They Have a History With SPU: Rod and Ruth Stiling

Stilings

Rod and Ruth Stiling count among their mentors both their sets of parents, married for close to 100 years combined. Now, after 40 years at their own marriage, the younger couple are permitted a few moments of reflection on what makes for wedded bliss. “Pack a sense of humor. Be gracious. Think the best. Be spontaneous. Have lots of adventures together.”

Many adventures followed Rod and Ruth as newlyweds: U.S. naval deployments to Spain. Attendance at Dallas Theological Seminary — a four-year master’s degree in historical theology for him, a two-year master of arts degree in biblical studies for her. A paid position in which Rod was a youth director for an English-speaking church in the Philippines. And in the last few years, several trips to Central America to visit their two grandchildren and daughter Rachel Stiling Martens, Class of 2005, and her Colombian husband. “She not only engaged the culture of Latin America,” Rod says proudly of Rachel, “she married into it.”

But as adventures go, perhaps none is bigger for Rod than his 12 years in the classroom at Seattle Pacific, where the associate professor of history regularly opens the eyes of students to the importance of a historical education. “It’s part of being a good citizen,” says the 2006 Professor of the Year and 2010 Top Professor (SPU Chapter, Mortar Board National Honor Society). “I get to help them see their own life as it flows out of a historical context, and their connection to the larger story.”

The Stilings strongly believe in supporting SPU, and in doing it by giving at the President’s Circle level. Their donations provide vital scholarship funds for students. They also believe in the SPU Library and the importance of sound research. They give money to keep the library staff strong and the historically rich academic collections vital.