In the Loop

March 2020

COVID-19: Message from President Dan Martin and Seattle Pacific’s response


President Dan Martin sends a video message to the SPU community about the University’s commitment to students during this unprecedented time.

Highlights of SPU’s ongoing response to the coronavirus:

  • Pre-class assignments for Spring Quarter will be posted for students no later than April 3. Remote learning begins Monday, April 13. 
  • Residential students will be allowed to live on campus, if their permanent residence is more than 100 miles away from campus and they have completed the online application.
  • The winter sports season ended with the cancellation of the NCAA championships, impacting men’s basketball and indoor track and field. 
  • The entire spring sports seasons have been canceled by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference as of March 16, impacting track and field and rowing. 
  • SPU Chaplain Lisa Ishihara and the University Ministries team are available to speak with students via phone or video chat.

Visit SPU’s Spring Quarter 2020 FAQ for additional information.


SPU welcomes new provost

Laura Hartley, PhD, from George Fox University has been named the new provost at Seattle Pacific University. She will begin her new role on July 1, 2020. 

Hartley is currently associate provost for student academic success and dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at George Fox, where she oversees six multidisciplinary academic departments as well as the Office of Student Learning Support Services, the Department of Professional Studies (George Fox’s adult degree program) and other student success initiatives. Hartley also regularly teaches linguistics and other courses to first-year students. Read what President Dan Martin said about Hartley’s appointment.


FAFSA reminder and payment worksheets and tutorials

Has your family filled out the 2020–21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid yet?

Students are often surprised at the type and amount of aid they receive — including federal, state, or SPU grants, federal low-cost and forgivable loans, and work study. Situations change, so if difficult financial circumstances arise the FAFSA is the first step in receiving help. The FAFSA is free and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Find out more.

Remember: May 1 is the priority FAFSA deadline for continuing students.

Has your student’s FAFSA been filled out, but you still have questions about the bottom line for your family’s financial obligation for your student’s 2020–21 tuition? Student Financial Services has a worksheet to help you arrive at a good estimate of costs each quarter. Check it out here.


Pilot program addresses student “food insecurity”

SPU is now a part of a nationwide first-of-its-kind program to help students lacking resources find affordable, nutritious food. The University’s food service provider, Sodexo, in partnership with Swipe Out Hunger — a leading national nonprofit group committed to reducing food insecurity on college campuses — selected 13 universities around the country to pilot the new program.

Swipe Out Hunger estimates one in three college students nationwide go hungry. Currently, more than 30% of SPU undergraduates are first-generation college students, and 50% of incoming freshmen are from historically underrepresented groups.

Sodexo will provide two free meals for every full-time meal plan sold at SPU, an estimated donation of 2,000 meals per year. These meals will be the basis for the “Meal Swipe Bank,” where food-insecure students can request meals in the dining hall. Campus leaders in student life, residence life, financial services, campus housing, and student government are currently meeting to finalize the details. SPU Dining Services General Manager Kim Karstens helped put this pilot program in place in January 2020.

“We don’t have a food pantry on campus — some universities do — so this is a really great way to support those students in need,” Karstens said. “We want students to focus on their studies and not where their next meal is coming from,” she said.


SPU Voices Podcast: “Faith for the Future” with SPU professors

During Homecoming 2020, three SPU professors took part in a live SPU Voices Podcast to discuss what Christian faith means at SPU. Faculty on the panel included Professor of English Christine Chaney, Professor of New Testament Studies David Nienhuis, Assistant Professor of Psychology Jenny Vadich, and Professor of Business Ethics Kenman Wong. “I just love, love, love watching their souls, their vocation, their giftedness flower,” said Chaney. Listen to the podcast.


The 2020 U.S. Census and your student

In mid-March, homes across the country will receive invitations to complete the 2020 census. Unless your student is living in your home on April 1, 2020, you should not count them in the census as residents of your household. Here are the general guidelines for counting your college students.

  • Students living in off-campus housing that is not owned, leased, or managed by SPU will be asked to complete the survey using their current residence address.
  • The Residence Life staff is working with local U.S. Census Bureau officials to provide them with the number of currents students living on campus in the residence halls and SPU-managed properties.
  • The same rules apply to international students.

Learn more about the census and college students (PDF).


Upcoming events

Spring Break

Friday, March 20–Friday, April 10

Due to the COVID-19, Spring Break has been extended to allow faculty to prepare to teach all Spring Quarter courses remotely.

Spring Quarter 2020

Friday, April 3, and Monday, April 13

Pre-class assignments will be posted for students no later than April 3. Remote learning begins Monday, April 13. All classes will meet remotely; no classes will take place on campus.

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

Academic Calendars

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