“The relationships we build with our students separate us from other schools.”
Ask students, faculty and staff to describe Duke Dahlin and they'll tell you about his upbeat energy, bright smile or even his colorful bowties. Duke's engaging personality helps in his position as student accounts coordinator at the dental school. Since about 92% of students receive some type of financial aid, Duke is responsible for monitoring students' accounts and dispersing funds, and serves as a counselor as much as he does a financial planner. He also helps students manage their payments for tuition and other purchases, such as those at the student store. Duke takes the time to listen to the students and gets to know them.
"Duke always makes himself available to us," says Nick Morton, Class of 2008 and associated student body president. "He has helped me so much in terms of navigating the financial mazes of my account."
One of the things that attracted Duke to this position was the responsibilities of the job. It lets him take advantage of all his skills, from his organizational abilities to his patience that brings out the best in people. His professional experiences of teaching, sales and consultant work has been beneficial in working with the diverse student body at the dental school.
"The relationships we build with our students separate us from other schools," says Duke. "I think students are more willing to open up to you if you just take the time to listen and talk with them. Over the course of the three-year program I, along with my colleagues, really get to know the students."
Duke's training and positive outlook is a perfect fit for the position he has held for the past 14 years. Since joining Pacific, he's become involved in the dental community, serving as the organizer for the all-school picnic for the past six years and becoming an honorary member of Tau Kappa Omega dental honor society.
"I love the creativity of the arts but I also like the challenges of business," says Duke. "I like pushing myself to do different things."
Challenging himself is something Duke enjoys in his free time as well. A competitive swimmer for more than 30 years, he is part of the University of San Francisco masters swim team and a member of the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, frequently waking up for swims in the San Francisco Bay waters at 4:00 am. He successfully swam the 21-mile English Channel at age 55, winning the Ray Scott Award from the Channel Swimmers & Pilots Federation as the oldest swimmer in 2003. Duke swam Alcatraz more than a dozen times and his latest feat was swimming around Manhattan Island in New York in June 2006.