Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News

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Spring 2011 | Volume 5, Issue 2

Our Town

Alumni Night at the Theatre: "Our Town"
Friday, May 6, 7:30 p.m.
E.E. Bach Theatre
Tickets: $12

Celebrate Seattle Pacific University's 50th season of theatre and return with us to a small New Hampshire town early in the 20th century. Grover's Corners is a place where change comes slowly and no one locks their doors.

All SPU alumni are invited to this special alumni performance of Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer-Prize winning play, "Our Town," which debuted on the SPU stage in 1990 under the direction of James Chapman. The cast features several alumni actors.

The 2011 edition of "Our Town" is directed by Scott Nolte '76, co-founder and artistic director of Seattle's highly respected Taproot Theatre. He and his wife, Pam Nolte '76, are SPU's 2011 Alumni of the Year.

Purchase tickets to Alumni Night at the Theatre for $12 at Each ticket includes the play, surprise treats at intermission, and an exclusive post-play dessert reception with director and cast. Hurry, seating is limited!

Those interested in a no-host reservation-only alumni dinner before the play should call 206-281-2723 to reserve a place.

Alumni Honorees Shine at Homecoming

The Falcons took both their men's and women's opponents to the woodshed in the Seattle Pacific University Homecoming and Family Weekend 2012 basketball games. Both Falcon teams eventually earned invitations to the NCAA D2 national tournament. This was seven straight for the men and 15 consecutive invitations for the women.

"Godspell" was an unqualified hit on stage and Theatre's 50th Season Reception ricocheted between laughter and tears as actors, techies, and audience members across the years celebrated storytelling in community. The Student Talent Show, the Crew Regatta, and nine class reunions kept traditions alive and thriving.

For a close-up view of SPU alumni putting heart and soul into the University's vision of "engaging the culture, changing the world," people attended the Homecoming Celebration Chapel, the Alumni Awards Luncheon, and the President's Luncheon.

Scott and Pam Nolte

Scott and Pam Nolte

Featured speakers included Scott and Pam Nolte '76, Alumni of the Year 2011. They pointed to McKinley Auditorium as the incubator for their theatrical vision, which became Seattle's acclaimed Taproot Theatre and to date, 34 seasons of plays brimming with hope. Taproot reaches an annual audience that exceeds 150,000 through its main stage plays, touring groups, and acting studio.

Three SPU alumni were honored with Medallion Awards for outstanding service to Seattle Pacific, their communities, and chosen professions:

Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown '75 was a pioneer in the financial planning industry. While still in his early 20s, Jerry earned the distinction of being named the top salesperson in a national sales force of more than 5,000 people. Before the age of 30, he co-founded the Financial Network Investment Corporation (FNIC), which became one of the largest and most successful independent broker dealers in the country. Jerry has recruited, trained, and mentored hundreds of high caliber financial advisors, many of whom have gone on to national prominence. Jerry has also donated time and talent to a number of non-profit ministries in the Seattle area.

Anita Marson Deyneka

Anita Marson Deyneka

Anita Marson Deyneka '66 is president of Russian Ministries in Wheaton, Illinois. Over 40 years of service to missions and Christian evangelization, she has assisted in the development of new ministries and specialized in the development of training, research programs, and materials for Westerners who support the outreach to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Author and co-author of seven books with her late husband Peter Deyneka Jr., Anita taught courses on missions in the USSR for Wheaton Graduate School, Fuller Seminary, and Biola College.

Ruth Terpsma Hill

Ruth Terpsma Hill

Ruth Terpsma Hill '72, executive director of Covenant Women Ministries for the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC), first served for 19 years as a missionary with her husband, Brad Hill '72, in Zaire. It was there she led women's ministry, planted churches in the jungle, and trained the wives of seminary students to read and write. The programs Ruth has spearheaded for the ECC include Educate the Girls in Congo, Advocates for Victims of Abuse, and Break the Chains, an initiative against human trafficking.

See 2011 Homecoming and Family Weekend photos.

Nominate Amazing Alumni

To ensure that SPU recognizes the work and legacy of alumni such as Scott and Pam Nolte, Jerry Brown, Anita Deyneka, and Ruth Hill (see story above), we need you to nominate individuals that you know to exemplify the mission and vision of their alma mater. In fact, you are the best resource for lifting up a fellow classmate and alerting us to worthy candidates!

