Monday, May 18, 2020 Seattle Pacific University

From the President

President Dan Martin
2020 Commencement speakers

Early in our Commencement planning, I initially extended invitations to two highly regarded individuals to offer the Commencement address at both the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies. However, once COVID-19 altered our operations and this event at such a significant level, I thought it would be best to pivot from external commencement speakers to people who know and understand our community and what our students are experiencing. Both our speakers are distinguished scholars, accomplished leaders, and tireless influencers and change-agents who are making a real difference on our campus and in our world.

I am pleased to announce that Bo Lim, associate professor of Old Testament, will offer the address in the undergraduate ceremony, and Lynette Bikos, professor of clinical psychology and associate dean of the School of Psychology, Family, and Community,  will offer the address in the graduate ceremony. I very much appreciate the both of them for preparing their respective addresses during this key time, and I know our students will look forward to hearing their words of comfort, hope, and challenge.

Please mark your calendar for the two Commencement ceremonies, both of which will be prerecorded, as I would love to encourage all of us to view “live” in honor of our students:

  • Graduate Commencement Ceremony: Saturday, June 13, 2 p.m.
  • Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony: Sunday, June 14, 4 p.m.

Campus News & Events

zoom in with dan
New Zoom in sessions with President Martin

President Dan Martin begins a new series of Zoom interviews with SPU community members about the impact of COVID-19 on campus operations. The series will provide an insider’s view of the challenges and contributions of senior leaders, students, faculty, and staff around the transition to a new learning environment and community, and a chance to hear about the good things that are happening.

In the first session, President Martin interviews three key leaders about SPU's conversion to remote learning and resuming full campus operations in the summer and fall. Cindy Price, vice provost for Academic Affairs, talks about preparation by faculty and students as classes switched to a new learning environment; Sandra Mayo, vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, shares about the impact of the pandemic on our students of color; and Jeff Jordan, vice president for Student Life, explains the work of building community for students both on- and off-campus and preparations for the fall.

Connect with university ministries
Chapel on May 19, 11:10 a.m.

The SPU community continues to gather for worship online every week. Please join us LIVE at this link on Tuesday, May 19, at 11:10 a.m., or feel free to view the service online at any time in the weeks to come. Visit the University Ministries YouTube channel to subscribe or watch past services.

Grad 2019
Tell us about your outstanding graduates

University Communications needs help identifying outstanding students from this year’s graduating class. This request is for undergraduate and graduate students. These students and their achievements will be pitched to media outlets prior to Commencement, as well as used for promotional purposes. Please send the name(s) of the students and a short description about why you are recommending them. Examples would be students who overcame obstacles to graduate, were involved in community service projects, participated in innovative research, started a new venture, took a class that changed their career direction, or did something really interesting. Basically, anything that would make a good story! We will follow up with the student and get permission to use their profile. Send information by email to Director of Public Information Tracy Norlen at

Julie Otsuka
Online event with bestselling author Julie Otsuka May 19

The NEA Big Read: King County event with New York Times bestselling author and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Julie Otsuka, originally scheduled on campus for March 9, will take place online Tuesday, May 19, 7–8:15 p.m. via Zoom. The event will be hosted by Tom Ikeda, executive director of Densho, a local nonprofit preserving and sharing the history of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

Otsuka is the author of When the Emperor Was Divine, an historical fictional account of the Japanese American internment during World War II. Her book is featured in King County’s National Endowment for the Arts Big Read, a community literacy endeavor co-sponsored by SPU to provide opportunities to read and discuss a book that matters to Pacific Northwest history and culture.

Register online to receive an Zoom invitation to the event, and please share this information with anyone interested in World War II history, local history, or reading and discussing great books.

Grad Prof 2019
Share a video greeting with graduates by May 22

From the SPU High Events Team: Please help us hit at least 100 video submissions as we honor our graduating students. Follow these instructions, and send your video to David Rither ( in ETM, by Friday, May 22 (extended deadline!). The video greetings will be available on the Commencement web page a week in advance of the ceremonies, and will be sorted by school, department, or unit, making it easy for students and families to access them. Thank you for taking a few minutes to help celebrate our graduating students as a community!

Human Resources
Faculty, staff have access to confidential support

A message from Human Resources: As a member of the SPU community, you and your dependents have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at no charge to you, provided by SPU as part of the University’s commitment to promote faculty and staff’s health and well-being. This program provides a valuable resource for support and information during difficult times, as well as consultation on day-to-day concerns such as:

  • Professional counseling referrals
  • Financial/legal support
  • Nutrition support
  • Family support
  • Educational articles and webinars

Learn more about available services and contact information.

