Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News
Spacer Autumn 2011 | Volume 5, Issue 4
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Homecoming and Class Reunions in 2012

Homecoming 2012 - Reunions and Reconnections

Homecoming 2012, January 26-28, focuses on "Flourishing" - a memorable year in which to celebrate a long era of flourishing under President Philip W. Eaton.

SPU Class Reunion Banner

The era comes to a close after 17 years of visionary leadership and SPU has thrived. The signs of flourishing are everywhere on campus: a bold vision for engaging the culture and changing the world, record enrollments, academic honors, significant initiatives, new buildings, athletic achievement, and national recognitions.

Is this your reunion year? We're honoring the classes of '67, '72, '77, '82, '87, '92, '97, '02, and '07. All are hosting their reunions at Homecoming 2012, and the Class of '62 will enter the Founders Circle in June 2012. Check out the details on where and when your reunion takes place, browse your yearbook online, and make a reunion gift of any size to commemorate your special reunion year.

Don't miss a campus bursting with Homecoming activity. Tip-off with SPU Falcon Men's basketball vs. the Western Oregon University Wolves and enjoy "Much Ado About Nothing," one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies live in Bach Theatre. On Saturday, you won't want to miss the President's Luncheon, where you will hear the heart of the beloved Philip Eaton in his final year as president. These events and more promise a jam-packed weekend!

Watch for your reunion invitation and the Homecoming brochure and schedule of events mailing soon. We can't wait to see you and get caught up!

Who Will Be Next Year's Alumni of the Year?

The Alumni of the Year and Medallion Award recipients are nominated by YOU! All alumni are invited to nominate outstanding individuals for various alumni awards. Visit for more information and to download a nomination form.

Tradition Serves Up Yuletide Cheer

SPU Tradition

Experience the 26th season of laughter, lights, and storytelling in Tiffany Loop. Hot cider, loud sweaters, and jolly Santas have made Tradition one of the happiest celebrations of the year.

The annual Christmas event, created and designed by students, is on the evening of Friday, December 2. You're invited to share in this festive time for all ages, especially young families with children. Caroling, face painting, and photos with Mr. Claus are just the beginning of a very good time.

Don't miss the Young Alum Coffee House in the Science Building Lounge. For more information, call 206-281-2977.

Short Takes...

Nicholas Madrazo

1st Lt. Nicholas Madrazo

Service. In honor of the ultimate sacrifice made by 1st Lt. Nicholas Madrazo '05 in the Afghanistan conflict, his family established the N.A.M.E.S. (Nicholas Aaron Madrazo Endearing Service) Foundation. In September, N.A.M.E.S. sponsored an all-ages 5k run/walk to raise funds to buy $25 phone cards for American men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The cards give soldiers up to 10 hours to speak with their loved ones.

The Madrazos told a reporter how precious those phone calls are to the families of service personnel. "These days," said Joel Madrazo, "(my wife) and I are grateful to hear the voice of our other son, Army Lt. Jared Madrazo, when he calls home from his deployment base in Iraq." Find out more about N.A.M.E.S

Mentors. Kate Calamusa '07 is fashion and lifestyle editor of Seattle magazine. Brittany Allen '11 is the magazine's paid intern. Both are alumni of the SPU Mentor Program in the Center for Applied Learning, directed by Mark Oppenlander '94.

"About five years ago, I matched Kate with someone in the book publishing industry," says Mark. "Now she's an alum helping current students. That's what I like to see!"

Brittany met with Kate, a communication major with a journalism emphasis/business minor, on three occasions this spring before applying for and receiving the internship. Kate, producer of Seattle magazine's Seamless in Seattle competition for emerging fashion designers, is also the editor of Seattle Bride magazine.

Emmys. Ron Jones '78 scores music for TV and film and was nominated this year for two Emmy awards for the "Family Guy" animated TV series. The categories were Outstanding Music Composition for a Series and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.

Though he did not win, Ron's impressive résumé includes two other Emmy nominations and work on a variety of TV series including "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Magnum P.I.," and Disney's "Duck Tales."

