peak Moore Enterprises and NBC Golf Channel. In addition, he has a deep devotion to his alma mater. Butler produces videos for the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards. He received the Distinguished Alumni President’s Award in 2020.

“I can’t take credit for the concept. That came from the university,” Butler said. “Janice Wagner sent me links to excellent footage. We had a lot to work with; some great resources.”

“Pacificans are resilient because Pacificans are relentless.”

Butler said “you must respect the creative process.” That is what he did with the video. The use of the song “Pacific Hail” in two different ways helped pull together the video, he said.

“Scott Liggett once created a beautiful version of ‘Pacific Hail’ that worked so well with the images. The university suggested we add a portion of the song as played by the bells (carillon),” he said.

Liggett ’71 is an Emmy Award-winning music and audio producer, who also received a Pacific Distinguished Alumni Award in 2020.

Volker Arndt, who works as an editor for Butler, put the pieces together for a final product.

“Once you do your job as a producer, you have to leave your editor alone,” Butler said. “Volker is a very, very talented editor. I thought he created a wonderful rhythm.”

Videos such as this, Butler said, eventually will have deeper meaning for students and recent graduates. 

“Students really can’t appreciate how much the university means to their lives until later,” he said. “They are trying to get through to graduation and there is little time to sit and appreciate what a special time in their lives this is.” 

“Together we will build a brighter future and Pacific will be here ready to welcome you home.”

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