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Mike Hackney

As early as high school in Santa Barbara, Mike Hackney began to specialize in languages, taking French, Spanish and German. "It was an excellent high school," he notes, "and I was so bad at math and science." After a 28-month tour of duty with the Navy in Japan, Hackney continued his education back in his home town, earning a BA, an MA, and a teaching credential at UCSB, with a major in history and a minor in Japanese. He taught both history and Japanese at high schools in Palo Alto while studying Japanese and Chinese at Stanford, and eventually landed a master's in Japanese. Towards the end of a 23-year career as a translator on the East Coast, Hackney used his vacation time to work on a BA in ancient studies at the U of Maryland. "I studied Latin, Greek, and Biblical Hebrew," he says. "I tutored kids in Latin while I was in school." Looking to return to the West Coast after retirement, he settled on Eugene ("a university town with the cultural attributes of a big city") and relocated in 2001. "I got into a Norwegian class in '01," he says. "So far, I've had one year each of Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish, two years of Swedish, and four trimesters of Korean. This year I'm studying Portuguese."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 4 December 2008

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