Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News

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Spring 2010 | Volume 4, Issue 2

Getting to Know 119 Years of SPU History

historic Seattle Pacific keepsakes

If you have historic Seattle Pacific artifacts, keepsakes, or documents that you would like to contribute to the University Archives, archivist Adrienne Meier '04 invites you to contact her at 206-281-2422 or

After all, when you begin with 800 boxes of documents and photos, what's a few more?

"It is definitely a lot of boxes!" says Meier, who is SPU librarian for the social sciences and charged with preserving the physical and digital history of SPU. "But many archivists have large backlogs of material like this." The trick, she adds, is to have a general "box level" knowledge of what's contained in each of the acid-free preservative banker boxes.

Adrienne Meier"We're keeping the memories alive," says Meier, whose senior SPU honors project was about archiving and whose graduate work culminated in a master's degree in library and information science from University of Washington. "I have yearbooks and photographs from the '30s and '40s when my grandfathers were students here, from the '70s when my mom and dad were students here, and from the days not so long ago when I was a student here."

Memorabilia from Seattle Pacific's past includes a Seattle Pacific College belt buckle, a Falconettes sweater from the '40s, and a spear from an Ecuadorian tribe.

Meier says she would "love to get donations from alumni! I'm also happy to answer any questions, such as 'Do you have any photos of my grandma who graduated in 1935?'"

Some of the valuables in hand include a "pretty good" collection of pictures as far back as the school's founding in 1891. There's material from early alumni, including Mattie Peterson of Peterson Hall fame, and the personal papers of many of the former presidents.

Meier offers to scan photographs into high quality photocopies for display, thereby preserving the original photos. "And I can send a scan of that photo to an interested alum anywhere in the world."

A former intern at the City of Seattle Archives, Meier learned that archivists and librarians have similar goals: to help people find the information they need. "And now here I am, half a librarian and half an archivist. It's great!"

First Dad's Day a Sellout

Sounders FCStateside for the next two years, career missionary Mark Halstrom '77 has moved into a new home and is taking his son to the first Dad's Day in Seattle Pacific University history.

The April 17 event was a sellout two weeks ahead. The 250 dads and their SPU students will kick the day off with a pancake breakfast in Upper Gwinn Commons, followed by reserved seats at Seattle's Qwest Field when the Sounders FC takes on the Kansas City Wizards.

"My boys grew up playing lots of soccer," says Halstrom, who has served in community and rural development with the Evangelical Free Church in Congo and Tanzania for the past 26 years. "They followed the European league, know the players, and Loren is excited to see one or two of them in action in Saturday's game."

He will be joined by Loren, a junior political science major at SPU. Halstrom's younger son, Isaac, a high school senior, has been accepted by several universities including SPU.

Dad Halstrom plans on a memorable day. "Dad's Day is a chance to spend some good times with my son and to interact with other students and their dads," he says.

What's the Value of Your SPU Education?

US News and World ReportQuantifying the "value" of a college degree involves many factors, including the academic strength of an institution, cost after financial aid is factored in, and even opportunities for civic engagement.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Pacific is one of the top five "Best Values" in the West.

SPU's urban location is one of its chief draws. The city of Seattle offers hands-on career experience and a broad range of employer contacts. SPU students enjoy a top reputation among employers for their unique combination of competence and character.

Add to that a strong sense of community, one that gives students a passion and a boldness to engage the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ. That gives the education they receive deeper significance.

The University's alumni are some of its best "calling cards." The next time you're at the water cooler, ask what others think about the value of their education. Compare notes. See how SPU stacks up. Put in a plug for your "Best Value" alma mater!

Check out the perspective of SPU students, parents, faculty, and employers about the value of an SPU education

Alumni Champion Future Alums

Grace MartinScholarship recipient Grace Martin says the money provided by the SPU Alumni Association means she can spend less time working and more time on studies. Better grades, in turn, enable her to keep her dean's list scholarship.

"If I didn't have the Alumni scholarship, it would be very difficult for me to make rent and pay for tuition," says Martin, a junior nursing major from Leavenworth, Washington, and third generation Seattle Pacific student.

The Alumni scholarship also allows her to sing in the SPU Gospel Choir and be involved with the Union Gospel Mission Women and Children's Shelter.

