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Small Change, Big Impact

Helping Students Find Their Place at the Table

Photo by Sarah and Chris Rhoads

Small Change, Big Impact

Susan Okamoto Lane's lifelong mission — “to help people take the next step” — describes her service at SPU since 1983. Lane (center), director of SPU's Multi-Ethnic Programs, knows that college life can pose challenges to students from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, especially if they are the first in their families to attend college. So she learns their stories and helps them navigate a complex cultural experience.

Lane's parents missed out on college because they were among the Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. “I know that injustice can happen on the basis of race,” she says. “The opportunity to go to college is a precious thing.”

She embodies SPU's commitment to ethnic minorities. “SPU's faculty, staff, student leaders, and administrators understand that increasing diversity and supporting students are important educationally, scripturally, and from a justice standpoint,” she says.