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Autumn 2003 | Volume 26, Number 4 | Campus
A Record-Setting Autumn

SPU Welcomes Its Largest and Most Academically Prepared Freshman Class

as Seattle Pacific University’s enrollment grew to 3,728 — the largest in the institution’s 112-year history. Swelling the count is a record freshman class of 683 students, 80 more than a year ago. Not only the largest but the most academically prepared, the Class of 2007 set records for highest SAT average (1154, up from 1141) and high school GPA average (3.65, up from 3.58).

New student applications increased 12.2 percent over last year.

“Judging by its quality and diversity, this freshman class is going to make a real difference in the world,” says Marj Johnson, vice president for administration and university relations.

Equally impressed with the incoming freshmen is Jennifer Kenney, director of undergraduate admissions. “We will see exciting things out of them,” she predicts. “They are a great fit for SPU with lots of service experience and a genuine excitement to be here.” In addition to a comprehensive strategic admissions plan, three particular University initiatives turned in strong performances:

Diversity Initiative. The ethnic minority population at SPU rose to a record 13.3 per-cent of new students, compared to a three-year average of 9–10 percent. The five available ethnic minority scholarships for freshmen in 2003–2004 attracted a total of 105 applicants.

Science Initiative. The opening of the Science Building and renewed commitment to the sciences at Seattle Pacific resulted in a 35 percent increase in freshmen indicating interest in the natural sciences, and a 40 percent increase in freshmen indicating interest in premed.

Graduate Enrollment Initiative. For the second year in a row, the fall enrollment for graduate programs has topped 800 students. This year’s growth is due to increases in the clinical psychology doctoral program and in several master’s degree programs, including nursing, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and marriage and family therapy.

Positive trends are also being seen in graduation rates. “Our four-year graduation rate improved by nine percent this year,” says Johnson. “Our six-year graduation rate (the standard national reporting measure) improved to 62 percent from 60 percent last year and is up 16 percent in the last decade.” The average SPU student graduates in four years plus one or two quarters.

Other undergraduate numbers of inter-est: Students from 44 states and 24 countries enrolled at Seattle Pacific this fall; children of SPU alumni comprise 8 percent of the student population; and the number of those residing in campus housing is 60 percent, or 1,663 students.


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From the President
“What is a college education really worth?” asks President Philip Eaton. With universities under scrutiny today, SPU must reflect about its influence and impact.

Fighting for Family
The U.S. Marines ask Les and Leslie Parrott for help to strengthen the home life of soldiers returning from long Iraq deployments. [faculty]

Creativity Takes Flight
Theatre graduate Sam Vance '96 is a man with the kind of vision needed by the Museum of Glass in Tacoma , Washington . [alumni]

Basketball Down Under
The men's basketball team took a journey to the other side of the world, and Assistant Coach Dan Barfoot shares his journal of the trip. [athletics]

My Response
“Dear Time Capsule Openers,” writes Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Bruce Congdon to SPU students, faculty and alumni in 2053. His letter now sits in a time capsule placed in SPU's new Science Building .