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Summer 2006 | Volume 29, Number 3 | Campus

Ames Scholars Blaze a Trail

Commencement 2006

AT THE 2006 SEATTLE Pacific University Commencement on June 10, Charisse Everett and Tierra Martin were among 670 graduates who received their diplomas before thousands of friends and family at Qwest Field. They heard keynote speaker Barbara Williams-Skinner, president of the Skinner Leadership Institute, urge them to “Go in the Strength You Have.” For Everett, it was a moment of accomplishment. She remembers as a high school junior announcing that she was not going to college. “Yes, you are,” her mother replied. “The only question is, ‘Which one will you attend?’” The following year, Everett found her way to SPU. Encouraged by the proximity of campus to her home and family, she was also offered an Ames Scholarship that provided $5,000 a year in recognition of her leadership in the multicultural community.

The scholarship, renewable annually, has come of age. Everett and Martin are the third and fourth Ames Scholars to graduate from Seattle Pacific. The first two, Mara Cardenas and Kathryn Tyler, graduated in 2005. Begun in 2002 with a $1 million gift from Gary and Barbara Ames, the scholarship fund was designed to minimize the financial burden of a university education for outstanding multiethnic student leaders. “The Ames Scholarship opens doors,” says Everett. “It was Mr. and Mrs. Ames’ whole vision to help ethnic minority students get into SPU, stay at SPU, and graduate from SPU.”

“Our dream for this program,” says SPU President Philip Eaton, “was not only to attract and enroll these fine students, but also to see them graduate. Charisse and Tierra are blazing a trail that will be followed by many others.” Martin, a visual communication major, says she was inspired by her friend Everett’s enthusiasm for Seattle Pacific. Seeking a graphic design program, Martin transferred to SPU during her sophomore year. The Ames Scholarship, along with other scholarships and assistance from her church, relieved some of the financial burden of a university education. “One thing that attracted me to SPU was the diversity initiative,” explains Martin, who has worked part time as a “multicultural ambassador” for her residence hall. “I really appreciated getting plugged into the Mosaic cadre and getting to know people who were equally passionate about students of other cultures.”

“There has been a diversity explosion on campus,” says Everett. “The things I wished for in my freshman year have come to pass: a gospel choir, cultural dance groups, involvement in the National Christian Multicultural Student Leaders Conference [hosted at SPU in 2004] — it’s sad to leave with all this happening!” She has applied to a master’s degree program in social work. “I want to be a government social worker and help individuals and families become successful, to show them the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Everett. Martin may apply to graduate school, but for now she’s pursuing design work and dreaming of being in business for herself.

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School’s Out
Four professors with 121 combined years of commitment to the University say goodbye to SPU and hello to retirement.

Living His Dream
Young alum Bryce Phillips has built successful businesses while advocating work-life balance for himself and his employees.

Paradise Lost
In The New World, Pocahontas takes moviegoers on a spiritual journey some critics dubbed an overlooked masterpiece.

One for the Record Books
Falcon decathlete Chris Randolph became a two-time national champion while setting new SPU records.

My Response
A Class of 2006 graduate reflects on lessons learned in Havana, Cuba, and in a classroom visit from Edward Nixon — Richard Nixon’s brother.

Back-Cover Art
As Professor of Art Michael Caldwell retires, he shares a landscape from the Big Sky Country.

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