June 7, 2014
In the wake of Thursday's tragic events on the SPU campus, I wanted to reach out to you -- both as the president of SPU and as a father. I know that you must have many emotions as you think about your student and what has happened here. For those of you with graduating seniors, this is particularly true, I'm sure, as we approach Commencement and the celebration of your student's hard work at SPU.
The SPU community has endured a senseless act of violence resulting in the death of one of our precious students and the injury of two others. We have been shaken deeply. I have no words to adequately convey the grief we feel about this event, or how it has affected each of us -- students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
I have never been more grateful for this very special community. We have gathered together, prayed together, and supported one another. Within hours of the tragedy, students had organized themselves into prayer and support groups, had held candlelight vigils, and were ministering to the needs of their classmates. They have been beacons of God's love to people on and off campus.
I want you to be confident that your student's well-being has been and always will be our first concern. That was true before Thursday's incident, and it will continue to be true. Our Safety and Security staff continues to perform at the highest professional level and in partnership with the Seattle Police Department. We have surrounded our students with caring Residence Life staff members, faculty, grief counselors, campus ministers, and local pastors. And we are working to assist students with their studies as the academic year comes to a close.
We are mindful that students are concerned about their final exams. Finals will go forward as scheduled next week, but we have asked our faculty to be very generous in offering alternative arrangements for students who do not feel able to sit for their exams. We have asked students to contact their professors directly if this is the case.
There have been several services of prayer, lament, and worship on campus over the last three days, all of which have been attended in overwhelming numbers. I invite you to watch the two largest services we held, on Thursday and on Friday. They will give you a glimpse into our community's response as we move toward healing and recovery.
If you would like to join our parents' prayer network, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. Because many of you have been asking how you can contribute funds to help SPU students in this difficult time, we have created the "Rise Above" Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to support those directly affected and to meet special needs across our community.
For those of you whose students are graduating seniors, next week we will gather together to celebrate with you and your loved ones at Ivy Cutting, Baccalaureate, and Commencement. The experiences of the last few days have only increased the great love and admiration I have for the remarkable students at SPU. I will be so proud to hand graduating seniors their diplomas and celebrate their academic achievements and goals for the future.
There has been an outpouring of love and support for SPU from Seattle, the nation, and the world. Some of the most meaningful messages have come from the parents of our students. I thank you. And I wish you and your student God's peace now and in the future.
I wish you and your student God's peace now and in the future. If you have any questions or thoughts you would like to communicate to us, please email email@example.com.