Response Magazine

Renowned carver and decorated attorney honored with Medallion Awards

David Boxley ’74 & Joshua Van Eaton ’97

Seattle Pacific’s 2018 Medallion Awards went to two alumni nationally recognized for service to their communities and excellence in their vocations in very different spheres — but for both, their time at Seattle Pacific was formational.

“I was dropped off in front of Hill Hall, suitcases in hand, not knowing at all what I was getting myself into,” says David Boxley ’74, one of the world’s leading Native American artists, of his first moments as a student at Seattle Pacific. “Going away to college was a big deal.”

A member of the Alaska Tsimshian tribe, David was raised by his grandparents in Metlakatla, Alaska. He became the first in his family to attend college, earning a teaching degree from Seattle Pacific and teaching high school for 13 years before becoming a full-time carver and reviver of Tsimshian culture. “I had a number of impactful professors at Seattle Pacific and learned how to work hard,” says David, who also took art classes at SPU. “It was one of the biggest influences in my life.”

Litigator Joshua Van Eaton ’97 credits SPU for teaching him “servant leadership.”

Awarded a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal last year for leading the team that negotiated $17.5 billion in relief from Volkswagen over violating clean air standards, he says the recognition reflects his public-service approach to his work at the Department of Justice.

“I don’t look back at college as learning job skills, I look at it as learning life skills,” he says. “I learned how to relate to folks with different backgrounds, developed lifelong friendships, learned how to live in intentional community.”

Joshua was a student leader during his time on campus and participated in a range of activities from the Student Union Board to a student SPRINT mission to Puerto Rico. He also met his wife, Kathryn Arnett ’98, at Seattle Pacific.

“I remember my time there with a lot of fondness,” he says of SPU.

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