2020–21 Year in Review

grads in Tiffany loop
Provost Hartley

From the Provost

While the 2020–21 academic year was certainly full of challenges, our faculty and staff never lost sight of our mission to serve students through offering high-quality, Christ-centered education. Faculty worked tirelessly to keep students engaged in an evolving mix of remote and in-person courses.

Dr. Pete Menjares

Institutional Milestones

This year faculty taught students face-to-face, blended (partly face-to-face and partly online), or fully online, depending on the class' needs and room availability; President Dan Martin ends his nine-year tenure; Dr. Pete Menjares began serving as interim president on July 1;  the School of Education turned 100 years old; “Tuition Reimagined” was launched, lowering undergraduate tuition rate by 25%.

SVPC giant check

Academic Rigor

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang headlines the Virtual Days of Common Learning; the 15th annual Social Venture Plan Competition thrives online for second year; the BioCORE Scholars Program welcomes its largest-ever cohort; the Music Department pivots to perform virtually, including with Behold!, an experience to celebrate Christmas and share stories of God’s work in the lives of the SPU community. 

rob wall

Faith for the Future

Students experienced some of the trials of the homeless though Urban Plunge; Rob Wall, Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies, co-authored the article, “Reading Scripture as Wesleyans”; New Testament scholar, the Rev. Canon Esau McCaulley, PhD, gave the 2021 virtual Alfred S. Palmer lecture; juniors and seniors examined the intersection of faith and business.

munyi shea

Serving Others

Associate Professor Munyi Shea collaborated on public service announcements for Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans coping with COVID-19-related discrimination; Latreia hosts student-learning and service events with World Relief; new students served Seattle through CityQuest; Urban Involvement connects students to volunteer opportunities; students, faculty, and staff send notes to U.S. veterans.

gnac steeplechase


SPU received the NCAA DII President’s Award for Academic Excellence for the 10th year in a row; in January SPU created schedules comprising local and in-state competition for men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, and track and field, as well as women’s volleyball and rowing; during spring 2021, fall sports of men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball, were in action along with the usual spring schedules for outdoor track and field, and women’s rowing.

Barbara and gary ames


Gary Ames leaves a lasting legacy; SPU’s beloved annual Sacred Sounds of Christmas concert was reimagined as Behold!, allowing viewers worldwide to connect and enjoy; an anonymous donor gave the Seattle Pacific Seminary more than $1 million for scholarship aid;Giving Day breaks records.

spu voices podcast logo

Alumni Highlights

SPU hosted a virtual Homecoming & Family Hub to allow connections from anywhere; in its second year, the SPU Voices Podcast has over 10,000 listens across six continents; the Alumni of the Year award collectively honored SPU alumni serving on the front lines of the global COVID-19 pandemic; the short documentary, The Time to Heal, honored health care workers and is chosen by several film festivals.