Daniel HamiltonThe Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment provides scholarships for students who have demonstrated leadership and service, and whose families have displayed service and commitment to the University.

Students such as sophomore computer science major Daniel Hamilton of Missoula, Montana, a second-generation SPU student. "I really depend on my scholarships and it's great to have alumni support in making it all work," says this member of the Falcon track and varsity cross country teams.

Karl SchmidtThe third recipient of 2009-10 Alumni scholarships is sophomore Karl Schmidt, a second-generation SPU student and secondary math education major from Omak, Washington. Besides high school tutoring and helping with fourth and fifth grade Sunday school, Schmidt both participates in and coordinates intramural sports for his residence hall (5th Hill).

"The Alumni scholarship helps reduce the stress," he says. "It's good to have the support of those who have gone before me. That motivates me to do well."

Gordon Nygard, assistant vice president for University Advancement, says the importance of endowed scholarships to current and future students can't be overstated. "Alumni who establish or support endowed scholarships provide a consistent source of financial aid for deserving students."

The Young Alumni Council also gives an annual scholarship to an SPU senior who has demonstrated academic achievement and a commitment to off-campus volunteer service. The scholarship was established and continues to grow through the sacrificial contributions of many young alumni who want to extend a helping hand to students actively "engaging the culture and changing the world."

Alumna Finds Work With SPU Career Help

In 2008, Miranda Tyus '06 needed a job. She also needed help finding it and for that, she turned to the career counselors at SPU. Career counseling is free for current matriculated SPU students and alumni within one year of graduation. More than one year after graduation, alumni receive one free appointment per year.

Tyus received not only job-resource help but she also received assistance restructuring and help updating her résumé. Through temporary-work agency contacts from career counselor Karen Altus, Tyus found Pace Staffing Network. Pace staff complimented her improved résumé and sent it to company supervisors who reviewed her qualifications. Soon she was working at Seattle Children's Hospital as a patient services representative.

"I get a lot of positive feedback on my revised résumé," says Tyus. "I'm thankful for Karen and her dedication to helping me."

Today, the sociology major works with the Salvation Army as a case manager, but plans a return to Pace for another temporary job that will allow her the time to pursue internship opportunities in ministry, as well as to research graduate schools.

Career Development Center Changes Its Scope

What was the Career Development Center at SPU is now the Center for Career and Calling (CCC).

"We still teach all the necessary skills for job finding," says Sarah Dobelstein, employer relations and technology manager, "but we've added a strong emphasis on vocational discernment." Vocational calling is defined as God's calling for purposeful and meaningful work/service.

See complete details on the CCC,

Homecoming Brings 'Em Back

Class ReunionAttendance was strong and spirits high at the 2010 Homecoming and Family Weekend celebration January 28-30.

"We had outstanding attendance, more than 75 at each of the class reunions for 1965, 1970, 1980, and 2000!" says Linda Nolte, office manager for Alumni and Parent Relations. President Philip Eaton energized the crowd at the President's Luncheon on Saturday with a spirited examination of the importance of SPU as "the place where world change begins."

The Falcon men's and women's basketball teams handily defeated their opponents from University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Student Talent Show packed them in on Friday night, and the student-run Homecoming Dance on Saturday night was an historic first.

Kristin Unti, vice president of campus activities for the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific, says the dance was an opportunity to draw current students into Homecoming events and to meet their request for more school dances.

"It was simple, classy, and school-spirited," Unti says. "I projected about 300 students would attend, but more than 600 came!"

Jim Cornelison Belts It Out for Old Glory

Jim CornelisonBefore every Chicago Blackhawks home hockey game, Jim Cornelison '86 takes microphone in hand and sings the National Anthem "full throttle."

Something special happens when his rich tenor voice, honed in opera houses from Brussels to Santa Fe, fills Chicago's United Center. Twenty thousand fans erupt in cheers and applause until the building reverberates in anticipation and patriotic fervor. Cornelison takes a few minutes to warm up and has to sing into the glass surrounding the hockey rink just to hear himself.

"It's impossible not to have a strong emotional reaction," says Cornelison, a sales agent for Rubloff Residential Properties. "I have to keep cool and not get too carried away. It is arguably the greatest tradition in professional sports."

