Institutional Milestones

An SPU music therapy alum plays her guitar while a patient claps.


Autumn Quarter 2019 enrollment: 3,529

  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,717
  • Graduate enrollment: 791
  • Post-baccalaureate enrollment: 21

Academic Programs offered:

  • Undergraduate majors: 71
  • Undergraduate minors: 59
  • Master’s degree programs: 31
  • Doctoral degree programs: 5
  • Graduate certificates: 8

Top 10 undergraduate majors:

  • Psychology
  • Business Administration
  • Nursing
  • Computer Science
  • Physiology
  • Communication
  • Visual Communications
  • Global Development Studies
  • Biochemistry
  • Exercise Science

Spring Quarter moves to remote-learning format

In early March, SPU quickly transitioned to a remote-learning environment due to the COVID-19 crisis. Faculty rapidly converted their curriculum and took advantage of new tools and learning methods to ensure students continued to receive an excellent education. As it became clear the ongoing pandemic necessitated long-term adjustments, Spring Quarter classes were moved entirely online. The term was slightly delayed to ensure students and faculty were prepared. An online tutorial was created for students to complete before remote classes began and sample assignments were posted in order to ready them for this new environment. Enrollment remained steady, but the vast majority of students who lived on campus moved home for the remainder of the academic year, leaving just over 300 students living on campus. Planning is well underway for a variety of future operating scenarios.

Responding to racial injustice

As SPU and the wider community mourned the senseless and brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others, as well as the long-standing inequities and injustices exacerbated by the current pandemic, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion held online listening groups in June to engage the physically distanced campus community and bring healing and restoration. The sessions were a small step toward more substantive changes to eradicate structural barriers to equity and inclusion within the SPU campus. Requests and recommendations emerged from the meetings, from which ODEI is identifying action steps, establishing criteria for prioritizing those actions, and developing a proposed timeline for implementation.

SPU ranked “Best National University”

For the fourth year in a row, Seattle Pacific has been named a “Best National University” in U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings. U.S. News defines national universities as those institutions offering a full range of undergraduate major plus master’s and doctoral programs, and committed to producing groundbreaking research. Seattle Pacific was also named one of the top national universities for campus ethnic diversity. In addition, SPU was also ranked in several other 2020 U.S. News categories, including “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs” and “Top Performers on Social Mobility,” which measures the graduation rate of low-income students receiving federal Pell Grants.

Diversity learning offerings expanded

With professional learning a priority in SPU’s ongoing diversity efforts, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion began offering a three-part workshop series for employees, along with additional resources to assist faculty and staff in fostering more inclusive learning environments. The workshops are designed to equip employees with the habits of mind and tools to address diversity-related matters on campus and contribute positively to a culture of belonging at SPU.

SPU welcomes new provost

The University welcomed Laura Hartley, former associate provost for student academic success and dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at George Fox University, into the provost role in June. Hartley holds master’s and doctoral degrees in linguistics from Michigan State University, and attended Wheaton College as an undergraduate. Hartley replaces Bruce Congdon, former dean of the Division of STEM and Social Sciences, who served a one-year term as interim provost. Congdon retired in June after a 35-year career at SPU.

Music therapy program turns 10

SPU’s music therapy program — the first and only music therapy program in Washington state — celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Music therapy alumni, current students, and professionals connected to the program came back to campus in October for a two-day celebration of learning and reconnection. Guest speakers included Jennifer Geiger, former president of the American Music Therapy Association, and Deforia Lane, one of the nation’s leading music therapists and author of a seminal textbook on music therapy.

Seattle Pacific Foundation posts excellent rate of return

Charged with stewarding endowment gifts to SPU, the Seattle Pacific Foundation continues to demonstrate an outstanding rate of return on investment. In a survey of 800+ higher education institutions with endowments, including schools such as Princeton, Stanford, and Yale, SPU’s endowment returns are in the top percentile over one-, three-, five-, and 10-year periods of investment. As of June 30, 2019, the value of SPU’s endowment was over $120 million. Strong endowment returns provide a perpetual source of support for the University and critically needed student scholarships.