Advancing Our Enduring Purpose

Core Theme 3: Vital Christian identity and purpose

Seattle Pacific University will serve as a leading theological voice and resource in Seattle and throughout the Pacific Northwest, offering vibrant, engaging, and effective programs through University Ministries, and embodying SPU’s commitment to Christian identity and human flourishing through cross-disciplinary and co-curricular discussions on local, national, and global issues.

David Neinhuis


  • Ensure that students can demonstrate knowledge of Christian formative practices, the biblical narrative, and Christian theology and its implications for life.
  • Provide co-curricular opportunities that will foster students’ capacities to develop the spiritual dimensions of their lives in the context of a deeper understanding of Christian Scripture, theology, and faith practices.
  • Serve as a leading theological voice and resource in the city of Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest and as a place for thoughtful research and collaborative ministry related to issues of significance to the academy, the church, and the broader culture.
Lisa Ishihara and Bryan Stevenson

Left: University Chaplain Lisa Ishihara, who leads University Ministries, coordinates ministry efforts across campus, facilitates the integration of faith and academics, and collaborates with off-campus ministry partners. Right: In May 2017, Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, professor of law at New York University, and founder of the the Equal Justice Initiative, spoke at SPU for a special chapel service prior to his speaking at a sold-out Seattle Arts & Lectures event co-presented by SPU, Seattle University, and the University of Washington.

What we’re doing

  • Joining Seattle Pacific in 2018, University Chaplain Lisa Ishihara told Response magazine, “The Christian institution has the greatest opportunity to model engagement and also model love.”
  • Immerse, an intensive discipleship experience for high school students, began in Summer 2017 under the leadership of Associate Professor of Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry Michael Langford. Funded by a $600,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, Immerse helps students ground their identity in Christian faith and their call to live out that identity within the local church and community.
  • SPU’s Day of Common Learning has united students across campus in a discussion about Christian engagement with culture across disciplines and vocations for 15 years. In 2002, the first Day of Common Learning unpacked the idea of integrity. In 2016, the SPU community learned from Alondra Nelson, dean of social science and professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University. An interdisciplinary social scientist, Nelson writes about the intersections of science, medicine, and inequality.
  • SPU’s Downtown Business Breakfast introduces the Seattle community to international thought leaders who weigh in on important topics. In 2016, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin discussed the changing nature of presidential campaigns — from 1896, when William McKinley launched his campaign on his front porch, to 2016, when candidates reached millions with a single tweet.
  • Since 2015, the Voices of Autism conference hosted at SPU has brought together nearly 200 scholars, students, and community members each summer to discuss autism spectrum disorders.

AcademicsThe SPU curriculum fosters biblical and theological education.
During the 201718 academic year, 68 Seattle Pacific Seminary-trained facilitators led 121 Wesleyan small groups comprised of more than 600 first-year students.

stethoscopeSPU facilitates conversations about a host of important topics.
From addressing human trafficking to discussing global health, homelessness, racial reconciliation, and business as mission, SPU offers opportunities for students to learn and serve their neighbors and the world.

Tent City 3

City of God

Through hosting Tent City 3 from December 2014 to March 2015, the SPU community had a unique opportunity to care for — and learn from — our neighbors. It was the second time SPU had served as home to Tent City residents.

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