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Summer 2006 | Volume 29, Number 3 | Campus

Faculty and Staff Earn Praise From Students, Peers

With Honors

AT THE PRESIDENT'S SPRING Forum on May 2, 2006, three Seattle Pacific University faculty and staff members were honored for excellence. Staff Council recognized Laurie Mendes and Frank Kinard as Staff Members of the Year, and SPU students named Rod Stiling the 2006 Professor of the Year.

Mendes, administrative assistant for science and engineering, first came to Seattle Pacific as an eager freshman in 1974. “My heart was set on long-distance running with coaches Doris Heritage and Ken Foreman,” she says.

After graduation, with a nursing degree in hand, Mendes worked for 17 years as an obstetric nurse. In 2002, she returned to her alma mater, accepting her current position in SPU’s Otto Miller Hall.

The best part about her job is interacting with students, says the Staff Member of the Year. “Students come to my office in moments of stress,” she explains. “They may be having trouble registering for classes, or sometimes they just need a piece of candy and a minute to sit down. I enjoy being able to help or lend a sympathetic ear.”

Mendes, who battled breast cancer successfully in 2005, says she’s grateful to be working for Seattle Pacific. “I may not be able to run anymore, but during my second stint at SPU, I’ve learned firsthand what it means to be part of a powerful, prayerful community.”

Says colleague Lindsey Peterson, office manager in the School of Business and Economics, “Even in the midst of the challenges in her life, Laurie has been eager to make positive contributions through her work at SPU.”

If Kinard’s life experiences were documented on TV, they might look a lot like those of Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) on Fox’s hit show 24. After all, the career of this Staff Member of the Year has taken him on many adventures, around the world and back.

Beginning his career in the Army, Kinard worked as a military police investigator in Germany — chasing a terrorist group that was targeting U.S. military personnel — followed by counterterrorism work in Panama. Kinard later became a bodyguard qualified to protect top military personnel and government cabinet members.

After retiring from the Army in 1995, he moved to Seattle and became assistant manager of a Bellevue, Washington, post office. In 2001, Kinard was hired as Seattle Pacific’s manager of copying and mailing services. In less than a year, he improved efficiency in the Mailing Department and implemented several cost-saving strategies.

Kinard and his staff deliver up to 2,000 pieces of mail per day — about 1.2 million pieces per year. And never mind that he’s the department manager: On busy days, he delivers mail too.

“Frank ‘walks the walk,’” notes Lucille Kelley, dean of SPU’s School of Health Sciences. “I have watched him numerous times as he pushes mail carts in rain and wind. He does what he needs to do to get the job done for SPU.”

“A job is a job, regardless of who has to do it,” says Kinard of his personal work ethic. “I will never ask a student to do something that I won’t do myself.”

A professor may be rewarded in many ways, but perhaps nothing is as meaningful as being selected Professor of the Year by students. That was the honor bestowed on Stiling, an associate professor of history, by 2005–06 ASSP President Chris Sharpe.

Now in his fifth year at Seattle Pacific, Stiling’s journey to the University led him down a few winding roads. He enlisted in the Navy in 1972 and spent the early years of his career traveling everywhere from Spain to Bermuda. After completing graduate studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas, Stiling decided to pursue a passion for academia, specifically the intersections between science, faith, and history.

In 2001, several years after earning a doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin, he accepted a position at Seattle Pacific. It was an opportunity to teach about his passion. “History is so critical,” explains the professor. “If you want to have insight and understanding about today, you have to have insight and understanding about yesterday.”

Over the years, Stiling has earned the respect of his students. “Dr. Stiling is an amazing professor that deserves to be recognized,” says Sharpe, one of Stiling’s former students. “He’s genuinely committed to every one of his students and can be seen at basketball games, STUB events, or anywhere else students are involved.”

But don’t expect this well-loved professor to take any of the credit. “I like to tell students, ‘I’m not the smartest person in the room,’” says Stiling with a smile. “’I may have more data bits on my hard drive, but that’s just because I’m older.’”

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

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