Seattle Pacific University

Campus News & Events

Don Mortenson headshot
Seattle Pacific Foundation Announces Another Year of Impressive Endowment Investment Return

A message from Don Mortenson, vice chair of the Seattle Pacific Foundation Board of Directors:

For the second straight year, the Seattle Pacific Foundation’s (SPF) investment strategy for Seattle Pacific University’s endowment has produced returns that rank among the top performers in the annual National Association of College and University Business Officers Commonfund Study of Endowments (NCSE), a study of endowment returns from over 830 major U.S. colleges and universities. SPF reported a 4.7 percent return for the year ending June 30, 2016, which ranked 12th in the study and compared well against the average endowment return of -1.9 percent. This is the second straight year of strong performance from SPF as its 13.4 percent return ranked 5th in the 2015 study. As nice as one and two year excellent returns are to report, a much more important measure for endowment is the longer term investment history, and the SPF has a good report here as well.  As the chart below indicates, the University’s endowment investments had three-year, five-year, and ten-year returns all in the top decile (i.e., better than 90 percent of other schools) of reported returns in the 2016 NCSE study.  

Chart showing investment performance results

Many Universities have outsourced the investment management of their endowment to third parties. At SPU, the SPF Investment Committee and Gordon Nygard, the foundation’s chief investment officer, continue to guide the endowment investment process with a domestic equity and local bias and with no portfolio exposure to hedge funds, a strategy that has performed well over the past decade.

The two major drivers to the endowment’s investment returns continue to be the private capital portfolio, which invests in smaller and early stage companies that drive innovation and job creation, and the endowment’s commercial real estate portfolio. Through its real estate portfolio, SPF has been able to invest over 25 percent of endowment assets locally, including the purchase of four office and retail buildings on Nickerson, which SPF has renovated and re-tenanted. SPF also owns a 75,000 square foot office building in the rapidly growing South Lake Union area, home to Seattle’s growing tech economy. In addition, SPF has 10 percent of its assets in real estate loans that provide substantial annual income to its total returns. 

Since 1993, SPF, with the help of strategic partners, has committed capital to companies focused on innovation. These include early investments in Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, in addition to local Seattle companies such as Amazon, Tableau, and Zulilly. With a continued focus on future innovation, SPF currently has committed over $12 million to future investments in private companies in need of capital to grow their businesses. These companies will drive our economy and create new jobs that current and future SPU graduates will be preparing for.

Fiscal year 2017 has also begun well as equity markets continue to reach new record levels, pushing the value of Seattle Pacific’s endowment very close to $100 million at the end of April. The most important goal of good investment strategy, however, is to provide sustained and growing support to student scholarships and to strengthen academic programs. Gifts to endowment are critically important along with investment returns to support student scholarships and University programs. Over the past decade, a total of $21.7 million has been distributed from the endowment.

 [Seattle Pacific Foundation is a controlled affiliate nonprofit of the University. The Foundation’s board of directors are appointed by the University’s Board of Trustees to provide endowment and trust investment management support to the University.]

Into the Woods theatre play, 2016
SPU Theatre Department Presents Into the Woods

Seattle Pacific University’s Theatre Department presents the musical Into the Woods May 11-13 in E.E. Bach Theatre in McKinley Hall. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m., including a 2 p.m. matinee on May 13. To start a family, a childless baker and his wife are forced to start a journey through the woods because of a witch’s curse. During their trek, they meet classic fairytale characters who provide solutions to their problems. Faculty and staff can receive two complimentary tickets by calling the Theatre Box Office at 206-281-2959 or email


Graphics for mode, showing text "runway to retail fashion show"
Spring Fashion Show "Runway to Retail"

SPU MODE Fashion Group's annual Spring Fashion Show is Saturday, May 13, 7-10 p.m. in Brougham Pavilion. The event features student designers' collections modeled by SPU students. This year, students have designed items specifically for local retailers. Come see collections for companies ranging from Nordstrom and Zumiez to Peridot and Luly Yang. Tickets are $5 (cash or check only). Doors open at 6:45 p.m.


Give big logo for 2017
May 10 Is GiveBIG

GiveBIG is a 24-hour fundraising event made possible by the Seattle Foundation. This year, an SPU donor has provided our largest matching gift ever! One hundred percent of donations will be matched, up to $75,000 (all match dollars will go to the University Fund). You can schedule your gift TODAY online. We hope you’ll consider giving $125 in honor of SPU’s 125 anniversary. Your gift of any amount makes a difference!


Creative Conversations
Library’s Creative Conversations with Tina Schermer-Sellers, Marriage and Family Therapy

The Library’s next Creative Conversations event features Tina Schermer-Sellers, associate professor of marriage and family therapy. She will talk about her new book, Sex, God, & the Conservative Church: Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy. This book guides psychotherapy and sexology clinicians on how to treat clients who grew up in a conservative faith — mired in sexual shame and dysfunction — and who desire to both heal and hold on to their faith orientation. The event is Thursday, May 10, 12-12:50 p.m. in the Ames Library Reading Room. Light snacks will be provided.


