One of Seattle Pacific University President Philip Eaton's priorities is communicating the institution's vision for "engaging the culture and changing the world" to local and national audiences. The following is a partial listing of his recent writings and speaking engagements:

  • Free Methodist College Presidents Meeting. September 13, 2000, Indianapolis, Indiana. As chair, President Eaton led discussion of the covenant relationship between higher education institutions and the Free Methodist denomination.
  • State of the University Address. September 20, 2000, on campus. "Let' s Get It Done." With a clarity of vision and a detailed plan of action, said President Eaton, it's time for SPU to move forward.
  • Seattle Times Editorial. September 20, 2000, Seattle Times. "A Hunger for Moral Leadership."
  • Opening Convocation Address. September 26, 2000, on campus. "Bear Witness to Hope." President Eaton spoke on the role of the Christian intellectual in cultural renewal.
  • Everett Rotary Address. October 10, 2000. "Where Have All the Leaders Gone? Moral Leadership and the Future of Our Communities."
  • Christian College Consortium Presidents Fall Meeting. October 23, 2000, Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania. President Eaton led a discussion on "Engaging the Culture/Changing the World."
  • Autumn 2000 Soapbox. Soapbox is a quarterly mailing containing President Eaton's personal reflections on various topics. In this issue, he focused on "The Scandal of Christian Disunity."(This is a PDF document)
  • Conference on the Future of Religious Colleges. October 6-7, 2000, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts. President Eaton participated in this summit of Christian scholars and leaders.


Seattle Pacific University President Philip Eaton received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, at the college's May 2000 commencement ceremonies. Also honored was David Winter, president of Westmont College. A Whitworth College alumnus, Eaton returned to his alma mater after earning a doctorate in English and American literature from Arizona State University. He served the college in numerous ways: as a faculty member, as a trustee and as interim president from 1992 to 1993. His wife, Sharon, is also a Whitworth College alum, as are two of their three children. In addition to honoring him for service to Whitworth, the institution recognized Eaton for leadership at SPU and for overall contributions to higher education and the community. "With frequency and pride, I point to Phil and Sharon as model bearers of the Whitworth mark," says Whitworth President Bill Robinson.


Seattle Pacific University welcomed a total of 3,491 students in September — including undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate and non-matriculated students. In addition to its highest-ever undergraduate enrollment of 2,692, SPU broke other records as well: The 859 new students currently on campus is an all-time record, as is the doctoral program enrollment of 156.

The University appears to be benefiting from increased awareness of its "quality distinctives," says Jennifer (Feddern) Kenney, director of admissions. "We're attracting more students from in and out of state. We think this is due to our nationally accredited programs and to the fact that Seattle is such a great draw, both culturally and for career opportunities."

Undergraduate student quality indicators also increased this fall, with the average freshman SAT score topping 1145 and the average high school GPA rising slightly to 3.60.

As the result of an ongoing, all-University effort to improve persistence, a record 81 percent of Autumn 1999 freshmen returned for a second year.


Nathan Brown (left) and Les Steele

Another piece of Seattle Pacific University's Comprehensive Plan for the 21st Century is now in place with the establishment of two new academic schools this fall. The School of Theology and the School of Psychology, Family and Community bring to six the number of academic schools/colleges at SPU. They join the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Economics, the School of Education and the School of Health Sciences.

"As a Christian university, we want the discipline of Christian theological studies to be as strong as possible," says Provost Bruce Murphy. "Elevating the School of Theology from department status both acknowledges its importance and enables it to expand. And the School of Psychology, Family and Community brings together solid undergraduate and graduate programs that relate counseling and faith. This is one critical way for Christians to engage our therapy-oriented culture."

The new configuration better serves the mission of SPU, says Les Steele, dean of the School of Theology. "The theology curriculum furthers the University's goal to graduate students of competence and character by grounding the very idea of character in the need to imitate Christ." Nathan Brown, dean of the School of Psychology, Family and Community, also welcomes the change. He says that as a comprehensive Christian university, Seattle Pacific is well-positioned to offer training in the full spectrum of the behavioral sciences, and to do so in a way that "places psychology at the foot of the cross."


The Washington State Board of Education has voted unanimously to reaccredit all five programs in Seattle Pacific University's School of Education (SOE). Bob Minnerly of the State Board said SPU gave "the clearest, most definitive presentation of positive impact on student learning that I've heard in several years."

The state overwhelmingly confirmed that Seattle Pacific programs aimed at preparing teachers, principals, superintendents, school counselors and school psychologists deserved to be reaccredited. "We were affirmed in the accreditation process," says Dean of the School of Education Mark Pitts. "They were very positive in their remarks."

Now the School of Education is preparing for the reaccreditation process with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in April 2001. "Department chairs and faculty have spent significant time in documenting program quality and in general preparation for this visit," says Pitts, explaining that SOE has focused on three areas: a "conceptual framework" that translates the university's mission statement into classes and graduation requirements; the successful utilization of technology for online instruction; and the increase of diversity through additional minority-student scholarships and minority faculty members.

Pitts can now help the SOE prepare for NCATE accreditation in another way as well. He's the president-elect for the Washington Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and is also on the NCATE board of examiners, helping to review other universities' teaching programs. That will benefit SPU's School of Education, he says, by "keeping us aware of new developments, ideas and trends."


Guess who's performing this winter in Benaroya Hall, the stunning new home of the Seattle Symphony? Nearly 200 Seattle Pacific University students.

SPU will host its annual holiday music concert — "The Sacred Sounds of Christmas" — in one of downtown Seattle's most elegant locations.

Seattle Pacific student performing groups take the stage in Benaroya's Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall on November 30, 2000.

Providing an array of sacred Christmas music, both classic and contemporary, will be the University's premier ensembles: the Concert Choir, Men's Choir, Women's Choir and Flutissimo! "This is our gift to the community, and underscores SPU's deep involvement in the arts," says Seattle Pacific President Philip Eaton. "It's another opportunity to take our story downtown."

Performing in Benaroya Hall is just one milestone for SPU's Concert Choir. The group also has another feather in its cap this year: an invitation to represent Seattle Pacific at the National American Choral Directors Association convention to be held in San Antonio, Texas, next spring.

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