Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News
Spacer Summer 2011 | Volume 5, Issue 3
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Homecoming and Class Reunions in 2012

Make Plans for Homecoming/Class Reunions 2012

You've been meaning to get back to campus. Homecoming is your ticket!

Experience campus life in the 21st century. You owe it to yourself to take in the concert, the theatre production, the talent show, the game, the reunions, the old friends, and to reconnect in person with the vision and vitality of your alma mater.

Mark the dates, January 26-28, 2012. It's the year we celebrate reunions for class years ending in "2" and "7." If that includes your year, Alumni can use your help making this reunion the best yet! For more information on these reunions and to browse your yearbook online, visit For general questions about Homecoming 2012, call the Alumni Center at 206-281-ALUM.

Sellout Night at the Theatre

Our Town Cast

Alumni of "Our Town." (Left to right, back row) Danny Walter '93, Joe Monroe '88, Mark Oppenlander '94, John Bartelt '72, Sarah Moser '02, Clint Pozzi '72, Dale Anderson '87. (Left to right, second row) Cyndi Kurtz '03, Jen Matthews '94, Amanda Heath Stubbert '95. (Center, seated) Scott Nolte '76.

At Alumni Night at the Theatre on May 6, 2011, SPU alumni of many generations flooded E.E. Bach Theatre, a fresh telling of "Our Town" on their minds. Many were also there to celebrate the 11 Seattle Pacific University alumni members of the company. Eight actors, the director, the stage manager, and the costume designer were proud Falcons whose graduation years spanned four decades from 1972 to 2003.

The Thornton Wilder play, directed by Scott Nolte '76, artistic director for Taproot Theatre Company, pays homage to the power of community in people's lives. It was especially fitting, says Fine Arts Marketing Associate Kim Gilnett, to have so many key positions filled by alumni from so wide a range of years.

"It was a great event, packed out with alumni," Gilnett notes. Nolte "really enjoyed working with them and the students." Taproot has long utilized SPU student interns and hired its alumni in a variety of capacities.

Alumni can look forward to another Alumni Night at the Theatre during the 2011-12 season. Until then, see photos and pick out your friends from this year's Alumni Night at the Theatre reception.

Membership Has Its Benefits: Career Help

As an alum of SPU, you are entitled to Alumni Association benefits. Those will be featured from time to time in Connections. They include the networking and job finding resources of the Center for Career and Calling (CCC).

"Alumni are welcome at all of our events," says CCC Director Jacqui Smith-Bates. "These include career mixers, career fairs, workshops, and professional etiquette dinners." In addition, she says, alumni can access all CCC online resources including workshops on iTunes and job postings (50-100 new jobs and internships per week in Spring Quarter). Alumni are also eligible for résumé critiques and career counseling at a reduced fee.

Career mixers benefit alumni in a number of ways, says Kristin Hunt, employer relations manager for the CCC. "It's a great opportunity to meet potential employers in a low-stress environment, a chance to build your professional network, and also a way to give back to SPU by practicing networking with students."

Smith-Bates urges alumni to join the SPU Alumni LinkedIn Group to help each other find and fill positions. It's free to join and of several options, she recommends joining at least the one administrated by Ryan Peterson '06.

You are invited to use the CCC website at and to contact the CCC front desk at 206-281-2485 if you have questions or wish to schedule an appointment.

Jena Wolverton '09, a family and consumer sciences graduate, received help and encouragement from CCC career counselor Patty Farmer. She started work June 1 in the Nordstrom Product Group as a women's better print technician and says that networking and prayer were fundamental to landing the position.

Amanda Brown '08 learned much from the CCC website and career counselor Karen Altus. Among the CCC assets were résumé tips, interview preparation information, job postings, portfolio advice, and graduate school resources. It was in a resulting informational interview that she found her first internship with Publicis Consultants as a culinary intern in recipe development at Nestle Tollhouse. She next joined the Institute of Food Technologies and interned at General Mills as a recipe tester for the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest. CCC helped her stay current along the way and today she is a food scientist with Cargill.

Alumnus Shares in Textbook Award

Eric Schulz '85, on the mathematics faculty at Walla Walla (Washington) Community College since 1989, considers it a privilege to spend time with students learning mathematics. So rich has that experience been, he is one of four co-authors of the textbook, Briggs/Cochran: Calculus. It recently received the prestigious 2011 Textbook Excellence Award in the college level Mathematics/Statistics category from the Text and Academic Authors Association.

Schulz, who holds a master's degree in mathematics/optimization, has been working with technology throughout his teaching career and is especially interested in innovative uses of technology in mathematics education.

