Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News

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Summer 2010 | Volume 4, Issue 3

A New Alumni Center Team

New Alumni Center team

From left to right: Laila Sharpe, Linda Nolte, Ken Cornell, Bobbie Taylor

A fully staffed Office of Alumni and Parent Relations stands ready to serve you, its prime constituents, as the University moves forward into the 2010-11 academic year.

"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ken Cornell, our new director of alumni and parent relations," says Tom Box, vice president for university advancement. "Ken's rich portfolio of Seattle Pacific experiences includes leadership roles in Undergraduate Admissions, University Relations, and University Advancement. He will be a strong leader fully committed to cultivating and strengthening relationships with alumni and parents through meaningful programming and support of the University vision to engage the culture and change the world."

Cornell, Class of '85, and father of two, earned an English degree at SPU, and in 1994, an M.B.A. He is married to Rona Garden Cornell '87. Three other family members are SPU graduates and a niece is enrolled and begins this fall.

"My passion is to help alums get a glimpse of the incredible things that are happening on campus today with students learning and serving," he says. "I want to make it possible for alums to continue to connect and partner with SPU in significant ways."

Working with Cornell are three individuals familiar to many alumni. Laila Sharpe '73, married to Jonathan Sharpe '72, is associate director. She joined the Alumni Office in 1996 and brings to her position more than 30 years of expertise gained as a professional educator, a licensed realtor, and in partnership with her husband, a church planter.

Linda Nolte '82 is office manager with more than 18 years of service in office management and customer service from prior positions with the Everett School District and Nordstrom Inc. She is married to Craig Nolte '80.

Bobbie Taylor, program manager, brings with her considerable experience in planning significant University events such as the annual Sacred Sounds of Christmas and the Downtown Business Breakfast. She will provide logistics and event support to key alumni activities such as Homecoming.

The Alumni Center team is eager to assist you. Visit or contact them at or 206-281-2586.

Running on a Magazine Cover Near You

Danielle Ayers StamperThe cover model for the January 2010 issue of Runner's World magazine was Danielle Ayers Stamper '05.

The former NCAA national champion and All-American heptathlete is surrounded by athletic stock. Both her father and stepfather played minor league baseball. Her husband is a professional beach volleyball player.

She shared SPU Athlete of the Year honors with Chris Randolph in 2005. She claimed the NCAA Division II indoor high jump title and finished second in the heptathlon outdoors (a grueling seven events in two days). Altogether, Ayers-Stamper was a four-time All-American, taking fourth in the indoor long jump and seventh in the outdoor 100-meter hurdles while in a Falcon uniform.

"Her personality is the larger-than-life type, and she laughs louder than anyone on the team, maybe at the school," said Jack Hoyt, her SPU track coach at the time. "She brings a lot of fun and laughter to the team, but she's also a great competitor." After three years as an SPU Falcon, Ayers-Stamper followed her coach to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She graduated from Cal Poly in 2007 with a degree in kinesiology.

Ayers-Stamper narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympics in Beijing and continues to train and compete with the 2012 Olympic Games in mind. She has worked as a personal trainer and appeared in Sports Authority ads for Under Armour, promoting both women's footwear and apparel lines.

Nor is this her first magazine cover. In 2008, she appeared on the cover of Her Sports (now Women's Running).

Class of 1960 Supports 50th Reunion Gift

As Dave Englund's Class of 1960 this year turned Founder's age - 50 years since graduation - he challenged his classmates to see what they could do to provide student scholarships.

The challenge? "To collectively raise $25,000," he says. "That would provide five $5,000 scholarships. Together, I knew we could do it!" Not content with just gathering with classmates for the traditional Ivy Cutting ceremony and Founders lunch, he wrote a letter to the Class of 1960, urging them to ensure the SPU experience for coming generations.

So far, his classmates have responded with more than a dozen gifts and Englund himself made a significant gift of $5,000 in support of Falcon scholar-athletes. Donations are still being accepted toward the goal.

