Monday, May 1, 2023 Seattle Pacific University

Campus News & Events

SPU Flame
Commencement 2023: Staff volunteers needed

In case you missed Provost Laura Hartley’s Monday, April 24, email, she wrote: 

This year we are thrilled to celebrate the Class of 2023 at T-Mobile Park! We were thrilled to see the excitement and enthusiasm on their faces last Friday at Grad Fest. This class has persevered through some touch times, especially the pandemic and all its challenges. Many of them mentioned they never got to have a high school graduation, so this is a truly special celebration in their lives.

Many of you may remember that it takes many staff to help make Undergraduate Commencement, Graduate Commencement, and Ivy Cutting happen successfully … around 200 people! Each year, we ask staff from all areas of the University to consider serving for one or more shifts at the various events.

Since Undergraduate Commencement this year is occurring on Friday/Saturday, non-exempt employees may need to shift some of their working time from their regular schedule to Saturday. In limited cases, we may be able to pay some non-exempt employees’ overtime for the Saturday hours worked. For supervisors, we greatly appreciate your cooperation and agreement in making this work with your staff.

Please sign up for a shift (or more) using the Commencement Volunteer sign-up form If you have any questions, please email, or contact Linda McCarrel at

We are grateful to you, our wonderful SPU staff, for assisting in this culminating event in our students’ lives. Come help us celebrate God’s faithfulness in their academic lives!

Student holding a stack of books
May 2: School of Theology Book Celebration

Join us on Tuesday, May 2, 4–5:30 p.m., in the Fine Center at First Free Methodist Church (adjacent to campus) as we celebrate books recently published by School of Theology faculty and hear reviews from local pastors on each book.

  • Workshop of the Holy Spirit: An Invitation to Theological Education by Doug Strong
  • The Radiance of God: Christian Doctrine Through the Image of Divine Light by Doug Koskela
  • Making Christianity Manly Again: Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, and American Evangelicalism by Jennifer McKinney
  • AI, Faith, and the Future: An Interdisciplinary Approach by Michael Paulus and Michael Langford

More information on the SOT website.

Faculty Life Office
May 4 and May 5: File Building Workshop for faculty

From the Faculty Life Office: Are you a faculty member preparing for a third-year review, tenure, or promotion? Join the Status Committee for a File Building Workshop on Wednesday, May 3, 4–5 p.m., or on Thursday, May 4, 11:10 a.m.–12:10 p.m. Both sessions will be in the Library classroom.

The French flag
Save the date: Celebrating French cuisine

SPU Dining Services will collaborate with SPU’s French Language and Culture Club, Le Cercle Français, to host a night showcasing the diverse cuisine of the Francophone world on Thursday, May 25. Plan to join us for dinner in Gwinn Commons from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. to enjoy food inspired by the regions of France and other French-speaking countries.

Undergraduate student
May 5: Erickson Undergraduate Research Conference

The Erickson Undergraduate Research Conference will be held Friday, May 5, 2023, 4–7 p.m., in Otto Miller Hall. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the conference, showcasing student research and design projects from all STEM departments and Health and Human Performance. The conference will begin with a keynote address from Dr. Gretchen Huizinga, a research fellow at AI and Faith, and an expert on the intersection of artificial intelligence, Christianity, and ethics. Dr. Huizinga will speak on “Righteous AI: The Christian voice in the ethical AI conversation.” Student presentations will follow, utilizing a variety of formats. Please see the Erickson Conference website for the full schedule of events. All are welcome!

Financial Planning
May 8: Finance training opportunity

From Rebekah Johansen, financial planning manager: We’re launching a new training opportunity for all who work on Finance documents! The program launch will take place on Monday, May 8, at 1 p.m. in Cremona 102. This program is intended to provide training and improve communication. If you work on anything finance-related for your department — from RFPs and budget management, to submitting personnel paperwork and creating reports — this is for you, regardless of how long you’ve been managing budgets and submitting finance paperwork. The goal is to help everyone get onto the same page. At this first meeting, we will share the inspiration for the program, as well as the dates and topics of the first few trainings. If you have questions or would like to RSVP, please reach out to me at

Celebration of Service
May 11: Celebration of Service

Celebrate your colleagues and express your appreciation for their committed years of service during the annual Celebration of Service. The Professor of the Year and Staff Members of the Year will also be announced. The event will be held in Royal Brougham Pavilion on Thursday, May 11, at 11:10 a.m. There will be a community reception immediately following the event. All offices are closed during the celebration so faculty and staff can attend.

May 9–23: Retirement Readiness Events

Human Resources will host a series of upcoming events designed to get you ready for retirement. Whether retirement is a distant dream or just around the corner, these events are designed for you!

Retirement Ready Seminar
Tuesday, May 9, 4 p.m. 
Hendricks Falcon Club, Royal Brougham Pavilion
Seasoned professionals in the retirement industry will discuss investment strategies, and estate planning. Whether retirement is years or decades away, a smart strategy begins now! 

Light refreshments will be served. You are welcome to bring a guest. Sign up here!

Social Security 101 Virtual Workshop
Wednesday, May 17, 1 p.m. 
Webinar link.
Speaker: Kirk Larson, Washington State Public Affairs Representative, Social Security Administration. 

Kirk has over 30 years’ experience in Social Security Administration, including published articles and media appearances discussing Social Security topics. Prior to attending the workshop, go to to create a my Social Security account and print out your Social Security statement.

Get Ready to Retire Webinar
Tuesday, May 23, 1 p.m.
Webinar link.

Speaker: Join Transamerica Consultant Ronee Dakin for an informational webinar to learn about strategies for transitioning into retirement and the questions you should be asking now to prepare.

Transamerica Individual Appointments
Tuesday, May 23–Thursday, May 25, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Human Resources Conference Room

Our Transamerica Consultant Ronee Dakin is back on campus for the first time since COVID. Seize this opportunity to discuss your personal retirement investment strategy or to get your plan started. Sign up here!

May 22–24: Individual retirement-strategy appointments

From the Office of Human Resources: SPU’s Transamerica retirement plan gives you access to a dedicated retirement planning consultant. If you need help improving your financial wellness, navigating inflations monetary impact, or transitioning to retirement, Ronee Dakin, our Transamerica retirement planning consultant will be available to provide the support you need to keep you on course.

Schedule your appointment here at a time convenient for you.

Tuesday–Thursday, May 22–24
8 a.m.–5 p.m.
HR Conference Room

10th of the month
Monthly deadlines for payroll, benefits 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 to your 403b account may take up to seven days to be provided to SPU for processing, so please contact Transamerica by the first of the month prior to your requested change. 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 Cherylin Shdo in HR at 206-281-2816.

Thursday deadline
Faculty/Staff Bulletin deadline

The Faculty/Staff Bulletin is published weekly on Mondays during the academic year (or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday). The next deadline is Thursday, May 4, and the next issue will be published Monday, May 8.

If you have information or event news, send it as soon as possible with an image or graphic to Bulletin editor Tracy Norlen at Submissions may be edited for clarity.

Faculty & Staff News

Kirsten Sundber-Lunstrum
Lunstrum’s short story to be published

Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum, adjunct instructor of writing, will have her short story, “Outer Stars,” published in this summer’s issue of the journal Prairie Schooner, vol. 92, no. 2.

SPU in the News

mark oppenlander
Oppenlander, students featured in Queen Anne/Magnolia News

Mark Oppenlander, director of the Center for Applied Learning, and students in the recent Social Venture Plan Competition were featured in the Queen Anne/Magnolia News on April 27 in an article titled "SPU event not a typical competition."

Volume #50 , Issue #17 | Published by: University Communications

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