From the President







  My Response

  Letters to the Editor

  Online Bulletin Board

  Contact Response

  Submit Footnote

  Submit Letter to Editor

  Address Change

  Back Issues

  Response Home

  SPU Home

Summer 2003 | Volume 26, Number 3 | Faculty
Grayson Capp

SON OF A BLUE-COLLAR family from Bremerton, Washington, Grayson Capp has a biography replete with Seattle Pacific history. His mother, Portia Ruth William Capp, graduated from Seattle Pacific Normal School in 1926. His sisters, Lucille Capp McDole and Joan Capp, are from the Seattle Pacific College Classes of 1950 and 1960 respectively. Brother Philip Capp graduated in 1950, and he and wife Carmena French Capp ’51 became the 1972 Alumni of the Year. Grayson Capp graduated in 1958, followed by brother Richard Capp in 1965. Daughter Teresa Capp ’83 and numerous other relatives fill the alumni family tree.

In 1968, after earning a Ph.D. and completing post-doctoral work, Grayson Capp joined the faculty at Seattle Pacific. His wife, Myrna Youngren Capp ’59, joined the music faculty the same year. Already known for discovering Hæmoglobin Portland, the sixth known form of human hæmoglobin, Grayson Capp traded full-time research for teaching. For 35 years, he taught students chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. “You don’t come to SPU for a research career,” says Capp. “A central emphasis of my work has been to place students out in research labs and establish an undergraduate research tradition.”

Capp also established the Capstone Senior Biochemistry Seminar, bringing to campus world-class scientists such as Nobel Laureate Edmond Fischer and David Wong ’61, Prozac co-discoverer and SPU’s 1998 Alumnus of the Year. With Professor of Biology David Bruce, Capp established the pre-medical advising program that continues today.

Also known for far-flung sabbaticals, Capp spent time in Oxford and Cambridge, England, working with experts such as Max Perutz, recipient of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Capp also taught undergraduate and medical students in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi. His public-health research involved three Seattle Pacific undergraduates, including a Student Fulbright recipient.

Even in retirement, Capp plans to keep teaching. “I’ve been contacted about some one year appointments at universities around the country,” he says. He’s also received invitations from the University of Namibia and Rhodes University in South Africa. He’ll be a visiting scholar at the University of Cape Town this fall.

Q: As a professor, what have you learned from your students?
Capp: I’ve learned that you never give up on a student. I continue to be amazed at students who seemed to take a random walk through life — and then they end up surprising you. Wonderful outcomes are possible even from inauspicious beginnings.

Q: If you hadn’t become a scientist and professor, what would you have been?
Capp: Maybe a jazz pianist.

Back to the top
Back to Campus

From the President
Americans today are searching for a new tone for their lives. “We are talking here about another set of values — not the giddy sense of entitlement that emerges out of exuberant times,” says President Philip Eaton.

A Gift at Any Age
Young alumni are supporting The Campaign for SPU with the Young Alumni Endowment. They will provide scholarship support to students engaging the culture. [Campaign]

Like Grandfather, Like Grandson
On June 7, 80-year-old Sheldon Arnett finally received his bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific. His grandson, Jeremiah Johnson, earned his SPU bachelor’s degree the same day. [Campus]

Still Exploring
Missionary bush pilot Roald Amundsen ’41 founded Missionary Aviation and Repair Center (MARC) — becoming an explorer just like the famous Norwegian for whom he was named. [Alumni]

Second Wind
A marathoner, wife, mother and business alumna, Claudia Shannon came back after tough times. As a 45-year-old senior, she was on the SPU cross country team that ranked 14th in the nation. [Athletics]

My Response
After 25 years, Joyce Quiring Erickson, retiring professor of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, reflects on glossy brown chestnuts, home and the Promised Land.