The resulting celebrity has provided Cornelison with an interesting life. "One fan told me I have the greatest part-time job in the world!" But though he has appeared on the major networks and been introduced to Chicago's social elite, he takes great satisfaction in the fact his singer-songwriter son James, 16, has already made a splash in the Chicago blues scene. "And my daughter, Elizabeth, 11, is developing quite the set of pipes as well. It's a lot of fun to watch that happen."

Jim CornelisonAt SPU, Cornelison performed as a member of the Victory Quartet and as a chorister with the Seattle Opera. His most influential professor was Vernon Wicker, now retired, who taught voice and helped him communicate text and emotion.

"Vernon's a great guy and we're still in touch occasionally," says Cornelison. Though he has sung around the globe, Cornelison's professional singing career kept him on the road for seven months of the year. It not only put a strain on the family, but it was also "much more fun at 30 than at 40." Factor in that the opera season and the hockey season collided, and he needed to choose.

Real estate was a way after quitting opera to make money quickly and still remain his own boss. And the anthem? "It's always a rush. I love being a part of the celebration of being American and a Blackhawks fan!"

Watch a video interview with Jim Cornelison about how his pre-game anthem preparations. Hear him sing the National Anthem at a game on this podcast.

MKs Find Friends/Empathy at SPU Seminar

MK Transition SeminarThe Kronbachs, Janet '82 and David '85, have a heart for missionary kids (MKs).

In 1999, after serving for six years on the West African mission field, they founded Gatehouse Ministries, a home for MKs while attending college in the U.S. In 2008, they joined Barnabas International, an organization committed to encouraging missionary families, and championed a new ministry called the summer MK Transition Seminar.

This July 18-30, Seattle Pacific University will host its second transition seminar. For 13 days, MKs will gather on campus to better understand the crucial adjustment from living most of their lives in other cultures (sometimes several) to living in North America as a young adult.

Many MKs, for example, enter college without a driver's license and no job experience. Even a new acronym has been created to express how, because of their international experience growing up, they will forever be seen through a different lens. Most will likely be tagged a TCK, or Third Culture Kid.

Each year, hundreds of MKs make the transition from high schools around the world to colleges and universities in North America."For most missionary families," says David, "this is among their greatest stressors and can many times lead to the premature departure of missionary families from their fields of service."

"Many SPU alumni are MKs," David adds. "They have amazing stories of their own, and some of those are of difficulties they are still trying to process from their childhood. Our hope is that the SPU MK Transition Seminar is the type of ministry they will want to support."

Since the MKs come from families in ministry, each is charged a nominal $475 for the 13-day seminar. The actual cost of the program is about $1,000 per MK. The Kronbachs suggest that SPU alumni may want to sponsor an MK with either a partial or full scholarship, or assist in the cost of taking the MKs to a professional soccer match during the course of the seminar.

Interested alumni may connect with the Kronbachs directly at or visit to see other ways they may want to help.

Alumnus Joins High Level Religious Talks

Ray Bakke In January, the White House tapped Ray Bakke '65 to join a task force of 20 U.S. religious leaders to meet with 20 Muslim leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In three days of meetings, the leaders, including Bakke and Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, discussed ways to engage tough issues between faiths and identify new ways to collaborate to develop better relations among peoples and nations.

Topics included response to systemic evil and the freedom to educate everyone in ways that affirm religious identity. They emphasized specific commitments their governments could make in each area discussed. The U.S. State Department has promised to generate policies based on the group's recommendations that can be announced later this year when Obama plans a visit to Indonesia.

The task force grew out of work between the State Department and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Future religious dialogs may take place in India and the Middle East.

"The stakes are huge for all humanity, let alone the followers of Jesus in all these countries," says Bakke, the chancellor of Seattle's Bakke Graduate University.

For Breakfast, a Shining Example

Gary NewbillAmong the 1200 guests at the annual Seattle Pacific University Downtown Business Breakfast on April 6 was table host Gary Newbill '64, dean of education at Northwest University (NU).

Not only did Newbill go on to earn a master's degree in education and his principal's certificate from SPU (1970), but he also chaired the feasibility study that led to SPU's first doctoral degree program in education. He earned his degree in the program 14 years later (1999).

"Through the breakfast, the University shines before business, government, and community leaders," says Newbill, a member of the SPU Alumni Association board. "They see how SPU impacts the world positively, how it applies Christian faith principles in the workplace and addresses needs in the city and around the globe."

