Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News

Autumn 2008 | Volume 2, Issue 4

Calm at 30,000 Feet

A Delta Flight takes off

Things were far from calm for the flying public in the dark days following 9/11. Apprehension and fear ruled the skies. Jewel Van Valin '76, a veteran Delta Airlines flight attendant, decided to brighten the mood by urging passengers soured by jitters and security hassles to express themselves through art.

She handed paper placemats and crayons to kids and adults alike, then taped their creations to the bulkhead. Soon passengers were moving about the cabin to view the display and interacting with one another about subject matter and artistic style.

Crayons were nonthreatening. Laugher was contagious. The skies were friendly once again.

Now Van Valin has taken what she calls Just Plane Art to the officials at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and asked for gallery space in which to display the fruit of her passengers' imaginations. She has preserved thousands of fanciful, multi-colored crayon drawings from more than six years of collecting.

According to news coverage in the L.A. Times, airport officials are open to the idea. Until something more permanent can be found, passenger art may be seen in Delta's employee lounge at LAX. Project S.N.A.P. has announced plans to partner with Van Valin to turn the art into a large-scale mosaic mural.

"Many of these are very good," says Van Valin, an SPU language arts education major. "They should be on display. A broader audience should see them. Behind every one of these pictures is a story."

Whether expressed as lighthouses or bicycles, flowers or fish, Van Valin's sketches in the sky have made the time pass quickly and brought the fun back to flying.

Have You Seen This Cookie?

A Beloved Cookie RecipeSusan Kirby, a home-care nursing manager, took a nutrition class from SPU's Abbie Dale in the 1980-81 academic year. One prize perk of taking the class was receiving the recipe for "Abbie Dale's All-Day Cookie." The baked treat is so good that Susan has made batches of them every year since until now. Sadly, the recipe has gone missing.

Were you at SPU in the Abbie Dale era? Perhaps you have a copy of the recipe, or know it by heart. If so, please alleviate Susan's angst by emailing the recipe to

YAC Scholarship Winner Is a Self-Starter

Conrad ReynoldsonOne look at Conrad Reynoldson's résumé makes clear that no one has to light a fire under the SPU senior from Kirkland, Washington. A double major in history and political science, he is on the Dean's List with a 3.94 GPA, heads Hindsight (SPU's history club), and in 2008 alone has raised nearly $40,000 for muscular dystrophy research.

"I'm truly blessed to have received the Young Alumni Council endowed scholarship," he says. "It and other scholarships I've received ease the burden of tuition and allow me to focus my efforts on internships and community service." In the summer of 2007, Conrad interned in Washington, D.C., with U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, and this past summer in Olympia, Washington, with U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert. He plans to pursue a career in public policy at either the state or federal level.

Diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at age 3, Conrad is an active member of that community and the broader disability community. During his junior year, he put on a charity fundraising event called Rock for DMD Research that featured the Grammy-nominated Christian rock group Pillar and raised $25,000 for muscular dystrophy research.

An avid baseball fan, Conrad flew to the home of the Philadelphia Phillies in July as a panelist for the national conference of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, a national organization for which he advocates. Unfortunately, the Phillies weren't in town or Conrad would have been at the game.

And as of October, Conrad can add television to his list of mediums for getting the message out. He filmed a national commercial with University of Washington football coach Tyrone Willingham and prominent muscular dystrophy researcher Jeff Chamberlain to raise awareness about DMD.

It's easy to see where he gets his drive. Earlier this month, his father ran in the New York City Marathon on a team of 30 parents of boys with DMD.

Nurses Rally on the High Seas

The Sixty Chicks on the cruise shipThey hung together as young nursing students when they turned 20, and in September most of them were together again in their 60th year. "The Sixties Chicks Reunion Tour" and birthday bash was held aboard a Carnival cruise to Ensenada, Mexico, and "they" are Seattle Pacific College nursing comrades of the Class of 1970.

A reunion cruise was chosen, as that meant "no cooking, no cleaning, no husbands!"

