President Eaton and SPU Honored for Character-Building

Seattle Pacific University President Philip Eaton joined a select group of 50 presidents nationwide to be featured in the recently published Templeton Guide: Colleges That Encourage Character Development. Chief executives were selected who demonstrate a personal commitment to a wide variety of character development activities and issues, both on campus and in the community. Eaton's leadership and vision for Seattle Pacific to develop graduates of competence and character were key factors for his inclusion in the book.

SPU was also named to the guide's Honor Roll of 100 top character-building colleges. These institutions are commended for demonstrating a clear and compelling mission to build moral and civic responsibility in students through academic programs, faculty involvement and extracurricular activities.

Plan Now to Help Honor Young Life President as SPU's Alumnus of the Year!

He once edited The Wittenburg Door, a satire magazine that lampoons religious excess. It may have been just what the doctor ordered for his present job as president of the international Christian youth organization, Young Life. After all, teenagers can spot a Pharisee a mile away.

For his commitment, character and Christian service, Denny Rydberg '67 is Seattle Pacific University's Alumnus of the Year 2000. The author of How to Survive in College and the former co-director of University Ministries at Seattle's University Presbyterian Church will be a featured guest at Homecoming, February 3-5.

In addition to meeting with faculty and staff members, Rydberg is the special speaker at Homecoming Chapel in First Free Methodist Church at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 3. A reception and a luncheon in his honor will follow. All alumni and friends of the University are invited!

New Gwinn Commons Serves Up the Ultimate in Campus Dining

Seattle Pacific University students arrived this fall to a whole new standard in campus dining. Students are still eating their meals in 37-year-old Gwinn Commons, but it has been newly transformed into one of the finest facilities of its kind in the nation.

The $7 million renovation project, begun last spring, gave the building a Northwest look, complete with open natural wood beams, large windows and a fireplace. The state-of-the-art kitchen can serve more than 16,000 meals a week.

Sodexho Marriott, SPU's food service provider, helped design the innovative student eating space and menu. Called "Crossroads," the dining area features four self-contained restaurant "islands" serving up everything from specialty salads and sandwiches to steakhouse burgers, pepperoni pizza, and "home-cooked" chicken and mashed potatoes. In addition, the new fare includes international cuisines like Italian, Thai and Mongolian specialties. Most items are made-to-order. When the finishing touches are put on the building in November, it will include an additional story with a flexible meeting area seating up to 540 people for seminars and student gatherings, and 400 for banquets.

"We're thrilled with the new facility," says Jim Korner, executive director of university services at SPU. "We now have Sodexho Marriott's flagship dining facility nationwide; it makes a great place to build community on campus."

A formal dedication of the new building will take place in November. Watch for more photos in the Winter Response.

Enrollment Numbers Affirm SPU's Long-Range Goals

As students settled in for a new academic year at Seattle Pacific, they supplied a number of encouraging indicators that the University's long-range enrollment strategies are hitting their marks.

The Enrollment Plan segment of The Comprehensive Plan for the 21st Century calls for among other things "carefully managed growth," "increased persistence" and a "moderately selective admissions policy." Among the positive signs that SPU is taking steps toward meeting those goals are:

  • A total enrollment of 3,427, up 1 percent over last year.
  • A record undergraduate enrollment of 2,636.
  • A record doctoral degree program enrollment of 143.
  • A new student enrollment that hit the target of 804 students, including 570 first-time freshmen and 234 transfer students.
  • A persistence rate of 80 percent for freshmen returning for their sophomore year, a 12 percent improvement since 1985.
  • An average incoming freshman GPA of 3.58 and SAT score of 1144.

"The evidence is that we are doing what we have set out to do, and that is to increase our enrollment by retaining more students all the way through to graduation," says Janet Ward, dean of enrollment services. "A key strategy to improve persistence is attracting new students of strong academic ability, since research shows they are more likely to persist."

Ward also notes the continued increase in the number of students who register for their classes via the Internet. Since Seattle Pacific became the first university in Washington state to offer web registration, "more and more students are taking advantage of this service, which streamlines the process and helps students get started on a more secure footing."

