Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News
Spacer Spring 2012 | Volume 6, Issue 1
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Alumni Come Home to a Flourishing Campus

Homecoming 2012

Daryl and Jean Heinzerling, extended members of the Hill family, share a funny moment at Homecoming with 2012 Alumnus of the Year Alec Hill.

From the opening Celebration Chapel, it was evident that Homecoming 2012 was going to be special. First Free Methodist Church was filled to capacity with students, alumni, faculty, and staff worshipping together in a community liturgy that emphasized the weekend's theme of "Flourishing." In the words of the song "Speak, O Lord," the hundreds gathered sang united:

"Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds; help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us..."

For visuals, check out these Homecoming photos.

From the stirring opening homily of Alumnus of the Year Alec Hill '75 to the aerial display of Falcon prowess in a come-from-behind hoops win over Western Oregon University, a thriving Seattle Pacific University was on display.

With renewed excitement for a campuswide celebration of Homecoming, a planning group called the "SPU Student Homecoming Committee" declared Homecoming Week "Spirit Week" and planned a different fun emphasis for each day. They organized events that included a bonfire after the Thursday night athletics event and the inaugural student/alumni flag football game in Queen Anne Bowl.

The Alumni Awards ceremony feted the Alumnus of the Year and these Medallion Award honorees: author and pastor Richard Dahlstrom '79; SPU School of Education accountant and business agent Donna Dahlstrom '12; head boys basketball coach and teacher Mike Downs '77; teacher Janice Downs '79 (posthumously); Alaska Christian College president Keith Hamilton '84; and principal organist Jo Ann Stremler '78. All the honorees were lauded for taking the SPU vision and making lives of strong faith, professional excellence, and community service.

At the President's Luncheon on Saturday, President and Mrs. Philip Eaton, in their 17th and final year at SPU, were named honorary alumni and invited to become permanent members of the SPU Alumni Association. "For outstanding leadership and commitment to engaging the culture and changing the world," read the special glass award presented by Alumni Board Chair Jennifer Kenney, "Philip and Sharon Eaton are hereby recognized as Honorary Alumni of Seattle Pacific University." The president's look into the future, titled "Sing Us a Song of Joy," lifted hearts around the room.

Eaton wrote in his Homecoming invitation to all alumni that Homecoming 2012 presented the opportunity to "recount the many ways in which Seattle Pacific has experienced God's blessings over the years." All indications are that the recounting was a resounding success.

Faculty, Staff, Students Embrace Tent City

Tent City 3 at SPU

Seattle Pacific University is hosting Tent City 3 (TC3) on Wallace Field until Saturday, March 24. This well-run community of the homeless has made many positive connections with SPU students, staff, faculty, and alumni since arriving at SPU's invitation on January 21. KIRO-FM reporter Rachel Belle reports on the experience that has benefitted students and guests alike in "Seattle Homeless Are Honorary College Students at SPU."

Listen to a campus discussion of issues related to homelessness with residents of TC3.

Among the many connections made between the residents of TC3 and the campus community are these:

  • Athletics has provided free admission to Falcon home games for TC3 residents.
  • TC3 residents have spoken in the SPU classroom on the realities of homelessness.
  • Thursday evenings at First Free Methodist Church offer TC3 residents a foot-care clinic; a quiet place for reflection, prayer, and hot beverages; knitting and crocheting with students; and a women's Bible study on what it means to belong.
  • Students have engaged TC3 residents through manicures and a tea party; a chess tournament; knitting and crocheting sessions; a sock drive; and a pancake breakfast.

For alumni wishing to get involved, whether by organizing an activity or helping on moving day, please email your ideas or availability to

See more details and resources on Tent City 3 at SPU and the subject of homelessness.

Calling All Foodies

Calling All Foodies

Stacy Mullens Reed '00, who recently traveled cross-country to attend an SPU roommate's wedding, is a top three finalist in the national Hungry Jack "Use Up the Box" Recipe Contest.

Reed has been building her food-related resume this past year. The sociology and political science major won a food contest in October and recently placed in the top 10 of another.

A finalist in the brunch category, her Hungry Jack recipe is "Denver Haystacks," a satisfying blend of tomatoes, eggs, Canadian bacon, Hungry Jack hash browns, and hollandaise sauce. Grand prize is a year's worth of groceries.

The mother of one is from Gresham, Oregon, and says SPU is among her favorite life adventures. "I wish everyone on campus a magnificent year!"

Vote online through March 14 for Reed's recipe to win!