Jazz Ensamble image small
Jazz Ensemble Concert May 10

The SPU Jazz Ensemble, directed by adjunct music faculty member Dan Kramlich, will perform Wednesday, May 10, 7:30 p.m. in Nickerson Studios. The event is free and wheelchair accessible.

Stained Glass
Multicultural Celebration Night May 12

Multicultural Celebration Night is a new event created to tie in with the theme of  "Culture Week: Identity, Understanding, Celebration." The event hosted by STUB (Student Union Board) and student group Catalyst is Friday, May 12, 6-9 p.m. in Martin Square. An international dinner provided from various locations of the greater Seattle area will be served at 6 p.m., followed by performances at 7 p.m. ranging from Samba dancers to Japanese drumming and more. 

Book Celebration logo
School of Theology Book Celebration

Join the Center for Biblical and Theological Education, the School of Theology, and Seattle Pacific Seminary for a special event highlighting books recently published by our faculty authors. The book celebration will be Thursday, May 18, 3-4:30 p.m., in the Fine Center at First Free Methodist Church. The program includes a review of each book. This year’s featured books are:

Register online to receive a complimentary copy of one of the featured books. Registration deadline is May 11.

Spoken word night logo
Spoken Word Night May 11

Students and alumni will participate in Spoken Word Night on Thursday, May 11, 7-9 p.m. in Upper Gwinn. Individuals will share about their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, and other topics through art, spoken word, song, dance, and storytelling.

Photo: SPU sign on campus
Looking for Student Leaders

The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations needs your help in recommending five student leaders to join our Advancement Core leadership team. Advancement Core is a group of students that exists to deepen SPU pride, loyalty, and gratitude among current students. The group seeks to share the story of SPU and its rich history, legacy, and traditions, as well as the ways donors have generously supported SPU. Student leaders for Advancement Core will be given the opportunity to help plan and implement “I Love SPU Week” and serve as student ambassadors at many different alumni events. They are looking for students who:

  • Have a deep love of SPU
  • Have excellent interpersonal skills and a sense of professionalism
  • Desire to see all students flourish at SPU
  • Are strongly committed to academic success  

If you’d like to recommend a student, email Kyle Brown, annual Giving Program coordinator, at by Wednesday, May 10.

Kevin Austin headshot
Workshop on Human Trafficking

The next event in the School of Business, Government, and Economics Innovation Lab will focus on human trafficking. Kevin Austin ꟷ Set Free Movement director, Free Methodist pastor, and Global Missional leader ꟷ will talk about working domestically and globally through the Set Free Movement to end modern-day slavery. The event is Thursday, May 11, 5:30-8:30 p.m. in Demaray Hall 150. Free pizza and beverages will be served.

Bike everywhere challenge logo
It’s Not Too Late to Sign Up for the Bike Everywhere Challenge

Don’t forget! The 2017 Bike Everywhere Challenge challenges team members to commute by bicycle at least four days during the month of May.

Join an SPU bike to work team today!

  • Select the blue ”Register Here” button.
  • Join as a participating member of Seattle Pacific University.
  • Sign in or create a new account and follow the prompts.
  • Once logged in, navigate to “My Org” and select the SPU team you would like to join.

Current SPU teams:
“SPU Cyclers” (led by Lynette Bikos)
“Cycle PRN” (led by Carol McFarland)
“Tour de SPU” (led by Emily Huff)
“Artists of the SPU” (led by Brad Hawkins)

Or start your own team. Start biking, win prizes, and get to know other SPU bike riders!


Free Meals With Faculty Staff Block Ten Purchases

Through May 12, you will receive two free meals if you purchase a Faculty Staff Block 10 Meal Plan. That’s 12 meals for $77 ($6.42 per meal)! (Limit one per person.) You can use the plan in Gwinn any time during their service hours. Or you can use it to purchase Simply to Go meals at the Corner Place Market, Academic Perks (SUB), or Common Grounds (Weter). Meals can be used for guests, too. Plans can be purchased through Banner. Meal balances roll from quarter to quarter as long as you are employed at the University. If you have questions, contact Housing and Meal Plan Services at 206-281-2188 or email

Visit Days 2016
Transfer Open House May 15

Prospective and admitted transfer students will be on campus on Monday, May 15, for Transfer Open House. Students and their guests will take campus tours, visit with counselors, and learn more about the transfer admissions process at SPU. Please look for these guests and make them feel welcome!


10th of the month
Staff Payroll and Benefit Changes?

The 10th of each month is the last day to make changes to your upcoming payroll check. Do you need to add or remove your spouse and/or children from your health care plans? If so, contact Human Resources (HR) to complete the appropriate form. Changes might include events that are expected to impact your benefits and deductions, such as your spouse or children gaining or losing coverage due to employment, birth, marriage, etc. Additionally, any changes you wish to make to your 403(b) account contributions must be made by the 10th of the month. For changes to your 403(b) account, contact Transamerica Retirement Solutions at 1-888-676-5512 (5 a.m.-6 p.m. PST), or 1-800-755-5801. If you have any other benefits-related changes, call Mardeth Hughes in HR at 206-281-2816.