"In my area of specialization," says Ron, "I compete not for awards but to always create work at the highest level. I am glad I went to SPU (where) I gained so much from the faculty, community, and spirit of the place. It was part of a whole life of learning that has me still in the process of becoming."

The Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal

Best-sellers. The Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal, the latest book by relationship experts SPU Professor of Psychology Les Parrott and his wife, marriage and family therapist Leslie Parrott, topped The New York Times best-seller list this fall. Books by the co-founders of the University's Center for Relationship Development have sold more than two million copies in more than two dozen languages.

The Parrotts have been guests on many national TV and radio programs such as Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, and Oprah. Their work has been featured in USA Today and The New York Times.

The Falcon Running Camp

Founded in 1960, the Falcon Running Camp is the longest continuing program of its kind in the nation. Hundreds of runners of all ages have enjoyed covering the terrain at Seattle Pacific University's Casey Campus on Whidbey Island. Several alumni runners return each year to be speakers, dorm supervisors, and counselors for the middle school and high school runners. This summer's alumni included (left to right) Susie Strickler '09, Traci Bianchini '89, Jo Ruby '89, Nate Daligcon '00 (two-time All America soccer player, holding future Falcon Jordan Daligcon), Erika Daligcon '98, Eddie Strickler '07, Brent Ruby '89, Doris Heritage '64, and Laurel Boyd '76.

YAC Dinner a Classy Way to Give Back

Social Venture Competition

YAC Scholarship recipient Chris Welter (left) and President Eaton.

Young alumni lingered long after the end of the program for the annual Young Alumni Council Endowment Dinner in October. They were engaged, optimistic, and passionate about the people honored, the funds raised, and the strong conviction that an investment in their alma mater and its accomplished students is money well placed.

Philip Eaton, in his last year as president of Seattle Pacific, headlined the evening with impassioned reflections on his vision for SPU and received a standing ovation.

Julie Washburn '06, executive director of the Washington Food Coalition, was named Young Alum of the Year, and senior and 4.0 premed student Chris Welter was named the recipient of the Young Alumni scholarship. Both gave eloquent testimony to the ways SPU has impacted their lives.

Golden Gardens Bathhouse provided a striking venue for a guest list that included parents, Young Alumni entrepreneurs, table hosts and sponsors, and community leaders. Joel VanderHoek '09, this year's Young Alumni Council president, emceed.

If you wish you'd been there, you can still give to the YAC Scholarship.

Party With a Purpose Shines Light on Disease

Kristen Eddings

Kristen Eddings

Kristen Eddings '06 knows how to party. The former Miss Washington is program associate for the Washington Global Health Alliance. Early last summer she and her co-workers threw a sold-out affair for a thousand people to raise awareness in the fight against the diseases of poverty around the globe.

The cost of the Party with a Purpose was underwritten by some big name sponsors including the Gates Foundation and the Seattle Center. Lacey Birk Price '07, a community relations coordinator for the Gates Foundation, is in a campaign with Eddings to eradicate rotavirus, a leading cause of diarrheal disease among children. She, too, caught the vision to gain the attention of urban 20- and 30-somethings in finding solutions to global health challenges.

The glam event at University of Washington's McCaw Hall raised close to $35,000 to assist the Seattle-based Infectious Disease Research Institute in its efforts to fight one of the world's biggest killers - tuberculosis.

This was the second annual Party with a Purpose. In 2010, the first party raised just over $13,000 to help fund rural health clinics in Kenya. "A party can't change the world," says Eddings, "but it can support and seed the change."

The issues of global health have struck a chord with young people in Seattle. For those who might not go to a lecture or watch an AIDS documentary, a party may provide an attractive means of becoming educated about health needs. Eddings, who is already planning next year's third annual party, says such events get people talking, which, in turn, raise visibility and advocacy efforts.

A determined Eddings says the party is just getting started.

