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Autumn 2004 | Volume 27, Number 4 | Campus

SPU Sets a Record While Managing Growth and Reshaping Its Enrollment

SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY welcomed a record-setting 3,779 students to campus when classes began on September 27. The incoming class is made up of 896 students, closely matching the target number set out by Seattle Pacific’s Blueprint for Excellence, which will reshape the University’s enrollment over time. Total enrollment for Autumn Quarter is 2,934 undergraduate, 71 post-baccalaureate, and 825 graduate students.

“SPU is in a new era,” says Marj Johnson, vice president for administration and university relations. “On-campus enrollment has been at capacity for four years, and we’re now working intentionally to attract students who fit SPU’s vision and to improve graduation rates rather than to simply increase in size.”

Key to the University’s strategy is the ongoing effort to attract the most academically qualified students, more males, and more ethnically diverse students. Among new students this year, SPU enrolled 311 male students, up 6 percent from last year to 36 percent of the class; and 141 ethnic minority students, up 3 percent from last year to 16 percent of the class. The incoming class also includes a record number of National Merit Scholars.

Student retention continues to improve significantly as well. Eighty-five percent of last year’s freshmen persisted as sophomores this fall, a 6 percent increase over last year, while the five-year graduation rate has increased to 62 percent, also a 6 percent increase over last year. According to Johnson, the improvements coincide with the implementation of SPU’s Common Curriculum in 1998, greater selectivity at admission in recent years, increasing perception of value, and a responsive financial aid program.

“The goal of all our efforts is to attract and support a balanced enrollment made up of students with the qualifications and motivation for significant involvement in their communities, our nation, and the world,” she says. “It is energizing to watch as members of this year’s incoming class begin to explore how they will engage the culture and change the world.”

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From the President
In 2000, Seattle Pacific intensified its commitment to racial reconciliation. Is it possible, asks Philip Eaton, for SPU to discover ways to tear down walls that divide?

In Trust for the Future
Charitable trusts are benefiting students and donors. One couple, in fact, has seen their trust provide income for them, while supporting student scholarships. [Campaign]

A Fabulous Time to Be Alive
Astronomy is revealing never-before-seen wonders. “We are in the process of discovering a God far greater than we’ve ever imagined,” says Professor Emeritus Karl Krienke. [Faculty]

Putting a Face on Homelessness
Two young alums are at Seattle’s Bread of Life Mission, helping to restore lives — by replacing hopelessness with hope. [Alumni]

Life Stories
A filmmaker talks about his visits with SPU students and his project to share the internment stories of Japanese Americans during World War II. [Books & Film]

Mutual Inspiration
Falcon men’s and women’s soccer teams cheered each other on to success in 2004, as both teams continued the University’s tradition of being a national force in soccer. [Athletics]

My Response
For Sharon Hartnett, assistant professor of education, diversity reflects a piece of heaven on earth. “After all, heaven is a multicultural place,” she says.