Jan Higbee (left) and Joann Moreno

Recently an overseas missionary was saving needed pennies by retreading her shoes with old tires. The Seattle Pacific University alumna's shoes were on their last treads when she received a gift check in the mail. The money, wrote the missionary in a thank-you note, was a gift from God. Another missionary wrote that a gift check came just in time, before the village's only phone was to be shut off. Both checks came from fellow Alumnae Falconettes.

A strong, quiet group of Seattle Pacific graduates make up the Alumnae Falconettes, women committed to giving time, money and energy to others. It started more than 65 years ago, when a group of juniors and seniors began what is now the oldest club on campus: the Women's Service Honorary, otherwise known as the Falconettes. A service and leadership organization, its primary focus is to support other campus women. Falconettes organize everything from short-term projects, such as May Day flower deliveries, to long-term ministries, such as women's worship nights.

Falconettes also carry out a broader mission to serve the entire University, the city and the world. This year, for instance, the 25 on-campus members gave school supplies to Seattle-area students and worked with World Concern to collect hygiene products in "share kits" for Afghani women. Unlike most campus organizations, members have a mission that is lifelong. Those who graduate become part of the Alumnae Falconettes, whose goal is to serve as Christ served the Church.

With a newly created fund called the Betty J. Corson Alumnae Falconette Scholarship Endowment, the Alumnae Falconettes have the opportunity to increase their giving. "Betty was a Falconette in the 1940s," says Jan Higbee '85, advisor for the on-campus Falconettes. "She was an active leader in the Alumnae Falconettes for years. Now that she has Alzheimer's, we wanted to honor her with this endowment."

Says Alumnae Falconettes President Joann Moreno '87, "The endowment will allow us to give out sizable scholarships to on-campus Falconettes. With other funds freed up, we can send a larger amount in gift checks to about 21 overseas missionaries who are Alumnae Falconettes."

A handful of the Alumnae Falconettes are charter members, now in their eighties, who continue to make it to the organization's Homecoming Brunch each year. This past year, about 100 of the 1,200 members attended Homecoming.

Many Alumnae Falconettes are in the top of their fields in medicine, business and Christian education. With so many female leaders, says Moreno, "we want to let on-campus Falconettes know that the alumnae members are a great resource for advice and mentorship. We want to remind them they're part of a network."


The south of France is the destination for a group of Seattle Pacific University Fellows, alumni and friends this summer. The July 25-August 2 luxury cruise by canal barge will provide ample opportunities for exploration of the villages of Burgundy, as well as informal discussion about the "world-changers" from the region, including Wolfgang Mozart, Joan of Arc and Louis Pasteur.

Anyone is welcome to join the tour, and a few spaces are still available. Call Fellows Director Sig Swanstrom at 206/281-2723 for more information.


The 2002 Medallion Award recipients honored at the Homecoming President's Luncheon on February 2 are intellectually curious and have made significant contributions to human understanding and quality of life:

Don Bilderback '69 is an experimental x-ray scientist and associate director of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS). He is currently co-developing a new kind of x-ray light source and has done important work on a "Science for Peace" initiative among Middle Eastern scientists.

Jerry Klein '60 is a graphic designer, commercial photographer and former research scientist with Eastman Kodak, where he spent 22 years designing and constructing innovative photographic systems. In addition to having conducted research into artificial enzymes, he has assembled a collection of more than 100,000 photographic images.

Grace Sun '61 is a professor of biochemistry at the University of Missouri Columbia and an internationally recognized researcher of diseases of the central nervous system. Her work has been especially beneficial to sufferers of stroke, alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease.

Doris Wilson '47 spent years in remote Africa practicing medicine. She ran a medical clinic and treated difficult maladies including rabies, TB and malaria. She performed eyelid surgery at a hospital in Sudan and primitive bush surgery by kerosene lamp. "Each one is an amazing story of commitment and achievement," says Alumni Director Doug Taylor. "And their appreciation for the part SPU played is truly heartwarming."


In the Winter 2002 issue of Response, we incorrectly reported that 2001 Medallion Award winner Len Ensign was the first missionary physician in Burundi and Rwanda in Central Africa. He was the first to do surgery at Kibuye Hospital for quite a while, but was preceded even there by other physicians. We were also in error when we wrote that Marti Oaks Ensign was president of Women in Medicine and Dentistry. She was director of Women in Medicine and Dentistry, which is a department of the Christian Medical/Dental Society.

Please read our disclaimer. Send any questions, comments or correspondence about Response to jgilnett@spu.edu
or call 206-281-2051.
Copyright © 2003 University Communications, Seattle Pacific University.

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