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Summer 2004 | Volume 26, Number 7 | Campaign

Equipped for Success

Endowment Helps Instill Confidence and Vision in Young Graduate

ALL THE DEBATES on domestic and foreign policy that Vickerie Williams argued as a member of the Seattle Pacific University Forensics Team not only sharpened her analytical skills but also equipped the 2003 graduate to be a professional communicator.

Vickerie Williams ’03 is a key employee with Philips Medical Systems, a company represented in more than 100 countries. Philips is a pioneer in X-ray systems, cardiac-monitoring equipment and ultrasound technology.

You need the verbal advantage when you are marketing programs manager for Philips Medical Systems, North America, and responsible for all field marketing in nine Western states. Thanks in part to those collegiate speech competitions — where to win, Williams had to bring her impromptu, informative and persuasive skills into play — she now skillfully conveys the merits of the latest CAT Scan technology to the country’s top radiologists.

“Being an articulate communicator is essential to working with both customers and colleagues,” says the former communication major. She travels approximately one week of every month to San Francisco, Las Vegas and beyond to meet with customers, manage the Philips booth at trade shows or visit the company’s other facilities.

Much of her current success, says Williams, is due to the Rosser-Danielson Speech Scholarship Endowment at SPU. Established by faculty and alumni in honor of Seattle Pacific forensics pioneers Paul Rosser and Lillian Danielson, the endowment provides annual scholarships for promising orators and debaters such as Williams. Since 1988, 58 awards totaling $75,050 from that one endowment have helped bring dozens of exceptional students to the University.

The overall SPU Endowment is comprised of 235 individual named endowments. During the 2004–2005 academic year, they will generate $830,000 in student scholarships. The scholarships assist qualified students who want a premier Christian university education but who don’t have the full resources to pay for it.

For Seattle Pacific, a healthy endowment is paramount not only to providing a high- quality education to a diverse student population, but also to meeting the University’s long-range goals, says Bob McIntosh, vice president for university advancement. “An institution of SPU’s size, scope and vision will ultimately require an endowment of $100 million,” he explains. “That is why the Endowment Initiative is key to the success of the current Campaign.” Nearly 6,000 gifts and pledges totaling $22.5 million have been made to the Endowment Initiative since The Campaign began in 2000.

“With four kids in my family, paying for their college education out of pocket would have been a huge, impossible struggle,” says Williams. Her three-hour daily commute to classes and back home finally ended because the speech scholarship allowed sufficient funds for her to live on campus. She also worked 20–25 hours a week, and in the course of four years of study, her varied job titles included nanny, barista, office assistant and office manager.

“I cannot overstate the vital importance of a strong endowment for SPU,” says President Philip Eaton. “This is the asset base on which we envision the future. A strong endowment is part of the assurance that our vision of engaging the culture and changing the world will become a reality. It gives us the confidence to move forward with boldness and courage.

”Boldness and courage are what led Williams to SPU and to her position with Philips — a rare opportunity for someone not even a year out of school. “No matter what industry I work in, I want to use my skills as a communicator to make a difference in my corner of the world,” she says. “That’s the way I look at this job.”

And to think it all began with an endowed scholarship honoring two University orators who believed in “worthy ideas communicated effectively.”


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From the President
As Seattle Pacific University gains notice nationwide, President Philip Eaton challenges the community. “Build your city on a hill so everyone can see what you are doing,” he writes. “Build a reputation.”

Honor Roles
A President’s Chapel in May honored five faculty and staff members for their individual excellence. [Campus]

Three Faculty Say Good-Bye
As they retire, three professors mark the completion of their remarkable careers at Seattle Pacific University and beyond. [Faculty]

The 2004 Medallion Awards
Alumni awards spotlight 10 Seattle Pacific graduates who have engaged the culture in various ways. [Alumni]

Attack of the Big-Screen Clones
Response reviews some of Hollywood’s film portrayals of cloning and related topics. See which ones may be worth your time watching. [Books & Film]

The Heritage Mile
Before her hip-replacement surgery, Doris Heritage and 200 of her students and friends ran a final mile together — and raised money for the Heritage Scholarship Endowment. [Athletics]

My Response
Debra Prinzing, 1981 SPU alumna, helps readers find God in their gardens. “… I think the pursuit of beauty in the garden is a pursuit to know God better,” she says.