Letters to the Editor
I teach United States History in a rural
high school in Kittitas, Washington, and I
could not agree more with historian and
writer David McCullough when he said in
the summer issue of Response that “we are
doing an absolutely dreadful job” of teaching
our nation’s history to students [“A Sense of
History,” Summer 2006]. That is the primary
reason that I use McCullough’s works as often
as possible in the classroom. He knows how
to tell a story.
Hollywood also knows a great storyteller
when it hears one. When director Gary Ross
wanted the racehorse Seabiscuit’s story told
with understanding and realism, he chose
McCullough to narrate those parts of the
movie that gave historical background.
McCullough’s words resonate with knowledge
of the times and events that made Seabiscuit’s
saga a uniquely American story.
Perhaps this is the reason I listen to
McCullough when he speaks about the need
to tell America’s story with passion. He has
committed a lifetime of energy to internalizing
America’s story. But it is not enough to tell
the story as a passionate person would. I must
become a passionate person. I must tell stories
to students who will listen and remember
because I myself am steeped in the facts,
nuances, and complexities of the stories I tell
Graduating from SPU’s School of Education
was important for me because it gave me
the landscape of the task ahead for a history
teacher. But more is needed. When I have
become the kind of teacher and educator with
a passion that changes me, perhaps I will be
the kind of storyteller who impassions students
as well. Until then, I have David
McCullough to direct me toward that goal.
Todd Smith M.A. ’89, M.A. ’03
I just finished reading the most recent edition
of the SPU Response, including Bill
Woodward’s interview with author David
McCullough [“History as a Source of Pleasure,
Strength, and Understanding,” Summer
2006]. I have to say I really enjoyed it and
have been inspired to pick up some of his
books. As a public school teacher myself,
I agree with McCullough’s estimation of
the “abysmal” (as he put it) job that many
teachers do when they teach history. I don’t
recall a whole lot from elementary school, but
my recollection of history in high school was
predominantly one of memorization of facts,
and boredom over the soon-to-be retiring
During my sophomore year at SPU,
I enrolled in Dr. Woodward’s class that covered
American history up through the Civil
War. I was warned about how much work
and how difficult the class would be. I must
say it was an awesome experience, and I
learned more about history than I ever had
previously. As I read Dr. Woodward’s interview,
I became concerned that McCullough’s
conclusions about even university history professors
might cause Dr. Woodward to question
his effectiveness, and I wanted to assure
him that his passion and love for history was
definitely communicated and passed on to this
SPU alum. So, thank you.
Shannon Litty Atherton ’98
I really enjoyed the Summer 2006 Response articles on history, particularly the interview
with David McCullough and the essay by
Ronald C. White Jr. [“Lincoln and Divine
Providence”]. And I agreed with the viewpoints
expressed and promoted. Even though
I majored in physics, I have had a nearly lifelong
interest in history. I much enjoyed the
two history courses I took from Professor
Clifford Roloff at Seattle Pacific.
My first encounter with McCullough was
when I read The Path Between the Seas. My
wife, Marie, and I had recently returned from
a trip to Panama. On March 1, 1996, we had
transited the Panama Canal in a 35-foot boat.
That evening, we returned from Cristobal on
the Atlantic Ocean to Panama City on the
Pacific Ocean in a van over the Transisthmian
Highway. Reading McCullough’s book made
a wonderful trip even more memorable.
After reading Response, I checked White’s
The Eloquent President out of the library and
read it. I do think that Lincoln showed a belief
in God’s providence in an early speech, his
farewell to his fellow citizens at Springfield in
February 1861. That is probably my favorite
I took U.S. History from Professor Roloff
my first quarter at SPC. With collateral reading
list in hand, I went to the college library.
While there, I saw Carl Sandburg’s multivolume
biography of Lincoln. It was 15 years
before I had a chance to read it. It is still my
favorite Lincoln biography.
Albert C. Braden ’57
President Eaton’s Commitment
My wife and I just recently received our copy
of the summer issue of Response magazine.
Once again, it’s a terrific job that your whole
team does. It is surely one of the best magazines
of its type that we see.
And what a great photo of President Eaton!
If he were a capitalist, it would make a wonderful
cover picture for Fortune magazine.
I thoroughly enjoyed the article on leadership
[“Leading With Passion: A Ten-Year
Anniversary Interview With SPU President
Philip W. Eaton,” Summer 2006]. At the
heart of President Eaton’s success is that great
commitment: “We are going to center everything
on Jesus Christ.” What a marvelous
clarity and commitment to that statement.
We were both also very pleased at the
inclusion of Sharon Eaton in the article and
in the celebration of 10 years of very inspired
and successful leadership. The emphasis on
her hospitality I found especially appealing,
because there are so few gifts in life that surpass
the gift of hospitality.
