Mary Rink B’88

Bellarmine has literally influenced my life since the day I was born. I was born on a Friday night in November and my mom’s doctor was Dr. Larkin who was the team doctor for the football team at the time. My mom was in labor at St. Joseph’s hospital but Bellarmine had a home game that was running late so the nurses tried to slow the process down. The game finally ended and I was born shortly after Dr. Larkin made it to the hospital.
My mom graduated from Aquinas and my dad graduated from Bellarmine so you could say I have some deep Tacoma roots. I am one of six kids who all went through Bellarmine along with several extended family members. My son is currently a sophomore at Bellarmine and it has been such a blessing to be able to share this experience with him. 

What was your path after graduating from Bellarmine, before returning to teach?
I graduated from PLU with a degree in Recreation and held various positions with Metro Parks in the athletics department and at the Centre at Norpoint. I then started managing an outdoor guiding service based in Tacoma which enabled me to have lots of great kayaking and climbing adventures. I was coaching soccer and softball at Bellarmine as well and realized I wanted to be on campus full-time so I returned to PLU to get my teaching credentials. I began teaching part time at my other alma mater, St. Patrick School, and part time at Bellarmine. After two years I was able to be full-time at Bellarmine and the rest, as they say, is history. I later received my master’s degree in Physical Education from Central Washington University.
What is your current role at Bellarmine?
I graduated from Bellarmine in 1988 and I always say I never really left. While I was attending PLU, I helped out coaching in the softball program and then returned after I graduated to start coaching soccer and eventually also started teaching here.

I currently teach in the PE/Health department and I am the Director of Ignatian Formation. I work closely with the service program, coordinate our Courts for Kids trips, our international service immersion program, and organize our advocacy trip to Washington D.C. for the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. I am also involved with several clubs, serve as a Co-Crew Director for the Junior Encounter program and serve on our Sustainability Committee and the Equity Team. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in teaching?
My collegiate advisor, Dr. Sara Officer, told me when I was an undergraduate student that I should be a teacher. At the time, I told her that wasn’t what I wanted to do. She was right though, and I returned to PLU six years later to take additional classes from her to get my teaching credentials. I was inspired by the numerous outstanding teachers I had throughout my career, some of whom are now my colleagues, and I wanted to continue to be part of the Bellarmine community.

What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher?
The most rewarding experience has been witnessing the incredible growth that happens in our students from the time they enter as 9th graders and then walk across the stage at graduation. There are a lot of changes that happen during those four years and it is inspiring to witness their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual growth. I am also in admiration of the graduates who go forth from Bellarmine and make a positive impact on our local and global community.