"As students, these donors themselves once received support from alumni through scholarships, academic programs, faculty initiatives, research and more," says Katie Binz, SPU University Fund manager. "Our alumni's generosity makes a statement about the value they place on an SPU education and the impact it has had on their success."

Young Alum Encourages Robotic Makeovers

Robot from the recent exhibitAndrew Peterson '03 wants to exercise his art in community. "Contemporary art has a tendency to be viewed as an exclusive zone, where many people feel like outsiders," he says. "My aim is inclusive, to open opportunities for sharing the experience of creation."

He's inclusive in a variety of ways. He teaches drawing and painting at Seattle Pacific University as an adjunct professor; works with high school youth in South Seattle, adding a visual art dimension to a poetry/spoken word program called Empire Nights; is developing an after-school robotics/art program for middle school youth; makes biblical puppet shows with 8-12 year old students for their Sunday school class; and collaborated with 10-12 homeless youth, ages 9-25, on the art exhibit "Visions of the Robopocalypse" at the SPU Art Center Gallery last spring.

The original idea to build robots with the youth met with a chilly response. But when they were given free rein to re-imagine the toys, deconstruct them, and create something new, even wacky, the kids responded with enthusiasm.

"The art exists in the collaboration," says Peterson, "in our dialog, planning, jokes … the working side by side. The art that happens is a rather personal thing only partially visible to the greater audience through the resulting objects on display."
The exhibit prepared for the Gallery included still photos of robot destruction, a slow-motion destruction video, and the actual rebuilt toy.

The homeless youth who worked on the Gallery exhibit are participants at Seattle's Sanctuary Art Center, or SAC. The Center offers programs in the visual arts, theatre, and music for "street-involved youth." The creative process in partnership with the kids, says Peterson, "has become the backbone of my artistic practice."

Art as a vehicle to connect with people is at the root of what Peterson learned from his SPU professors, such as emeritus professor Michael Caldwell, and Roger Feldman and Laura Lasworth. Now that he commands a classroom of his own, Peterson has discovered how surprisingly close is the relationship between creating art and teaching it.

Amazing 2010 Graduates: A Sampler

Among the 1,136 graduates of 2010, the stories of achievement and creative futures are too numerous to tell them all. But here are three examples of SPU diploma recipients (and now "young alumni") that capture the spirit, optimism, and innovation of this year's graduating class.

  • Boondo Chang, Business Administration. His international business is working with Asian parents and their students in grades 7-12. He brings the students to the U.S. to improve their English, better understand Western culture, take further education, and make important contacts.

    Chang and his staff members find appropriate schools, living arrangements, pastors, counselors, medical help if required, and more. The students receive a reliable, safe, and enriching experience, while their parents experience peace of mind. Chang's entrepreneurial approach and experience as a youth pastor have proven invaluable.
  • Carly Holtzinger, Clothing and Textiles. As a student, she has coordinated two fashion show fundraisers in her hometown of Yakima, Washington, that have collectively raised more than $12,000 for the homeless. A spa/beauty makeover day she created helped four female residents of the women's shelter at the Yakima YWCA experience a day of pampering and encouragement.

    In competition with students in the U.S. and abroad, she was recognized for her excellence by the International Textiles Apparel Association, which allowed her to spend last Winter Quarter studying in London at American InterContinental University. The Rotary Club of Yakima honored her as a "new emerging leader" for her community service.
  • Derek Sellers, Vocal Performance. This man's résumé is growing at every turn. Earlier this year, he performed the lead in the Everett (Washington) Samovars' production of "The Mikado." On Easter, he was in Rome singing for the Pope in a cast of specially selected vocalists. This summer he is the understudy for the lead in "HMS Pinafore," by the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society. His computer science skills enabled him to produce show-stopping posters for his senior recital in May.

A Tiffany Connection

Tiffany HallMary Nell Harper '48 took her nursing degree to Africa, where as a midwife she helped deliver many hundreds of babies in a missionary career that spanned a generation and more. Today, she's back home in Everett, Washington, where in retirement she keeps tabs on her alma mater, especially the Falcon athletic teams.