Sonder Senior show poster
Student Exhibits in Art Center Gallery

The work of graduating art students in illustration and new pictures will be featured in the Art Center Gallery beginning Tuesday, May 2, through Friday, May 19. The exhibit will feature works by Kyle Beavers, Ali Beeson, Lauren Campbell, Rebecca Morris, Katie Mullen, and Suzi Spooner. The gallery is located at 3 West Cremona. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

SPU Wellness
Mental Health Awareness Month

From the Wellness Initiative: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Many college students are impacted by mental illness. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma against mental illness, which deters many students from seeking treatment. As faculty and staff, there are ways that you can combat stigma against mental health! To learn more, visit the Wellness blog.


Logo for Holy Land Tour, showing a photo of Israel
Holy Land Tour Led by the Free Methodist Church, Pacific Northwest Conference

A message from Dr. Matt Whitehead, superintendent, Free Methodist Church ꟷ Pacific Northwest Conference, and tour host: We’d like to invite you to join us for the trip of a lifetime. Come experience where Jesus walked, as well as encourage those who live there today and walk with Jesus. The trip is scheduled for January 29-February 10, 2018. The all-inclusive price includes roundtrip coach airfare from Seattle, four-star hotels in each location, meals, all tips and site entrance fees, and more. There is limited space available. If interested, we encourage you to visit our website for information on the cost, itinerary, FAQs, and a link to a sign-up form. Our tour logistics coordinators are Cathy Tastad and Dean Kato. We'd love to have you join us on this journey! 


Seattle Pacific University, Dining Services logo
Campus Dining Specials This Week
Week-long Specials
  • Chicken with homemade marinara sauce topped with melted cheese between sesame buns. Try a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich with fries for only $6.99 at the Falcon Grill.
  • *NEW* Craving something sweet? Grab a warm churro from Cocina Del Sol. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and rolled in cinnamon sugar.
  • *NEW* Enjoy hot tamales at Cocina Del Sol. This week, get two tamales for only $5.
  • Cool down with dairy-free So Delicious Ice Cream! Don't forget to use your $1 off coupon from the Retail Dining Value Pack. 
Daily Specials
Tuesday, May 9
  • TACO TUESDAY at Cocina Del Sol! Get a taco for $1.99.
  • Gwinn is flipping its tables with a pancake bar for dinner service!
Wednesday, May 10
  • Gwinn will be serving a dim sum plate for lunch service for one meal swipe plus $5 or two meal swipes from 11 a..m-2 p.m.
Friday, May 12
It's $5 Friday. Check out the Friday specials.
  • Bertona Street Pizza: One-topping pizza
  • Cocina Del Sol: Two tamales 
  • Academic Perks and Common Grounds: Venti Guava Italian Soda and a Milka candy bar
  • Falcon Grill: Falafel sandwich

Thursday deadline
Faculty/Staff Bulletin Deadline

The Faculty/Staff Bulletin is published weekly during the academic year. If you have information or event news, send it as soon as possible to Bulletin editor Tracy Norlen at Submissions may be edited for clarity. The next deadline is Thursday, May 11. The next Bulletin will be published Monday, May 15.

Faculty & Staff News

Tom Carpenter
Carpenter’s Article Published

The Department of Psychology is pleased to announce that Assistant Professor of Psychology Tom Carpenter’s article titled “Teaching (and Learning) Psychology Statistics In an Age of Math Anxiety” was published in May’s Psych Learning Curve. This is the official blog of the American Psychological Association’s Education Directorate. Since its debut in 2016, the blog has garnered over 100,000 views. Tom would like to recognize his co-author, current Seattle Pacific University undergraduate student Jaime McDonald.


Jeff Keuss
Keuss’ Article Published

An article by Professor of Christian Ministry, Theology, and Culture Jeff Keuss titled “Marilynne Robinson and the Literary Self: The Gift of Pre-Apocalyptic Literature in the Age of Rational Religion” was published in Crux Fall/Winter 2016 Vol. 52, Nos. 3-4. The article looks at Robinson’s Gilead trilogy as a manifesto for narrative identity formation in counterpoint to dystopian and overtly deconstructive poetics. The article was part of a conference at Regent College celebrating the work of Marilynne Robinson, where Robinson acted as a respondent to the papers through the 2017 Laing Lecture.

Peter Moe
Moe’s Article Published

An article by Assistant Professor of English Peter Moe was published in Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. The article, titled "Breathing, Parsing, Praying,” discusses what happens when we pray the Lord's Prayer aloud.


SPU Arch
Welcome, Sarah Walter

The Office of Human Resources would like the SPU community to welcome Sarah Walter, administrative assistant in the Executive Office.

Volume #44 , Issue #19 | Published by: University Communications

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