If we look back at words of Seattle Pacific University’s pioneering leaders, we can trace how our vision, purpose, and goals took shape. Our very first catalog — back in 1893–94, when we were Seattle Seminary — says, “We believe in teaching for the future. Education for Character will be our constant motto.” Our 1904–05 catalog said it this way: “It is the aim of this institution to ... send out men and women who will grace society with their accomplishments and edify it by their virtues.”
SPU’s second president, Orrin Tiffany (1916–26), focused on developing academic programs and shaping our commitment to academic freedom. Our third president, C. Hoyt Watson (1926–59), identified two goals: first, to give students “an opportunity to gain an excellent intellectual training, and second, to make possible a high type of advanced education which will qualify for places of Christian leadership in the Church and the State.”
Now standing at the century-and-a-quarter mark, Seattle Pacific has become a university that maintains its liberal arts core but surrounds that core with a seminary, a number of other highly successful professional programs, and graduate programs of national acclaim. All of these work toward our overarching purpose: to graduate students who embody the University’s vision of engaging the culture and changing the world.
National conversations about the future of higher education emphasize how difficult and challenging it will be to shape the field. And it will be. The pace and depth of change in the future will be different, faster, and more difficult to predict than what we have experienced before. We pursue a vision that will challenge us and stretch us, one that is worthy of our past and reflects our purpose.
So I am delighted to offer you this record of accomplishments and events at Seattle Pacific during the 2015–16 academic year, as we begin the celebration of our 125th anniversary. This website shows how we continue to grow and fulfill the high standards of our strategic plan, summarizing SPU’s high-level academic, athletic, fundraising, and alumni milestones, as well as the ways in which our students, faculty, and staff are serving the community around us.
Daniel J. Martin