This year, 87 percent of undergraduate students and 41 percent of graduate students chose to register online.

Professor Steps Into New Role As Dean of Student Life

In an effort to bridge the curricular and co-curricular aspects of campus life for students of Seattle Pacific University, Provost Bruce Murphy has appointed Professor Kathleen Braden the new dean of student life and associate provost.

It is a posting that Braden relishes because she believes Seattle Pacific has been given a specific challenge from God.

"Look at the world at the dawn of the 21st century," says Braden, a full-time professor of geography at SPU for the last 17 years. "The most potent ideas, for better or worse, are coming out of the United States. The center for good thinking is right here in the Seattle region. We will have a huge say in the world's culture in the next few years. And SPU, in its unique role as an evangelical Christian institution of higher education, is at the center of that focus."

It is this truth that powers Braden's new assignment directing "the action and living component" of a student's education. In addition to working with student leadership and overseeing the departments of career development, educational services, international programs, residence life and student programs, she provides an essential link between students and SPU's staff, faculty and administration.

"She is in an amazing position to impact the student experience at SPU," says Jeff Nelson, president of the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific. "She has a genuine concern for all aspects of students' lives."

Braden intuitively understands the influence of her office on the broader University. "In Student Life, we will consider how to help students engage the culture. We will serve as a model of how to live in community. We will assist students in achieving not just a life built on what you can acquire, but a life with meaning."

Provost Murphy believes Braden brings solid credentials to the job. "She is widely respected as a teacher and scholar, and she knows and loves students. Kathleen's also a savvy administrator and strong Christian leader. I'm excited about what she will accomplish in her new role."

New Faculty for 1999-2000

Sixteen scholars joined the Seattle Pacific University faculty during Autumn Quarter 1999. "I am very pleased with both the exceptional academic caliber and the genuine Christian commitment of these individuals," says Provost Bruce Murphy. "I'm looking forward to working with each of them, and I appreciate the diverse gifts they bring to the classroom."

The new faculty members are: Brian Gill, assistant professor of mathematics; Claudia Grauf-Grounds, chair of the marriage and family therapy program; Michael Hamilton, assistant professor of history; Xi Lian, assistant professor of history; John Lindberg, assistant professor of physics; Robert McKenna, director of the Degree Completion Program, associate professor of business; Todd Rendleman, assistant professor of communication; Janine Saunders, assistant professor of school psychology; Christopher Shinn, assistant professor of English; Kathleen Stetz, associate professor of nursing; Marcia Webb, assistant professor of graduate psychology; Linda Montgomery, associate professor of educational leadership; Jeanine Diller, assistant professor of philosophy; Ken Himma, assistant professor of philosophy; David Nienhuis, instructor of religion; Roxe Ann Olson, instructor of mathematics; and Philip Van Veldhuizen, assistant professor of mathematics.

Radio Makes Campus Comeback

Boomer alums might well remember the golden days of radio on the Seattle Pacific campus when KSSR broadcast in the '70s. The student-run station eventually fell silent due to lack of interest, but a new generation returns to the airways soon, perhaps as early as this spring.

Get ready for KSPU.

The brainchild of 30-year-old transfer student Doug Russell, KSPU will be formed as a campus organization. It's still in the planning stages with money being raised through ASSP and off-campus revenue sources.

"We're going from an idea to a fully equipped station with a board, CD players, microphones, everything," says Russell, who has worked for the Armed Services Radio as well as a cable access station in Washington, D.C. It's going to be tough, but we'll do it."

Russell pushed for the station because of campus enthusiasm. "I've had about 80 students say they'd join the club," he says. Volunteer positions would include on-air talent, marketing and station management.

At first, KSPU will broadcast over cable TV channel 44, which does not require federal licensing. Once the program has stable funding, Russell plans to seek permits for AM and FM broadcasting.

"KSPU could be a great forum for faculty as well as students," says Russell. "This isn't a crazy scheme; this is an opportunity to learn."

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