Nominate someone today for the Alumnus/Alumnae of the Year, Young Alum of the Year, Medallion, and Distinguished Service/Distinguished Leadership awards. The criteria for the awards and a printable nomination form are available now. Thank you for your help.

Theatre Professor Launches Endowment

The sellout crowds attending the Homecoming performances of "Godspell" were treated to fine acting and the exceptional stagecraft of Professor of Theatre Don Yanik. The man who holds design credits for more than 260 SPU productions, Yanik recently established the Don Yanik Design and Technical Theatre Scholarship Endowment.

"At Homecoming, many of us attended a wonderful gala reception in celebration of the 50th season of theatre at SPU," says Ken Cornell, director of alumni and parent relations. "Now Don helps fund an enduring legacy of technical theatre into the future. The endowment, and the students for whom it will provide, deserve our support."

If you would like to help grow the Yanik endowment in support of technical education in scene design and construction, lighting and sound, costuming, stage makeup, and more, you can Give Now. (Under step 1, click on "other" and key in "Don Yanik Design and Technical Theatre Scholarship Endowment.")

Changing Lives Among the Semi-Nomads

Loanna Day

Loanna Day

It was on their "retirement safari" to Kenya that Africa got under the skin of Jon and Loanna (Friesen '67, M.A. '68) Day. Raised in a Christian home where "doing for others" was modeled by her parents, Loanna says that message continued with her into Seattle Pacific University.

"Knowing and talking about God is one thing," she says, "but living a life led by God into action is the backbone of what I do."

What she does is run the Maasai Women's Education and Empowerment Program (MWEEP), a nonprofit organization that raises funds for cost-sharing scholarships and training programs for Maasai women in East Africa.

"Traditionally the Maasai father arranges a marriage of a daughter 12-16 years of age to an older man," says Loanna. "In turn, the father receives a dowry of cattle and food staples that benefits the rest of the family, now with one less mouth to feed."

But if the girl can attend a secondary boarding school, in most cases she is safe from early marriage. The educated daughter makes a difference for her family, her extended family, and her community. MWEEP supports women who are working to start their own businesses and/or becoming community leaders. Whether a student or a budding entrepreneur, these determined ladies become independent, successful women.

The Days host fundraising teas and oyster roasts in homes where interested parties are given a PowerPoint presentation about MWEEP. More social-media outreach is beginning and each year their church hosts a "Maasai in May" event at which individual church members pledge their support.

"We do this out of the love God has placed in our hearts for these amazing girls and women," says Loanna. "The MWEEP Kenya women are Christian and mostly attend Presbyterian churches established out in the bush. We go to Kenya each year and see the differences in lives, differences that can only be directed by God."

Visit MWEEP to learn more of the faith and industry of Maasai women.

Understanding the Sacrifice

SPU Drum Corps

SPU Drum Corps

The 85th Annual Memorial Day Commemorative Service at Seattle's Evergreen Washelli Veterans Memorial Cemetery will feature the Seattle Pacific University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Drum Corps.

"It helps our students understand the tremendous sacrifice made to ensure our freedoms," says Kim Gilnett, marketing associate for the Department of Fine Arts. It is also inspiring to older veterans and their families to see students honoring with such passion those who served.

Both student ensembles have participated in recent years and last year, Gilnett read "In Flanders Fields."

As many as 1,400 people attend what has become one of the larger civic Memorial Day concerts of its kind outside of Arlington National Cemetery.

"What a wonderful experience for our young musicians to spend their vacation day honoring the fallen and listening to the heartfelt words of decorated veterans," says Kenneth Cornell, director of alumni and parent relations.

Alumni are encouraged to join in the remembrance on May 30 that begins with the concert at 1:30 p.m. followed by the ceremony at 2 p.m. Following the service, a guided tour of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery will be conducted by David Bloch, son of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Orville Emil Bloch. To reserve a tour spot, please call 206-362-5200. A $5 donation is suggested and will go toward the purchase of flags for the Avenue of Flags.

The Downs Men Have the Game Covered

Downs Men

David, Jeff, Mike, and Dan Downs

Mike Downs has held court in Seattle Pacific University's Brougham Pavilion, and so have his three sons - but nearly four decades apart. In 1974, when Dad Downs completed his first season as a Falcon, pocket calculators first appeared in retail stores and the "The Six Million Dollar Man" was a bona fide TV hit.

