President-elect Deana Porterfield

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Meet the president-elect

Dr. Deana Porterfield, president of Roberts Wesleyan University and Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan University, was unanimously elected Jan. 26, 2023, by the Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees as the university’s next president. Porterfield will be only the 12th elected president in the university’s 132-year history. She will assume her duties on July 1, 2023.

“I’m very pleased to welcome Dr. Porterfield to the SPU community as our next president,” said Dean Kato, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “She comes with a lifetime of work in Christian higher education and is not only a demonstrated leader in enrollment, fundraising, and new program development, but is also passionate about building relationships with students and community partners.”

Dr. Porterfield was selected after a comprehensive national search that began last July. She will be the first female president of SPU and will succeed Interim President Pete Menjares.

With more than 35 years of experience in Christian higher education, including almost nine years as president of Roberts Wesleyan, Dr. Porterfield is known as a visionary leader with a passion for faith-based higher education which promotes transformational learning and hope. She is an involved leader within the Rochester, New York, community and in higher education. Dr. Porterfield serves on several boards and has been recognized with numerous awards for community and organizational leadership. She is the 11th president of Roberts and third president of Northeastern Seminary. Dr. Porterfield earned a doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne in La Verne, CA, a master's degree in organizational management and a bachelor's degree in music education from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA.

Like Seattle Pacific, Roberts Wesleyan is a Christian university affiliated with the Free Methodist Church of North America. Roberts was the first educational institution established by the Free Methodists in 1866. SPU was founded in 1891.

“As an academic community, SPU has always led the way, bringing new insights and thoughtful discussion to complex conversations that face us in our society,” said Porterfield. “The work needed to take on the challenges ahead begins with us, and I look forward to partnering with the SPU community in prayer, deep hope, and confidence that we can move SPU forward.”

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