Shareholders November 2015

Shareholders from the School of Business, Government and Economics


Joseph Williams has resigned as dean of the School of Business, Government, and Economics, effective August 31, with plans for returning to the commercial world. We are all very grateful for the leadership he provided in his roles as dean, professor, member of the Deans’ Cabinet, and member of the Provost Leadership Team. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him the best in the next chapter of his life.

Regina Schlee

We are pleased to announce that Ross Stewart has been appointed as interim dean of SBGE. He has a long history of outstanding leadership within SBGE and throughout SPU, especially serving as co-champion for the Global Initiative Task Force. Thank you to Dr. Stewart for his willingness to step forward and lead SBGE during this interim period, and thank you also to Denise Daniels and Gary Karns for serving as acting deans in the weeks prior to this latest appointment (and for their years of faithful service as associate deans in SBGE).

In consultation with Provost Van Duzer, we are moving quickly into a national search to find the next dean of SBGE. A search committee has been established and has begun meeting. Depending on the pace and outcome of our national search, it is possible that Dr. Stewart will serve as interim dean for the remainder of the academic school year. We are confident he will do a fine job moving the school forward during this interim season.

Interim Dean Ross Stewart


On a Journey

When Pope Francis spoke to a joint meeting of Congress during his recent visit to our country, he addressed many of the important aspects of our mission at the School of Business, Government, and Economics (SBGE). “Business is a noble vocation,” he said, “directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.”

Pope Francis continued: “Politics is … an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. … Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a ‘culture of care’ and ‘an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time, protecting nature.’“

His speech was laced with references from his recent Papal Encyclical “LAUDATO SI, mi Signore” or “Praise be to you, my Lord.” (Here’s a link to his full comments.)

Our work at SBGE is about accounting, business, politics, economics, and global development as being critical disciplines for the creation and distribution of wealth with the end goal of human flourishing. We see great synergy in leveraging business for the common good, partnering with appropriate institutional structures, and developing solutions for secure livelihoods, to ensure dignity for all. Be sure to read Kathleen Braden’s poignant and insightful essay in this issue of Shareholders as a wonderful example of wrestling with the complexities of the current refugee crisis.

Yet what resonates most with SBGE’s mission within the Pope’s speech is the key role that faith, hope, love, and prayer have in framing our disciplines. This is at the heart of SBGE’s mission. By placing our disciplines within a moral and theological framework, we are able to ask the question, “To what ends? How do our academic endeavors contribute to and participate in God’s redemptive purposes to heal and bring God’s kingdom in the world?” 

This year the faculty adopted a new mission statement for SBGE: “Deeply grounded in Christian faith and values, we develop leaders who advance human flourishing through service in business, government, and civil society.” 

At SBGE we are thrilled to be on this educational journey.   

Warm Regards,

Ross Stewart Signature

Ross Stewart, Interim Dean

The Refugee Crisis

Kathleen Braden

I love Seattle Pacific’s mission to engage the culture and change the world, and sometimes the world’s crises present themselves right at our doorsteps. I found myself faced with just such an opportunity this summer when I attended a geography conference in Budapest, Hungary.

By happenstance, I had chosen a hotel only a few blocks from Keleti Station, where the river of migrants from Syria, Iraq, and other places was flowing through my host country. Occupied with the academic conference at the university on the other side of the Danube, I noted the issue in the news and only began to pay attention when at night I heard an endless stream of police sirens and helicopters circling overhead. CNN reported there were “several hundred” migrant families camped out at the train station near my hotel.

I have learned after many years of teaching at Seattle Pacific that such events can be a gift in terms of my own understanding of world events and the hope I could convey something of personal observation to my students back at SPU. So I went to the station the day after I finished my conference presentation. What I witnessed took my breath away.

There were definitely not “hundreds” of people at the Keleti Station; there were thousands. As I crossed the street and descended the steps into the underground Metro part of the station, I could feel sobs beginning in my throat. So many people, so many souls needing help, so many of God’s children looking for safety and a better life were spread out before me, talking in groups, huddled in families on the floor, peeking out from tents. What the news media could not capture was how deafening the noise was when that much of humanity is crammed into a small space. I went up to the first woman I saw and greeted her, an old women in black traditional dress, looking tired and defeated next to her grandchildren.

Walking among the people, I tried to be respectful and not take too many pictures because I felt intuitively they were already being scrutinized by the mass of international press who was present. But I thought of my students and realized I was witnessing a historic event and one I needed to try to help them experience.

