Eaton Addresses "The Character Question" in Times Editorial|
"History should teach us that we need more than competence in our leaders," wrote Seattle Pacific University President Philip Eaton in a March 3 editorial in the
Seattle Times. In the article, Eaton added his voice to the national
discussion about character and the US presidency. "Competence can make the trains run on time," he argued, "but only character, based on enduring values, can make
our society something more than efficient."
Eaton says he chose to write the editorial because of SPU's emphasis on character formation as the ultimate purpose of a university education, and because of his conviction that Seattle Pacific should actively participate in the public exchange of ideas. "We support our faculty in pursuing scholarship that is relevant to important world issues, and we educate our students to become thinking Christians who are able to speak intelligently about their ideas," he explains. "It's this process that produces leaders who are people of both competence and character."
The Eaton editorial will also be published in the May/June issue of Light and Life, the denominational magazine of the Free Methodist Church of North America. The full text of the article is available on the SPU web site at http:/www.spu.edu/info/pres.html.
|Foundation Gives $290,000 to Support "Common Curriculum"||
In February, the Teagle Foundation awarded Seattle Pacific a grant of $290,000 to help launch the Common Curriculum, the University's new general education program. A four-year course of study that links the liberal arts, Christian faith and real-life human issues, the Common Curriculum will be required of all SPU students. Only five percent of four-year institutions in the United States offer such a program.
"The Common Curriculum is where character formation and academics come together," says SPU President Philip Eaton. "We are thrilled to receive the Teagle Foundation's support in this ground-breaking venture."
The grant is the culmination of a two-year conversation between Eaton and Richard Kimball, executive director of Teagle. "Dick Kimball has been great," states Eaton. "I believe he truly understands and affirms what we are trying to do."
The proposal for the grant was written by Director of General Education Joyce Erickson, Provost Bruce Murphy and Associate Provost Tom Trzyna. Funds will be used for training those faculty teaching in the Common Curriculum, educational materials, and salaries for adjunct faculty.
Pew College Society Begun on Campus|
Outstanding Seattle Pacific University students who are considering graduate school now have additional support for those dreams, thanks to a $10,000 grant from
The Pew Foundation's Younger Scholars Program. The grant
establishes a Pew College Society on campus, which Professor of English Susan VanZanten Gallagher says is an important development for students and SPU.
"This means that for the first time Seattle Pacific has a formal mechanism through which academically gifted students can be identified and encouraged to go into research or to earn a Ph.D.," says Gallagher, campus coordinator of the Society.
"In my opinion, this program is a response to issues raised in the book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, by Mark Noll. We don't have enough Christian scholars, yet if we want to make an impact on the world, we have to make an impact on the academy."
Each year, between five and 10 SPU students will be invited to join the Society. They'll meet with faculty and take part in activities which include book discussions, presentations by leading Christian scholars, and guidance on applying to graduate school.
The Pew Foundation encourages excellent undergraduate scholarship in other ways as well, says Gallagher. Four members of SPU's Society have been selected to attend summer institutes sponsored by Pew. The students are Josh Adams, biblical studies; Jennifer Bennett, psychology; Jason Hungerford, English; and Josh Ramey, philosophy.
In addition, Seattle Pacific student Faith Lanum was selected a 1998 Pew Younger Scholars Fellow. The English major is one of only 10 students from Christian colleges and universities around the nation to receive graduate fellowships. These provide each recipient with a $39,000 three-year scholarship to top-ranked Ph.D. programs in the humanities, social sciences and theology.
|SPU to Host National Conference on C.S. Lewis||
One hundred years after his birth, C.S. Lewis is arguably the most widely recognized Christian thinker and the most widely read Christian author of the 20th century. So what will be the legacy of Lewis for the 21st century? That question is the focus of a national conference to be held on the
Seattle Pacific University campus June 19-21.
