Seattle Pacific University: Connections Alumni News
Winter 2014 | Volume 7, Issue 2
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Homecoming 2014

Get Your Homecoming On!

Make your plans for one of the biggest campus celebrations of the year -- Homecoming 2014, January 30-February 1! Our Homecoming theme, "From This Place," celebrates 122 years of amazing alumni who have been sent from this campus into the world to live out a wide range of callings. Brighten your winter by making this the year of your return to Seattle Pacific University.

Enjoy the delicious and inspiring Homecoming Luncheon with President Dan Martin, 2014 Young Alumnus of the Year Char Beck '08, and Medallion Award winners Bob Ekblad '82 and Gracie Johnson Ekblad '82, Jim Lyon '74, Michele Weslander Quaid '91, and Mike Quinn '85. Cheer the Falcon men's basketball team to victory over the Western Oregon University Wolves. View "The Miracle Worker," the classic stage dramatization of courageous Annie Sullivan's efforts to teach blind and mute Helen Keller.

And take in other customary favorites such as the ensemble concert, Homecoming Talent Show, reunions, and more. Don't miss a minute, but please do take a moment and consider these popular items:

New Event: School of Education Alumni Award Social With Faculty, Thursday, January 30

5:30 p.m., Upper Gwinn Commons
RSVP to Rene Shafar at or 206-281-2219.

Enjoy tasty hors d'oeuvres and refreshments while connecting with SOE faculty and SOE Dean Rick Eigenbrood. Honored alumni from each program will be highlighted.

Come to the Reunion Party, Saturday, February 1

SPU Class Reunion
10 a.m. Class of 1969 Eaton Hall
2 p.m. Classes of 1974 and 1979 Hill Hall Lounge
2:30 p.m. Classes of 1994 and 1999 Ashton Hall Lounge (lower)
6 p.m. Classes of 2004 and 2009 SUB Gazebo Room

Students vs. Young Alumni Ultimate Frisbee Game,
Saturday, February 1



2 p.m., Wallace Field The students will be out to avenge their 2013 defeat by the young alums. Wear your battle gear -- this could get messy! Visit the Facebook page.

Check for the complete schedule of events. And if this will be your reunion year (graduation years ending in "4" and "9"), why not honor your alma mater by making a reunion year gift?

A Note About the 2014 Alumni of the Year

In a conversation with Edward Blews '76 about a recent change in his professional role, SPU decided to defer honoring Edward and Debra Blews '76 as Alumni of the Year until some future time. Next year, SPU will return to the tradition of giving an award to the Alumnus or Alumna of the Year, and you are an important part of selecting that honoree. Visit to nominate outstanding alumni as Alumnus or Alumna of the Year, Young Alumnus or Alumna of the Year, or Medallion Award recipient.

A Healthy Pursuit

Nichole Morford Altorfer

Nichole Altorfer

English major and University Scholar Nichole Morford Altorfer '04
is the managing editor of, a resource for
life and health insurance advisors. A graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she invested six years as an editor with Penguin Group, where she managed nonfiction titles in both the reference and the lifestyle categories. She is also a former managing editor of Agent's Sales Journal magazine.

"In my current role," Altorfer says, "I have a much closer connection with our readers. When we publish a (digital) story, I can see instantly how many people are reading it, where they are located geographically, and whether they go on to read another article on our site." In print publishing, where the publishing cycle is nine to 12 months long, she says the sense of immediacy is lacking. "The cultural climate can change immensely" from when an idea is conceived to when it is published.

Her favorite book project at Penguin, however, was a vividly illustrated cookbook, the first for Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking not only provides a number of his intricate recipes, but tells the story of his desire to become a professional baseball player. When stopped by an injury, he turned to cooking.

Altorfer, a Seattle native who studied abroad in Britain her final quarter at SPU, later lived and worked in London, England. She moved to Colorado in 2009 and lives with her husband, Andrew, in downtown Denver.

"Whenever I travel, I try to read something that was written locally," says Altorfer. "It makes the experience richer and more intimate." The practice is a holdover, she notes, from her SPU Study Abroad program spent in the
British Isles.


Photo Play


Following a heavy snow, these Seattle Pacific lads decided what the campus needed was a gigantic snowball. Can you identify the students and/or the year? Let the editor know at, and we'll pass it along to all our readers.


Seahawks Victory and a Surprise Parting Gift



When Clint Gresham, long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, had an idea for a video, he turned to photographer Char Beck '08. A housemate of Beck's, Gresham wanted to capture his Christian teammates talking on-camera about the difference Jesus Christ makes in their lives. He received front office approval, the players and coaches he asked to appear said yes, and the players interviewed were willing to finance the project. Beck was ready to roll.

