In the Loop

December 2020

Behold! Your gift of Christmas music and inspiration from SPU

Don’t miss Behold! A Sacred Sounds of Christmas event from Seattle Pacific, featuring inspiring music and stories from talented students, alumni, and faculty. Watch “O Holy Night” right now, and see the entire event anytime on SPU’s YouTube channel.

From the Vice Provost: Sharing comfort this season

By Jeffrey Jordan, Vice Provost for Student Formation and Community Engagement

Over the years, I’ve provided many thoughts about the Christmas season in my writing to SPU parents. These messages have been words of encouragement and a few helpful hints about re-connecting with your students as they come home.

In giving some thought of this Christmas season with all that has been going on around us and within us, I have a sense that one of the things we may need during this time is comfort. In many ways, Christmas brings memories and images of comfort — favorite foods, fireplaces, singing carols, playing games, decorations, and reading lengthy Christmas letters from friends and family. These are experiences that bring us comfort.

For me, I have found comfort often in music. Handel’s Messiah is a Christian tradition for many and the song, Comfort Ye My People, provides a message for us today based on Isaiah 40. In a conversation with Stephen Newby, professor of music, director of composition, and director of the Center for Worship, he recommended a rendition of this work sung as a duet from the Soulful Messiah. He explained that the two singers need to hold each other up in relationship taking into account three specific elements. The singers need to relate to each other with the same rhythm, rhyme, and reason. As you think about these terms, the rhythm is about patterns and consistency. The rhyme is the poetic beauty of the words. And the reason is deep intentions of meaning for the song.

In this time, I encourage us to provide comfort to others who are scared, suffering, facing injustices, feeling isolated and alone. We are in relationship with many — family, friends, neighbors. Let us find times in this season to find patterns and consistency (rhythm) in anticipation and celebration. Let us find beauty in words and actions (rhyme) that lift up others. And let us find the deep meaning (reason) that requires our reflection and attention with one another. May our relationship with our God and with one another uphold us this Christmas season.

Your parents and family Facebook group

The SPU Parent and Families Facebook group is an official SPU resource for you to connect with other parents and resources across campus. Have a question about your student’s campus experience or important deadlines? Get insights, a few laughs along the way, and answers from SPU staff moderators.

After students’ late-night study sessions and hours of taking their Autumn Quarter finals, we asked group members how many hours their students slept once they came home for Winter Break. Here’s a sampling of what parents had to say:

  • My daughter slept 13 hours; she only traveled 30 min north of Seattle.
  • My son traveled by plane 12 hours back to Arkansas. He made it home at 6:30 pm & was in bed by 7:30! Slept 15 hours!
  • Mine traveled 4 hours and slept for 13ish the first few nights.
  • Traveled by plane home to Virginia & has gone right back to his late nights followed by sleeping till afternoon schedule!

If you’re not part of this private Facebook group yet and want to be, join the group here.

Q & A with Provost Laura Hartley

In June, Laura Hartley joined SPU as provost, overseeing undergraduate and graduate faculty and academics at the University. Response magazine spoke with Provost Hartley about her new role. Read about her approach to diversity issues on campus, improving Christian higher education, and more in this Q & A with Provost Laura Hartley.

New BA/MA program for students called to the ministry

Students who feel called to the ministry can now take a pastoral ministry degree path that lets them earn a bachelor’s degree in Christian theology and a master’s degree in Christian ministry in only five years instead of six. With courses available that count for both degree programs, students not only save on tuition costs, but they also have increased opportunities for practical field experience and one-on-one ministerial mentorship. Find out more about this program.

Men’s and women’s basketball teams to compete this winter

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference announced in November that it plans to move forward with modified conference-only men’s and women’s basketball schedules beginning in January. Games will be played without spectators.

“I am grateful for the support of the Seattle Pacific administration which had paved the way for us to opt into the 2021 basketball season," said Athletic Director Jackson Stava. “We believe that SPU has a testing protocol and other safety measures that can allow us to compete in a controlled and safe environment. Most importantly, I am excited for our student-athletes and coaches who have been working diligently since last March, hoping for this opportunity.” Read more.

Helpful resources and more from Student Financial Services

Financial wellness resources 

Even during the best of times, finances can be difficult to navigate and bring on levels of anxiety and stress. Please know that both SPU and the community at large can provide assistance to students in several different ways, including financial education, food resources, housing resources, and emergency financial assistance.