Among the prominent Lewis scholars scheduled to speak at the conference are Peter Kreeft, Thomas Howard and Phillip Johnson. Other events include the world premiere of a one-man show based on Lewis' The Great Divorce, a readers' theatre adapation of Peter Kreeft's Between Heaven and Hell, a traditional Anglican evensong service, and an English banquet. A book party and afternoon tea will celebrate the publication of The C.S. Lewis Reader's Encyclopedia, co-edited by SPU Assistant Professor of Political Science John West.
For the past two decades, Seattle Pacific has built a reputation for Lewis scholarship. "Thanks to the fine work of Professor Mike Macdonald, SPU is a world center for C.S. Lewis studies," says West, one of the directors of this year's conference. "It is very appropriate that we host a major event to commemorate the centennial of Lewis' birth and to envision the future of Lewis scholarship."
The conference is open to anyone. For schedule and registration information, call 206/281-2162.
Work and the Life of the Spirit
Mercury House, 1998
Edited by Douglas Thorpe
"The concept is that what we do - our work - matters," explains Assistant Professor of English Douglas Thorpe about the anthology he has edited, a project he pondered for almost ten years. "The idea began during a fellowship in Cambridge, Massachusetts, years ago," he recalls. Sponsored by the Association of Religion and Intellectual Life, the colloquium gave Thorpe time to study the writings of Henry David Thoreau about work and its effect on the human soul.
Thorpe later sought and found other writers and philosophers who had deeply considered the meaning of work in their lives. "Soon I realized these materials could be collected into a single book. I thought the ideas would be as useful to others as they are to me."
The result is a volume in which great thinkers from all over the world and throughout history consider what work means and what work does. Organization of the material is neither chronological nor alphabetical. "This book attempts to move as human culture moves," Thorpe writes in the introduction. Thus, chapters develop from foundations in hunting and gathering, to modernity in the city.
"My hope," says Thorpe, "is that the reader comes away with a heightened awareness of the relationship between labor and soul."
|"Academic April" Guides Students Toward Graduation in Four Years||
Helping students graduate on time is the purpose of a new Seattle
Pacific University tradition launched this spring called "Academic April." Statistics show that college students are taking longer to graduate, some up to six years. With tuition rates putting severe strains on families, SPU wants to do whatever it takes to keep its students on track toward earning a degree in four years.
The new month-long series of events created opportunities for students to interact with faculty, staff and alumni about degree and career choices. Key events included "Academic Rush," where academic departments hosted informational meetings for students; a "Provost Chapel," where Provost Bruce Murphy addressed students on vocation and Christian calling; and four "Class Chapels," where students learned what specific action steps are required for them to move up to the next class level.
"I applaud the program because of the connections it builds between faculty and students," says Murphy. "These mentoring relationships are one of SPU's greatest strengths."
|SPU is First to Offer Web Registration||
Remember standing in line on the first day of class to get your class schedule? Remember having to wait days for a copy of your transcript? Remember when your parents got your grades in the mail before you ever saw them?
This academic year, Seattle Pacific University became the first in Washington state to provide computer registration via the World Wide Web. And are students ever glad. "Online registration was painless and convenient," says senior Mark Mason. "If only cooking was so easy."
Students now have the option to register whenever and wherever it's convenient, including weekends, late at night, even off campus. During Spring Quarter advance registration, 86 percent of all undergraduate students chose to register via the Web.
"SPU is also the first university in the state to offer students on-line information about their transcripts, grades, schedules and chapel credits," says University Registrar Ruth Adams.
|SPU Biologist to Appear on the Learning Channel||
Seattle Pacific University Assistant Professor of Biology Cynthia Fitch is one of several scientists from around the world featured in "The Clone Age," a special program
airing on The Learning Channel May 29 at 10:00 p.m.
Fitch - who authored an editorial on cloning in the Autumn 1997 issue of Response and in a March issue of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer - was interviewed for the show, and filmed leading her general education class in a debate about the controversial topic. Highlighted on the show are the Scottish scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep.
