From the President







  My Response

  Letters to the Editor

  Online Bulletin Board

  Contact Response

  Submit Footnote

  Submit Letter to Editor

  Address Change

  Back Issues

  Response Home

  SPU Home

Summer 2003 | Volume 26, Number 3 | Faculty
Joyce Quiring Erickson
English, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

in history and English at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, Joyce Quiring Erickson was already married and a mom. Years earlier, she had left Seattle Pacific after her freshman year to marry and put her husband, Richard, through school. When he finished, they decided the time was right for her to complete her degree. She planned a career as a high school teacher, but then a professor asked her if she’d ever considered graduate school. “I said no,” she recalls, laughing. “And the rest is history.”

Erickson eventually earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and returned to Seattle Pacific — this time as an English professor. First hired in 1969, she sat in her interview radiating “competence” and “elegance,” remembers Fan Gates, emerita English professor. “When SPU hired Joyce, they hired someone with the energy of three people,” she adds.

In 1983, however, Erickson’s SPU career went into hiatus when her husband, a Veterans Administration psychologist, transferred to Portland, Oregon. After commuting for four years (even taking an apartment in Greenwood), she bid a reluctant good-bye to Seattle Pacific — until 1992. When she returned, her creativity and administrative flair went into overdrive. Again, Erickson introduced scores of students to Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and other Victorian literature greats, but her impact on students went beyond the classroom. In addition to being a mentor, an advisor and a professor, she served as dean of the School of Humanities; interim chief academic officer; dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and primary architect of SPU’s innovative general education program, the Common Curriculum. She did all this while excelling in the fine art of hospitality, often hosting students, fellow faculty members and visiting poets. Her many accomplishments didn’t escape notice from the administration. In 1999, she received the President’s Award for Excellence.

After 25 years at Seattle Pacific, Erickson and her husband are looking forward to midfaculty week camping trips, “because we can,” she says. They will also visit Greece in the fall, then head to Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya, where he’ll teach psychology and she’ll work in the library. “After that, I don’t know,” she says. “I want some kind of intellectual project, but I don’t know what it is yet.”

Q: What’s one of your favorite things a student ever said to you?
Erickson: I was at a concert about a year ago, and a woman behind me said she had been a student of mine in the ’70s. She said, “You taught me composition, and I got a C. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

Q: If you hadn’t become a professor, what would you have been?
Erickson: I must say, I always thought it would be fun to be a waitress. I like to entertain, and I like to serve people.

Back to the top
Back to Campus

From the President
Americans today are searching for a new tone for their lives. “We are talking here about another set of values — not the giddy sense of entitlement that emerges out of exuberant times,” says President Philip Eaton.

A Gift at Any Age
Young alumni are supporting The Campaign for SPU with the Young Alumni Endowment. They will provide scholarship support to students engaging the culture. [Campaign]

Like Grandfather, Like Grandson
On June 7, 80-year-old Sheldon Arnett finally received his bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific. His grandson, Jeremiah Johnson, earned his SPU bachelor’s degree the same day. [Campus]

Still Exploring
Missionary bush pilot Roald Amundsen ’41 founded Missionary Aviation and Repair Center (MARC) — becoming an explorer just like the famous Norwegian for whom he was named. [Alumni]

Second Wind
A marathoner, wife, mother and business alumna, Claudia Shannon came back after tough times. As a 45-year-old senior, she was on the SPU cross country team that ranked 14th in the nation. [Athletics]

My Response
After 25 years, Joyce Quiring Erickson, retiring professor of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, reflects on glossy brown chestnuts, home and the Promised Land.