Downs senior went on to letter each of his four years and to marry Janice Millard '79, who passed away last year. They raised their sons and daughter Christine in a home strong with faith.

The Downs sons share their father's love of the game. Jeff '11 was a senior starter in the backcourt who ended his Falcon career with 220 successful three-point shots (third among all-time Falcons) and 1,079 points (number 19 among all-time Falcons). Freshman brother David '14 was a point guard. Oldest brother, Dan, joined the Falcon staff this season as an assistant coach. But even before the brothers were tapped to be SPU Falcons, they were Bellevue Christian Vikings. Their coach? Dad Mike Downs.

Now in his 30th season as head coach at Bellevue (Washington) Christian School, Mike Downs '77, M.A. '82, has led his teams to the state tournament the last 10 years in a row, winning the tournament two years in a row (2005 and 2006). Chosen Teacher of the Year by the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, last year he was inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Mason Kelley of The Seattle Times had this to say in a press release about Mike's Hall of Fame honors: "The word that best describes Coach Downs and his commitment to Bellevue Christian School is community ... (It) is evident in the post-game meetings when Downs invites parents, friends, and former players to share, pray, and reflect on the game."

One of the highlights of Mike's coaching career will always be having worked with his three sons, all of whom played varsity basketball for Coach Downs and all of whom were named to the All-State teams Downs coached.

Class Act on Court and Off

Senior point guard Chris Banchero hates being sidelined as much as any Falcon. He was driving hard and scoring big until a game against University of Alaska Fairbanks January 6 when he suffered a tear of the ACL in his left knee that ended his college career.

Devastated by the injury, Banchero received an outpouring of support from so many people that he decided to buy a display ad in The Seattle Times to express his gratitude.

"Thank you!" read the ad. "Seattle Pacific University, Coach (Ryan) Looney and his entire staff, players, parents, fans, alumni, and our trainer: Your prayers and support have meant a lot to me and my family during my injury, surgery, and now full recovery process. I look forward to giving back the same support to my university and team in our quest for a championship this season. (Signed) Chris Banchero Jr., Seattle Pacific Falcons."

The ad prompted sports writer Jim Moore to run a special to the Times. "I spent ... 15 to 20 minutes on the phone with him," Moore wrote, "and by the time our conversation ended, I wanted to hug the kid for being the type of son I'd like to call my own." Banchero continues his rehabilitation in the hope of pursuing a pro-basketball career overseas. Teams in Europe and Asia are keeping an eye on his progress.


Friends of the Library Endowment Luncheon

Tuesday, April 12,
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Upper Gwinn Commons
Keynote speaker: Jeffrey Overstreet

The Friends of the Library fundraising luncheon to support the Library endowment is complimentary and open to the general public.

Jeffrey Overstreet is a gifted speaker on the topic of faith, culture, and the arts. He is a contributing editor for SPU's Response magazine, an award-winning film critic, and the author of the four-volume fantasy series called The Auralia Thread.

Funded by donors who give $250 or more each year, Friends of the Library support the SPU Library collection. RSVP today at 206-281-2413 or

You may make an online gift by credit card at (Under step 1, click on "other" and key in "Friends of the Library.")

John Perkins Film Premiere
"Let Justice Roll On"

Monday, April 25, 7 p.m.
Upper Gwinn Commons

Presented by SPU and the John M. Perkins Foundation: Let Justice Roll On: The Life and Legacy of John M. Perkins. The première of the documentary profiles one of the world's foremost reconciliation advocates, John M. Perkins.

Your Alumni Benefit: Spring Career Mixer

Tuesday, May 3, 3-5 p.m.
Upper Gwinn Commons

A great opportunity for alumni to meet with employers from a variety of companies and organizations. Build genuine networking skills to increase your job search success. Learn more.

