Response Online


President’s View Engaging the Culture, Changing the World

Ames and Swanson Receive Honorary Degrees at Commencement

Poster by Moses Lee

On Saturday, June 13, 2015, on the occasion of Seattle Pacific’s 2015 Undergraduate Commencement at Key Arena, President Daniel J. Martin bestowed an honorary doctor of humane letters degree on A. Gary Ames, chair of SPU’s board of trustees, and an honorary doctor of science degree on scientist and entrepreneur Lynwood Swanson (below).

Martin praised Ames for his “exemplary leadership and remarkable legacy” as a 12-year board member, and for his leadership as a director, a president, and a CEO in telecommunications, technology, retail, and investment. In Autumn 2014, the SPU Library was renamed the Ames Library in acknowledgment of Ames and his wife, Barb, for their role as the University’s largest lifetime benefactors.

The Ames Scholar program, founded in 2002 to support student scholarships, faculty, and programs, is focused on access and opportunity for underrepresented students. Since that program began, the undergraduate student body’s ethnic minority representation has increased from 8 percent to 35 percent. (View a video about the Ames Scholars.)

Swanson received an honorary doctor of science degree from Martin, who praised his “service, innovation, and excellence.” With a PhD in physical chemistry at the University of California, Davis, Swanson did postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago. After substantial research on field emission, he joined Linfield College’s faculty and became academic dean. In 1971, Swanson founded Field Electron and Ion Corporation, which supplies electronic and ion beam sources for field emission research and electron microscopy worldwide, and served as its chief scientist and chairman for more than 30 years.

He is the recipient of the Pittcon Heritage Award and the Howard Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. In 1987, Swanson became a trustee of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, a financial partner for SPU since 1979. He and Karin, his wife of 59 years, have four children, two of whom — David and Jonathan — are SPU alumni.