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Autumn 2002 | Volume 25, Number 4 | Campus
New School Year Begins With a Record Enrollment and a Call to Action

THE FALL CLIMATE at Seattle Pacific University is decidedly brisk. A record enrollment of 3,684 students (69 more than the record enrollment of Autumn 2001) arrived on campus to find a new science building well on its way toward a September 2003 opening; the launch of a $52.85 million fund-raising campaign; and an extensive calendar of events and guest speakers.

The University’s growth came in graduate programs, which increased nearly 10 percent to a total of 817 students. Doctoral degree programs set a new record at 193 matriculated students, and master’s degree programs reported the highest number of students in 10 years.

This year’s freshman class is the third largest in SPU history at 603 students, while the total new student enrollment — including both freshmen and transfers — is the second largest at 845 students.

One of the most telling statistics, however, is the jump in the University’s graduation rate, a number not easily moved. The latest figures show that 60 percent of those who began their educations at Seattle Pacific six years ago have graduated, representing a strong 3 percent increase. “This success comes from several quarters,” says President Philip Eaton, “including the maturing of our Common Curriculum, improved faculty advising, a fine financial aid strategy, more focused recruitment of promising students, an excellent residence life program — and a great spirit on campus.”

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Enrollment Management Janet Ward agrees and adds that it comes down to relationships. “Improvement in the graduation rate is a result of faculty and staff who have consistently worked on building relationships with students and providing the kind of intervention that enabled more students to stay on track.”

One activity that helps incoming students develop relationships with their classmates, professors and community is CityQuest, SPU’s annual volunteer day for new students. On September 28, during New Student Orientation, 700 new freshmen and transfers spread out in teams across Seattle, helping 58 local organizations that serve the community. Following CityQuest, SPU received a certificate of “Outstanding Efforts Toward Hunger Relief ” by Food Lifeline, a local nonprofit agency dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington.

At Opening Convocation on October 1 in Brougham Pavilion, Eaton challenged members of the campus community to continue putting their Christian faith into action. Alluding to the biblical story of David, he urged people to confront the “giants” of poverty, racism, violence and injustice — but to do so with “a gentle heart.” “Lord, as I run right at the giants,” he asked, “keep me from arrogance, help me to be gentle, help me always to show mercy, help me to learn from those who are poor in spirit, help me to be a peacemaker, help me to be very careful with power, help me to keep my mind focused on your kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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From the President
The purpose of the Campaign for Seattle Pacific is bigger than ourselves. "We are really investing in a venture of change and hope," says President Philip Eaton.

Meet the Alumni Board President
It took 30 years for the alumni board president, Darlene Hartley, to rediscover her alma mater, reconnect with fellow alums — and get a very warm welcome. [Alumni]

Reconciliation in South Africa
Professor of English Susan Gallagher spotlights truth and reconciliation in South Africa in her new book, as the African nation moves beyond apartheid. [Faculty]

Friendly Competition
Intramural sports go back to the early 20th century at Seattle Pacific. Their enormous success today is in large part to Howie Kellogg, director of intramural and club sports. [Athletics]

My Response
Gary Ames, who funded the $1 million Ames Initiative on Diversity at SPU with his wife, talks about the power gained through diversity. [My Response]