Casey's Calling

Camp Casey

Camp Casey is a haven for SPU alumni and creates time for reminiscing as well as new memories for alumni families and their organizations.

Michele Rudisill Rowley '87 has planned Casey women's retreats annually for Elim Baptist Church. In addition, she brings a group of friends and family up to scrapbook for a weekend. Jason Davis '95 has organized an annual Casey basketball retreat for men from around the region with Hoopaholics for the past eight years, but Hoopaholics has been coming to Casey for 24 years.

Every summer at Camp Casey, Melissa Davenport Liteznberg '04 and Dan Litzenberg '05 host high school youth retreats that include wacky field games for Issaquah Christian Church. Lisa Larson Espinosa '85, plans two annual Casey summer campouts with her family, one with her husband Percy Espinosa '96 and the other with a group of alumni friends. They spend time on the field, beach comb, hike the Heritage Forest trail, and swim in the heated pool.

Remember that Camp Casey Conference Center is an alumni benefit that reaps wonderful memories. Organize your special Casey event today! Tell them what you're thinking and they'll give you a cost quote to work with.

More Benefits for SPU Alumni

Have you seen the new listing of SPU Alumni Benefits? Career services. Scholarships for alumni dependents. Lectio: Guided Bible Reading. More! Take a look.

Rising Voices Raise Support

Pilgrims Male Chorus

Back a few years when Mark Haight's board term expired, he wanted a way to continue raising support for New Horizons Ministries (NHM). The Christian organization feeds, clothes, counsels, and provides job training for youth living on the streets of Seattle. So Haight, Class of 1983, started The Pilgrims, a men's quartet that visited churches with the sole aim of raising support for NHM.

Over the past 17 years, The Pilgrims have expanded into a male chorus and raised nearly $200,000 through concerts and CD sales. One hundred percent of the proceeds still go to NHM.

"We've been privileged to witness transformed lives through the miraculous saving grace of Jesus Christ first made tangible through New Horizons," says Mark, whose wife, Kristina Allen Haight '82, is the chorus accompanist. "It's what the staff at NHM are fond of calling 'love with skin on it.'"

There are currently nine members of The Pilgrims who are Seattle Pacific graduates. The Haights, co-owners of Haight Carpets & Interiors, are looking for new singers with a vision to use their singing talents to support homeless street youth. Those interested may contact the Haights at

To hear The Pilgrims, visit

Teachers of the Year

Juanita and Mikel Thompson

Juanita and Mikel Thompson

The Washington Federation of Independent Schools selected Mikel and Juanita Thompson, Class of 1982 and Class of 1983 respectively, its 2012 Teachers of the Year.

The Federation presents its Best of Washington Awards annually to exemplary private-school candidates from around the state in up to seven categories. The Thompsons' commitment to excellent education is evidenced in their service to King's, the pre K-12 private Christian school in Shoreline, Washington. They received the award on February 9, 2012.

The Thompsons are instrumental in the academic success and advancement of King's Schools. Together they are heads of the robotics teams at both the elementary and high school. Mikel began the Robotics program in 2009 when he formed the first King's High School Robotics Team. In their inaugural season King's won the NW Regional Robotics Championship, qualified for the World Competition, and placed in the top 20 in the world. Juanita established the K-6 portion of the program.

The Thompsons strongly believe in uniting technology innovation and the Christian faith.

Alumni Doctor Says Clinic Shows God's Love

Of the more than 12,000 children in Seattle's Rainier Valley, 20 percent live in poverty.

State budget cuts mean that many of those kids may not get the level of health care they require. Until recently, they have been served by a single pediatric practice. Christopher Jones '94, in partnership with fellow pediatrician Patricia Scott, want to change the precarious state of affairs for those children. They have volunteered to operate the Rainier Valley Kids' Clinic at Union Gospel Mission's Hope Place for a few hours a month to help children who need care. By this fall, they plan for the clinic to go full time.

Dr. Christopher Jones and the kids

Pediatricians Patricia Scott and Christopher Jones treat kids in underserved families.

"We expect that in providing care to those in our neighborhood who can pay to see us," says Jones, "we will be able to provide free care to those who can't."

Their work is cut out for them. The Valley has the highest proportion of uninsured residents in King County, the state's largest. There are high rates of hospitalization for asthma, pneumonia, and influenza, and high rates of unintentional injury and poisonings among children. Domestic violence rates are up as well.

