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Spring 2004 | Volume 26, Number 6 | Alumni

A Passion for SPU’s Mission Energizes 1955 Graduate as He Leads the Alumni Board

ASK DENTON PALMER ’55 how he ended up as Alumni Board president, and he’ll tell you it was purely coincidental. After all, the Board’s previous president resigned mid-term because of his busy schedule and Palmer, then vice president, was the natural choice for the position. But don’t let his modesty cloud the facts: Palmer was clearly the right person for the job.

Despite his plans to “retire” from his nine years of service on the Alumni Board, Palmer says he couldn’t ignore the call to serve another two years, this time as president. “It was a tough decision at first,” he says. But in the end, Palmer says it came down to his passion for the University’s mission to engage the culture and change the world, and his belief that alumni play a vital role in that vision. “It’s important to me that I’m a part of the ongoing mission of this university,” he says.

The 22-member Alumni Board team is developing ways that alumni can support President Eaton’s “Blueprint for Excellence,” explains Palmer. “We want to work with him in a very real way that helps SPU become recognized as a premier national Christian university.” That’s significant, he says, “because the Alumni Board is a reflection of all alumni.”

Palmer, who has fond memories of his own years at Seattle Pacific running track with fellow alumnus Eugene Peterson ’54 and others, says connecting with classmates is important. “Even if you haven’t seen an old SPU friend for 30 or 40 years, you’d be surprised at how quickly you can pick up the friendship right where you left off.”

Palmer, who lives on Whidbey Island, is a retired school superintendent and the father of one of last year’s Medallion Award winners, Bruce Palmer ’79. He’ll see his grandson, Riley Denton Palmer, graduate from SPU this spring, marking three generations of Palmers at the University.

What’s the best part about being Alumni Board president? “I love hearing about what’s happening from President Eaton on down to the students,” he says. “I get a lot more out of this job than I give.” There he goes being modest again.

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Back to Campus

From the President
As today’s opinion-shapers declare the Christian message irrelevant, Seattle Pacific University President Philip Eaton reminds us: “For two billion people, the resurrection of Jesus Christ changed everything.”

“This Is Our Campaign”
Creativity and commitment are the hallmarks of faculty contributions, including finding precision science equipment and seeking grants. [Campaign]

Acting on AIDS
A student-led campaign encouraging a Christian response to a world pandemic had the campus seeing orange. [Campus]

Fact or Fiction?
A new Response department reviews the best-seller The Da Vinci Code. Why is this page-turner disturbing so many Christians? [Books & Film]

Looking Ahead
Falcon women keep their sights on a national championship after a perfect season ends too soon at the Elite Eight. [Athletics]

My Response
Nicaraguan native Maria Antonia Caldera Hunter ’89 tells of an SPU study tour to her homeland that showed her the presence of Christ in unlikely places.