2016–17 Year in Review: A Celebration

Students at Ivy Cutting
Daniel J. Martin

From the President

I am pleased to share with you this report on accomplishments and events at Seattle Pacific University. This year has celebrated a unique moment in our history, as we recognized our 125th anniversary. Much has happened in the 125 years since Seattle Seminary, the forerunner of Seattle Pacific University, was founded in 1891 by Free Methodist pioneers.

Skip Li ’66 (right) interviews Eugene Peterson ’54, author of The Message, during the gala.

Institutional Milestones

Seattle Pacific University is the only private university in the Pacific Northwest to make the 2017 U.S. News & World Report Best National Universities list. Other significant milestones include hiring a new vice president to lead campus diversity efforts; the Seminary being granted highest accreditation; launching a new doctoral nursing program; exceeding the 125,000 hours of service project by more than 100,000 hours; and more. 

Student designer Syl Xu fits the skirt of Vice President for University Advancement Louise Furrow’s gown

Academic Achievement

The Physics department and John Perkins Center collaborate on NSF-funded research; Professor of Management Denise Daniels collaborates on Faith and Work research grant from Lilly; Associate Professor of Music Stephen Newby composes music for musical Free Boy; an annual conference showcases student research; student designers create custom styled gala gowns; and more.

John M. Perkins visits campus

Faith Formation

The School of Theology receives a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help congregations engage young adults; a lecture details the history of Scripture study at SPU; SoulCare small groups support students’ spiritual lives; John M. Perkins visits campus; SPU hosts student leadership event; and more.

Sacred Sounds of Christmas 2016

Engaging the City

Sacred Sounds of Christmas features the SPU Concert Choir and other SPU musicians at McCaw Hall; students showcase ideas at the 11th annual Social Venture Plan Competition; a theology professor publishes Race and Place to inspire churches regarding location; land-rights advocate Tim Hanstad ’85 and Seattle Urban Academy principal Sharon Okamoto ’76, MEd ’79 are honored at SPU’s 125th Anniversary Gala.

Walls Advancement Center

Engaging the World

An undergraduate student and a graduate student travel to Mongolia and Estonia with the Fulbright program; beginning Autumn Quarter, SPU students will have 40 additional study abroad options from which to choose.

Tony Miller


Alumni are inducted into the Falcon Hall of Fame; a freshman gymnast earned the title at SPU-hosted national championship meet; women's indoor track team wins conference title; and a men’s basketball player earns conference freshman of the year honor.

Kristen Eddings Tetteh ’06 interviews Jeff Hussey ’83 at SPU’s 125th anniversary gala

Alumni Highlights

The first Grand Reunion is held, becoming the biggest alumni gathering in SPU history; the SPU story pole is rededicated; graduates of the last decade (GOLD) are honored at Grand Reunion; Camille Jones ’08 is named Washington state teacher of the year; Jerrell G. Davis ’14 is named GOLD alumnus of the year.

Graduation cap


In 2017, SPU had its third-strongest fundraising year ever; GiveBIG day of giving shows record results; support for bequest giving increases; Seattle Pacific Foundation posts an excellent rate of return; and Seattle Pacific University’s endowment is on the rise.