Barbara and gary ames

Ames’ legacy lives on in the lives of students

Gary Ames, Board of Trustees member and one of the University’s most generous donors, passed away in May. Gary and his wife, Barbara, began supporting SPU in 2001, when they made an initial $1 million commitment to fund a Universitywide initiative to support students coming from the most underrepresented cultural and ethnic communities. Through the years, the Ames Scholarship and now the Ames Leadership Program have supported over 130 students. Gary often said that one day an Ames Scholar would become an SPU Board of Trustees member, and he was able to see that realized when Dr. Denise Martinez and Kevin Johnson joined the Board. In 2015, the library building was rededicated as the Ames Library in honor of Gary and Barbara’s significant contributions to Seattle Pacific, and in 2019 they were honored with the President’s Award for Philanthropy. Gary and Barbara have donated nearly $8 million out of their conviction that Seattle Pacific is a vital Christian presence in the city and to the world.

Behold! reaches thousands

SPU’s beloved annual Sacred Sounds of Christmas concert was reimagined as Behold! (, a virtual multimedia celebration that premiered in December. Utilizing student, faculty, and alumni musicians, Behold! featured genres from classical to hip-hop in settings as diverse as a Northwest forest, Seattle streets, and SPU’s campus. Viewers heard compelling and uncommon life stories from talented and nationally renowned alums. The more than 11,000 views represented 17,000 to 20,000 audience members in all 50 states and in 28 countries worldwide, expanding the reach beyond the 2,500 seats available in Benaroya Hall for the traditional, in-person concert. The event also raised more than $85,000 for student scholarships from over 700 donors.

$1.3 million gift aids seminarians

An anonymous donor gave Seattle Pacific Seminary $1.3 million in scholarship aid to reduce the educational debt of seminarians at Seattle Pacific so they can go into ministry unencumbered. This generous investment helps educate and equip future ministry leaders who will transform society for the good, as they develop and lead healthy churches that motivate Christians toward faith-filled work and service.

Giving Day breaks records

SPU’s third annual Giving Day took place in April. During the 24-hour online fundraising event, 886 alumni, parents, students, and SPU community members came together as never before to support Seattle Pacific. Over 17 unique causes around campus were supported, and the day saw record-breaking donations, with over $275,000 raised. Gifts to areas such as scholarships and aid, Athletics, and many department programs made a significant impact for students.