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Autumn 2002 | Volume 25, Number 4 | Alumni
A Place of Welcome
Alumni Board President Reconnects After 30 Years

WHEN DARLENE Dunkin Hartley ’65 was a junior at Seattle Pacific College, JFK was assassinated in Dallas and the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Three decades, seven U.S. presidents and thousands of rock bands later, Hartley attended her first alumni event at SPU.

Alumni Board President Darlene Hartley holds her first grandchild, Mason Hartley Hoffman. She expects him to be the next SPU alum in the family.
Now Hartley serves as president of Seattle Pacific’s Alumni Board. It was a circuitous road that led her to this place. “Because of my less than sterling academic undergrad performance, and the failure I felt for having divorced in my mid-twenties,” Hartley admits, “I wasn’t at all sure my former classmates would accept me.”

For a long time, Hartley visited her alma mater only to attend Falcon sports events. “After my remarriage, I felt secure enough in my anonymity to go to basketball games with my husband,” she says. Even though not a Seattle Pacific alum himself, Bill Hartley is known around the University as a longtime Falcon fanatic. During those decades, however, Darlene Hartley stayed away from the rest of campus and fellow alumni. “My link with SPU began and ended at the gymnasium doors.”

Her reconnection with classmates began a few years ago, when a fellow alumna asked Hartley to drive with her to a planning meeting for their class reunion. “I thought she wanted someone to join her so she could drive in the carpool lane,” jokes Hartley. Prepared to feel excluded, Hartley told herself, “I’ll give them one meeting, and if they act judgmental, I’m outta here!”

At the meeting, however, Hartley’s classmates and the Alumni Office staff welcomed her into the group. “Even though I made it a point to let them know of my failings, they accepted me,” she says. One warm welcome began the healing process that ultimately led to Hartley’s election as Alumni Board president and as a Free Methodist representative to the SPU Board of Trustees.

As Alumni Board president, Hartley carries out what she calls “the marching orders” of the Alumni Association’s mission statement, which includes fostering a vital relationship between the University and its alumni. Among its many responsibilities, the Alumni Board plans events ranging from Homecoming festivities in winter to Casey Alumni Weekend in summer.

Not exactly a fan of the Great Outdoors, Hartley first attended Casey Week end only because she was president-elect of the Alumni Association. But the event on Whidbey Island turned out to be more rewarding than she ever expected. “Casey Weekend is planned for everyone except cranky people: young, not so young, married, single, backpackers and couch potatoes,” says Hartley. “The weekend was loads of fun, and I haven’t missed it since.”

From Eastern Washington to Africa, activities such as golf tournaments and dinner parties have a way of bonding distant alumni. “But even though we have the world’s most marvelous alumni staff,” Hartley says, “the single most effective way to reach an alum is for another alum to befriend him or her.”

According to Alumni Director Doug Taylor, Hartley has made it her personal goal to include alumni who might feel disconnected from the University. Says Taylor, “Darlene cares about people who’ve had scrapes and bumps along the way. She has a genuine concern that all alums feel involved and welcomed. I like the kind of tenor she brings to the board. Also, she’s a great leader. She does leadership in a low-key way, getting stuff done and making it fun.”

Both Hartley and Taylor say that alumni have made Seattle Pacific a place of welcome. “They reach out to others and make a point of crossing the bridges that separate us,” she says. “When that happens, SPU and, more importantly, the kingdom of God, are advanced.”

She hopes her own participation will encourage others to risk getting more involved at Seattle Pacific. “Find one event that interests you,” she suggests to alumni. “Commit to a time frame you feel comfortable with, and come ready to be authentic.” Then she adds a characteristic one-liner: “Remember, no one from your graduating class has yet been elected pope.”

2002–03 Alumni Board

Darlene Hartley ’65

Lawrence Brown ’83

Kathi Teel ’65

Vickie Nelson ’75

Representative to the Board of Trustees
Beth Kawasaki ’82
Del Wisdom ’63

Representatives at Large
C. Melvin Foreman ’42
Kevin Gunhus ’88
J. Denton Palmer ’55
Mia Hays ’91
Betty Jo MacPhee ’50
Ken Knautz ’62

Young Alumni Representative
Asia Rau ’97

Appointed Members
Jennifer Gilnett ’81
Wade McIntyre ’74
Edith Root ’49
Sharleen Larson ’80
Bruce Clement ’81
Larry Hanson ’91


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