In the Loop

February 2020

New undergraduate programs for 2020–21, and a whale of a September Session

This coming academic year, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to choose from these additional programs:

  • Spanish Heritage Minor
  • Data Analytics Minor
  • BA in Honors Liberal Arts
  • Minor in Honors Liberal Arts
  • Accounting Minor
  • BA Psychology: Cross-Cultural Track

Additionally, this year’s September Session, BIO 4950 Whale Skeleton Articulation, is a one-time section, with the final result — a whale skeleton — hanging on display in Eaton Hall. Response magazine’s Autumn 2019, reported: “An array of SPU faculty will speak about whales from their respective disciplines, including theology, biology, and art, during the summer course. The rest of the time will be spent drilling holes, hanging rods, and puzzling the whale together.”

Video: Financial Aid Webinar

How does financial aid work at Seattle Pacific University? Two experts from Student Financial Services explain it in this one-hour online webinar.

Tech Camps give SPU students hands-on experience

The popular SPU summer Tech Camp is in a second year, and, beginning in June 2020, high schoolers will have three camps to choose from — “Fundamentals of Programming,” “Game Creation Studio,” and “Introduction to Mechatronics and 3D Printing.”


But the opportunities aren't just for the 9th–12th graders. The Tech Camps also give current SPU students in the Department of Engineering and Computer Science an opportunity to help teach and gain valuable experience. “In 2019, the students helped make the Tech Camp happen,” said Assistant Professor of Computer Science Carlos Arias. “They designed the lessons and made the exercises and schedule. It's not a theory for them. It's hands-on.”


Senior Lhakpa Sherpa, a computer science major, made the most of the opportunity. “It was a fun experience,” said the international student from Nepal. “Most of the high school students had the determination and creativity needed to succeed. Once we taught them the available tools, they started building a lot of awesome projects. Being able to help the students turn their imaginations into reality was something I really enjoyed throughout this experience.” Again in 2020, current SPU students will support the SPU faculty members in the Tech Camps in June and July, gaining valuable experience.


The Tech campers walk away with more, too: Participants will each also earn a college credit — and those who enroll in SPU after their high school graduation will receive a $1,000 scholarship in their freshman year, as well. Said Arias, “This is just the beginning.”


Chapel hits the road

This year Chapel is meeting all across campus. Said Chaplain Lisa Ishihara, “We’re continuing the Autumn Quarter Chapel theme of the ‘unexpected,’ by changing up our rhythm for Winter Quarter Chapel.”

During Winter Quarter, Chapel locations alternate between Upper Gwinn and the residence halls. Chapels held in residence halls are hosted by the respective hall. During the final weeks of the quarter, students, faculty, and staff will gather for Chapel in Gwinn Commons, Hill Hall, and Emerson Hall.

Honors Program revamped for autumn 2020

Started in 1969, Seattle Pacific’s honors program “University Scholars” has been an accelerated interdisciplinary alternative to the regular General Education curriculum available only to high-achieving incoming freshmen and transfer students. But several years ago, the “UScholars” began asking for a program update, making it more reflective of our world today and more flexible in its scheduling.

After extensive review and planning with faculty and student leaders, beginning Autumn Quarter 2020 and renamed simply the Honors Program, the challenging program will offer new “on ramps and off ramps to honors study,” explained Christine Chaney, program director and professor of English. The goal? To allow more students to participate in more ways — even with transfer credits. To make that happen, the Honors Program will have these changes:

  • Students will be able to apply for the program at any time. In the past, only freshmen and incoming transfer students were sent an invitation. 
  • All honors students will receive a BA in Honors Liberal Arts as a second or co-major upon successful completion of the program.
  • Other students can choose to minor in Honors Liberal Arts, or simply take specific honors classes.
  • Students will learn how to seek truth with rigor and excellence in a demanding curriculum that equips them to do that well.
  • Students will also take a co-major in any discipline, which they can begin in any academic year.
  • The curriculum will emphasize student leadership and service, with a self-reflection report posted annually. 
  • The senior capstone, Honors Project, will be completed by students in the full Honors program, but students taking only some of the honors classes will not be required to complete one. 

“This cutting-edge honors curriculum rests on SPU’s core commitments of ‘intellectual hospitality’ and ‘loving our neighbors as ourselves,” said Chaney. “It is welcoming and inclusive to all students who want to join in a challenging academic community, asking together the question, ‘What does it mean to be human’ in our world today — and what is our responsibility as people of faith to that world?” To find out more, visit the Honors Program website.

Health Services offers reassurance and facts

Student Health Services issued a campus update in early February about the Coronavirus, as well as reminding students how best to prevent the spread of illnesses. You can read it here.

Upcoming events

Presidents Day

Monday, February 17

All classes meet as scheduled, and offices are open.

Black History Month Panel: Keepin‘ It Real — Racism in the Workplace

Thursday, February 20
2:30–5:30 p.m.
Eaton Hall Lobby

Open to all students, four black professionals, including a nonprofit executive, dentist, tech recruiter, and educator, discuss race in the workplace and how to be an ally.

Wind Ensemble Concert

Friday, February 21
7:30–9 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church

This winter concert centers on the only band work by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici: In Wartime, written in New York City just after 9/11. Also showcased: Cait Nishimura’s Sunlight and Kevin Day’s Shimmering Sunshine.

Seattle Pacific Seminary Discernment Weekend

February 21–22
SPU campus

If you’ve ever wondered whether seminary was for you, explore your calling and vocation at Discernment Weekend. Discernment Weekend offers a day and a half of teaching, prayer, discussion, thoughtful challenge, worship, fellowship, and food with Seattle Pacific Seminary faculty and current students. Register online, call 206-281-2342, or email

Orchestra Concert

Thursday, February 27
7:30–9 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church

The SPU Symphony Orchestra’s winter concert explores the dance music of black composers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in honor of African-American heritage month.

2020 Seattle Pacific Final Track and Field Qualifier

Saturday, February 29
5:15 p.m.
Dempsey Indoor Track, University of Washington

This meet serves as a final qualifying opportunity for NCAA Division II men and women athletes to achieve national marks. This meet is traditionally well-attended by numerous DI and DIII teams. Visit the website for more information.

Chamber, Concert, and Women’s Choirs Concert

Friday, March 6
7:30 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church

An evening of beautiful choral music performed by three outstanding choirs: Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, and Women’s Choir. Free and wheelchair accessible.

Spring Break

Friday, March 20–Monday, March 30

Residence halls close for Spring Break 10 a.m., Friday, March 20, reopening at 1 p.m., Monday, March 30. University offices are open during Spring Break.

2020 Commencement

Saturday, June 13–14

Beginning with Ivy Cutting in SPU’s Tiffany Loop and culminating in the 2020 Undergraduate Commencement exercises in the Alaska Airline Arena, Commencement weekend is a celebration for graduates and the families who supported them. Find complete information and schedule of events at

Summer Tech Camps at SPU

June and July 2020

SPU’s Department of Engineering and Computer Science offers on-campus summer day camps for 9th–12th graders (as of autumn 2020). Students can jump-start a tech career with hands-on programs focused on video game creation, mechatronics and 3D printing, and programming fundamentals. No coding experience necessary. Tech day campers will earn college credit and a $1,000 SPU scholarship. Learn more and register. (Register before March 1 for discount on cost.)

Academic Calendars

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

Engage Events

Renowned national and international speakers, some of Seattle’s most engaging theatre performances, memorable concerts, outstanding athletic competitions. Explore upcoming events.