One of her fondest memories is of life in Tiffany Hall, where she lived and took classes. Damaged in a 2001 Seattle earthquake, the hall, built in 1909, was eventually leveled to make way for the construction of the new Science Building. When Laila Sharpe and Linda Nolte of the Alumni Center heard that Harper misses Tiffany and was recently laid up from a fall, they took action.

Harper was presented with a 20" x 26" print of Tiffany Hall from a painting by Alaska artist Byron Birdsall '59. Upon its unfurling, Harper immediately pointed to a window on the second floor of the beloved building and exclaimed, "That was my dorm room, right there!"

Perhaps you or someone you know have a special affinity with Tiffany Hall. Purchase a brick salvaged from Tiffany, have it engraved, and receive your own Tiffany print for $25. Proceeds help fund student scholarships.

A Presidential Echo

Former SPU President with students in Martin Square

Former SPU President Curtis Martin '55, L.L.D. '94, spent a day with friends visiting places dear to him, including those on campus. Here in the center of Martin Square, named for him in honor of his service, he claps with students to demonstrate the Square's special acoustics. Martin and his wife, Carol, live at Warm Beach (Washington) Retirement Center.

Good News Comes in Batches

In a banner year celebrating 150 years of ministry by the Free Methodist Church, church leadership received a batch of good news in Seattle Pacific University's annual summary to the denomination. SPU is one of five Free Methodist institutions of higher education in the U.S. Their combined total enrollment is more than 12,000 students.

Among the SPU items of note for the 2009-10 academic year:

  • The enrollment numbers for Autumn Quarter 2010 are in the words of President Philip Eaton, "quite stunning," and demonstrate a high and growing demand for what Seattle Pacific has to offer.
  • The Center for Biblical and Theological Education opened its doors.
  • President Philip Eaton launched his blog, "Saturday Morning From My Study," which received an honorable mention award from the national organization PR News.
  • Lincoln scholar and biographer Ronald White spoke on the transformational leadership of Abraham Lincoln at the Day of Common Learning.
  • Famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson spoke to the SPU Downtown Business Breakfast on health care reform, education, and character.
  • The long-awaited documentary on the life and legacy of John Perkins, civil rights leader and minister of Christ-centered reconciliation, will soon be released. "Let Justice Roll On" is a film presented by SPU in association with its John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Development.
  • The University's new doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in education degree is now offered by the School of Education. It emphasizes teaching and training theory, scholarly research, teacher preparation, and university teaching.

Basketball Players Discover SPU Family Ties

Women's Basketball at SPUWhen women's basketball coach Julie van Beek Heisey and three of her student players - Daesha Henderson, Megan Hoisington, and Melissa Reich - went to the Warm Beach (Washington) Senior Community, they found family. Part of this year's NCAA Division II West regional championship team, they mixed it up with the many former Seattle Pacific students and staff who retired to Warm Beach.

"It was a glimpse of SPU history," says Heisey. "It was inspiring to see the strong family ties. And it was evident that Seattle Pacific greatly impacted these folks' lives."

Heisey also noted that a shared faith in God was what bound everyone in the room together no matter their age. The oldest alum present was Class of '38.

The players, all graduating seniors, shared what they loved about the University and the things they learned from this their last season.

Heisey shared six pivotal goals from the season. "How we chose to handle those situations moved us toward our ultimate success," she says. "Our goal as a team was to pursue excellence and seek righteousness."


Did You Know?

By number of students enrolled and accepted into a major, the top SPU undergraduate program for the 2009-10 academic year was biology, followed by business administration and nursing.

Marcus Hahnemann '93, a star Falcon goalkeeper for four seasons, was one of 23 players and one of three goalkeepers named to the United States squad for this summer's World Cup of Soccer in Johannesburg, South Africa.