This year's breakfast speaker was world-renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who addressed the health care challenge in America. The 2009 movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, starring Cuba Gooding Jr., is based on Carson's life.

At their table, Newbill and his wife, Karen Jacobson Newbill '67, hosted their neighbors, church friends, and niece Esther Cook '05, a nurse educator at Seattle Children's Hospital. The Newbill children are SPU graduates as well - Kari Newbill Lannon '95 and Erick Newbill '00. Karen is a former president of Falconettes, a retired third-grade teacher, and an adjunct professor at NU. Both she and Gary are SPU Fellows.

"We've attended the breakfast for years," says Gary, a licensed attorney and former member of the graduate faculty of educational leadership at SPU. "We're very proud of our alma mater."

Three other Alumni Association board members also sponsored tables - Karen Vidger Teel '74, Jennifer Feddern Kenney '91, and Jeff Judy '95.

Tuition Free Day Is on the Way

How are you celebrating April 27? That's the day that technically tuition no longer covers operational costs of the University. Thanks to their generosity, donor support covers those costs for the remainder of the academic year - about $3,000 per student.

The day is marked by music, booths, and displays reminding students how important donors are to their educational success. Donor names are prominently displayed and students write personal thank-you notes to those who have given financial gifts that they might stay in school.

Expressing the Art of the Heart

Gwen Maxwell-Williams' artwork
The canvas upon which each of us expresses who we are may take many forms, be small or large, plain or colorful, expected or surprising. In the case of Gwen Maxwell-Williams '76, the canvases are quilts, the patterns energetic and fresh, and the results filled, in her words, with "color, color, color," movement, and meaning.

The nursing major and former hospital administrator wasn't about to be sidelined in retirement. She had art in her, a love for fabrics, and an eye for design -- none of which would be denied.

She took a beginner's class in the one thing she had convinced herself was for old women and nursing home residents - quilting. The unexpected happened. She fell in love with the art form and it soon became an insatiable habit.

She took a full-time job at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center to support the habit.

Today, Maxwell-Williams is a quilt artist who teaches others and "auditions" her fabrics to determine if they are the right fit. Her quilts are living works of art, splashed with color and some decorated with handmade beads she rolls from clay. Many are exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Her Obama quilt, celebrating the historic president, is on a four-year tour.

Her work has been purchased by the Seattle Arts Commission and she is the founder of the Pacific Northwest African American Quilters Guild . Maxwell-Williams especially enjoys working on quilt projects with classrooms of public and private school children and parent/child pairings, and gives history lectures on African-American quilting and the Underground Railroad.

She loves the freedom to be herself in her art. "I think it's allowed me to be the person I always was," she told a KUOW radio reporter in January, "just given me other avenues for that."

See examples of Gwen Maxwell-Williams' art at

From a story idea submitted on

The Legend of the Speeder

When they get together, what do SPU alumni talk about? Those of a certain vintage, such as Norm Edwards '55, will never forget the day the Speeder forever took its place in Seattle Pacific alumni legend:

It was a fair summer's day between Norm's junior and senior year when he decided to take the 78-foot Speeder for a spin. The narrow wooden boat, a former foot ferry, was used some for marine biology classes, but generally as an all-purpose pleasure craft. "Seattle Pacific College" was painted in 16-inch bold red letters on each side of the white hull.

Hired to work directly for SPC President C. Hoyt Watson, Norm helped with fundraising projects and odd jobs, including taking the vessel out of its moorage on the Ship Canal. Its aging hull took on water and the engine had to be started periodically to pump water out or the old girl would sink.

It was the Saturday of Seattle's annual Seafair celebration and the Navy fleet was in town. When a few summer-school students suggested taking a closer look at said fleet, Norm volunteered to skipper the excursion.

Between SPC and the Navy ships was the Ballard Locks, designed to lower vessels 20 feet from Lake Union to Puget Sound. Norm figured the two women students on board who had dates with a couple of the visiting sailors were ideally qualified to handle the bow and stern lines to keep the boat securely in place while the water level in the locks was lowered.