Fellows Director Retires After 18 Years|
When George Guy came to Seattle Pacific University as director of the Fellows in 1980, he brought
with him business expertise and personal contacts stemming from the historic Seattle drug store chain
bearing his family name. This spring he enters retirement - for the second time - after overseeing the addition of nearly 2,000 of the more than 2,700
Fellows now a part of the Society.
It was a rewarding tenure for Guy. "The Fellows organization has been an important entry point for those people especially committed to the University who have both the capacity and the desire to help Seattle Pacific in its mission," Guy says. "Many of them continue to be my good friends."
"George has brought SPU a great deal of visibility," says Tom Box, director of development. "He is politely assertive when asking people to join in this great work." During Guy's 18 years with Seattle Pacific, the Society of Fellows contributed in excess of $40 million towards the academic mission and growth of SPU.
Eight grandchildren "and the Lord's leading" promise to keep Guy and his wife, Marjorie, plenty busy for years to come.
|SPU on Target to Make Annual Fund Goal||
Seattle Pacific University is confident that at least 90 percent of the gifts pledged in the October Phonathon will be fulfilled by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. That is an outstanding effort by alumni, parents and friends of the University and puts this year's
Annual Fund drive on a brisk pace to reach a new giving level.
By December, more than half the $1,274,000 goal for the year had been received, an Annual Fund first. On March 31, seven months into the funding effort, the total received was $75,000 ahead of a year prior and the number of gifts was up by a third. Also up by a third was the number of major gifts of more than $5,000.
"It takes gifts of every size from people who believe in the mission of SPU to meet the Annual Fund target," says Tom Box, director of development. "We are deeply grateful to donors for their commitment and sacrifice in support of our faculty and students."
Unrestricted Annual Fund giving contributes directly to scholarships, faculty enhancement, and improved programs and facilities.
|Response Honored at CASE Conference||
Seattle Pacific University's
Response won a gold medal in the tabloids category at the 1998 Council for Advancement and
Support of Education (CASE)
District VIII Conference. The event was held at Seattle's Westin Hotel in February. This is the
seventh gold medal given to Response by CASE in the last eight years.
Seattle Pacific also won a gold medal for the SPU web site; silver and bronze awards for the SPU Viewbook; and bronze awards for the Homecoming brochure Legends in Time and the University Players promotional poster.
Renowned Musician, Author Visits SPU as Artist-In -Residence|
In the 1960s, singer and songwriter John Fischer was part of the "Jesus Movement," a national
revival whose members were sometimes referred to as "Jesus freaks." Since then, Fischer has remained a steady and true Christian voice. Continuing to sing and write songs, he has also become a successful author and speaker. This year, Fischer brought his varied talents to Seattle Pacific University as an artist-in-residence during November and March, and returns to campus as the Staley Lecturer May 18-23.
"John has a special affection for Seattle Pacific," says Vice President for Campus Life Steve Moore. "He likes what we're trying to do here, so we wanted to build on that by having him here for longer periods of time."
As artist-in-residence, Fischer sees his role mainly as a communicator. He has made frequent appearances in classrooms, chapel events and small groups, but his favorite venue is one-on-one discussions with students. "I enjoy spending time with them, breaking down barriers," he says. "It's what Jesus did: walking along and talking. It's the Socratic method."
The more challenging the discussion, the better. Fischer likes to shake people up, which is one of his talents, says Moore. "He's gifted at helping Christians think about their interactions in the world and culture."
Fischer often writes about the tensions between faith, learning and culture in his monthly column for Contemporary Christian Music magazine. He advocates stretching the mind, suggesting that liberals listen to Rush Limbaugh once in a while and conservatives check out Hillary Rodham Clinton. "It's almost as if people are afraid of being corrupted by a thought they haven't had already," he writes.
He brings this message to Christian campuses all over the nation, including Seattle Pacific, because Fischer believes learning is an activity of faith. "Jesus commanded us to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength," says Fischer. "When properly used, the mind provides a means to love God."