For six years, SPU has been a partner with Guideposts magazine in what is now called the OurPrayer phone line. Each student volunteer is trained and gives one hour per week to take calls from, and pray with, anyone phoning 845-704-6080 in need of prayer. SPU was one of the first college campus sites for the ministry. Student volunteers receive about 170 calls per week.

Hope for Life Art Show, Sept. 18, 2010

Hallway Gallery, Bellevue, Washington, 5-8 p.m.

Original artwork by Rwandan artists. Enjoy the vivid colors and textures of everyday life in East Africa. Fifty percent of art sales will help fund Hope for Life, an orphanage for Rwandan street children run by Megan Swanson '09.

Stay Connected Links

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First-Ever Falcon Volleyball Reunion, Sept. 25, 2010

Reception, Falcon Club Lounge, 4 p.m.
Game vs. St. Martin's Saints, Brougham Pavilion, 7 p.m.

Do you remember your glory days in a Falcon uniform? Then you'll want to reconnect with the 25-year tradition that is Falcon volleyball, a quality of play that by only their second season had qualified the team for the district playoffs and has, in the years since, established them as a regional powerhouse.

Hundreds of matches later, it is time to celebrate the players, the coaches, and the excitement of games most memorable. Get complete details of this FREE reception, and RSVP. Plan to be there!

Young Alumni Night at Taproot Theatre,
Oct. 19, 2010

Taproot Theatre
204 N. 85th St., Seattle

6:15 p.m.
Reception for Young Alumni
7 p.m.
Doors Open (Festival Seating)
7:30 p.m.
"Wedding Belles" Curtain

A special evening to recognize the Young Alum of the Year Dan Price '08, the 2010-11 Young Alumni Scholarship recipient Joe Starmer '11, and our hosts and co-founders of Taproot Theatre, Scott Nolte '76 and Pam Nolte '76.

The theatre's reserved, the play's a Northwest premiere, and all proceeds provide financial support to deserving SPU students through the Young Alumni Endowment Scholarship. Invite your friends and family! Tickets and information.

Women's Crew

Historic Rowing Trophy

Kudos to women's crew for winning the first NCAA rowing trophy in school history! The Falcons finished fourth in the varsity eight grand final and took second place at the Women's Rowing Championships in May on California's Lake Natoma.

SPU-Guided Bible Reading Available This Fall

A web-based, four-year cycle of guided Bible reading will launch later this fall. Professors in the Seattle Pacific University School of Theology will provide the guidance. This Scripture study is available to all through the SPU Center for Biblical and Theological Education (CBTE) under the leadership of Celeste Cranston, a Free Methodist minister with a master's degree in biblical studies from SPU. Watch the CBTE site as details become available.

50 Students Fan Out to Nine Nations

This summer's 50 student participants in SPRINT (Seattle Pacific Reachout International) seek to learn and minister in China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Russia, Rwanda, and Vietnam.

In Egypt, four students will observe and participate in ministries to orphans and residents of Cairo's garbage village. In India, six students will assist teachers and learn about justice and human rights for the Dalits, the country's poorest of the poor. In Russia, eight students will serve in an HIV baby orphanage and a youth runaway transit center, providing friendship and emotional and spiritual support.

"I am awestruck by the way God shook up my understanding through my Indonesia experience, then helped me begin to put the pieces back together," says 2009 Indonesia SPRINT team member and nursing major Alyssa Singh. During her trip, Singh was encouraged to build relationships with Muslims.

Featured Podcast

Listen to "What Dare We Hope? Ministry Through Times of Difficulty" by Doug Koskela, associate professor of theology.

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

Campus Jobs

Assistant to Vice President
for Administration and University Relations

Provide administrative assistance such as prepare board agendas, assist in departmental budget management, coordinate full staff meetings and annual retreat, train and supervise student employee, and provide communications and necessary information for various ad hoc committees.

Micro Systems Analyst - Technology Support Services

Provide professional support such as coordinate computer support activities with multiple user departments, act as information services consultant, troubleshoot technical solutions to problems with client hardware and software, and assist in the evaluation, installation, and support of third party client hardware and software systems.

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


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