Summer at SPU
Summer session registration happening now

To give current undergraduate students more options to meet their academic goals on time, Seattle Pacific is offering an expanded selection of summer classes at a reduced cost of $600 per credit, down from $829 per credit. Students will be encouraged to work with their faculty advisor and Student Academic Services counselor to identify how to complete general education requirements over the summer.

Included this summer is THEO 3100 ($50 for the class), a community Bible study taught by professors Katie Douglass, Bob Drovdahl, Sara Koenig, Bo Lim, Rick Steele, and Rob Wall. Titled "Texts of Hope," the course will guide students through Scripture to help them navigate these challenging times. The course is open and accessible to all undergraduate students, freshman through seniors. Registration is now open. Visit the Summer Sessions webpage for more information.

Camp Casey
Time to make fall/winter requests for Camp Casey

Fall/winter reservation requests are now being taken for the Faculty/Staff House at the Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island for full-time faculty and staff. The dates of stay are September 28, 2020, through January 4, 2021. Reservation requests are due by June 5, 2020. The fall/winter requests are selected by lottery and are not affected by summer stays at Casey. Please remember: If you will be away from your SPU email over the summer, provide an alternate email to contact you, should your name be drawn.

Due to COVID-19 and governmental restrictions, there is some uncertainty about the fall, but we hope to be open! If we have to cancel your stay due to COVID-19, we will refund your payment.

Visit the Camp Casey website to request a reservation. Questions? Contact Camp Casey at 866-661-6604 or We look forward to seeing you this winter or sooner!

Image: mortar board
Commencement ceremonies June 13 and 14

Please join our students and their loved ones by watching the (prerecorded) virtual ceremonies that will “go live” on the following dates and times (and will be available afterward online):

  • Graduate Commencement – Saturday, June 13, 2 p.m.
  • Undergraduate Commencement – Sunday, June 14, 4 p.m.

Ceremony viewing will be available at Feel free to engage in the social media campaign happening as we get closer. Use #SPUgrad when you post or share.

Thursday deadline
Faculty/Staff Bulletin deadline

The Faculty/Staff Bulletin is published every Monday (or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday) during the academic year. Due to the Memorial Day holiday, the next Bulletin will be published Tuesday, May 26. The deadline is Thursday, May 21. 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.

Faculty & Staff News

Bruce Congdon image
Honoring our retiring faculty: Bruce Congdon

From the Office of the Provost: We have six faculty retirements at the end of this academic year. Each week in the Faculty/Staff Bulletin we will highlight one retiring faculty member.

Bruce Congdon, interim provost and professor of biology. 35 years of service.

Bruce came to Seattle Pacific University in September 1985 after completing his Ph.D. in entomology at the University of California, Riverside earlier that year. At SPU, Bruce has served as a professor of biology, director of the Blakely Island Field Station (BIFS), associate dean and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, interim chief academic officer, and interim provost. Bruce has taught courses in general science, and in biology on campus, at BIFS, and in the Sonoran Desert. He also has taught UScholars courses on faith and science. His published works have focused on the study of predatory mites and their prey, and has included the naming of four new species (Amblyseius crowleyi Congdon, Neoseiulus shanksi Congdon Proprioseiopsis antonellii Congdon, and Euseius tularensis Congdon). Bruce plans to spend his time post-retirement visiting with his new grandchild and tending the garden.

David Wicks
Wicks elected to second term on board of directors

Dick Wicks, associate professor of curriculum and instruction and chair of digital education, was elected to a second term as the higher education representative on the Northwest Council for Computer Education (NCCE) board of directors for 2020–22. The board is comprised of 10 representatives from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington who oversee the organization’s policies and procedures and bylaws. The board also participates in NCCE’s annual conference and the development of professional learning across the country.

SPU in the News

Doug Strong
Strong quoted in The Washington Times

Doug Strong, dean of the School of Theology and Seattle Pacific Seminary, was quoted in The Washington Times’ article, “Nondenominational churches lead charge against stay-at-home orders.”

David Wicks
Wicks, Digital Education Leadership program mentioned in The Seattle Times

David Wicks, associate professor of curriculum and instruction and chair of digital education, and the digital education leadership program were mentioned in The Seattle Times on May 12 in the article, “Strong distance learning programs can build community connections.” School of Education Dean Nyaradzo Mvududu says, "David has been facilitating a community of practice with The Jewish Day School teachers. The impact of his work can be seen in how well these educators transitioned to emergency remote teaching after COVID-19 hit. Two of our current doctoral students (and graduates of the MEd in Digital Education Leadership program), Liz Ebersole and Becky Johnson, were members of the original group of teachers who worked with him."

Volume #47 , Issue #20 | Published by: University Communications

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