Jones carries special insight into the health issues that plague kids in the Valley. "A common scenario is the boy of elementary school age who came to us with abdominal pain, allergy symptoms, and concerns for self-injury. He called himself stupid, showed symptoms of poor sleep and anxiety, and had fled to a homeless shelter to escape the domestic violence he had witnessed."

The boy's central problem, however, was not physical. "Our psychologist said he was the most depressed child he had ever treated," says Jones. The boy received counseling and ongoing treatment for his mental stress.

The seeds of community revitalization through health care were planted on a 1991 SPRINT trip to Zaire when Jones, at the end of his SPU freshman year, served at several mission hospitals and saw physicians at work in places of need. He prayed for God to show him how he might be used. In medical school, he felt the desire to work with homeless teens and inner city kids, spent several months in Guatemala learning Spanish, and for eight years joined a Christian health center "in the worst part of Chicago."

"I saw how God worked through a clinic to change a neighborhood in one of the darkest, most violent parts of our country," says Jones. He wants to add that dimension of medical care to the outreach of Urban Impact, a nonprofit with which the clinic partners. Urban Impact has long demonstrated God's love to families in the Valley.

"SPU is the place where I first became aware of the needs of the city and the challenges of poverty," says Jones, a full-time pediatrician with Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. He is keen to bring that awareness to bear in the lives of the little patients who need him most.

Some Clowning Around

The Ginda Family

Moeppi, Diemo, and Rebekah Ginda

Rebekah Thomas Ginda likes dress-up.

She graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2005 with an emphasis in apparel design. Three years later she launched Rebekah Ginda Design, a provider of textile and surface design services for the apparel, fabric, and home furnishing industries.

Creative to be sure, but throughout her being runs a streak of fun and adventure that has sometimes manifested itself in her dressing up in a variety of costumes and designing costumes for performers at community fairs and other celebrations.

It helped that Rebekah married internationally acclaimed vaudeville clown Moeppi Ginda, whom she met at the Moisture Festival annual comedy variety event in the Fremont district across the Ship Canal from Seattle Pacific. She was a ticket taker and greeter, he half the father-and-son clown team of Hacki and Moeppi. Rebekah and Moeppi each thought the other was "something special" and they wed in 2006.

Along came little Diemo Ginda. At age 1 the enthusiastic toddler joined the family tradition on stage. Clowns didn't come much cuter. The Ginda family now resides in Muenster, Germany, a base for Moeppi's clown career.

"SPU helped build my career in the fashion industry," says Rebekah. While in the Family and Consumer Sciences degree program, she obtained a summer internship with the Nordstrom Product Group, which expanded to a few more months until she was offered the position of textile designer for the Women's Specialized Department.

It was the ideal entré for her aspirations. "It was then I discovered my passion for textile design, a field that eventually allowed me to spend more time with my young son. I've run my own successful business ever since and love every minute of it. The flexibility of it also provides the chance for us to travel with Moeppi when he performs out of town or even out of the country."



Did You Know?

May Day in the 1920s was an annual Seattle Pacific tradition. A queen was crowned, a May pole twined, a missionary pageant enacted, and in the process winter frost ushered out and spring warmth ushered in.

In 1915, tennis was king of athletics at Seattle Pacific. By 1917, more women's teams were added thanks to an increase in college enrollment that included an influx of "California girls."

Those wishing to be literate should seek their education in Seattle. It is said that the city has the largest percentage of library card holders in the nation (80 percent) and spends double the national average on books every year.

Career Expo and
Internship Fair

Monday, April 9
11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Upper Gwinn Commons
Find more details.

Campus Lecture With Commentator David Brooks
David Brooks

Wednesday, April 11
1-2 p.m.
Upper Gwinn Commons (SPU campus, wheelchair accessible)

One of America's most prominent cultural and political commentators is coming to campus in conjunction with the 2012 Downtown Business Breakfast.

David Brooks writes a biweekly op-ed column for The New York Times and is a regular analyst on "News Hour With Jim Lehrer" and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." A keen observer of the American way of life and a savvy analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs, Brooks has a gift for bringing audiences face to face with the spirit of our times -- with humor, insight, and quiet passion.

His latest book is The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.


Night of Worship
Saturday, April 14
7 p.m.
Brougham Pavilion
Free Admission

300-voice mass choir.

Gospel Choir Festival
Sunday, April 15
5 p.m.
McCaw Hall, Seattle Center
Tickets on Sale Now

Guest artists include Grammy-winner Lady Tramaine Hawkins. SPU Gospel Choir. Regional gospel choirs in sing-off. Proceeds support student scholarships at SPU.