With the help of the SPU Alumni Office and Google, 25 of the 29 graduates were found and contacted. Sixteen set sail together. Most were from the West Coast, says cruise organizer Beth Detlor Delamarter, one of five reunion planners. Celebrants also found their way from Colorado, Michigan, and Nova Scotia.

"There's nothing like a great friend who knew you when," says Delamarter. The women met for breakfast and dinner each day of the four-day cruise, capped off with blinking tiaras and a conga line at the closing meal. Judy Thorsen Enchelmayer recently found her student nursing uniform that in 1970 was comprised of a blue pinstripe dress with white pinafore. From the uniform, she made quilt blocks for each of the cruisers that, once aboard ship, were quickly autographed by all.

In Ensenada, Carolyn Manning Neiswender celebrated her birthday at a Mexican fiesta where she was invited to help smash the piñata.

These especially close-knit women had as much fun discovering how one another are engaging the culture and making a difference. Beth's family operates nursing homes; Linda Eddy Visser heads the nursing program at Wenatchee Valley (Washington) Community College; Ginny Lingren Edwards, once a high school nurse, now works with low-income pregnant women; and Vicki McClurg, who taught in the nursing program at SPU for 17 years, works at Life Choices Pregnancy Clinic with young women facing unplanned pregnancies. Between them, they have 600 combined years in the nursing field, though not all actively practice today.

A weekend gathering is planned for next August at Lynda Young Krestinski's home at Camano Island, Washington. All nursing classmates from 1970 are invited. Contact Beth Delamarter at

Jessica Pixler Does It Again

Jessica PixlerThe Seattle Pacific running star captured her second straight NCAA Division II cross country title, pulling away from her nearest competition after the first mile and cruising to a 28-second victory on November 22 in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.

Pixler's winning time of 20 minutes, 59 seconds set a record on the 6,000-meter course at Cooper's Lake Campground. That was the fourth course record this season for the Falcons junior.

"It was really kind of amazing. Even at the end, I felt good," Pixler says. "I really had no plan going in it. My only plan was to give it my best shot."

But it wasn't just a one-woman show on the snow-covered course in Pennsylvania. SPU ran to a fourth-place team finish among the 24 schools in the meet. Defending champion Adams State won with 79 points. The Falcons wound up with 194.

Falcons junior Jane Larson delivered another strong performance, finishing 15th. Natty Plunkett, who earned GNAC Freshman of the Year honors on October 25, placed 51st. Junior Kate Harline was 89th, junior Lisa Anderberg was 92nd, senior Katie Hart placed 108th, and freshman Mary Williams (Lake Jackson, Texas) was 112th.

The national run capped an outstanding season for the Falcon women. They won their fourth straight GNAC title and took second at regionals. Pixler won her third conference crown in a row and her second consecutive regional championship.

Of the seven Falcons who ran on Saturday, six of them (including Pixler) will return next fall. 

Volleyball in Strong Position for 2009

Jessica PixlerCoach Chris Johnson can sense it already: The volleyball season just ended, and his Seattle Pacific players are ready for the next one right now.

"I think they can just taste it," says Johnson, wrapping up his fourth year at the Falcon helm. "They know we're so close. The thing I liked best looking back at the overall picture is that the players stuck together. They never quit, never gave up, kept fighting, kept improving."

The Falcons recently put the 2008 campaign into the books and finished the season on a definite up note. They put together a late-season four-match winning streak and racked up victories in five of their last eight matches.

SPU went 5-11 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, taking seventh place, and 8-18 overall.

All but two players from the squad will be back in 2009, and all of them with the valuable experience that comes from getting through a building season such as 2008.

Anna Herold, who earned a starting spot as the team's libero, had a phenomenal freshman campaign. She broke the school record for digs in a season with 579, and also set a new record for average digs per game (6.03). The latter figure ranked fourth in NCAA Division II.

Herold was named the GNAC Freshman of the Year, the second straight year an SPU player has won it. Falcon setter Joelle Perez was honored last season.

Senior Torii Mount wound up her four years in Falcon colors with the career digs record, coming up with 1,552.

