Learn more about these outstanding graduates and take a look at videos from Undergraduate Commencement and Graduate Commencement.


Videos and Commencement Events

Videos for our graduates
Undergraduate Commencement
Graduate Commencement

Learn more about these virtual Commencement celebrations.

Some of Our Outstanding Graduates

Major: Cellular and Molecular Biology

The teaching assistant and prepper in biology was also a dedicated student worker in the Center for Professional Education. “Shun-Je’s disposition is one of great joy and optimism. He filled our office with a positive attitude and ‘can-do’ spirit, and I am confident he did that no matter what space he occupied on campus,” said his supervisor.

Major: Social Justice and Cultural Studies and Urban Studies

Two-time national champion. 14-time All-American. 2020 Division II Gymnast of the Year. SPU 2017 Athlete of the Year. Even though this gold medalist’s senior season was cut short by the coronavirus, Darian remained positive during the last gymnastics meet in February. She won three of the four events, tied for the second-highest floor exercise score in school history, and the seventh-best uneven bars score. “For me, it’s really not taking little things for granted,” she said. “It's hugging your friends and telling them you love them. In gymnastics, it’s taking the time to think for a few minutes where you are and what you’re doing and who you're surrounded by — and being really grateful.”

Major: Applied Human Biology 

Andrew’s theatre minor has proved incredibly useful for his medicine-based major. In a story in the student newspaper The Falcon, he said, “When I do go into clinical medicine, having that theater background — that empathy, that connection that I make with people — having that is going to be so much better than if I didn’t do theater,” he says. “I think blending medicine or any kind of science with a humanity study or any kind of performance study creates a well-rounded person.”

Major: Psychology, Business Administration 

The men’s basketball player has twice battled back from serious injuries. He was sidelined the entire 2017 season before aggressively rehabilitating for a starting role in 21 games during the 2018 campaign. After playing two games last season, he again suffered a season-ending injury that forced another long rehab process for 2019. "It's a really cool story with the hard work and perseverance that Gabe has shown throughout his career at SPU," described SPU Coach Grant Leep. "He's a fifth-year senior so he's seen it all and he has such a good, calming influence on our team.” In this short video, Gabe offers three pieces of advice to his fellow athletes.

Major/minor: Life Sciences/Social Justice and Cultural Studies (Double Major) 

The ASSP senator-at-large and double major says studying social justice is important “because people need to be educated on how to be advocates for social issues and change. Promoting social justice also helps bring attention to the issues that are not being spoken of. If we do not talk about them, we never will.” Cross will serve in the Peace Corps after graduation.

Jesselyn Major: Special Education

Omni Major: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics

These two graduating seniors talk about how academics, faith, and community all came together for them at Seattle Pacific. Watch the video.

Major: Visual Communications

Last summer, Danielle worked in a Harvard University bioengineering laboratory as the solo design student working amidst STEM students. “I’m very proud to have adapted to challenges I could have never imagined I’d come across when I chose this major (like learning to culture cells!).”

Major/Minor: Social Justice and Cultural Studies Major; Psychology; Minor: Spanish Studies 

The student leader was co-founder of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán or Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlán). She says, “MEChA started as an organization to promote higher-level education for Chicanos and now all Latinx folks, but all cultural backgrounds are welcome. The club was featured in the student newspaper, The Falcon. Her advice to fellow first-generation students applies to all students. “For my fellow first-generation students, seek out resources and support! There are so many professors and staff members that want to support us and help us get ahead. You can do this! Sí se puede!”

Major: PsychologySocial Justice and Cultural Studies

In a story in the student newspaper, The Falcon, Natalie talks about navigating a Christian university as a Jewish woman. “I have felt different than other people on campus, but I don’t think it has taken me away from Judaism or being Jewish,” she shares. She will pursue a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at SPU after graduation.

Major/minor: Linguistics and Cultural Studies/Minor: Political Science

The student leader and RA would eventually like to advocate for the U.S. government in international affairs as a policy specialist to ensure that key leaders are well-informed. “As long as I can help and protect others in my career that is my ultimate goal. I believe today's world is in desperate need of more international cooperation, understanding and integration. Caitlin will attend the University of California San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy to pursue her Master’s in International Affairs with a specialization in U.S. relations with China in International Politics. 

Major: Psychology

As one of the founders of the African Student Club, Ketsia encourages all students to join. “Even if you’re not of African descent, join! The only way the world will ever come closer together is by understanding and having conversations with one another. Joining a cultural club is just a small way to get those conversations.”

Major: Psychology

Lena plans to be a rehabilitation counselor, and encourages students to “apply what you have learned and expand your social network.” She shares some of her favorite places on campus in this short video.

