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Spring 2004 | Volume 26, Number 6 | Campaign
“This Is Our Campaign”

Creativity and Commitment Are the Hallmarks of Faculty Giving

WHEN THE EQUIPMENT WISH LIST for the new Science Building approached $4 million, the Seattle Pacific University faculty knew it would need to match donor dollars with some creative acquisition techniques.

Among the many faculty members who have contributed in various ways to The Campaign for Seattle Pacific University are (from left) Patricia Brown, Stamatis Vokos, Eric Hanson and Rick Ridgway.
Associate Professor of Biology Rick Ridgway was one who took on the challenge.

To help create biology laboratories that would be at the forefront of teaching and research, Ridgway sent the word out to his network of friends in the national science community that Seattle Pacific needed a transmission electron microscope — a scientific workhorse for examining biological samples, particularly viruses. New, such a precision instrument would cost $240,000 or more. Ridgway asked his contacts whether one could be donated or sold to the University at a substantial savings.

A vendor who eventually sold Seattle Pacific other microscopic equipment knew that Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles had purchased a new transmission electron microscope and was removing its old one from service. Dr. Christina Bertolotto in pediatrics contacted Ridgway, and the Cedars administration agreed to donate the 12-year-old instrument to SPU for the cost of dismantling, shipping and installation.

“They wished us well in our continuing research endeavors,” Ridgway says. “Now we can conduct and publish research that will increase our capability to apply for science grants — which, in turn, will help us in securing new or upgraded equipment.

”Such in-kind contributions to The Campaign for Seattle Pacific University are one of the creative means by which faculty members give their support to the growth and stability of SPU over and above their regular teaching load. “I don’t have a lot of personal funds to give,” explains Ridgway, “but by working to get equipment donated at a fraction of the cost, I’ve been able to contribute in ways I otherwise could not afford.” His connections thus far have saved the University an estimated $600,000.

Seeking grants from foundations and corporations to fund specific programs and research constitutes another major faculty contribution. More than 50 professors have been involved in obtaining a variety of grants for the University, in areas as diverse as vocational learning and the arts.

When Dean Carrell, director of annual giving, held meetings to urge Campaign participation on the part of faculty and staff members in every academic discipline and departmental area, he found strong support. “Almost without fail, the personal invitation to make a Campaign contribution was welcomed,” Carrell says. “The overwhelming attendance at these meetings is almost unheard of among our peer institutions.”

Though Eric Hanson, professor of music, thinks his pledge may be more symbolic than substantial, he wanted to take part. “While I can’t afford to give very much, it was important for me to say that I am committed to our calling here at SPU, that I as a faculty member am a major stakeholder in our community mission.”

Stamatis Vokos, associate professor of physics, agrees. “This is our campaign. The clarity of our vision and the excitement among colleagues and students about the direction of the University propel us all to help.”

Associate Professor of Christian Formation and Education Ministry Patricia Brown joined the faculty in 2003. “I’m new to SPU, and I’m excited to be part of a top-notch School of Theology that is part of a first-class university. To be able to teach and work beside globally known theologians is one of the greatest honors of my life. I have no qualms about giving to such a fine endeavor.”

In addition to gifts in kind and deferred gifts (such as wills and trusts), faculty and staff are giving financially in record numbers. Since the start of The Campaign in July 1999, monetary gifts from Seattle Pacific employees have totaled nearly $930,000 in cash and pledges. Participation among the 560 employees at SPU rose dramatically in the past year from 22 percent to 55 percent, propelling the University to the top quartile in this category among member institutions of the national Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.


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