Nine months after he took office on July 1, 2012, Martin was inaugurated in a ceremony that celebrated both SPU’s history and its future. On the afternoon of April 2, 2013, five former presidents shared the stage in McCaw Hall at Seattle Center with more than 200 student performers. In the audience were faculty, staff, students, alumni, and delegates from 65 colleges and universities.
Martin was presented with the presidential medallion by then Board of Trustees Chair Dennis Weibling and retiring SPU President Philip W. Eaton. Greeting the new president were:
- Benjamin McFarland, chair of the faculty;
- Gary Newbill ’70, EdD ’99, president of the SPU Alumni Association;
- Nathanael Strong ’13, president of the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific;
- Edward Blews Jr. ’76, president of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities;
- Tim Burgess, Seattle city councilman;
- Les Steele, executive vice president of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; and
- Father Stephen Sundborg, president of Seattle University.
Earlier on April 2, Martin participated in a worship service and ceremony of commissioning in First Free Methodist Church adjacent to campus. The events of the day were the highlight of an Inaugural Year in which SPU hosted an Inaugural Symposium with guest speaker James Davison Hunter and 10 Academic Showcase events.
Advancing SPU’s mission to engage the culture and change the world had been Martin’s theme during the Inaugural Year. He pledged to pursue the mission within the “complex context” of challenges facing higher education today. “”We will pursue a vision that will challenge us, stretch us — one that is worthy of our past and reflective of our purpose,” he said in his inauguration address.