Max De Pree
Just a note to let you know how much I
enjoy reading Response and learning of the
many positive things happening at Seattle
Pacific. After reading the Q & A about [President
Philip Eaton’s] first 10 years, I better
understand why all these good things are happening
at your school.
I received the summer issue [of Response]
and was very interested to learn of the accomplishments
of your faculty, students, and
alumni, and was particularly impressed with
the article on the works of David McCullough
and his perceptions of American history and
its relevance for today’s generations. I also
enjoyed reading [President Eaton’s] reflections
on [his] tenure as president of Seattle
Congratulations on an excellent issue.
Arthur F. Kirk Jr.
President, Saint Leo University
Saint Leo, Florida
Casey Minus Hollywood
Thank you for the piece in your Summer
2006 issue about Camp Casey [“War &
Peace"]. I had no idea the property had been in SPU ownership since the Army abandoned it back in the 1950s. Judging from the content of the article along with the pictures, the property appears in stunning condition and is being used with imagination and to the great benefit of many.
My father was a teenage draftee in WWI,
part of a Washington Army National Guard
Coastal Artillery unit in Tacoma. He received
extensive training at the three posts (Casey-Flagler-Worden) in 1916 prior to his unit
being sent to France. They arrived about eight
months before the armistice in November of
1918, and since WWI was almost entirely
trench warfare across central France, instead
of employing coastal artillery weapons and
tactics they were assigned conventional field
artillery pieces and targets.
I recall him telling about the massive gun
emplacements the Army built for the protection
of an enemy invasion by sea into Puget
Sound. The hardware at Casey-Flagler-Worden
was probably among the largest guns the
American military ever employed. Thank
God they never had to fire a shot for the purpose
they were intended.
Hollywood producers of the film An Officer
and a Gentleman some years ago now
extensively used on-location backgrounds in
Port Townsend and on post at Fort Worden.
Key buildings got spruced up at Worden for
that purpose. How wonderful that SPU has
done such a great job making Casey look so
grand albeit without the aid of Hollywood.
Also, congratulations on Response magazine.
It is handsome in layout with brief but
very informative and interesting articles. The
alumni magazines I receive from my alma
mater are pale by comparison.
It has been great holding the school record
for the decathlon these past 36 years, but I
knew it would be broken sooner or later.
As the years rolled by, I began to think maybe
one of my sons might take a run at it.
This actually happened a few years back when
my son Kyle Gough ’99 nearly broke the
record and was All-American three years in a
row in the event. During his senior year,
he was primed to peak for the record at the
nationals, but an injury two weeks before the
meet prevented him from doing his best.
Then Chris Randolph followed his sister
to SPU and began training under Jack Hoyt
specifically for excellence in the 10-event
decathlon. As the Response article [“One for
the Record Books,” Summer 2006] clearly
relates, Chris not only mastered the 10 disciplines,
but he excelled in them and broke two
longstanding SPU records!
I couldn’t be more pleased to have the
record passed on to one such as Chris. He is
just the kind of athlete SPU can be proud of.
He came here with the idea of getting an education
and seeing how far his athletic interest
would take him. He put in the hard work and
long hours of training not only to learn, but
also to become proficient in the 10 decathlon
events, resulting in two national championships
and breaking two 30-year-old records.
That is incredible!
The kind of person Chris is speaks volumes
about the atmosphere and coaching expertise
available at SPU. I guess we both came here
mainly because of the excellent coaching available
and the chance to become all we could be
without getting lost in a big-school environment.
After meeting Chris early in his senior
year, I was so impressed with his humility and
evident Christ-like personality — a man who
anyone could be at ease talking to, learning
from, or learning with. He has his priorities
straight and is truly interested in others.
We are blessed to have him assisting Coach
Karl Lerum in training others in the disciplines
of track and field, but more importantly
in the disciplines of the Christian life, which he
so clearly demonstrates as he lives his own life
out here on our campus. I thank the Lord for
the opportunity to know him and to pass the
baton to a wonderful Christian gentleman.
Steve Gough ’70
I ’ve written before to tell you how much I
appreciate an issue of Response, and here I go
again! The collection of articles for your Summer
2006 issue was timely and thoughtful.
I read every one. The format is wonderful —
print, photography, layout, departmental
updates. As we [former staff members] are
now retired and living away from the Seattle
area (on the Oregon coast), I must admit I
enjoy momentarily reuniting with a community
and educational ministry I once was part
of and frequently miss. Thank you for what
you have done and continue to do!
Doug and Jeanne Rich
Thank you for the most recent issue of
Response. It is beautiful — one of the nicest I’ve
ever seen. Thank you for your great work on
that and for creating such a great publication.
Sherrill Kraakmo ’89
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