Counter-Cultural in Tough Economic Times

Jessica PixlerChristians do not get their sense of identity or security from what they have or what they earn, but rather from the fact that they have been identified as children of God and loved by him. As Christians we should approach the current economic crisis differently. We should, in fact, stand out as counter-cultural.

Let me suggest three ways in which Christians should be distinguishable during these times:

First, Christians must be slow to join the "blame game." We should approach this situation with humility in part because it is incredibly complicated and very difficult to figure out who actually should be blamed.  Christians should also recognize that no one of us is eligible "to throw the first stone" since all of us have played a part in fueling this crisis.  Moreover, we must remember that while Christians should legitimately seek justice, justice is never about vengeance. It is always about redemption.

Second, in times of turmoil and perceived scarcity, the world is likely to "circle the wagons" with everyone trying to protect his or her own. Individuals are likely to be less charitably minded. U.S. domestic programs that are intended to reach out to people at the margins are likely to be under political pressure. Everyone expects foreign aid to be decreased.

But Christians have always been known for their generosity and we must continue this open-handed approach to the needy in our world — particularly in times like these. In the first century, the church was known by the surrounding community precisely because of its generosity. This century should be no different.

Finally, Christians always have the opportunity to choose to operate out of hope rather than fear. We have a hope that is grounded in the assurance that in the end God will have his way. His shalom will prevail. Let us live as beacons of hope in what might otherwise be dark times.

Jeff Van Duzer
Dean, School of Business and Economics

Interested in learning more? Listen to the Economics 101 Forum in iTunes U.




Response Magazine

SPU Falcon Athletics

iTunes U

Giving to SPU

Alumni Connections Archives

Marriage Seminar With Les and Leslie Parrott, Mar. 21, 2009

You won't want to miss this acclaimed event,"Becoming Soul Mates," with two of America's leading relationship experts, SPU Professor of Psychology Les Parott and family therapist Leslie Parrott. Whatever your age or stage -- engaged or married for decades -- you're sure to laugh while you learn. Just $99 per couple, early registration before February 14. Includes lunch, a Parrott book, and other resources. Reserve your place now by calling 206-281-ALUM.

With Your Help, SPU Application Fee Waived

Know any high school seniors or college transfer students who you would like to recruit for SPU? With your recommendation as an alum, we'll waive their $45 application fee! All you have to do is go to and complete the form. Then follow up immediately with the student and "sell" them on SPU. When he or she applies, the application fee will be automatically waived. Thanks for helping us recruit quality students!

Did You Know?

Ethnically diverse students comprise 18 percent of SPU's 2008-09 enrollment -- approaching one in five.

SPU Mailing Services once received a dishwasher posted to a student residence inhabited by several males.

One winning SPU intramural soccer team's members called themselves the Swamp Donkeys.

Check Out These Service-Project Photos

Looking for past SPRINT, Urban Involvement, or CityQuest photos? You'll find them at

This Month's Featured Podcast

Listen to "Brain Rule 10: Vision Trumps All Other Senses" with John Medina, author, molecular biologist, renowned brain expert, and director of SPU's Brain Center for Applied Learning Research.

Campus Jobs

Student Financial Services Counselor
Process inquiries; explain application requirements; and process cash transactions at high volume, high speed.

Lead Maintenance Painter
Prepare surfaces for painting, finishing and/or wall covering, including patching and repairing plaster, wallboard, wood surfaces, and masonry; mix and blend all types of stains, enamels, lacquers, latex paints, oil paints and varnishes; train and supervise 15-20 seasonal student employees.

Senior Event Manager
Plan and implement University strategic events, including Seattle business breakfast, Christmas concert, church leaders forums, symposia, and other events supporting target cities, Fellows, and alumni geographic initiatives.

Web Designer
Help to establish and maintain an overall look and feel for the SPU Web site, help design, develop, and maintain priority areas of the site, and provide guidelines and templates for ensuring appropriate levels of visual branding consistency across remaining areas of the site.

For more information and to apply for these and other open positions at SPU, see

Published by: Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98119-1950, U.S.A.
Website: | Feedback/Unsubscribe: | Phone: 206-281-2377