Business: Catalyst for World Change

Social Venture Competition

Jeff Keenan '83 (center) mentors a team from the 2009 competition.

The annual Social Venture Plan Competition encourages students who wish to create solutions to social needs by developing their entrepreneurial skills to engage the culture and change the world. Thousands of dollars are presented to the winning teams, which this year included plans for providing wind power to homes, an efficient system for moving clean water to villages and towns, and the support of a children's home through the sale of fresh pasta.

This year, more than 160 community volunteers gave time as readers, instructors, coaches, and judges. According to Mark Oppenlander '94, director of the Center for Applied Learning, a significant number of those were SPU alumni. "They are mentors who provide invaluable feedback and real-world insight for the teams as they create, refine, and present their projects. They are involved in all of the major volunteer roles."

Generous support for the competition is provided by the Scott and Kathleen Cummins Foundation. Kathleen is a 1981 SPU graduate and a member of the University's Board of Trustees.

The strong enthusiasm and time invested by SPU alumni have helped make the competition a signature event for the School of Business and Economics. "Many students report that this is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding things they have done while at SPU," says Oppenlander.

Pretty in Pink Icing

Margo Engberg

Margo Engberg

Margo "Pinky" Jarvies Engberg '89 has a lot of competitors breathing down her neck. PinkaBella, her cupcakery, won the "Best Desserts" category of the 2010 Best of Western Washington competition conducted by King 5 TV's "Evening Magazine."

Pinky's amazing confections went up against the most visible players in Seattle's gourmet cupcake scene. But when your hot buttered rum, caramel apple, and crème brulee delights are fashioned by hand from natural ingredients such as sweet cream butter, farm fresh eggs, and pure vanilla, even the biggest in the business would be hard pressed to lay a whisk on you.

What began as a hobby has in two and a half years expanded into Bellevue Square and the Redmond Town Center, two high-end Seattle-area retail properties. Recently PinkaBella opened two additional stores, including Queen Anne Hill, bringing the total number of the sweet emporiums to four. Pinky and her staff bake thousands of cupcakes for school and charity events, weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events, including for Microsoft and AT&T.

A percentage of the profits go to "making the world sweeter" by helping feed and clothe children through Children of the Nations International, where her husband, Doug, is senior director of partner development. Thousands more PinkaBella cupcakes have rained down on such worthy causes as Seattle Children's Hospital and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Leftovers routinely make their way into the hands of local police officers and fire fighters.

"The whole dream behind our work was to give back," Pinky says. "If I didn't have to make a living, I'd give it all away, that is the honest truth."

Her special creations, thanks to Pinky's generosity, have been an unqualified hit at SPU Alumni Board meetings. "That really is the meaning of 'engaging the culture," she says. "We touch a life so they will touch a life. It is God's way!"

Pastor Quits Job, Launches Big Table

Kevin Finch

Kevin Finch

Presbyterian minister and food critic Kevin Finch '89 has a new pastorate. In 2009, after 15 years at First Presbyterian Church of Spokane, he sought a congregation in one of the largest and toughest industries in the country: food service.

"I love food and I love to write," Finch told Spokane's Spokesman-Review newspaper. "I also love people."

Food service workers experience some of the highest rates of divorce and drug and alcohol abuse. Little respected, they work odd hours, frequently for low wages, and are consequently often detached from relationships and community. Benefits are few, or nonexistent, turnover is high, and half of all restaurants fail within the first three years.

When Finch discovered that no single organization anywhere was addressing hurting food service workers, he created a shared table experience called Big Table. Around a mobile Big Table that seats 40-45 people, waiters and dishwashers, line cooks and bussers, gather for a five-course meal prepared by gourmet chefs. The scrumptious free meal is set in front of each invited guest by community volunteers, often with a local celebrity or two in the mix.

The message is clear. There are people who care.

Finch and his Big Table organizers and fans are deputized to bring the needs of food service workers before the team so that those needs can be met. A care package and flowers for a hotel employee whose father in Africa has been killed. Babysitting and a night out for a woman working long hours at a fast food outlet. A pair of non-slip shoes for a man who repairs restaurant equipment. Furniture for a strapped family just moved into an empty apartment.

Big Table has helped fix cars, pay medical bills, arrange vacations, and more. The goal is to meet real needs without any strings attached. Special fundraisers include dinners and auctions open to the public for the price of a donation.

Finch has plans to further expand the Big Table concept to other cities. As well, he serves on several community boards including DOXA (an international nonprofit that builds homes in Mexico).