Where Small is Really Big

Small Change, Big Impact

Small Change, Big Impact is a new website that celebrates the power of the extended SPU community by bringing together stories of change, small and large. It connects alumni and friends of the University living around the globe. Through rich storytelling, this site shows that small manageable actions can impart big changes in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Engaging the culture and changing the world is a big idea. Sometimes it begins in small ways. A teaching moment in the classroom can lead a Seattle Pacific University student to a career that will help solve a world problem, such as clean water. An online resource, Lectio Guided Bible reading, delivered each week by email, can transform an emerging church on another continent. A Seattle parent can change lives by tutoring one hour a week at his neighborhood school.

As an alum, you will find thoughtful resources on topics such as brain science; faith and culture; the arts; and more. If you are on Facebook, you can comment and share with other friends on the site. And let us know how we can make this site even better.

And if you have not yet made a gift to SPU, here's your chance. A small gift makes you a world-changer because -- added together -- these small gifts equip the next generation of SPU students who will serve the wide worlds of business, church, science, nonprofit, government, and more.

Take a look around and share your story. Do something big at Small Change, Big Impact.

Flight Surgeon Specializes in Comfort and Aid

Captain Chris Coombs and Dr. John Page

Captain Christopher Combs '03 (left) and Dr. John Page '76.

Twelve years ago, emergency room doctor John Page '76 was passionate to bring comfort and his skills as a surgeon to the battlefield. He joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve and got his wish - three tours of duty, and soon a fourth, to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Perhaps what was most unusual was that he began his military career at 45, an age by which most career military personnel have already retired. In peace time, his missions have included mountain and deep ocean civilian search and rescue. In military conflict, his mission is battlefield point of injury helicopter pick up and rescue.

A graduate of the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Page is assigned to the 304th Rescue Squadron in Portland, Oregon. He is the medical supervisor for 60 pararescuemen and combat rescue officers. These paramedics are the military's most highly skilled non-physician medical personnel. Page also determines the medical status and stability of the wounded for evacuation flights from battlefield hospitals, such as Kandahar, Afghanistan, to the U.S. Regional Medical Center in Ramstein, Germany, and from there to stateside military medical centers.

He hopes "Lord willing" to deploy back to Southern Afghanistan sometime between February and April.

"My most vivid and sad wartime memories involve two soldiers, one from the U.S. and one from Canada," says Page. The men's lives were sustained by the combined efforts of Page's men, the military trauma surgeons at Kandahar, and the physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists of the Aeromedical Critical Care Air Transport Team who cared for them on the long journey home to North America.

"Sadly, their wounds proved fatal, but both died in the presence of their loving families, rather than half way around the world in Afghanistan," says Page. "Thankfully, a vast majority of the wounded survive now, because of the superb medical system that is in place today."

Proving once again how small the global community is, Page says he was privileged to serve and train stateside with Captain Christopher Combs '03, a combat rescue officer assigned to the 304th. Page shakes his head in wonder. "We flew two or three missions together in Afghanistan - two Seattle Pacific grads 30 years apart on the same combat mission!"

Page, who practices fulltime emergency medicine at Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande, Oregon, asks his fellow alumni to pray for God's extra grace for his wife, Marcia. Says her husband, "Spouses, who remain alone at home, are truly the unsung heroes of military service!"

Forum Honors SPU Vets

Saluting the American Flag

Army Chaplain Rob Sterling '00 is the featured speaker for the SPU Veterans Day Forum, November 10. Joining him will be an ROTC color guard and, it is hoped, other SPU alumni who are vets or affiliated with the military. The Forum begins at 9:30 a.m. in First Free Methodist Church adjacent to campus.

Spearheading the event are Army veteran and the chair of the Psychology Department, Margaret Brown; Navy veteran and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Russ Killingsworth; and Army veteran (Vietnam) and Executive-in-Residence for the School of Business and Economics, Jim Rand. Joining them will be members of the Veteran and Military Support Cadre, a fellowship and support group for SPU student veterans, ROTC cadets, and military family members that is facilitated by military veterans among the faculty and staff.

"There is a growing group of student veterans on our campus, along with a lot of military family members," says Brown. "Some vets have specific needs and challenges that are not common in traditional students, such as PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. Some have just been out of school for some time and need extra support to make a successful transition. We want the cadre to be one piece of that." A student club for veterans is being explored by student vet and cadre member Alex Hightower.