Because you're SPU alumni, you have privileges! Your Center for Career and Calling (CCC) benefits include:

• One free counseling session per year (unlimited sessions first year)

• Access to CCC workshops throughout the year

• Access to Career Mixers, and job and internship fairs

President Philip Eaton
Class of '61 50-Year Reunion

Friday, June 10,
All Day
A.M. Student Union Building,
P.M. Upper Gwinn Commons

Your Class of '61 Reunion Committee invites you to attend your 50th anniversary reunion! A full day of on-campus activities including Ivy Cutting, the 50-year certificate presentation, a special program with music and sharing, and a catered lunch and dinner. To reserve your space, register online at

Young Alumni - Summer Night Out

Thursday, June 23
Seattle's Discovery Park

The first summer event features a hot dog roast and laser tag! Watch for details in an email blast coming soon.

The Quake in Japan:
SPU Alumni Update

More than 100 Seattle Pacific alums were in Japan when the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March, 11, 2011. For news updates, or to leave news of SPU alumni that you have received, see Response online.

Did You Know?

Wish you could hear some of the notable SPU chapel speakers of the past? On iTunes, you can! For a sample, listen to Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson (10/22/79) or artist/author Joni Eareckson (11/13/80).

Vegetarian moussaka is sometimes included in the Gwinn Commons Ultimate Dining experience. At just 360 calories, it features lentils, noodles, and tomatoes topped with egg custard and seasoned with oregano, cinnamon, and garlic. Two to four strictly vegan options are also offered at lunch and dinner.

Alumni in need of help finding reference resources in a variety of subjects should try SPU Library's "Ask a Librarian" service. You may access librarians by chat, text, email, or phone. See list of subjects and librarian specialists.

View the City Tour Video
Guided by SPU students, the new city tour of Seattle takes less than five minutes. All aboard!

Hire a SPRINT Team
to Clean

This summer SPRINT will send 11 teams to learn and serve in 10 countries around the world. You can support teams' fundraising efforts by hiring a team to help with landscaping, spring house cleaning, or other work projects around your house.

A donation of $10/hour/student is suggested. Funds go directly to students' trip accounts. Projects can be scheduled any time before graduation.

For more information, contact Michelle Suh, SPRINT fundraising coordinator, (, or Owen Sallee, coordinator for global and urban development (

Featured Podcast
Check out "Living Into the Kingdom of Heaven" with Tali Hairston, director of the Perkins Center and special assistant to President Philip Eaton.

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

Calling All Alums
Do you know an SPU alum who would enjoy receiving Alumni Connections? Forward this e-newsletter copy or urge the alum to contact Thanks for getting the word out!

Stay Connected Links
Response Magazine
SPU Falcon Athletics
iTunes U
Giving to SPU

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Campus Jobs

Operations Coordinator, Student Financial Services
Manages office operations including communication, statistical reporting, and financial aid applications uploads/downloads.

Administrative Assistant, Development Office
Provides administrative support with specific responsibilities to Grants, Corporate and Foundation Relations, and Advancement Services.

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

Alumni Bookshelf

Return of the Raider: A Doolittle Raider's Story of War and Forgiveness
(Creation House)
by Donald M. Goldstein and Carol Aiko DeShazer Dixon.

$14.98 (hardcover, signed).
Place order at

Return of the RaidersThe astonishing and moving story of Seattle Pacific College graduate and prisoner of war Jacob DeShazer '48 is a story of heroism and the power of love and forgiveness in the face of seemingly impossible odds. Told by his daughter and a New York Times best-selling author, Return of the Raider gives an accurate account of DeShazer's humble, yet remarkable life.

Stewards of a Sacred Trust
(Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)
by David L. McKenna, SPU president emeritus (1968-82).

Place order at, click on "ECFA Store."

Stewards of a Sacred TrustFor more than 50 years, David McKenna served as president of three Christian institutions of higher education, chair of the board of two Christian universities, and was founding chair of the Christian College Consortium. The book is a tool to strengthen Christ-centered organizations in their selection of CEOs, and in the transition and development of boards. Presents practical skills of effective leadership in tumultuous times.

When God Laughs With Us
(Cascade Books)
by David L. McKenna, SPU president emeritus (1968-82).

Place order at, click on "Cascade Books."

When God Laughs With UsDavid McKenna brings a lifetime of learning to the question, "Can we laugh at ourselves?" In particular, can Christian leaders laugh at themselves? By confessing his own foibles and laughing at the ludicrous, McKenna finds that God is laughing with him -- not to ridicule, but to give the special grace that saves us from ourselves.


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