Don't Miss Dad's Day

Dad's Day 2012

Saturday, May 5
10 a.m. Brougham Pavilion Gym
1 p.m. CenturyLink Field

Dads of current SPU students, here's your chance to visit campus and share a fun time with your SPU daughter or son.

The day starts at 10 a.m. with an all-you-can eat pancake breakfast in Brougham Pavilion Gym. Laugh along with professional humorist Brian Walter, who'll bring his own T-shirt cannon. Then it's on to CenturyLink Field for the Seattle Sounders FC vs. Philadelphia Union. Or enjoy free time on campus or throughout the city.

Dad's Day is always sold out, so sign up now!

Contact:; 206-281-ALUM-2586, or visit

Presented by the SPU Parent Council and the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations.

Nominate Worthy Alums

Check out the new nomination process for alumni awards. Take a moment now to nominate an Alum of the Year or someone you think is worthy of a Medallion Award. And while you're there, note the photos and honors of our current and most recent alumni VIPs. Just think, you can have a direct say in who represents you and the alma mater you prize so highly.

Make a Bequest,
Create Your Legacy

Have you ever wondered how to give back to your alma mater, other than by writing a check? Many Seattle Pacific University alumni have answered this question by including the University in their estate plan. How about you? Arranging a bequest for SPU through your will or living trust will help future generations of SPU students receive the quality Christian education you also received.

"Excellence," says Dale Thuline '70, former co-owner of Medical Diagnostics Specialties Inc., a workplace safety company. "It's why we invest in SPU. Helping others learn is the best return we can think of." When Dale and Marcia Thuline updated their will recently, they made a point of including a bequest for Seattle Pacific.

Estate planning as they found out doesn't have to be complicated. It does require that you take the first step in making sure your desires for family and charity are clearly stated. If you would like help as you begin this process, please visit our website for useful information. For personal assistance, contact Marlon Sandlin, director of development - gift planning at 206-281-2257 or

Brain Blog

Have you seen Brainstorm: Mysteries of Human Behavior With John Medina? The new blog by the best-selling author and director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University examines the marvels of DNA and human behavior. Recent lively explorations touch on dogs, monkeys, testosterone, chopsticks, nature and nurture, to name a few.

Where Small Is Really Big

Small Change, Big Impact is a 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 with each other and with SPU's unique learning resources. And it shows that these people are engaging the culture and changing the world every day.

Take a look, tell your own story, and you'll see how powerful the greater SPU family is--together.

Prepare for Action

The SPRINT program plans to send students on short-term mission trips to nine countries this summer: Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Russia, Rwanda, Thailand, and Vietnam. SPRINTers stand ready for diverse assignments, including construction, teaching, preventive health care, combating injustice, and quality time with orphans and disabled teens. Find out more about each team.

To lend your prayer and financial support to these outbound teams, or to get in touch with the SPRINT team in-country hosts about short-term mission opportunities, contact Owen Sallee at

FM1 (1 People, 1 Passion) -- You're Invited!

A new partnership has been forged with First Free Methodist Church for a weekly Sunday night meal and worship service. You are invited to the church "right across the street" from SPU for multigenerational and multiethnic worship, relevant biblical teaching, and a free family-style meal with SPU students and FFMC families. "Worship and Word" is 5-6 p.m., followed by dinner from 6-7 p.m.

Campus Jobs

Security Officer I
Responsible for incidence investigation, emergency response, property protection, vehicle assistance, parking enforcement, and campus safety.

Analyst/Administrator --
Central Systems

Provide high-level skill and expertise in the maintenance and administration of central servers, including Windows, IBM AIX, and Linux Servers. Implement and maintain central computer systems hardware and software.

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

Stay Connected Links

Response Magazine
SPU Falcon Athletics
iTunes U
Giving to SPU

Twitter SPU for ...

• News

New SPU Alumni Page

Visit our new alumni Facebook page and "Like" it to follow the latest from your alumni friends. Check it out for photos and updates you may not see anywhere else! Post your own!

Alumni Bookshelf Spacer
The Long Shadow

The Long Shadow
(Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook)
by D. Robert Ellisen '85

$3.99 (e-book)
Details and ordering.

A Faith of a Different Color: Honest Lessons on Trusting God in Real Life

A Faith of a Different Color: Honest Lessons on Trusting God in Real Life
(CrossBooks Publishing)
by Michelle Williams Merrin '80

$3.99 (e-book) to $24 (hardcover)
Details and ordering.


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