Sam Filby ’16

Sam Filby

Hometown: Greenville, Illinois

Major: Philosophy

When I was in high school, I began having questions about religion politics and ethics. Questions such as: Was it rational to believe in God? What kind of life should I live? What sort of values, if any, should the government promote? I eventually discovered that there is a long tradition of thinking deeply about these questions, and that is philosophy.

I grew up near a small liberal arts college, Greenville University, which is quite similar to Seattle Pacific University. I got to sit in on some philosophy classes and got to know one of the professors, Kent Dunnington. He, very generously, helped guide all my philosophical thoughts. My conversations with him helped me realize that I wanted to major in philosophy at a school like the one he taught at.

As I started searching for colleges, I found SPU to be exactly the kind of school I wanted to explore my questions at — and it was.

I was able to get to know professors on a deeper level than many of my friends who attended other academic institutions. Additionally, I was able to explore a wide range of topics in the humanities and in theology.

Many professors, from several departments, influenced me deeply. Within the humanities alone, Steve Layman, Patrick McDonald, Rebekah Rice, Leland Saunders, Owen Ewald, Luke Reinsma, and Doug Thorpe helped me tremendously in my academic endeavors at SPU.

Taking an independent study on David Foster Wallace with Luke Reinsma my freshmen year helped me learn how to write well and provided an example of how one can teach intellectually rigorously and passionately. Rebekah Rice and Steve Layman taught me how to read and think philosophically. Patrick McDonald continually reminded me why I care about philosophy. Leland Saunders helped me work out what I was interested in and encouraged me in how to speak about them.

My time at Seattle Pacific was profoundly enriching, and it helped inspire me to my current pursuit of a PhD in philosophy at Northwestern University.