Major/minor: Economics, with a concentration in Development Economics

A student leader about to begin a master’s program at the University of San Francisco, Alexa says one of the best parts about college is “the amount of learning you will do, and part of that is engaging in conversations with others and taking classes that will challenge you.”

Major: Business Administration

As only the third Falcon volleyball player to hit the statistical “triple thousand” for points, kills, and digs, Gabby is quick to give credit to her teammates. “I didn't think about how long it would take or how much work it would take to get to those numbers,” she said. “It's not only about me, but the fact that my team and teammates have been so good.” Gabby is also the 2020 Falcon Award for Excellence.

Major: HistoryClassics

The recipient of the History Department’s top award, Anna presented a paper at the Faith and History Conference titled “Historical Memory and Embrace,” which centered on Christian responsibility to remember history accurately, particularly with respect to atrocities. She struggled with this question after participating in “The Holocaust in Prague” global seminar, and she turned to materials from her theology classes to guide her. She plans to attend graduate school in museum studies.

Major: Psychology

Ashleigh manages SPU Stories, an Instagram account featuring student stories told in their own words. “I feel so lucky to be a part of every single story, but I think some of the coolest ones that affect me personally are about people  who I know,” she said in a feature story in the student newspaper, The Falcon.

Major/minor: Physiology/Ecotheology

Pre-med student Suzie Ruskin shares how her childhood dream of becoming a doctor is taking shape as a student, person of faith, and employee at one of the world’s leading cancer research centers. Watch the video.

Major: Communication

Pierce started Pacific Islanders Club of Cultural Arts (PICCA) “because I wanted to be able to bring to SPU the different cultures that are represented throughout the Pacific.” A staff member said, “Pierce has distinguished himself as a leader among leaders. Pierce is a person of high integrity who navigates successes and challenges with social-emotional and intellectual maturity. He is constantly thinking of others, how to support students at SPU, and what he can do to improve their lives. Pierce is a strong and relentless advocate.” In this video, Pierce talks about how being a first generation college student. 

Major: Sociology

The two-term president of the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific and a leader in bringing the SwipeOut Hunger program to campus will pursue a master’s in divinity at Harvard University. His advice to those fellow college students: “Always have a mentor!” 

Major/Minor: Nursing/French and Francophone Studies

Melissa joined SPU’s nursing program after a gap year in which she attended discipleship school and lived in Morocco for three months. She hopes to work in a trauma intensive care unit and be an overseas health care provider. She will begin a nurse residency at a Level I trauma center in Dallas, Texas, after graduation.

Major: Global Development Studies, Social Justice and Cultural Studies

The Early Connections leader and co-founder of the African Students Association is the first person in her family to graduate from college. “I came to the U.S. as a refugee, with English being my third language, and I am proud that I was able to navigate the ups and downs of college.”

Major/Minor: Mathematics/Minor: Christian Scripture 

Matt was the Sharpen coordinator this year, and received the Student Servant Scholarship Award from the Student Leadership Development Committee. A staff member describes him as “an innovative, creative, and compassionate leader for Sharpen.”

Major/Minor: Christian TheologyBusiness Administration

Kate holds the record for leading the most SoulCare Wesleyan Small Groups (10!) at SPU. A staff member says she is “an incredible leader, even stepping in last fall to lead two groups at once, which has never happened before, when one leader had to leave school because her mom was dying. She’s helped other leaders learn the ropes in very specific ways, and I call her our SoulCare ‘utility player.’”

Major: Accounting, Business Administration

In this short video, Katherine talks about her journey as a cross country and track athlete. “In high school, I was never a standout athlete…I hadn’t planned on competing in college…but Chris and Carl were patient with me and gave time for the training to kick in.” Walter earned three GNAC All-Academic and three U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic awards.

Major: Sociology; Criminal Justice

As an intern in the Center for Career and Calling, Danielle noticed that many fellow ethnically diverse students didn’t attend CCC events. She suspected it was because they didn’t relate to the majority of guests, participants, and speakers. So, with the help of CCC staff, she’s organized programs to allow students to engage with professionals of color.

Major: Biochemistry

Her coach says, “Lena Wirth is a talented gymnast and had a very successful athletic career representing SPU. What she accomplished in competition is impressive, but to me what she is doing outside of the gym is truly incredible.” Lena is working in a lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle on an adoptive T-cell immunotherapy project. She plans to apply to medical school and pursue a career in oncology or orthopedics. 

Major: Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse Practice

Azeb, who is currently working with COVID-19 patients at Harborview Medical Center, plans to complete a one-year residency program and work for a local federally qualified health center. She describes the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree as “ferocious” and is proud of her achievement. “As a female, black, first-generation immigrant, I am grateful for my freedom, and to have the opportunity, the drive, and the support of my mother and Dr. Witham to overcome many barricades to achieve my doctoral degree. I hope my story inspires others to swim against the tide to achieve their goals.”