Brown says there are also plans for a campus memorial to SPU students and alumni killed in the line of military duty. For more details on the forum, the cadre, or the memorial, contact 206-281-2940 or

New York Kids See Themselves as Falcons

Alisha Ragan's sixth grade science class

Alisha Ragan (right) and her sixth grade scientists.

In alumna Alisha Ragan's sixth grade science classroom at Kings Collegiate Charter School in Brownsville Brooklyn, there is a wall devoted to "the culture of going to college." On this wall is memorabilia from a few educational institutions, but none so prominent as Seattle Pacific University. Photos of Ragan in cap and gown, surrounded by her smiling friends and classmates, commemorate her commencement in 2007. Ragan's diploma is there. The parklike campus. The Space Needle. The "Home of the Falcons."

The mission of Kings Collegiate is to reach kids in the largely Caribbean community with the message that college is not a distant dream but something that they can and will experience.

"I'm thrilled to get up at 5 in the morning and drive to school in 2-degree weather," says Ragan. "I'm going to a school where every teacher works relentlessly to close the achievement gap that exists in New York City. My students are beautiful, curious, funny, and endearing people."

They also wear uniforms and their school day does not end until 4:30 p.m. A code of conduct governs their behavior. They are there to learn.

Ragan began her teaching career with Teach for America in Los Angeles at one of the lowest performing schools in California. She had 155 students her first year and believes it was the compassion she experienced at Seattle Pacific that inspired her total of three years in L.A.

By this her fifth year in the classroom, she says, "I have taught physics, chemistry, density and buoyancy, plants, reproduction, ecology, genetics, astronomy, and earth science. My kids love learning about food chains and food webs, and our extended study of Jane Goodall and her experiences with chimpanzees. Children are always interested in the things they can't see, so (outer) space is a topic that captures them without fail."

When telling them what it's like inside a college classroom, Ragan references the high expectations of the SPU classroom: Professor Cindy Fitch's exciting genetics course, the detail required in Associate Professor Kevin Bartlett's organic chemistry lab, and the precision necessary for Professor Tim Nelson's biology course and Assistant Professor Eric Long's ecology course.

"My kids love that college wall," says Ragan. "They know what SPU stands for and what it means to engage the culture and change the world."



FCS Celebrates 70 Years

The Family and Consumer Sciences Department (formerly Home Economics) will celebrate its 70th birthday at Homecoming 2012, Saturday, January 28, 9:30 a.m. in the Science Building. FCS continues to prepare graduates to "improve quality of life for families and individuals" through food, clothing, shelter, and relationships.

The special Homecoming brunch facilitates connections between former classmates and professors, opportunity to meet new ones, and an open door to check out the renovated facilities and learn more about the department's rich history. Commemorative alumni and staff cookbooks will be created to commemorate the occasion. For further details,

Crew Celebrates 40 Years

Seattle Pacific University Crew celebrates 40 years at Homecoming 2012. There will be much to discuss as the program has garnered dozens of national level appearances, including seven national titles and 11 other medals, plus countless regional and conference championship victories.

Crew, under the continuing leadership of Head Coach Keith Jefferson '83, MADN '05, will host a special brunch at Homecoming, honoring each decade's alumni. If you'd like to help coordinate your decade's celebration, contact Jefferson at 206-281-2931 or

City Events Honor President and Mrs. Eaton

If you live in Pasadena, California; Portland, Oregon; or Honolulu, Hawaii, you are invited to a complimentary dinner for an opportunity to personally honor SPU President Philip Eaton and his wife, Sharon. Come hear his enthusiasm for the future of the University in this his 17th and final year of leadership.

6-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, November 10
Pasadena, California

6-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 1
Portland, Oregon

6-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 8
Honolulu, Hawaii

For further details and to RSVP, call 1-800-921-3456.

Engaging the Culture, Changing the World: The Christian University in a Post-Christian World

Released in July, SPU President Philip Eaton's new book, Engaging the Culture, Changing the World: The Christian University in a Post-Christian World (InterVarsity Press, 2011), makes the case for the Christian university as a place where graduates are equipped to engage a post-Christian culture -- so that all of God's children might flourish. Learn more at

A special discount is available to alumni through InterVarsity Press. Enter the discount code 405-21 when you place your order.