You can read his take on food in the Spokesman Review, The Inlander, Northwest Palate, and Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living. Online, his food musings may be found at

Melanie Ukosakul and Jessica Vanderpol in Beanies

A beanie for the old bean. Melanie Ukosakul '11 models a maroon and white Falcon beanie donated to the SPU Archives by Marilyn Morrow Wilson '68. With her is Jessica Vanderpol '11, modeling a green Falcon beanie donated by Robin Wilson '66. The beanies, one per student and bearing the year of each student's graduating class, were once part of Seattle Pacific College freshman orientation. The tradition ended in the early '70s.

Lectio Lifts Alumnus in Madagascar

Home to the biggest and smallest chameleons on earth, the island nation of Madagascar is also home to Jonathan Casurella '99. The family medicine physician is a missionary with World Venture, a community of 500 missionaries working in more than 60 nations to establish churches, alleviate human suffering, and make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Like many Christian workers around the globe whose alma mater is Seattle Pacific University, Casurella stays in touch with SPU through alumni publications, contact with other alumni, and with colleagues whose children attend the University.

In recent months, he acquired one more prime connection point: Lectio, the free weekly online guided Scripture reading program accessed by nearly 3,000 people.

Lectio, now a core part of Casurella's personal biblical study, provides commentary from SPU theology professors that he finds "informative and enlightening, from the details of specific verses to the overarching themes of the passages under study."

"Lectio has been an added blessing since I do not have an English-speaking church community where I'm currently living," says Casurella, who is in the midst of Malagasy language study. "It has also brought back memories of 15 years ago when I was myself sitting in class listening to the likes of Dr. (Frank) Spina and others."

What keeps the physician spiritually healthy also helps him be effective in promoting physical health and healing through mobile clinics and community health development.

Why not join in with Lectio today?

DOT Alert: Falcons on the Road

Falcons Men's Basketball

You're invited to swoop, soar, and screech in an intimidating fashion at various athletic venues this fall/winter. At special "Falcons on the Road" events from Alaska to Arizona, and British Columbia to Hawaii, your Alumni Association is covering the West with the finest in Falcon athletics.

Marquee men's basketball events include the October 27 matchup in Tucson between the Falcons and the Division I University of Arizona Wildcats; the November 4 clash in Hec Edmundson Pavilion at Seattle between the Falcons and the Division I University of Washington Huskies; and the December 9-10 Chaminade Tourney in Oahu, Hawaii.

"It doesn't get any better than SPU alums awash in school maroon invading the enemy camp," says Ken Cornell, director of alumni and parent relations. Both men's and women's soccer and men's and women's basketball games are included in the Falcons on the Road line-up.

Watch your snail mail, email, and the November 1 Alumni Connections for additional details on these athletic events and alumni receptions:

9/17 Falcon Women's Soccer vs Simon Fraser University,
Burnaby, B.C.
9/28 Falcon Men's Soccer vs Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
10/6 Falcon Men's Soccer vs Cal Baptist (at Grand Canyon),
Phoenix, AZ
10/27 Falcon Men's Basketball vs University of Arizona,
Tucson, AZ
11/2 Falcon Women's Basketball vs University of Portland,
Portland, OR
11/4 Falcon Men's Basketball vs University of Washington,
Seattle, WA
12/3 Falcon Women's Basketball vs Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
12/9-10 Falcon Men's Basketball Chaminade Tourney,
Oahu, HI
1/7/12 Falcon Women's Basketball vs University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
2/2/12 Falcon Men's Basketball vs University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
2/23/12 Falcon Men's Basketball vs Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
2/25/12 Falcon Men's Basketball vs Simon Fraser University,
Burnaby, B.C.

Note: Schedule subject to change. Call the Alumni Center for updates.

Frank Ogden '59 Receives Recognition

Frank Ogden examines a patient

For more than four decades, Frank Ogden '59 used his medical skills on behalf of the poor in Burundi, Rwanda, and Congo. This spring, the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine honored his dedication with the 2012 Alumni Humanitarian Award.

Frank Ogden examines a patient.

He received his medical degree from the UW in 1961.

Once convinced that he could never be a missionary because he was "no good at public speaking," Ogden changed his mind while a student at Seattle Pacific. He liked anatomy and psychology, and did so well in those courses that he decided to become a missionary surgeon.

Although he retired in 2005, Frank, and his wife, Carol Watson Ogden '71, have returned to assist at Burundi's Kibuye Hospital two months each year. The Frank Ogden Medical School at Hope Africa University commemorates his years of devotion to medical missions and to teaching a new generation of African doctors.