I visited the station several times, taking baby care products to the kind Hungarian volunteers at Migration Aid. I also began to differentiate the various people in the crowds, knowing that the one size-fits-all news coverage was failing to point out how varied were the migrants: some were young and fashionable women, some were parents with babies or children, many were angry young men in groups, often with cell phones, staring down the burly Hungarian officials in red hats or helmets, in dark blue uniforms with “Rendőrség” (Police), carrying nightsticks or weapons.

I saw press vans and local television or CNN reporters descend on the migrants as the city set up portable toilets and piped in water. I watched local volunteers who picked up trash or engaged the children with face painting or games. And I saw everyday Hungarians walking by, trying to get to work on the Metro, looking worried or disgusted at the scene, mixed in with the usual crush of young students with backpacks travelling Europe for the summer. And nearby, I saw Hungary’s poor and homeless, who also live on the streets near transport stations.

I appreciated the earnest and worried faces of Hungarian academics at the European Geography conference as I asked them what they thought of the situation. Some responded they were no fans of the government, which they felt was xenophobic; others tried gently to explain that the unemployment rate was already high in their country, that they were trying hard to improve finances so Hungary could qualify for the euro zone, that they could not put pity for the migrants ahead of concerns for their own citizens.

But I saw so much more during my stay in Hungary that helped me understand the complexity of this crisis in Europe. As I moved out of Budapest, I visited the Carpathian Basin, a land open to two thousand years of invasions, the peculiar geography of being caught between east and west. In museums, I saw expressions of national pride in the history of this culture, understanding that the ancient Hungarians had themselves once been invaders too.

In one museum in the town of Szentendre, I experienced an exhibit about the forced removal of the Swabian Germans after World War 2, a hands-on display set up to educate Hungarian children and develop their compassion, with many replicas of old personal effects in the room: what would you take with you on 24 hours’ notice if limited to what you could carry? A small suitcase? A box of treasured family photos?

And everywhere there was evidence that World War 2 was only yesterday: at the memorial to the Jewish holocaust, at maps displaying the territory that was lost, at sometimes awkward explanations of the role of the Hungarian government at the time, a tone of regret, humiliation, and betrayal.

I constantly mulled over how to turn this opportunity into a learning experience for my students. The mission of the School of Business, Government, and Economics is to develop leaders who advance human flourishing through service: how do we help our students make sense of such an acute crisis? How do we help them move beyond the facile popular media’s attempt to define who are the good guys and bad guys? And, above all, how do we keep alive in our students that wonderful Christian virtue of hope — that through education and service we can help our fellow human beings move beyond such calamities?

Back in Seattle, I created a new exercise focused on the migrant crisis in Europe for the first day of my world geography class. At the end of the period, I asked the students to reflect on what they had learned, and one wrote, “I think there are many sides to what is happening. It is so important to look at what the news is saying and try to view the issue from different points of view.”

As I met my new students, I could not shake in my mind the face of that elderly woman I spoke with at Keleti Station. “Go with God,” I had told her and she gave me a thumbs up as she sat on the station floor next to a small bag. In the end, I was haunted most by the words at the museum exhibit that tried to reach into the hearts of Hungary’s youth: “If you had to pick up and flee your homeland, dear children, what would you take with you?”

Autumn Speaker Events

Dan Price on the cover of Inc Magazine

The annual Burton and Ralene Walls Distinguished Speaker Series Luncheon will feature Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, on Tuesday, November 17.  This is our 15th year of introducing outstanding business leaders to our students.

Raised in rural Idaho, Dan Price founded Gravity Payments from his SPU residence hall at age 19. Dan built his Seattle-based credit card processing company on the values of honesty and transparency — something which sets Gravity apart. Today, more than 13,000 businesses across all 50 states trust Gravity to save them millions in fees and hours in frustration.

Dan’s recent decision to raise his company's minimum salary to $70,000 has captured headlines and inspired millions worldwide. His 40-year-goal is to help business focus on purpose and serving others, not financial engineering and greed. He has received many awards, notably Entrepreneur magazine’s “Entrepreneur of 2014” and the 2010 SBA “National Young Entrepreneur of the Year.” He was also recently featured on the cover of Inc. magazine.

Rotary Scholarship recipients 

Rotary Scholarship recipients

This year’s Rotary Scholarship recipients are Leah Burlingame, Diana Cabrera, Mara Kramer, Sarah Martin, and Elisa Raney.

In addition to exemplary scholastic achievement, these recipients were recognized for their leadership, community service, and volunteerism.  Each one truly demonstrates the Rotary motto, “service above self.”

In the coming year, the Magnolia Rotary Club plans to honor more SPU students with scholarships. Scholarship applications are available in the spring, winners selected by a committee of Rotarians, and funds distributed in the following academic year.

