An Honored Alumnus Shares His Lifetime Experience With Walla Walla University
By Eli Haynal
Often, day-to-day college life can get in the way of the big picture, and questions like “how am I working towards my goals?” are replaced with “how am I going to get through my next exam?” This week, The Collegian is featuring several notable alumni in light of the upcoming alumni weekend, and Gale Crosby, one of the alumni of the year, shared some reflections on his time at Walla Walla University and how it has since influenced his life.
Crosby was clear that from the beginning, he had clear goals related to his eventual career path: “By the time I was a third grade student at Rogers Elementary I knew I wanted to be focused on education. During academy at WWVA [Walla Walla Valley Academy] I further refined my goal to become a school principal. With that in mind at WWU, I majored in business administration along with earning my secondary teaching credentials in mathematics and business.” 
Many university students express the concern that their classes might not translate to real-world skills. According to Crosby, “A wise person once said that you will grow based on three factors: the people you meet, the books you read, and the classes you take. With that in mind, a university campus is a great place to grow and I truly tried to take away something from each class I took, each professor I learned from, and each book I read to help me in my career. For the most part, I believe I was able to do that.”
Crosby’s early decision on a career path is a special gift. “I felt strongly that God had called me into a life of service through working with young people, and even today I count it the best part of my job to spend time in the classroom with students listening to their joys and what they have learned,” he says. However, he remains resolved that all students can find a career that they love and can learn lessons for that career in any class.
It would be remiss to cover Gale Crosby’s time here at WWU by only discussing his academic advice. He found joy on this campus, he met his wife of 41 years here, and their wedding was officiated by the campus chaplain. He met lifelong friends, some of whom he now works with and some who are passing on the experience to others as professors.
“I graduated in August of 1981 and was teaching junior high math classes by September. While the transition was a quick one, I felt well prepared for my career as I started out as a classroom teacher and within five years transferred to full-time school administration,” says Crosby, “when you are doing what you know God has called you to do, there is a feeling of peace knowing that whatever comes your way, God has your back.”
In this experience, Crosby’s love for and devotion to his work are evident. He is clear that he feels blessed by what he gained from his University experience and by the service he enacts through his career.
“Looking back 40 years, it is less about the facts you learned in class but the deeper take-aways,” says Crosby, “I learned while at WWU not to rush through life, but to take time to develop healthy living habits, to enjoy the gift of living each day with a sense of adventure, to enjoy family and most importantly take time to stay connected to my Jesus because He has such great plans for you.”
Crosby’s love for education administration led to his current career as the Oregon Conference Vice President for Education, which he calls “the best job in the world.” His enthusiasm is contagious and the conference is blessed to have him.
“School culture and classroom climate are values that are very important to me. To be able to walk on a school campus and see how the adults are treating the students with respect and honor and to walk into a classroom and see teachers bragging about the growth and success of their students is something that I value highly. Those values I learned at WWU,” says Crosby. His time at WWU has helped him throughout his life.
Crosby has continued his relationship with his alma mater as well: “Oh yes, I count Dr. John McVay as a personal friend. I come and recruit teachers from WWU each year and we have so many outstanding teachers and principals who call WWU ‘their University.’”
He concluded with some meaningful takeaways from his own University experience:
“Relationships are more important than facts.”
“Choosing to walk with God each day will lead you to experience a life of true adventure. I know that to be true.”
“Each day make it your goal to think of others and their needs more than you think about yourself and your needs.”
“Take time to get away and recharge—Jesus did!”
- Personal communication with G. Crosby, 4/17/2021.
Hello! The name at the top of this page might say “Elijah Haynal,” but if you ever meet me please call me Eli. I am a freshman at WWU this year majoring in Biology, Math, and Pre-Med, and in my free time I enjoy reading, thinking, and going places (although I sadly haven’t been able to do the last of these much this year). I hope you enjoy my articles and if you ever see me around campus I hope you’ll say hello!