Did You Know?

SPU nursing students take what they learn to local hospitals and health care agencies where they work directly with clients. Students experience a full array of clinical settings, including hospitals, homeless shelters, public schools, and psychiatric facilities.

Earlier this year, Zach Williams '08 was pictured in USA Today wearing ear protectors in his work as a test engineer with X2IMPACT mouth guards. He was at the Southern Impact Research Center in Rockford, Tennessee, for research associated with sports brain injury. The NFL has hired X2IMPACT to measure hits on its helmets and mouth guards with an eye to applying the technology to actual players in practice and regulation play. It is hoped the tests will result in new rules, helmet improvements, and better protection from concussions.

The Seattle Pacific University Theatre Department is currently accepting original submissions for their online play publication. Plays of all styles, lengths, and genres will be accepted, and should be works that could be performed under the aegis of SPU. Plays, in standard playwriting format, should be sent via email as a Word attachment. Include a title page with playwright's name and contact information. When submitting, please use the following message header: Submission: (Title), by (Playwright's Name). Send all submissions to

New Facebook Page
for Alumni

Facebook users -- and we know there are a lot of you -- will be interested to hear that the SPU Alumni office has just launched a new Facebook page . If you are currently a member of the older group page, which will be disbanded in the coming weeks, please hop over and "like" the brand-new page, which will have the capacity to grow larger.

Following the alumni Facebook page is the perfect way to stay informed about important news at SPU, to enjoy a touch of nostalgia, and to reconnect with your classmates. It is stocked with posts you will appreciate and enjoy seeing on your wall. See class notes, Homecoming behind-the-scenes photos, and special membership promotions.

Check out the "blast from the past" photo album and see if you can tag some classmates. Maybe you'll find a photo of yourself!

Legacy Open House Draws Nationwide

More than 50 alumni parents plus about 80 students, all children of alumni, stopped by the Legacy Reception hosted by the Alumni Center during this year's New Student Orientation. They came from far and wide, including from Sitka, Alaska, and Miami, Florida. Students included freshman Hannah Hall, a fourth-generation Falcon. Besides reminiscing, alumni browsed their yearbooks and celebrated their extra shared bond as Falcon families.

"Alumni Rate"
at Fort Casey Inn

Fort Casey Inn offers a special "alumni rate" of $115 a night to all SPU alumni, with a two-night minimum, October 1, 2011, through April 30, 2012. The two-bedroom water-view units include a living area with a gas fireplace and a full kitchen. Contact 866-661-6604 or www.fortcasey and enjoy a beautiful Whidbey Island getaway!

Tickets for Sacred Sounds Going Fast Spacer
Sacred Sounds of Christmas

Don't miss out on SPU's 12th annual Sacred Sounds of Christmas, featuring our nationally acclaimed Concert Choir and Wind Symphony, the SPU Orchestra, and other fine SPU groups. Two performances: Monday, November 28, and Tuesday, November 29, 7:30 p.m., in Benaroya Hall. Tickets: $17 and $20; purchase online at More information:

Save the Date:
"Becoming Soul Mates,"
February 4, 2011

Give your spouse the gift of happily ever after! This premier marriage seminar led by SPU's relationship experts, Les and Leslie Parrott, provides practical insights for a lasting relationship. Held at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington. Registration begins December 1. $72/couple. Email for details.

Stay Connected Links

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Alumni Bookshelf Spacer
The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice, and Love

The Colors of Hope: Becoming People of Mercy, Justice, and Love (Baker Books)
by Richard Dahlstrom '79
Place order at, or 1-800-877-2665.

Senior pastor of Seattle's Bethany Community Church, Dahlstrom also authored 02: Breathing New Life into Faith, which was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best Christian books of 2008.

Campus Jobs

Web Desinger II, University Communications
Focuses on the design and development of Seattle Pacific University's website as a public communications interface.

Events Manager, Administration and University Relations
Manages the planning and implementation for the University's strategic events and the President's off-campus fundraising events.

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


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