Alexander Hall is central to the story of Seattle Pacific University … past, present, and future. SPU’s story began in 1891 with a vision for outstanding Christian education that would equip students to do good in the world. Set on an uncultivated plot of land in early Seattle, Alexander Hall — the University’s first building — brought that vision to life.

Now we celebrate the successful completion of the $6.2 million campaign to restore the historic building and give it a seismic retrofit. Read more about the outpouring of alumni and friends of SPU that is helping Alexander Hall stand strong far into the future.

Beauty in a Rugged Outpost

SPU’s first faculty members, Alexander and Adelaide Beers, arrived from Virginia to find a beautifully detailed building standing in stark contrast to its rugged surroundings. Adelaide Beers wrote, “Some attempt had been made to clear away the dense timber, and huge stumps blackened by the logger’s fire reared their unsightly arms on either side of the footpath, or cow trail as it was called.”

Alexander Beers eventually became SPU’s first president, and in October 1940, the “Red Brick Building” was christened Alexander Hall.

Historic photos of Alexander Hall and the Beers

Becky Arnett Gilliam

Alumna Makes $2.5 Million Challenge Gift

SPU alumna Becky Gilliam ’80 has committed $2.5 million in support of the campaign to restore Alexander Hall. “I offer my gift to honor the legacy passed down by the Arnett family: a deep love for God, a belief in the value of a Christian education, and a great respect for Seattle Pacific.”


What does Alexander Hall mean to you?

  • “My room was on the third floor in the far corner toward McKinley auditorium. The room contained a bunk bed, a couple of small desks, and a hot plate — used a lot, and probably illegally.”

    Don McPhee ’50

  • “Eventually I was called to ordained ministry, but it was a call I never would have heard had it not been for the hours spent in Alexander Hall and the encouragement I received from faculty members who also became my friends.”

    Elizabeth “Betsy” Zarelli Turner ’76

  • “When I was in my junior year, I would go to the beautiful, tiny chapel to pray and to rest. … To this day, it's my favorite place on campus.”

    Erica Murray Wright ’96

  • “Alexander Hall may, indeed, be the oldest building in all of Queen Anne. … We are delighted its preservation is assured and trust the university’s other historic buildings will receive similar care.”

    Michael Herschensohn, President of the Queen Anne Historical Society

  • “If only the bricks of Alexander Hall could talk! To me, Alexander has been the very heart of SPU and when I look at it, I don’t see just a building: I see a launching pad.”

    Kathleen Braden, Professor of Geography

  • “Rob Wall’s office was stacked with papers, books, projects, and who knows what else. (It probably still is!) The first time I sat there, some early morning while taking “New Testament,” I felt overwhelmed but strangely comforted. So began a long relationship that transformed myriad dimensions of my life.”

    Brent Plate ’90

Tell us your Alexander story, and read the stories of others.