The Magnolia Rotary Club of Seattle has partnered with Seattle Pacific University, presenting scholarships to deserving students the past two years. The local group is part of a worldwide organization with more than 35,000 clubs and 1,235,000 members.  


Meet AT&T Mobility President/CEO Glenn Lurie ’87 

Glenn Lurie, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility at AT&T
BA in Business Administration and Marketing, 1987

See related story on the SPU Falcons website.

Glenn Lurie '87

My life centers around three things: my family, mobile technology, and our people at AT&T Mobility. I’m proud to have worked for one of the most innovative technology companies in the world for almost 25 years.

My career began in the early days of the wireless industry at McCaw Cellular. Over the last two decades, I have been very fortunate to be a part of ushering in the modern wireless and smartphone era, and was also privileged to help AT&T take a leading role in bringing wireless connectivity to tablets, cars, consumer electronics devices, and more. 

AT&T has been an innovation machine, building AT&T Digital Life as a start-up inside of AT&T, the company’s home automation and security business. We’ve also fostered start-ups such as the Emerging Devices Organization (now called the Internet of Things Organization), launched the Aio prepaid wireless business, and then combined it with Cricket, which we recently welcomed to the AT&T team.

I am also proud to have been a part of some incredible projects, working with talented people both inside AT&T and outside: such as bringing both the first iPhone and the first iPad to AT&T; bringing Amazon’s Kindle to AT&T; and bringing General Motors/OnStar connected cars into the AT&T family, as well as many others.

Prior to entering the wireless industry, I was able to live out my dream to play professional soccer for teams representing Cleveland, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Portland. I thought at that time it would be very hard to replace soccer, until I found the incredibly competitive and dynamic wireless communications industry almost 25 years ago.

Now, as wireless has become the center of our lives and is quickly moving to where everything is connected, AT&T has invested and innovated. We are ready to meet and exceed the challenges ahead, as we’ve done for years.

Glenn Lurie’s Bio

Glenn Lurie is President and CEO of AT&T Mobility. He started his career in the early days of the wireless industry at McCaw Cellular. Over the next two decades, he helped usher in the smartphone era and took a leading role in bringing wireless connectivity to tablets, cars, and gadgets. He built AT&T Digital Life, the company’s home automation and security business, and a host of other businesses.

Lurie’s accomplishments include leading negotiations to bring both the first iPhone and the first iPad to AT&T and the industry. In 2008, he was picked to create and lead the Emerging Devices Organization, a new business unit focused on connecting new devices and applications to AT&T’s network — including connected cars, tablets, wellness devices, wearables, and machine-to-machine communications solutions and platforms.

Lurie most recently served as President, Emerging Enterprises and Partnership Organization. In that role, he had overall responsibility for the Internet of Things Organization and AT&T Digital Life. He had responsibility for the new Cricket Wireless, the no-contract provider acquired by AT&T in 2014. He also oversaw AT&T’s wholesale business, including its relationship with Tracfone, as well as AT&T’s ongoing day to day relationship with Apple.

Previously, he  served as President of National Distribution, President of AT&T’s West Region, Regional Vice President for the California/Hawaii region, and Vice President and General Manager for the Los Angeles/Southern California region.

Prior to entering the wireless industry, he was a professional soccer player for teams representing Cleveland, Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Portland.

In 2014, Lurie was named one of 10 “MobileGameChangers” by Russell Reynolds Associates for his mobile-first approach to developing innovative services that enhance the way people live. He was named to the Global Telecom Business “Power 100” list in 2011, 2012, and 2013; awarded Wireless Week’s Telecom Leadership Award in 2010; and presented the Atlanta Telecom Professional of the Year Award in 2009 from the Atlanta Telecoms Professionals Association. 

Lurie is active in industry associations and in the community. He is incoming chairman of CTIA, the Wireless Association. He is the Chairman of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Mobility Task Force and serves on the Delphi Technology Advisory Council. In addition, he is a member of the executive advisory board of Curing Kids Cancer and of the board of the Atlanta Concorde Fire Soccer Club.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business/Marketing from Seattle Pacific University.

Homecoming Is Changing

An exciting new annual event makes its debut next fall in celebration of Seattle Pacific University’s 125th anniversary year. The Grand Reunion weekend October 7–9, 2016, is expected to be the biggest alumni gathering in Seattle Pacific’s history. The Grand Reunion will be a wonderful mix of fun, food, and reuniting specifically tailored to alumni and their families, with childcare available at the Future Falcons Nest and activities geared for kids at the Falcon Family Fun Center. It’s a fall event, which means fairer weather and that “new academic year” vibe. So we will not be holding an SBGE Alumni Breakfast in the winter this year, but will look for other ways to connect with you over the next several months — and then hope to see everyone next October!