Encourage your student to explore the information on the Student Financial Services Student Financial Wellness page for details on these available resources.

Now is the time to file your student’s FAFSA

From Jordan Grant, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Operations and Student Financial Services: “All students should submit a new FAFSA each year, so that SFS is able to make sure your student has the best financial aid package possible for the 2021–22 academic year. Returning students should submit a 2021–22 FAFSA by April 1, 2021; emailed letters will be sent in May 2021.

Newly admitted students should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible so they have plenty of time to connect with SFS and to make their college choice. Students who had submitted a valid FAFSA by Dec. 1 will receive an “Offer of Financial Assistance” before Christmas. Students who submit a valid FAFSA by Jan. 5, 2021, will receive an offer in January. Offers of Financial Assistance will be released in students’ SPU portal and mailed.

“The FAFSA will ask families and students for 2019 tax and income information, and for some families and students current investment and asset information as of the date the FAFSA is filed will also be asked. SFS is ready to help if your family income are significantly different on your 2019 tax returns or if there are other special financial circumstances. For more information about the FAFSA process, visit our website.”

Commencement 2021 update

From the Office of the Provost: “We commend the Class of 2021 for their endurance, resilience, and hope during a year that will forever be part of the SPU story. We are thrilled to celebrate SPU’s upcoming baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral graduates this spring! Thank you for your role in supporting them on this academic journey.

“Currently, King County and the City of Seattle are in Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan, and large gatherings — both indoor and outdoor — are still prohibited. University leadership is working closely with state and county health officials to keep you informed and to ensure that we can properly celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2021.

“Although we do not know yet whether an in-person event will be possible, Commencement Weekend 2021 is scheduled for June 11–13. Be sure to check our website for more details about all things graduation.”

Still have questions? Please do not hesitate to contact us at or 206-281-2125.

Online Homecoming and Family Hub

In lieu of gathering for our on-campus Homecoming and Family Weekend traditionally held in February, we’re working on an exciting new virtual experience — an online Homecoming and Family Hub. It’ll feature interactive opportunities to engage with the SPU community. Stay tuned for more details in the January In the Loop parents and families newsletter.

January virtual career treks for students

Even over the longer-than-usual Christmas break, the Center for Career and Calling has been letting students know about an exciting line-up of “Virtual Career Treks” in January to kick off 2021. Students must register by Thursday, Dec. 31. The cost for each virtual career trek is $5.

Some of the companies and organizations represented will include SAP, a market leader in enterprise application software; government law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration; Warner Media; the Center for Strategic & International Studies; National Geographic; Success Academy Charter Schools; Charles River Laboratories; and more. 

The virtual career treks will take place between Jan. 12 and Jan. 28, and your student can find all the information on Handshake, SPU’s online hub for career resources. They can also find out more at

Upcoming events

Christmas Break for students
Nov. 26–Jan. 4

Christmas Week
Wednesday, Dec. 23–Sunday, Jan. 3

Campus offices closed.

Virtual Career Treks registration deadline
Thursday, Dec. 31
$5 per career trek 

Students should visit Handshake for a complete list of companies organizations, as well as to register. The treks will take place between Jan. 12 and Jan. 28, 2021.

Residence halls open
Monday, Jan. 4
11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

From Residence Life: All students are permitted to move in Monday, Jan. 4. 

  • Students who are new, or who did not live on campus during Autumn Quarter 2020, are invited to move in beginning 11 a.m. 
  • Returning students may begin moving to their housing locations beginning at 1 p.m.

Winter Quarter begins
Tuesday, Jan. 5

Classes begin.

Men’s basketball vs. Alaska Fairbanks
Friday–Saturday, Jan. 15–16
5 p.m.; 2 p.m.
Royal Brougham Pavilion

Friday tip-off at 5 p.m.; Saturday tip-off at 2 p.m. All Winter Quarter games will be contested without spectators present.

Women’s basketball vs. Saint Martin’s
Friday–Saturday, Jan. 22–23
5 p.m.; 2 p.m.
Royal Brougham Pavilion

Friday tip-off at 5 p.m.; Saturday tip-off at 2 p.m. All Winter Quarter games will be contested without spectators present.

Academic calendars

SPU academic calendars, including important deadlines, final exam schedules, holidays, and academic highlights for 2020–21.