Whether they attended live classes or logged in online, the 861 graduates of the Class of 2001 achieved a common goal last June: a degree from Seattle Pacific University. Their separate paths, a mix of tradition and innovation, converged during the ceremonial events that featured Ivy Cutting, Baccalaureate, Commencement and a new Hooding Ceremony for graduate students.

From left: Sharon and Philip Eaton, and David and Helene Winter.

At Ivy Cutting on June 8, the day before Commencement, a bagpiper and student drummers led the procession of faculty and graduates into the Loop, where hundreds of family members and friends witnessed the symbolic "cutting free" of each graduate to a new life of service.

Prior to Ivy Cutting, the first-ever Graduate Hooding Ceremony was conducted in Martin Square. Three students who received their master of education degrees became the first SPU graduates to complete all or most of their coursework online through an arrangement with Western Governors University.

In a gesture of mutual esteem, sister schools Seattle Pacific University and Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, exchanged Commencement speakers this year. SPU President Philip Eaton delivered the Commencement address for Westmont on May 5, and Westmont President David Winter spoke at SPU's Commencement on June 9.

Both men, brothers-in-law by marriage, are passionate advocates of Christian higher education. Winter has recently concluded his 25th and final year at the helm of Westmont. "I was deeply honored to speak at Dr. Winter's last Commencement as president," says Eaton. "Westmont is a fine institution, and that is due in no small part to David's oustanding leadership."

Of the 861 students eligible for degrees, 676 received baccalaureate degrees and 185 received master's or doctoral degrees.


The Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees announced in May that Steve Anderson '64 would step down after completing his six-year term as board chair. Named as new chair was Roger Eigsti, CEO and chair of SAFECO Corporation, who served as an SPU trustee for 10 years.

Eigsti, a graduate of Oregon's Linfield College, began his distinguished 28-year career at SAFECO in 1972 as assistant to the controller. He became controller of SAFECO Life in 1978, and controller of SAFECO Corporation in 1980. By 1985, he had been elected executive vice president and chief financial officer, followed by election to the SAFECO Board of Directors in 1988. He became president in 1989, chief executive officer in 1992 and chairman of the board in 1993. The corporation and its affiliates include property-casualty, life and real estate companies.

Eigsti's community involvements are varied and include serving as chair for King County United Way and Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and as board member for Independent Colleges of Washington and the Insurance Institute for Applied Ethics.

"Both Steve and Roger came to be chairs of the Board of Trustees at just the right moments," says SPU President Philip Eaton. "Steve is a visionary who was extraordinarily supportive in our work on the institutional vision. He challenged me to take the risks necessary to define something bold and new for Seattle Pacific and I am very grateful to him.

"Roger is an experienced CEO of a major business, and as we move from vision to implementation, he will give us the guidance and counsel to make it happen. We are delighted that Roger has agreed to lead the board."


At its Spring 2001 meeting, the Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees approved a recommendation from President Philip Eaton to allow social dancing on campus as a University-sponsored event. The decision by the president and the board was in response to a student-initiated proposal for a new dancing policy.

The new policy marks the first time in the institution's 110-year history that dancing will be recognized as a regular student activity on campus. The first on-campus dance will be held next Autumn Quarter.

"The students are very pleased that the president and the board affirmed their dancing proposal," says Kathleen Braden, associate vice president and dean of student life. "They've worked hard to show that this activity, in this particular time, is in keeping with the mission of SPU and the social experience of the majority of our students."

A key impetus for changing the policy stems from Seattle Pacific's commitment to build community among students. The new on-campus dances will offer students a community-building activity in a safe and healthy environment. In addition, the dances will offer more opportunities for on-campus and commuter students to interact. Currently, just under half of the University's undergraduate students live off campus. The new policy states that dances may only be sponsored by an officially recognized SPU department or student organization and limited to Seattle Pacific students and their guests.

The policy was written in the context of other Free Methodist institutions that are evaluating their social dancing guidelines. In addition, many of the 100 member institutions of the national Council for Christian Colleges and Universities have similar policies that allow student-sponsored social dancing.


Seattle Pacific University's presence on Whidbey Island has expanded, with the recent acquisition of Fort Casey Inn. Formerly a privately owned bed and breakfast, the Inn is now available at discounted rates to alumni, faculty and staff.

Built in 1909, nine fully restored cottages plus one hotel-style suite make up Fort Casey Inn's total capacity of 36. Each cottage consists of two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, farm-style kitchen and front and back porches that offer views of Crockett Lake, Admiralty Inlet and the Cascade Mountains.

Just a short walk to Fort Casey State Park, the Inn is close to the nearby swimming pool, fields and beaches of Casey Conference Center.

SPU alumni can take advantage of Fort Casey Inn for $115 per night, double occupancy. Additional guests may stay for $15 per night, while children under 12 stay free. For more information, call toll-free 866/661-6604 or visit

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