Memoriam: Remembering Professor Lisa Klein Surdyk '87

Response invites memories for an SPU associate professor of economics


Posted January 4, 2010

Professor Lisa Klein Surdyk (1965-2009)

Editor's note: Memorial gifts can be made to "Lisa Klein Surdyk Scholarship Fund," Suite 304, Annual Giving Office, Seattle Pacific University.


LISA KLEIN SURDYK '87, a member of the faculty in SPU's School of Business and Economics (SBE) since 1991, died December 6, 2009, at the age of 44, after living with, and treating, cancer for three years. Just 13 days earlier, she taught what would be her final macroeconomics and managerial economics courses.

Chosen SBE Teacher of the Year in 2009 (and earlier in 1997), Lisa pursued her profession with zeal. In October 2009, she presented to the Christian Business Faculty Association (CBFA) conference in Arkansas her paper "Is Honesty the Best Policy? What Christians in Business Can Learn From Quaker Business Practices of Old." She took seriously the necessity for a rhythm of work and rest in the lives of employees and drew from the Bible in formulating and presenting Sabbath wisdom and its contribution to building individual well-being.

In 2005, in an article for Ethix magazine titled "Why Rest?" the mother of four urged readers to "embrace a lifestyle that includes a 24-hour break each week" from normal work activities as a step to maintaining lives in proper balance.

Actively involved in the CBFA, and chosen as the 1999 recipient of its Richard C. Chewning Award for the integration of faith and business, she served as chair of its board from 1996 to 1997. She was also a member of the American Economic Association, the Western Economic Association International, and the Association of Christian Economists. Lisa also served on various SPU faculty governance committees. Her final role was as the chair of SBE's faculty development committee.

Named the 2003 SBE Co-Scholar of the Year, Lisa authored or co-authored articles in a variety of journals including the Journal of Biblical Integration in Business, Christian Scholar's Review, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Research on Christian Higher Education, and the International Journal of Finance.

"She was a consummate professional," says Jeff Van Duzer, dean of SBE. "She worked at her craft. And over time she emerged as one of the best teachers on our faculty." What drew people to Lisa was her love of students, her care for the poor, and her love of God. Van Duzer says that her discussions with students were particularly effective. What began with helping them understand difficult concepts "would seem to migrate into deeper issues. Students … knew that she cared for them."

"She also loved being a guide for new faculty, showing them the ropes," remembers faculty colleague Margaret Diddams, co-chair of the Department of Psychology.

Lisa's roots reach deep into Seattle Pacific (she was a third-generation alumna) and Seattle's First Free Methodist Church. Her great-grandfather, George Klein, was an administrator for Seattle Pacific College and, from 1933 to 1937, pastor at First Free Methodist Church adjacent to SPU's campus (his photo still hangs in the church's hallway). Her grandfather, parents, and brothers are Seattle Pacific graduates; her father, RICHARD KLEIN '47, also served as alumni director from 1981 to 1983. Her grandfather was JAMES KLEIN '42, her mother was MARY DECKER KLEIN '46, her brothers are R. GEOFF KLEIN '72 and MARVIN KLEIN '79, and her aunt and two uncles are BARBARA KLEIN HOOVER '50, LLOYD KLEIN '55, and GERALD KLEIN '60.

Along with husband TIM SURDYK '98, M.B.A. '03, a former SPU budget and information systems manager, Lisa was a dedicated member of Shoreline (Washington) Free Methodist Church. She is survived as well by four children: Kenny, Charlie, Billy, and Mary.
Lisa's written encouragement to family and friends was this: "God is good and God is trustworthy, and God loves us and will never leave or forsake us because of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. So I can rejoice."


Share Your Thoughts

If you have a remembrance of Professor Lisa Klein Surdyk, share it here, and see it posted below.



Ray Quichocho

Posted October 13, 2010, at 4:06 a.m.

She was a wonderful professor!


Nathan Pritchard

Posted May 26, 2010, at 7:28 a.m.

I'm saddened with the news of Dr. Surdyks passing. She was an inspiration to me and the reason I'm in business. I will miss her deeply.


Brandy Reid

Posted April 20, 2010, at 12:49 p.m.

I was shocked to find my former professor having passed away at such a young age! I remember when she was pregnant with her first child while I was a student. Dr. Surdyk was a favorite of mine and I loved the way she taught. I feel blessed to have had her as a professor and our world is a better place because she was part of it. May God bless her family in this time of loss and give them strength to continue on without her.


Colleen Weimer

Posted January 12, 2010, at 12:13 a.m.

I met Professor Surdyk while helping with the children's ministry at her church. She was always smiling and always so nice to everyone. I could tell that she loved her family very much. My prayers are with her husband and her children and all who knew her. She was an amazing person. I will miss her.


Kristine Weimer

Posted January 9, 2010, at 4:32 p.m.

Professor Lisa Surdyk was truly an inspiration. I had the privilege of being a student in her Principles of Macroeconomics course during my freshman year. I remember the passion that she had for teaching and the kindness that she showed to all her students. I also remember her humor and the way that she related to us as students. She wanted us to grasp and understand the concepts of Macroeconomics, but also the concepts of living with purpose. It was a Business class and yet she found many ways to incorporate the Bible into her teachings. I liked how the two went together.


I especially remember her lesson about being a "good steward" of the resources that God has given us. She wanted us to know that each of us were stewards; we had been given resources and gifts from God. She wanted us to know that if we were good stewards of what we were given, then we could help those in need around us. She was very passionate about helping the poor and about issues of economic injustice.


Professor Surdyk showed us that God's concern for the poor must be our concern as well. I carry these lessons with me still today and I am continually inspired by her teachings. Principles of Macroeconomics is one of my favorite classes because of Professor Surdyk. She had an excitement for life and for teaching. She will be greatly missed and yet her memory and lessons will live on in the lives of all her students and all who knew her. May God's peace be with her family and may His grace and love be sufficient.


John Gardner

Posted January 8, 2010, at 1:28 p.m.

Lisa was a classmate and friend of mine while attending SPU. Although she was obviously very intelligent (I learned this while sitting next to her in Business Law!), this was combined with a sweet and gentle spirit, a beautiful smile and a strong heart for the Lord. I was impressed (but not at all surprised) to learn of her early success as a professor at SPU...she obviously shone brightly for God during the time she was given. I am honored to have known such a person, even if only briefly. My prayers go out to her family for your tremendous loss.



Annie Mae

Posted January 8, 2010, at 11:22 a.m.

Passion - Determination - Professionalism - Pragmatic ~ All this tied together with a smile from the beautiful foundation of the Truth of Jesus in her life, everyday. I had the privilege of being a student in Dr. Surdyk's final class, Intermediate Economics. So much could be said...


One story. Who laughs in economics?!? Dr. Surdyk knew how to laugh. We were learning about spending, saving, lending, and credit and she is trying to relate so she used a youtube clip of an old SNL clip about spending starring Steve Martin. Honestly, the clip was pretty terrible and a little too long. But Dr. Surdyk laughed and laughed, which made us laugh. When it was finished, she dried her eyes and jump into the economic market. I'm going to miss her laugh.



Posted January 7, 2010, at 11:23 p.m.

Professor Surdyk taught her students in the school of business how to remember the poor, and empowered students with the realization that relief for those in need is truly possible. She has inspired us.

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