Alas, a low tide that day meant that the stern line was too short to reach the locks attendant at the top. The stern began to drift away from the giant locks wall until the SPC Speeder with its extended rudder became wedged sideways in the 80-foot wide locks. Thirty-five other boats headed for the Sound were now blocked from doing so. A huge crowd at the popular tourist attraction gathered at the top to watch and photograph this impromptu addition to Seafair activities.

The lock attendants finally brought in a boat that was able to swing the bow of the Speeder around, allowing its sheepish skipper to slowly back the boat out.

Lessons in "line management" immediately ensued, before all hands nervously took another, thankfully successful run at the locks.

Scuttlebutt from the wedging incident says that Norm, while running from end to end of the boat in desperation, had to step through an impromptu prayer meeting called in the Speeder's mid-section. God heard. At the end of the day, the now-wiser crew returned safely home.

No one recalls what President Watson had to say.

So Proudly She Sails

Virginia VSpeaking of memorable boats, the Virginia V will again sail into the sunset for Senior Salute on May 21.

The historic vessel is the last wooden passenger steamer from Seattle's Mosquito Fleet. For countless Seattle Pacific alumni over five decades, it has provided a rite of passage, the "final cruise" before Commencement.

This year, seniors and their guests will spend three hours on Lake Washington, dining, listening to live jazz, and topping one another's stories about their time at SPU.


Did You Know?

The Tim Tebow Super Bowl ads that ignited a controversy over their pro-life message were produced and directed by Vidano Films. Stephen Vidano '91, company president, says that the process of planning, filming test spots, composing music, rewriting scripts, and editing and re-editing took three months. The ads were meant to show the strength of family and to draw people to the Focus on the Family website.

Recent TV and radio commercials for Car Toys feature the vocal stylings of Chris Sharpe '06. He sings the snappy jingle at the end, "Wanna play … get your toys."

The name of the former SPU yearbook is "Tawahsi," a Native American word meaning "friendship." Our inadvertent transposition of the "h" and "s" in the winter issue of Connections was caught by more than one alert reader.

As long as we're wiping egg off our face, sincere apologies to Mikke Lindblom, research human resources consultant with Seattle Children's Research Institute. We regret referring to him in the feminine gender last issue. Lindblom good-naturedly writes that he is most assuredly male.

Join the SPU Online Alumni Community

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The Envelope, Please

You are an important part of the process to nominate outstanding SPU alumni for Alumni of the Year, the Medallion Award, and the Distinguished Leadership Award.

Criteria for nomination and a nomination form for submitting names are available online.

Please help give wider attention to deserving individuals and to honor those who fulfill the mission and goals of Seattle Pacific. Together, we can bring more names to the table and better pay honor where honor is due. Questions? Call 206-281-ALUM.

Stay Engaged

Hear a public lecture on "Darwinian Evolution and Wesleyan Theology" April 22 and attend the GospelFest Concert on May 1. For these and all the latest in guest speakers, concerts, theatre productions, and other coming SPU events, see the Engage Event Series and sign up for email updates.

Featured Podcast

Homecoming Awards Ceremony and President's Luncheon from Homecoming.

Discover more about the innovative minds behind iTunes U and other Instructional Technology Services at SPU.

Campus Jobs

Assistant Director of Systems and Reporting, Development

Oversees, plans and directs processing, maintenance, and daily operations of a records system.

Director of the Asian-American Ministry Program, School of Theology

Assist the dean in fundraising and development, particularly related to the Asian-American Ministry Program and the School of Theology graduate program.

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

Alumni Bookshelf

Recipes to Remember
(First Free Methodist Church)
by FFMC members
$20 (to order, see

Recipies to RememberHundreds of recipes from the cooks of First Free Methodist Church in honor of their retiring Pastor Mark Abbott. The cookbook honors Mark and his wife, Mary Ann, for their 28 years of service. Profits from the sale of the books goes to the H. Mark Abbott Preaching Lectureship Endowment at SPU.

War and Sacrifice
By Christina Moore and Janell Wood
$100 (to order,

War and SacrificeJanell Wood '01 wanted to compile a World War II keepsake for her grandfather. It grew into a community project capturing the war experiences of 41 Snohomish County (Washington) veterans in text and historic photographs. The books are pre-sold at cost until each veteran featured can receive one as a gift at a commemorative celebration in their honor. The book is 12 x 12, hardcover, 110 pages.

Gift deadline is April 20. Other copies may be purchased for the same price.


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