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Mailbox Letters From You

“The Message of Hope ...”

I get my Response like clockwork, just like every alum. It is a constant reminder of where I come from. Living so far from home, it’s nice to see pictures and read stories of a place I called home for four years.

The current issue brought tears to my eyes as I read about the tragedy in June. The strength and faith that deliberately shone through in the aftermath is a mark of the heart of SPU. I am so proud to call this university my alma mater.

Alicia Apple ’06
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Bruce Van SickleI was in the area on sabbatical when I learned of the shooting tragedy at SPU and my heart and prayers went up for my alma mater. We learned that my great niece, Madeline Rookledge ’14, was safe and we were thankful. I made the decision to attend graduation ceremonies on June 14, 2014, to support her and my alma mater. Extremely grateful to be a part of the SPU family.

Bruce Van Sickle ’81
Sahuarita, Arizona

After receiving the last issue of Response, I wanted to affirm your efforts in putting out a very difficult issue. I believe God blessed your staff with the ability to put out an issue that portrayed the horrific event of the shootings in a very sensitive and God-honoring way. As an art therapist, I was also pleased and touched by the use of art in the University’s processing of the event and support of the families who were directly affected. I am certain that the opportunity to make art in response to the shootings has become an integral part of the healing that is taking place in the community.

Theresa Todo Crooks ’84
Monrovia, California

I was particularly impressed by this edition, written at a very difficult time for all associated with the university. With articles addressing reconciliation relating to the event on campus as well as race and socio-economic divides, including an international perspective and the message of hope throughout, it is clear “our SPU” is indeed executing its mission to engage the culture and change the world.

Doug Deardorf ’78
Castle Rock, Colorado

The summer Response, integrating graduation with the tragedy of June 5, was absolutely a journalism masterpiece! The pictures were captivating and vivid and all the articles were so well written my wife and I had a hard time putting the issue down. Thank you for all the time and effort that obviously went into the production of the publication!

Gregory J. Gelderman EdD ’04
SPU Certification Officer

Remembering Beloved Emeriti

I was surprised and saddened to read about the passing of Professor Frank Leddusire (or Professor Leddusirski, as we called him). It was interesting to read about all he accomplished, and it reminded me of all of the good memories I have of his classes. I took Russian to fulfill some language credits, but thanks to the encouragement of Professor Leddusire I ended up minoring in Russian. He always made classes fun and interesting and took time to get to know the students. I was amazed by how intelligent he was, and also how approachable and down to earth. His love for the Russian language and people was inspiring, and I’m sure he will be missed by his family.

Rebecca Juble ’97

I greatly appreciated the article in the summer issue of Response about Marcile Mack. What I remember most about her was her amazing ability to play the organ in McKinley Auditorium. I was particularly fascinated by her footwork on the pedal board — while wearing high heels!

One of my favorite memories of chapel was the day when Mrs. Mack played a particularly intricate piece of music. When she stopped playing, we all burst into applause — only to realize she wasn’t done! There were a couple more measures after a long pause.

We applauded again, and then Dr. Miller, who was chapel chairman, stood up, looked us over sadly, shaking his head at our foolishness,and admonished: “How many times have I told you not to clap during a four-beat rest?”

Peggy Griffith Covert ’64
Lynwood, Washington

Scholar in Chains

I really enjoyed your story on Kassa Wolde-Mariam in Response magazine (“Scholar in Chains,” Summer 2014). I was excited to find out that a fellow Oromo came to SPU before I did all the way back in 1954! My parents came from Ethiopia more than 20 years ago and never really spoke much about the socialism that hit Ethiopia during the time of their young lives. I told my parents about your story and even read a bit for them. My mom even began to tell me about what it was like back then. This article gave me some understanding and ignited further interest to learn about Ethiopia’s history.

Damme Getachew
SPU Sophomore
Auburn, Washington

I lived in Moyer Hall from 1954 to 1957. I have warm memories of Kassa Wolde-Mariam, who also lived in the dorm. Although not a close friend, Kassa had a warm, attractive personality. He was, obviously, a very special person. I have often, over the years, wondered about him.

So it was with great interest that I read Clint Kelly’s article in the Summer 2014 issue of Response. The story is thrilling. But it is so sad that he was murdered by the communists and that his family was persecuted.

I noticed that there was no mention of Kassa’s roommate, Werku Demisse, also from Ethiopia. Can you tell me what became of Werku?

Albert C. Braden ’57
Sacramento, California

Editor’s Note: We don’t have any information about Werku Demisse. If any of our readers do, please contact

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