2019–20 Year in Review

One male and two female SPU students walking in Tiffany Loop in the fall.
Seattle Pacific University's 10th president Daniel J. Martin sitting on the steps of McKinley Hall.

From the President

I am happy to share with you this Year in Review, which commemorates the endeavors and successes of the students, faculty, alumni, and staff of Seattle Pacific University. While many things were accomplished in the 2019–20 academic year, the COVID-19 pandemic has more recently exacerbated pressures on higher education and upended the delivery of instruction and student life.

An SPU music therapy alum plays her guitar in a hospital.

Institutional Milestones

Spring Quarter moved to a first-ever completely remote learning environment; SPU made U.S. News and World Report’s "Best National Universities" list; racial injustice listening groups and diversity workshops were held; a new provost for SPU began her tenure; our music therapy program celebrated its first decade; and the Seattle Pacific Foundation’s investments posted an excellent rate of return.

Four SPU students on Zoom competing in the 2020 Social Venture Plan competition.

Academic Rigor

The Social Venture Plan Competition went online; the Honors Program curriculum was revised; the Martinez Fellows program expanded; accreditation for the School of Business, Government, and Economics was renewed; innovative career services were offered; and an educational inequities workshop was held.

Two singers from SPU's praise and worship band perform at chapel on the road.

Faith for the Future

Students were prayed for by name; World War II's Japanese American internment was remembered with events; two Faith Initiative projects are underway; students are offered multiple worship opportunities and styles; and “Faith for the Future” scholarships assist students seeking faith-based college education.

SPU's new freshman picking up leaves at a City Quest event.

Serving Others

SPU’s annual diversity lecture launched; the Sacred Sounds of Christmas concert thrilled; Faith & Co. expanded its reach; new students served Seattle through CityQuest; a nursing project helped a local nonprofit; students served in the Philippines; Downtown Business Breakfast sponsors redirected support; teacher workshops were held in Asia; and SPU supported community literacy.

SPU's women's rowing team practicing on their rowing machines.


College sports were suspended for safety; men’s basketball won their division title; women’s cross country finished in the top 12; SPU Athletics won a prestigious academic award for the ninth year; GNAC added women’s rowing as a sponsored sport; and men’s soccer standout Travis Swallow received his second consecutive Academic All-American honor.

SPU's four honorees were honored at the 2020 Homecoming Alumni Awards dinner.

Alumni Highlights

Homecoming Weekend drew an enthusiastic crowd; the SPU Voices Podcast shared stories and wisdom; and Co-Alumni of the Year and Medallion Award winners were honored.

Long-standing SPU supporters Gary and Barbara Ames were recipients of the 2019 President's Award for Philanthropy.


The second annual Giving Day was deemed a success; Falcon Athletics received a gift of nearly $1 million; the President’s Award for Philanthropy was awarded to Gary and Barbara Ames; and a $1 million pledge supported scholarships for seminarians going into ministry.