Parents & Families | October 2017

The Office of Global Engagement

Sharleen Kato

Seattle Pacific University recently announced the opening of the new Office of Global Engagement, which will be headed by Senior International Officer Sharleen Kato, director of global engagement and professor of family and consumer sciences.

Kato will lead SPU’s efforts to welcome international students to the SPU community, will coordinate closely with ongoing study abroad initiatives, and be SPU’s lead for international partnerships.

The establishment of this office represents a significant step forward in implementing the plans developed in recent years by SPU’s Global Task Force.

The number of international students in SPU’s undergraduate programs has doubled since 2012, and this office will be instrumental in providing better services for these students, as well as leading efforts to expand the involvement of international students in the life of the Seattle Pacific University community.

Sacred Sounds of Christmas

Sacred Sounds of Christmas

Now in its 18th year, the Sacred Sounds of Christmas returns to Seattle’s renowned Benaroya Hall on Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Featuring Christmas carols and the best of sacred Advent music from around the world, the concert returns to the renowned Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle after its past few years in McCaw Hall.

A Christmas present to the city of Seattle, the concert is filled with the Music Department’s nationally recognized student and faculty musicians, including the Concert Choir, Symphony Orchestra, and Gospel Choir. For nearly two decades, this concert has grown in both acclaim and popularity. It is a consistent sellout. Audience members come from throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond to enjoy a one-of-a-kind celebration of the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Watch video highlights from the 2017 concert and find more information at, including information about group ticket sales. You can also purchase tickets at the Benaroya box office.

SPU Voices: Student finds ways to connect to community

Sharleen Kato

Meet student and Tacoma native, Nathan Samayo. After following in his mother’s footsteps learning to sew and design, he transferred to Seattle Pacific University for its apparel design/merchandising major. Says Nathan, “SPU focuses on vocation, and being able to find where your niche is. ... Ultimately, I’d like to use fashion as a part of social change and empowerment.” Read Nathan’s story.

SPU’s Veteran Navigator

By William Blees, SPU Junior

I grew up in Philadelphia and, in 2012, joined the U.S. Navy, serving as a mass communication specialist.

My day-to-day work consisted of telling the Navy’s stories to internal and external audiences and, in 2015, I was named the number one photojournalist in the Navy and second photojournalist in the Department of Defense. I also won the Capt. Raymond Komorowski Photo Award. During that time, I was assigned to a multitude of ships, including the USS Ford, USS Chafee, and the USS Nimitz.

After completing five years on active duty, I decided to pursue higher education. I entered the Reserves and began attending Seattle Pacific University in Winter Quarter 2017. I enrolled at Seattle Pacific because SPU allowed me to major in communication and minor in youth ministry. As a Christian, I wanted to pursue my education in theology.

By the time Autumn Quarter 2017 rolled around, I had also been engaging with the veteran community on campus and now have the opportunity to serve them further as the “veteran navigator.”

Veteran navigators are employed by Vet Corps, a program within the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Conservation Corps. Vet Corps provides colleges with a veteran navigator to serve in a supportive role and help serve the veterans on university and college campuses across the country.

As SPU’s veteran navigator, I provide a peer connection for veterans new to higher education, collaborating with them to create an on-campus veteran community, and helping the campus meet the needs of student veterans by connecting them to federal, state, and local benefits.

Additionally, as a U.S. Navy veteran and SPU junior, I’m in a unique position to connect with other current student veterans in ways non-veterans may be unable to connect. I’m serving in a supportive capacity that enables me to connect veterans who are still recovering from service connected disabilities to support groups and the larger community, while educating campus leaders and the community on veteran issues. I’ll also be working with Campus Ministries to plan SPU’s Veterans Day and Memorial Day events.

The 2018–19 FAFSA is now available

Believe it or not, you can already start applying for financial aid for the 2018–19 academic year. If your student will be continuing next year, your student must submit a new FAFSA. In fact, all students seeking financial aid must file a FAFSA each academic year.

But you haven’t filed your 2017 taxes yet? No problem. The 2018–19 FAFSA will ask families and students for 2016 tax and income information, as well as current investment and asset information as of the date the FAFSA is filed.

Here are deadlines you’ll want to keep in mind for the best possible financial aid for your student:

  • Early Action first-time freshmen: priority deadline, November 1, 2017.
  • Other first-time freshmen: priority deadline, January 15, 2018.
  • Early Action new transfers: priority deadline, April 1, 2018.
  • Other new transfers: July 1, 2018.
  • Current SPU students continuing in 2018–19: April 1, 2018.

For more information about the FAFSA process, visit Student Financial Services’ FAFSA web page.

Upcoming events

All-Choir Concert

Friday, November 3
7:30 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church

Don’t miss the the Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, Gospel Choir, Men’s Choir, and Women’s Choir in this special concert at First Free Methodist Church.

STEM Mega Meet-Up

Wednesday, November 8
2:30–5 p.m.
Otto Miller and Eaton Hall lobbies

This SPU STEM Mega Meet-Up brings together employers and alumni in the STEM industry to meet with students, share about their companies, and recruit some great new hires from SPU. All students are invited to this networking event, so encourage your student to come. Learn more at the Center for Career and Calling.

Veterans Day

Friday, November 10
No classes.

Tent City 3 returns

November 18, 2017–February 10, 2018
SPU campus

Tent City 3 first encamped on SPU's campus in 2012; the community returned in 2015. Now campus is preparing for the next visit. For the latest news about TC3 and SPU — including ways students, faculty, staff, and community members — can volunteer, visit

Thanksgiving holiday

November 23–24

No classes; Gwinn Commons closes Wednesday, November 22, 6 p.m., and reopens Sunday, November 26, 5 p.m.

Sacred Sounds of Christmas

Sunday, November 26
7 p.m.
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
$22 and $25, general admission

Now in its 18th year, the Sacred Sounds of Christmas features the best of sacred Advent music, as well as Christmas carols. For more information, visit