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Up the Yangtze
Winter 2009 | Volume 32, Number 1 | Campus

SPU Honors Four Remarkable Careers

2008 faculty retirees

2008 faculty retirees (from left):  Rowley, Knight, Bovy, Hitchens
From left: Rowley, Knight, Bovy, Hitchens.

It has been said that if people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.

Last year’s four retiring Seattle Pacific University faculty members had plenty of meaningful things to do as they said goodbye to lengthy careers characterized by significant achievement. Barbara Bovy was headed to France this past fall; Emily Hitchens had her eye on the parish nursing program at her church; Ken Knight hit the road with wife Ann; while William Rowley scouted a ministry involvement he could embrace.

Bovy applied humor and a collaborative approach during 27 years as a professor of family and consumer sciences (FCS) at SPU. She vanquished “home ec” stereotypes and championed the election of more women to faculty committees. She became department director two years after arriving on campus, and held the position for 25 years. As president of the national Council of Administrators of FCS, she helped lead the name change from “home economics” to FCS — a name that better communicates the mission to improve quality of life through food, clothing, shelter, and relationships.

“Barbara is highly intelligent and articulate,” says Sharleen Gay Kato ’84, Bovy’s former student, now a professor of FCS and department director. “She is a thinker who focuses on large concepts and ideas.”

Hitchens, a professor of nursing at Seattle Pacific for 29 years, staked out her own reputation for leadership. “She fre-quently contributed highly creative and ‘out of the box’ ideas and solutions,” says Lucille Kelley, dean of the School of Health Sciences (SHS). “She has been the backbone of many things, including becoming the first-ever associate dean of the school."

Besides teaching regular nursing courses, Hitchens also taught psychiatric nursing, directed the SHS Japanese nursing exchange, and served as interim graduate studies director. She was active in outside groups such as the Puget Sound Health Ministries Association.

It is ironic that when Knight, professor of information systems and management, arrived on campus in 1989, there was no Internet, no email, and fairly rudimentary information systems. But with degrees from Yale and Carnegie-Mellon, faculty experience at Stanford and the University of Texas, and presidencies in several companies, Knight possessed both the skills and the adaptability to grow with the technology.

“I like and appreciate his directness, his sureness of thought,” says Dan Hess, professor of finance in the School of Business and Economics (SBE). “For me, he has been a leader, mentor, motivator, agitator, and formulator of ideas.”

While Knight was dean of SBE for five years, the number of both faculty and students grew by 25 percent.

Rowley, who retired as dean of the School of Education (SOE), earned his stripes in junior and senior high school classrooms. He also brought to his role at SPU a wealth of experience as a school counselor and school counseling coordinator for the San Diego (California) County Office of Education, and as a private-practice family therapist. He once considered becoming a probation officer so that he could help troubled youth. At Seattle Pacific, he served as associate professor of school counseling, chair of the school counseling program, associate dean for graduate education, and then dean of SOE.

“Bill is genuinely humble and effective, listening, supporting, and caring for others,” says Chris Sink, professor of educational research and school counseling. “He fosters my own personal and professional growth, and will be dearly missed.”

—Photo by Daniel Sheehan

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Department Highlights

Counseling Reform
Professor helps raise Washington’s standards for registered counselors.

SPU Honors Four Remarkable Careers
SPU’s newest emeriti professors look back on their time in the classroom.

Professors Earn Peer Awards
Four SPU professors receive awards from their professional associations.