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Summer 2004 | Volume 26, Number 7 | Faculty

Three Faculty Say Good-Bye

Retiring Professors Honored at May Banquet

Evette Hackman, Leo Mármol and Marilyn Severson have something in common. They’re all scholars and practitioners who also excel at teaching. It’s a combination you won’t find just anywhere, says Vice President for Academic Affairs Les Steele.“

Seattle Pacific University ensures that students learn from experienced professors, not teaching assistants,” says Steele. “Because SPU is a comprehensive university, faculty members must be skilled in teaching and exhibit a very high level of scholarship.”

That description applies to all three professors who retired from Seattle Pacific thisspring. They were recognized by colleagues at a special Retirement Banquet on May 6.


Evette Hackman: A Tale of Two Careers
While many workers consider their daily commute a bore, Evette Hackman, associate professor for family and consumer sciences, made her seven-mile commute to campus unique. In 13 years, she drove, biked, walked, ran, bused, rollerbladed, kayaked and snowshoed.

Raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Hackman was surrounded by good food from her parents’ catering service, so she worried about her weight. When she was 25 years old, she did something about it. “I stopped dieting and learned to live a healthy life,” says Hackman. She boosted her activity level and continued studying food and nutrition, earning a B.S. from the University of Nebraska and an M.S. from the University of Kansas. Moving to Seattle with her husband in the 1970s, she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

For the next 20 years, Hackman, also a registered dietitian, worked in medical nutrition therapy and contributed regularly to consumer magazines such as Shape and Northwest Runner.

In 1990, Joyce Ostrander, then an SPU professor of home economics, asked Hackman to join Seattle Pacific and design a dietetics program. "Do you ever feel like you're called?" asks Hackman. “I just felt like that.” She came to SPU, helped forge the now nationally accredited dietetics program and began guiding scores of undergraduates in the study of food and nutrition.

“In Evette,” says Steele, “students saw a practicing scholar.” And like many before her, 2004 dietetics graduate Andrea Reichert will enter graduate school in public health nutrition this fall, largely because of her professor. “Dr. Hackman offered straight advice to students,” says Reichert.

Although retiring after 13 years as a Seattle Pacific professor, Hackman won’t stop her study of food and nutrition. “I’m a great cook,” she says. “And I want to figure out how to make artesian breads.”


Leo Mármol: Rich Experience and Cuban Warmth
From Havana, Cuba, Leo Mármol, professor of graduate psychology, was a third-generation Presbyterian in a Catholic land. In 1956, he earned a bachiller en letras and met a Los Angeles pastor who encouraged him to continue his education in California. Mármol agreed, traveled to Los Angeles and enrolled at Pepperdine College — undecided on a field of study. “I majored in psychology by a fluke,” he says, adding that the discipline soon fascinated him. “I stayed for my master’s degree.”

By 1973, he had earned two degrees from Pepperdine, a B.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

As a mental-health practitioner, Mármol specialized in neuropsychology, and clinical and forensic psychology. He also began teaching. “It’s in my blood,” says the son of Cuba’s former director of secondary education and an elementary school teacher.

After four years as director of clinical training at Fuller Seminary’s School of Psychology, Mármol moved to Oregon in 1997 to help George Fox University’s Graduate School of Clinical Psychology attain accreditation from the American Psychology Association (APA). Then Seattle Pacific, planning for its own APA accreditation, sought out his expertise.

Mármol joined SPU in 2001, quickly becoming a popular guide. Mark Cross, with Alliance Counseling of Tacoma and Yakima, completed his Ph.D. at Seattle Pacific with Mármol as chair of his dissertation committee. “He was more than a professor,” says Cross. “He became a part of me that I will carry forward and use to help others.”

In retirement, Mármol and his wife will return to California, but he leaves SPU’s graduate psychology programs with the foundation needed to seek APA accreditation. “Leo brought us professionalism and stability,” says Steele. “To have that package wrapped with a gentle pastor’s heart was a wonderful gift.”


Marilyn Severson: Au Revoir to a Beloved Professor
For 25 years, Seattle Pacific students have often stopped in mid-conversation to wave and call, “Bonjour, Madame Severson!” to Marilyn Severson, professor of European studies-French. And even after they graduated, Severson’s students often kept in touch, sending wedding invitations, baby announcements and updates on careers. “She’s not only a great professor, but her example pointed me in the right direction for the rest of my life,” says Becca Morton, a 2004 graduate who double-majored in European studies-French and political science.

Severson is a second-generation educator from Salem, Oregon. Her father was a physical education professor at Willamette University; her mother was an elementary school teacher. In her academic career, she’s led the SPU Foreign Languages Department; written books, including Masterpieces of French Literature (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004); and taken students on several study tours to France.

Yet Severson didn’t begin her love affair with the Romance language until college, when she signed up for a French class. “By the end of my freshman year, I thought, ‘I’m majoring in this’ — with no particular idea of what I might do.” Her first trip to France came after completing her master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado followed in 1973.

Severson joined the SPU faculty in 1979 and, years later, Steele, then dean of the School of Theology, was invited to observe one of her classes. “It was just a kick,” he recalls. “Marilyn is one of those women who appears demure and quiet, but she has a twinkle in her eye and an energy to her teaching.”

As she completes her career at Seattle Pacific, Severson is leaving her options open — although she admits she’d like to rent a home in France and stay awhile.


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Back to Campus

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.”

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

The 2004 Medallion Awards
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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.