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Winter 2003 | Volume 26, Number 1 | Faculty
Life-Changing Works: Respondents to Faculty Survey Choose the Classics

G.K. Chesterton was asked which book he would want to have with him if stranded on a desert island, he replied, “Why, A Practical Guide to Shipbuilding, of course.”

By now, the anecdote is a familiar one. Like Chesterton’s interviewer, Professor of European Studies Michael Macdonald wants to know the answer to that question, but with a little different twist. For the third time in 20 years, he and a student project team asked Seattle Pacific University faculty members to list works that have had a lasting impact on their lives. The twist is that “works” referred not only to books but also to music, film and visual art.

European and American classics tended to top the charts in the 2002 survey, as they did in 1983 and 1995. In the visual art category, the top two faculty picks were sculptures by Michelangelo: “Pietà” and “David.” The cathedrals of Europe came in third as a group listing. The top three pieces of life-changing music were Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony,” Handel’s “Messiah” and Mozart’s “Requiem.”

For works of literature, respondents were asked to list books other than the Bible. Topping the list were The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and two works by C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity. Other authors on the list included J.R.R. Tolkien, Dante Alighieri and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

“I think the works that come to the top need to be looked at carefully,” says Macdonald. “Right now I’m reading Moby Dick, which I ’ve never read before.” Herman Melville’s 19th-century novel was listed in the faculty’s top 15 works of literature.

Films mentioned most frequently in the survey were “Chariots of Fire,” directed by Hugh Hudson, “Amadeus,” directed by Milos Forman, and “The Mission,” directed by Roland Joffe.

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From the President
SPU aims to take its vision to new spheres of influence and effectiveness. "I love finding those strategic, economic levers that allow us to allocate, align, realign and increase our resources — so that our vision might bear fruit,” says President Philip Eaton.

Homecoming 2003!
On Homecoming weekend, SPU’s campus lights up with music, theatre, high-flying hoops, the Talent Show and much-anticipated class reunions.

An SPU Icon
Danna Wilder Davis completed what few others ever did at Seattle Pacific: Between 1924 to 1939, she went from first grade to college graduation in consecutive years on campus.

Falcon Legends Hall of Fame
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My Response
“I’m the father of an AIDS orphan,” says Tim Dearborn, dean of the chapel at SPU, as he recounts his teenage daughter’s trip to Uganda. There she visited an AIDS orphan sponsored by the Dearborn family. [My Response]