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The Question Insights From Response Readers

We Asked You: What’s the value of your SPU education?

Here’s what you said:

I think SPU’s educational value is multifaceted. It was not just the degree that opened doors for me but the friendships it cultivated, the spiritual development it fostered, and the overall introduction to adulthood it provided. I consider my education and time at SPU invaluable!

Noelle Diaz Bickel ’06
Fresno, California

SPC, as it was called back in those days, has had a positive, but mixed, influence on my life. I haven’t always been able to say that. For me, it was too cloistered, too much of an urban bubble, too isolated, too preachy, and decidedly too conservative as an institution of higher learning. I did not see it relevant to my career and daily life for most of my time in school and since graduation. In spite of that, I was able to squeeze out what I could claim and separate out what I could not. On balance, the journey has been a good one. While I still have issues with how SPU fits into the mosaic of our community and our lives, it has, on balance, had a positive impact on my life. For that I give thanks.

Ed Todd ’70
Woodinville, Washington

I have integrated the education that I received into every aspect of my life. I learned how to become a servant-leader in the community.

Mehmet Koksu MBA ’02
Tacoma, Washington

My SPU education was the genesis of my love for social justice. Not only was I surrounded by peers who were passionate about making lasting change, but I was also taught by committed scholars who actually knew how to impact change! Now I work for an international nonprofit organization fighting for victims of human trafficking, police brutality, and bonded labor. My career is largely a result of the experiences I had at SPU and, therefore, it’s difficult to fully define the value of my education. While sometimes the mantra of engaging the culture and changing the world can seem cheesy, I can wholeheartedly testify that SPU really does create graduates who commit to doing just that.

Cassi Nicolaus ’12
Washington, D.C.

I received training in technical skills, learned information, and grappled with ideas to be sure; but the quality of my SPU education is where the long-term impact is seen. I found myself in an environment where my desire to follow Jesus was nurtured and where my soul was formed in community with other men and women.

Samuel C. Schaar ’06
Stanwood, Washington

The very thing I was most thankful for was the freedom to ask questions without fear of losing friends, losing my religion, losing my hope. What better place to truly discover who God is and his truth? My professors really challenged me to dig deep, ask hard questions, and wait for the answers. This felt so scary and new. But it was one of the best and most beautiful challenges I could have received. If I had it to do all over again, without a doubt, I would choose SPU.

Julia Elliott ’08
Colorado Springs, Colorado

The value of my time at SPU is defined by the ways I have engaged with larger networks. What I learned on campus and through the John Perkins Center in four years created a foundation in my life that I have built upon in my work, living in my city, and investing in my neighborhood.

Rediet Mulugeta ’12
Houston, Texas

The way I now look at life and understand the value of my Roman Catholic background has shaped me into a better human being. I have SPU to thank for that. I have specific goals that SPU has given me the opportunity to reach and even go beyond. I am a senior majoring in psychology and have applied to the marriage and family therapy program here. The opportunities I never knew existed are endless and allow me to flourish not only as an instrument of God but also for myself and others.

Maria Wickersham, SPU senior

My SPU math degree helped me move to the front of the line; I had five job offers right out of the gate!

Curt Finch ’88
Big Rapids, Michigan

How can you place a value on something that completely changed your life and shaped you into the person you are today? Making a deliberate decision to pursue enlightenment at any level will set you on a path to view the world as a different place. The value one discerns at the end of the process is commensurate with the level of effort applied throughout. Trying to place a value on this before you have endured the process is meaningless. Often, the purpose of an education is to build a foundation for your future endeavors. The value associated with a foundation constructed at SPU is that the opportunities for what can be built upon the foundation are limitless.

Travis Metcalfe ’02
Puyallup, Washington

Priceless! Ephesians 3:20–21.

AnnRené Joseph EdD ’14
Woodinville, Washington

I don’t go to SPU anymore for personal reasons but totally plan to try to come back when the time is right. I spent two quarters there and it was such a fun and incredible growing experience. I had the most wonderful roommate who is still one of my best friends, and the things I learned in UCOR and UFOUND were invaluable. Even though I don't go to SPU anymore, I still keep in touch with most of my professors. It’s so good to have people care about me so much. I still consider SPU “my school” and visit often. It’s home.

Catie Larimer
Auburn, Washington

One of my SPU mentors, Steve Hayner provided a job after that graduation that more than paid back all my tuition costs. It was like a free education!

Doug Taylor ’87
Decatur, Georgia

My husband and I both graduated from SPU and I think at the time neither of us really considered SPU to be “unique” in any way. The farther out I get from that time in life the more I value both the education I received but more importantly the lifestyle I learned while there. Each class I took really did teach the “engaging the culture and changing the world” motto. As our world becomes more hostile to Christianity, it’s so important to have that firm foundation. I can’t place a value on the spiritual growth I experienced while at SPU. Although college is a long was off for my girls (1.5 and 3) I will be thrilled if they choose to be educated at SPU!

Lissa Haak ’08
Sunnyside, Washington

A fellow SPU alum and I were once discussing what unique skills and character traits people learned in different academic disciplines. Naturally, we eventually fell to discussing our shared major, Theatre. Other than preparing us to be good storytellers, we realized that we both found our fellow Theatre majors to be incredibly resourceful and adaptable people, able to work with limited resources to achieve extraordinary outcomes, regardless of the field in which they were now employed. So the Theatre Department at least is turning out a bunch of mini-MacGyvers!

Other than that, SPU provided me with a broad and rich understanding of the world, critical thinking skills, intellectual rigor, mental discipline and a few lifelong friends. Nothing much, really.

Mark Oppenlander ’94

On a less professional note, I like to say that I paid for such awesome-sauce, quality, lifelong friends!

Molly Montgomery Sheffield ’92

Join the conversation: What’s the value of your SPU education?

Tell us and read what others have said. You can also answer the new question for next issue.


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