Biology majors at SPU graduate with a broad understanding of living organisms. Through immersion in scientific inquiry and problem solving, they develop fundamental skills and knowledge for entering a wide range of careers, including those in medicine, environmental science, research, and teaching. Congratulations to the Biology Department’s Class of 2020!

These students are the first to graduate with this degree exploring the dynamics of power, history, and representation that form culture and produce patterns of inequity. The major has five tracks: pre-law, human rights, and policy; art for social change; mediation, peace, and conflict; advanced cultural studies; and environmental justice.

Meet the Graduates on Instagram

Final projects by our graduates

Seniors majoring in photography, visual design, and interior design showcase their work online.

This year’s Illustration/New Pictures Senior Exhibition features Belen Contreras, Robyn Hill, Madison Hunt, Emilia Sunderland, and Samantha Stewart.

This year’s Photography/Digital Media Senior Exhibition features Blake Carpenter, Qyara Fonteno, Spencer George, Guy Larson, Sammi Ledbetter, Katie Mansfield, and Alison Meharg

This year's show features the work of MacKenzie Barden, Samantha Berrios, Audrey Easley, Danielle Gamboa, Keala Gasmen, David Gehlen, Connor Gilbert, Gray Griffith, Adam Husting, Melissa Kendall, Megan Nielsen, Julie Renne, Sabrina Seang, Emma Sebastian, Kaylee Sieber, Edric Tran, and Grace Zhu.

Family and Consumer Science seniors have prepared digital portfolios, résumés, and associate business papers to launch themselves into their new careers as interior designers.

Dominic’s work at SPU has encompassed a wide variety of material approaches, including painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture. In this body of work, all of these media are presented with equal thoughtfulness, exploring what is seen and unseen. See more at the online gallery at the Seattle Pacific Art Center Gallery website, spacgallery.com and at www.dominicrenz.com

Seattle Pacific University's Ames Library

Final Projects by University Scholars

The SPU honors program is an accelerated alternative to regular general education for intellectually curious and motivated students, guided by the framing question, “What does it mean to be human?” It's challenging, inquiry-based, and interconnected curriculum asks students to go deeper into the key questions at the heart of our lives, our faith, and our world. Learn more about these honors students.

Our Retiring Faculty

These faculty members will finish their careers at Seattle Pacific with the Class of 2020

Debra Sequeira


Department: College of Arts and Sciences–Arts and Humanities

Years at SPU: 37

Dr. Sequeira has always been in the vanguard of creating dynamic teaching and learning environments, and her excellence in the classroom remains a distinction within the Department of Communication and Journalism. Always a rigorous and approachable professor, she is especially remembered for enhancing students’ relational skills in her Interpersonal Communication courses, as well as introducing upper-division majors to the ethnography of communication. Read more about Debra.

Julie Pusztai

Assistant Professors of Nursing

Department: School of Health Sciences

Years at SPU: 4

“After many years of experience in nursing, my desire is to educate and shape future nurses in the profession I love. Nurses are present in some of the most intimate, joyful, and sorrowful times in people’s lives.” Read more about Julie.

Kevin Bolding

Director of Engineering and Computer Science; Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering

Department: Engineering and Computer Science

Years at SPU: 25

“I love teaching because it gives me a chance to shape the next generation of engineers and computer scientists — people who will truly change the world. In the classroom and in advising meetings, I have a chance to challenge students not only to work to their full potential, but also to analyze and evaluate what projects to work on to best serve God.” Read more about Kevin.

Laura Lasworth

Professor of Art

Department: Art

Years at SPU: 18

Laura Lasworth is a professor of Art at Seattle Pacific University. She taught a number of core classes for the Art Department including Design Studio Color, Perspective Drawing, and a series of painting studios that explore a range of traditional and contemporary theoretical approaches to picture making. Read more about Laura.

Bruce Congdon

Interim Provost, Professor of Biology, Dean of Sciences

Department: Biology

Years at SPU: 35

“In both teaching and leadership roles, my reason for being at SPU is to contribute to this place of exploration, discovery, creativity, conversation, and growth.” Read more about Bruce.

Lorie Wild

Dean, School of Health Sciences; Professor of Nursing

Department: School of Health Sciences

Years at SPU: 8

“I love teaching because it affords me the opportunity to keep learning with and from my students. At SPU, I have the freedom to work with students not only to help them gain knowledge but also to cultivate strength of character and professional identity. Our students give me great hope for the future.” Read more about Lorie.