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Summer 2002 | Volume 25, Number 3 | Features
Students Pay Tribute to a Magnificent Seven

Janet Blumberg with Hosannah Valentine.
SEVEN FACULTY MEMBERS retired from Seattle Pacific University during the 2001–2002 academic year. They are a magnificent seven, having spent a collective 167 years mentoring and teaching students in chemistry, English, education, music and nursing. But, for all their academic expertise, these professors will be remembered most by students for their vibrant commitment to integrating the life of the mind and the life of faith.

How best to honor them? By letting their students speak, students who have benefited from the kind of influence that only comes from cherished teachers.

Janet Blumberg

  • Professor of English, 1974–2002
  • Professor of the Year, 2001
  • Weter Lecturer, 1999
  • Future plans: Pursue own writing career. At work on a book about Tolkien and the redemptive nature of artistic beauty in the medieval tradition. Spend time with her son, Caleb, 16. “I first met Dr. Blumberg while visiting a class at SPU as a high school senior. I don’t remember much about that class except her stressing that Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world, was 40 years old and not some young bimbo. While I didn’t know it then, that was the beginning of four years of learning from Dr. Blumberg — as a student, a writer and, eventually, a friend. After taking required classes from her, I signed up for every class of hers I could. Her passionate belief in the importance of what she taught, and the way she connected it to the deepest parts of life, resurrected my education from the hard-edged competitiveness I was used to. Most importantly, she taught me that this learning is nothing without love. For that, and for her, I am very grateful.”

    Hosannah Valentine
    B.A. in English, 2002

    Susan Franklin

  • Instructor of Education, 1985–2002
  • Co-director, Teacher Certification Program
  • Future plans: Work part-time with the School of Education. Volunteer, perhaps with adult literacy programs. Garden, travel, read. “Throughout my time in the education program at SPU, one of my heart’s desires was to teach in an urban setting. I knew that my senior internship placement would be pivotal in reaching that career goal. During the placement process, one SPU professor was by my side ensuring both my success in the program and helping me realize my dream of working in the city. Susan Franklin saw that my passions intersected with the needs of Brighton Elementary, an inner-city school in south Seattle. It was not only important to her that I get placed, but she also made sure it was in a school that I loved. Without her guidance, wisdom, advice and encouragement, I might not have made the connection at Brighton and be well on my way to becoming a full-time elementary school teacher.”

    Janae Bustad
    B.A. in Psychology, Teaching
    Certification, 2001

    Patricia Hammill

  • Associate Professor of Education, 1988–2002
  • Chair, School of Education Curriculum and Instruction Committee
  • Future plans: Further life education. Discover new ways to work for the children of the world. Market children’s poems she’s written. “I met Dr. Hammill in the winter of 1991 in the class she taught called ‘Diversity in America.’ Through the years, her calmness and warmth have stayed with me. She greeted me by name at 9:45 p.m. one night, passing me in the dark on the way to another building. She spoke as if it was 8:00 in the morning with the sun shining. Dr. Hammill is encouraging and always has a smile, always shows interest in how I am and what I’m doing. She always looks ‘in control’ and ‘polished’ no matter what she is doing. She never shows that she’s flustered, but serenely flows from one task to another, explaining, making the fledgling student feel he or she can accomplish the assignment easily. Though an accomplished professor at a major university, she was still learning, still eagerly looking forward to that next nugget of information.”

    Camelia Lee
    M.A. in Teaching, 1995
    Special Education Teacher, Ingraham High School, Seattle

    Paul Lepse

  • Professor of Chemistry, 1963–2002
  • One of Seattle Pacific’s top chemistry graduates
  • Future plans: Attain the highest mountain summits in each of the United States (28 down, 22 to go). Become more liberally educated and active in the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. “Words cannot adequately describe what Paul has meant to the chemistry and pre-med programs at SPU, nor to me personally. He has been an anchor, capable of teaching nearly anything. He has been a model of Christian charity, professional integrity and devoted servanthood. Paul is a leader and a worker bee, with a reputation for deep knowledge, and out-of-class availability and approachability. I call it ‘the gift of presence’ and was three years a student under his mentorship. Observing him in the classroom helped me clarify my own sense of calling.I find it absolutely fitting that when Paul’s grandson, Joel, was born, Paul’s daughter-in-law was attended by both an obstetrician and an anesthesiologist who are SPU alumni and survivors of Paul’s organic chemistry sequence.”
    Lyle Peter
    B.S. in Chemistry, 1958
    Professor of Chemistry, SPU

    Peter Smith

  • Professor of Education, 1970–2002
  • Helped found School of Education’s Online Master’s Degree Program
  • Faculty Servant Award, 2002
  • Future plans: Teach one or two online courses a quarter. Spend more time with his wife, Mardell, and their seven grandchildren. Pursue photography. “Last summer, I felt God’s call to be a school counselor and returned to school after 25 years away. My first quarter was online, and one week into the session, I felt overwhelmed. Had I made the right choice? Because I received nothing but encouragement from Pete Smith, I did not give up. Over the course of the quarter, my fledgling work improved. What I learned in his class carried over into every other class I’ve taken. I’m no longer satisfied with presenting information without valid research to back it up. I’m not content unless my findings are presented accurately and I’ve produced more than expected. He is the king of online classes. More than that, he is a man after God’s heart. I’m thankful that my master’s degree program began with Pete Smith.”

    Deborah Hartigan
    Master’s Degree Student in School Counseling

    Cathryn Washington

  • Professor of Nursing, 1988–2002
  • Educational advocate for homeless and ill children
  • Clinical supervisor to nursing students at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center
  • Future plans: Travel, garden, continue community service on boards such as the Pacific Medical Clinics Governing Council. “As a clinical nurse manager of the medical unit at Swedish Health Services, I returned to graduate school 15 years after receiving my bachelor’s degree in nursing. I wanted to learn a different way of thinking and to recommit to my chosen profession. While I diligently focused on the technical aspects of becoming an advanced practice nurse, Dr. Washington was there to remind me that although technical mastery is important, it is also important to never forget the compassion, caring and spirituality that is uniquely nursing. She taught me the true meaning of dedication and the power of passion in accomplishing all things. She is very insightful, almost a mind-reader, in that she knows what a student needs in order to make leaps in growth.”

    Rowena Ponischil
    M.S. in Nursing, 2002
    Clinical Nurse Manager, Swedish Health Services, Seattle

    Vernon Wicker

  • Professor of Music, 1979–2002
  • Editor-in-chief of Hymnology Annual
  • With wife, Jutta, has made lyric translations of more than 100 major German choral and solo vocal works into English for publication
  • Future plans: Retreat in New Zealand, spend time with his grandchildren, and work on church music projects.
    “Through his extensive knowledge, experience and passion, Dr. Wicker has profoundly impacted my life. He was a professor who brought to the table a wealth of musical achievement and academic prowess, as well as a deep and reverent faith. A fellow student told me that in two years of voice lessons, Dr. Wicker was never late to a single one. I personally experienced how wholeheartedly he gave of his time, how he encouraged and uplifted me with so much grace and understanding. He taught me to sing and always knew, almost instinctively, how my voice was doing before I even opened my mouth. Dr. Wicker treated me with the skill of a physician and the heart of a proud father. His mentorship will now serve to help me navigate my way through a music career.”

    Paul Kawabori
    B.A. in Communication, 2002


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