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Summer 2002 | Volume 25, Number 3 | Features
A Job Well Done
Five Faculty and Staff Members Receive Kudos for Their Work

EACH SPRING, Seattle Pacific University honors the achievements of its faculty and staff at the President’s Recognition Chapel. On May 7, 2002, President Philip Eaton marked years-of-service anniversaries for 54 individuals whose length of employment at the University ranged from five to 35 years. And five faculty and staff members were singled out for exceptional contributions to the mission of SPU during the 2001-2002 academic year. In the profiles that follow, you’ll meet these special individuals and discover why they do what they do — in their own words.

Awarded by President Philip Eaton

  • Professor of Christian Ministries and Education
  • At SPU since 1978
  • What President Eaton says: “Bob is a senior faculty member who has been a consistent contributor to the life of the University over many years. … He believes in students of competence and character and devotes a great deal of time to preparing students for graduate study and ministry. He is a careful, thoughtful and insightful teacher.”
Drovdahl in His Own Words: Why I Teach
“My call to teach originates in the transformation nature of my undergraduate experience at Seattle Pacific College from 1967 to 1971 and my desire now to guide students toward a thoughtful, vital Christian faith.

“As a professor, I teach students at three levels and find different rewards at each level. Teaching Foundations courses, I see freshmen grow as they open their eyes to a larger and ‘truer’ Christian faith — one that demands and offers more than they imagined.

“When teaching theology majors, I come alongside wonderful students who possess a passion to serve, and I help equip them for ministry in Christ’s name. When I work with School of Education graduate students, I hope they see Christianity’s significance for their work and its power to bring meaning and purpose to their careers.

“Ultimately, teachers do not dictate the outcomes of education, so living out my vocation means staying faithful to researching, professing and interacting with students, and trusting that God will use these efforts to touch their lives. By faithfully investing in students’ lives, I hope to be part of their good memories of Seattle Pacific and thereby be connected with their ongoing stories.”

Awarded by President Philip Eaton

  • Executive Director for Facilities and Project Management
  • At SPU since 1978
  • What President Eaton says: “Dave has succeeded because of his attention to learning and training and surrounding himself with the right people for the task. He has great competence and has led and managed very complex projects on campus. He has proven to be one of the University’s best managers of people and budget.”
Church in His Own Words: Behind the Scenes
“Seattle Pacific is an exciting place to work. I enjoy having a part in the many events and classes, and I consider myself and my department successful when programs and classes are implemented without any facility problems. Our support for programs often begins far in advance, continues during and extends after programs have been completed. It’s gratifying to see how our behind-the-scenes support helps make a real difference to the success of what’s happening at SPU.

“I like to think that enthusiasm, drive, organization and dedication to Seattle Pacific’s mission are among my strengths. My staff and I are frequently challenged by the many goals the University is pursuing. While supporting normal operations (which was always a full-time job), we have also been challenged by the $60+ million in construction projects ongoing here. I hope the energy and motivation I bring to these projects encourages my staff also to seek higher levels of professionalism and dedication to SPU’s mission.

“I’m excited to be part of this growth through my work. I have been on staff since 1981, and this is the most significant building campaign to take place during my tenure. It’s been a lot of fun and challenge to be part of it.”

Awarded by the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific

  • Professor of Moral and Historical Theology
  • At SPU since 1995
  • What students say: “When the question arises in classes, ‘How does this apply to life?’ Dr. Steele shares stories from his own life, and encourages students to share from theirs so we can learn from each other how to better model ‘Christ in me.’”
Steele in His Own Words: From Pastor to Professor
“I see my role as a professor of theology in largely pastoral terms. Before coming to SPU, I was a United Methodist pastor in Wisconsin for many years. I was an OK pastor, but I’m better at being a professor. Still, I’m a better professor for having been a pastor.

“My aim as a teacher is to help students develop a more reflective and self-critical faith, a faith informed by the riches of the Christian tradition. Church history is their ‘family scrapbook,’ and my job is to help them see the resemblances they bear to all sorts of curious ‘relatives’ — Egyptian monks, German reformers, South American martyrs, etc. — and to discover the many ways that their spiritual forebears have experienced and served God over the centuries.

“But the ultimate payoff of my work is what my students do with their education after they graduate. I want them to be theologically informed members of their congregations and bring with them what they’ve learned about their Christian heritage to their Sunday school classes, to their church committee meetings and to their lives.”

Awarded by the SPU Staff Council

  • Executive Director of Human Resources
  • At SPU since 1998
  • What co-workers say: “He is an encourager and a listener, willing to walk with people through their discouragement and their challenges and their personal crises.”
Hashimoto in His Own Words: Following the Example of Jesus
“When someone once asked me about my career interests, I said I was determined to be in a position that could make a difference. As a human resource manager, I have been blessed with opportunities to do this, but I also often handle difficult situations that make my best efforts unnoticeable. Still, it’s important for me to do what’s right, and I often reflect upon my decisions and interactions with people. Was I fair and helpful? If it was a difficult situation, did I at least treat persons involved with respect?

“As a Christian, I feel I’m expected to edify others, build inclusiveness and find ways to assist people in need. My pastor once said Christians should not be judged by the way they act but by the way they react. I try to remember that whenever tensions rise. Jesus provided a wonderful example of how to treat others. My goal is to follow his example, but it’s sometimes hard to do.

“I feel compelled to integrate my faith and work life, but I’m sometimes challenged to know what the Christian standard is. Even though I’m still figuring this out, thanks to the many godly role models who work at SPU, I have help learning!”

Awarded by the SPU Staff Council

  • Administrative Assistant for Residence Life
  • At SPU from 1999–2002
  • What co-workers say: “She is deeply invested in Christian higher education and lives a life that is evident of her commitment to the values of SPU.”
Mariani in Her Own Words: Supporting Staff and Students
“One of 12 staff members in the Office of Residence Life, I often told co-workers how much I appreciated working with people who were highly motivated, committed to the team and had a deep love for students. That, in turn, motivated me to assist them in the many Residence Life programs, including the annual selection of peer advisors (PAs), the students who live on each residence hall floor and campus apartment floor and help support their floormates. My part in the three-month selection process was behind the scenes — keeping track of more than 100 student applicants for 45 positions — but it was integral and valued by the staff.

“Sometimes I would have enjoyed working in a higher-level position, with more contact and ministry to students, but God placed me in that position for a reason. And wherever God places us, we’re called to serve him and those around us to our best ability.

“I hope my co-workers saw my commitment to Christ in how I worked with them and served them. And I hope students saw I was faithful in what God has given me in my life and considered my position a blessing. I wasn’t just working in my job to pay the bills; God called me to do this.”

Erika Mariani is now attending Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where she is completing a master of arts in theology degree.


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