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The Real Transformers

The Real Transformers
Spring 2010 | Volume 33, Number 1 | From the President

The President’s Portfolio

Guiding the speaking, writing, and travel of President Eaton this year are SPU’s five signature commitments, including its focus on global education. Here are some of his recent activities:


The President’s Blog

Saturday Morning From My StudyPR News Award
Saturday Morning From My Study” –– President Eaton’s blog –– received an “Honorable Mention” award from the national organization PR News at its annual Nonprofit Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C., November 3, 2009. Eaton’s blog was one of three finalists in the “blog” category along with the American Society for Microbiology and Defense Media Activity. Recognized by PR News for outstanding quality and content, the blog has received more than 20,000 visits from individuals in 119 countries since its debut in May 2009.

Travel and Speaking Engagements

Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) Conference

Cincinnati, October 22–24, 2009

In continued support of SPU’s signature commitment to reconciliation, President Eaton traveled to Cincinnati for the annual conference of the CCDA, an organization of Christians who are restoring under-resourced communities throughout the world. Guest speakers for this year’s conference included John Perkins, SPU’s partner in the John Perkins Center, and CCDA Board chair Barbara Williams-Skinner, leadership consultant and frequent speaker at Center events.

Murdock Charitable Trust Christian Leadership ADVANCE Conference

Vancouver, Washington, December 2–3, 2009

This invitation-only event was co-led by Murdock staff members and Rob McKenna, chair of SPU’s Industrial/Organizational Psychology Department. At the conference, President Eaton learned that Murdock had awarded a $400,000 grant for SPU graduate theological education.

National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C., January 31–February 3, 2010

President Eaton was recently elected to serve a three-year term as a regional representative on the board of NAICU. The NAICU consists of nearly 1,000 independent U.S. colleges and universities that share common interests related to public policy issues.

Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) International Forum

Atlanta, February 23–February 26, 2010

President Eaton and a team of SPU administrators and faculty attended this event for leaders in Christian higher education. Highlights included a keynote address by new SPU Trustee Richard Stearns, as well as a preview of SPU’s soon-to-be-released documentary about John Perkins (

Meetings With Friends of the University

Phoenix; San Francisco Bay Area; Los Angeles; Denver; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; Hawaii; Seattle

Meeting with friends of the University around the country, President Eaton is engaging in conversation about SPU initiatives and about equipping students to change the world.

The President’s Bookshelf

President Eaton likes to read — whether it’s newspapers, magazines, blogs, or books. Here are two of his latest “reads”:

Ronald C. White, A. Lincoln: A Biography
(Random House, 2009). In the year of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial celebration, my good friend, Ron White, wrote what may be the best biography of Lincoln for our generation. Ron’s style is much like Lincoln’s: understated, quiet, concrete, incisive, even brief (although the book is nearly 700 pages long). He sees Lincoln as one who leads with ideas, a leader who leads with language, and a man of deep and honest faith. This is a book that can help us understand our own American story, and perhaps show us some direction for the future. And the good news for Response readers is that A. Lincoln is the featured “giveaway” book for this year.

In this House of BredeRumer Godden, In This House of Brede
(Viking Press, first printing 1969). This novel is quite exquisite. We enter a Benedictine convent called Brede, and find ourselves fully engaged with the struggles, aspirations, and gifts of these amazing nuns. We enter into the quiet intrigue of monastic politics, always just beneath the surface. And we understand by the end something of Benedictine teaching, leadership, community life, the importance of worship, and what it means to live in genuine community.

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President Highlights

It’s Not That Easy
President Philip Eaton — with Kermit as an example — talks about the challenges leaders face in an ever-more complex world. “How do we lead when our culture is so splintered, so divided and divisive, as [Abraham] Lincoln’s was?” he asks.

The President’s Portfolio
President Eaton’s new blog, travel and speaking engagements, and what he’s reading and recommends.