Keith Phillips Enters Hall of Honor

Keith Phillips

Keith Philips

In January, former Seattle Pacific University athletic director and dean of the School of Physical Education and Athletics Keith Phillips '56 was inducted into the initial Norfolk (Virginia) Christian Schools Hall of Honor.

After graduating from Seattle Pacific, Phillips worked at the East Coast institution for 15 years and developed its K-12 physical education and interscholastic high school athletics programs. He taught and coached in the programs he created.

The Hall of Honor recognition included the unveiling of the Keith Phillips Court in Norfolk Christian High School's Smith Gymnasium. A commemorative plaque and Phillips' signature on the hardwood seal his place of honor.

Phillips is vice chair of the SPU Alumni Board.


Sacred Sounds of Christmas

November 28, 29
Monday and Tuesday
Benaroya Hall, Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

Early-bird discounted tickets will go on sale August 15.

Free Copy of The Message

SPU's gift planning initiative has a new website filled with stories, interactive tools, and other accessible and informative features. At, viewers will find donor profiles, instructions on how to update a will, a guide to finding an estate-planning attorney, and gift-planning tools to help calculate how a charitable gift could benefit the giver.

The first 100 visitors to the site who click the "contact button" will receive a free copy of Eugene Peterson's The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (New Testament portion).

SPU Alumni Impact
State Education

Statewide, 5.5 percent of current Washington state teachers received their teaching endorsements at Seattle Pacific University, and 2.9 percent received their initial certification from Seattle Pacific.

Of the state's school super-
intendents, 41 - or 13 percent - received their credentials from SPU. In addition, SPU accounts for six deputy superintendents, 16 assistant superintendents, and 11 executive directors.

Les Steele, vice president for academic affairs, says that the School of Education is providing the ARC, Alternative Routes to Certification program, that allows talented career changers to enter the teaching profession. And in the last couple of years, SPU has shaped a teaching of math and science master's degree that reflects a strong commitment to address the continuing shortage of highly qualified teachers in those fields.

Scholarship Recipient Thanks Donors Face-to-Face

At a Christian and Missionary Alliance district conference in Oregon earlier this year, Gary '55 and Nola '57 Higbee received a pleasant surprise. They connected with a young couple preparing to be missionaries with the denomination and discovered that not only had the woman also graduated from Seattle Pacific, but that her grandparents had been classmates of the Higbees.

It was at that point that things took an even more surprising turn. The young woman peered more closely at the names on the Higbee nametags and said, "Oh, I had a scholarship with that name at SPU."

When they explained to her that they had established the scholarship, she said, "I never expected to be able to thank the people responsible for that scholarship in person!"

The Higbees report a great experience getting to know the missionary couple and the young lady they had inspired and supported along the way.

Alumna/Coach Receives Hall of Fame Accolades

Former coach Kristi Brodin '70, M.Ed. '75, is a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Northwest University Eagle Hall of Fame.

A two-sport Falcon athlete (tennis and volleyball), Brodin began her career at NU in 1970 after graduating from SPU with a physical education degree. She established and coached women's basketball and volleyball at NU. Her teams won five NCCAA national basketball titles in seven years, with the first one coming in 1988. Her volleyball teams qualified for the national tournament three times, placing third in 1989 and second in 1993.

Named a national Coach of the Year in 1989, she served as the NU athletic director for six years, then returned to the classroom full-time. Brodin now assists her sister in coaching Bible Quiz with middle and high school students, with significant success at the national level.

At the age of 60, Brodin was inspired to train for and complete a marathon. Since then, she has completed three marathons.

Did You Know?

Hiram Pease, a real estate investor, mortgaged his home to help a struggling Seattle Seminary (now SPU) to survive the early years.

SPU holds the distinction of having the largest intramural sports program of any private university in Washington state, involving 60-70 percent of students. The sports choices include ping pong and
turkey trot.

When more than a few students request a new menu item, the staff at Gwinn Commons Dining Hall take note. By popular demand, these student-requested items are now included in the menu mix:

Grilled Tuna
Fresh Salmon
Thai Soup
Brown Rice
Trix Cereal
Hot Wings
BLT Pizza
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Chicken & Rice With Mango
   and Red Peppers

Stay Connected Links

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Campus Jobs

Administrative Assistant, Seattle Pacific Foundation
Provides executive administrative assistance to the vice president of the Seattle Pacific Foundation.

Lead Groundskeeper, Casey Conference Center
Responsible for the overall appearance and maintenance of the Casey Conference Center grounds and the maintenance of the Casey Conference Center Sea Lab on Whidbey Island.

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


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