On October 13, following a Seahawks win over the Tennessee Titans at CenturyLink Field, 200 Christian volunteers distributed 28,000 copies of "The Making of a Champion" DVD to departing fans. In it, Gresham, quarterback Russell Wilson, left tackle Russell Okung, free safety Chris Maragos, running backs coach Sherman Smith, and defensive passing game coordinator Rocky Seto talk about why they play and what it means to be a champion off the field.

In the conversational testimonies, which were largely filmed at the Seahawks training facility in Renton, Washington, the players and coaches give God the glory for their talents and purpose in life

Wilson admits to having been an aggressive kid and that "football was the only way to hit people and not get in trouble." He says he grew up going to church but that it wasn't until he turned 14 that he turned his life over to Christ.

Beck, SPU's 2014 Young Alumnus of the Year, reports that within two days of its release, the film already had more than 25,000 views on YouTube and stories flowed in of viewers deciding to put their trust in Christ or growing in their faith. Though the reaction from fans was mostly positive, Beck says even negative feedback ran mostly along the lines of, "I was hoping for more of a football video, but I enjoy hearing the Seahawks speak their minds." Area churches were enlisted to welcome fans seeking involvement, and some churches held separate screenings of the video.

Young Alum Helps Fund EE Endowment

Whitney Giaimo

Whitney Giaimo and Sue Giaimo

Recent electrical engineering graduate Whitney Giaimo '13 wants to do everything she can to help her SPU professors attract engineering students. So even though she received her bachelor's degree in EE just last year, and her master's degree in social and sustainable management just this year, she has already donated $1,500 to the John Parle Engineering Project Endowment.

The endowment funds the senior design project for all Seattle Pacific electrical engineering students in their final year before graduation. Whitney is certain that she could never have gotten her job as a manufacturing review engineer for Microsoft without the scholarship help from donors who made it possible for her to attend SPU.

From a strong Lutheran family and a secular private high school, Whitney wanted to experience a Christian school for the first time. She visited SPU and was immediately hooked. "In our core engineering classes, the faculty asked us what we thought we needed from them to succeed in engineering," says Whitney, who was a University Scholar. "Our courses were team-based, highly collaborative, and very hands-on."

Whitney takes after her father and mother, Edward and Sue Giaimo, who provide the large share of support for SPU's mechanical laboratory and machine shop recently named in honor of Edward's grandfather. A tool and die maker for Lionel Corporation, Edward Giaimo I was a Sicilian immigrant who found his future in America and inspired several Giaimo descendants to make good in engineering and computer science. Edward Giaimo III is a senior director of product development with Microsoft.

"It's so competitive at some schools," says Sue, a teacher and long-time champion of science and technology in the Pacific Northwest. "A caring parent doesn't want to hand her child off to just anyone. At SPU, the professors want to hear from every voice in the room." To learn how your gift can help ensure that other students succeed, visit or call 206-281-2100.

A Bottle Awash in Awards

Tim Andis

Tim Andis

Liberty Bottleworks, a 3-year-old company owned and operated by president and CEO Tim Andis '91, is busy collecting hardware for environmental excellence.

In May 2013, Liberty was one of seven companies across Washington state honored with the Environmental Excellence Award from the Association of Washington Businesses. Also, in September, Andis flew to Washington, DC, to receive 2013 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention honors from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

"I'm thrilled for the recognition not only of our efforts to reduce how many plastic one-time-use bottles go into the landfill but of our leadership efforts in zero-waste manufacturing," says Andis.

Liberty Bottleworks practices sustainable and "green" manufacturing in producing the only American-made drinking bottle made from 100 percent recyclable aluminum. Since opening its doors in Union Gap, Washington, Liberty has delivered more than a million bottles to retailers. That translates into the recycling of nearly 125,000 pounds of aluminum, and helped earn the Liberty water bottle its distinction as the first housewares product that Whole Foods Market Pacific Northwest has promoted as "locally made."

Liberty pledges one percent of its sales and one percent of its working hours to helping various local and grass roots efforts. You can get free Liberty bottles by qualifying as a Liberty Sustainability Officer. Details.

Campus Jobs

Biology Lab Coordinator
This position provides supervisory and instructional support for University biology professors and students in Eaton Hall.

Senior Web Designer
This position focuses on the design and development of Seattle Pacific University’s website as a public and internal communications interface.

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



Christmas Holly Closure:

The Alumni Center will be closed Tuesday, 12/24/13 - Wednesday, 1/1/14 for Christmas Break.

Did You Know?

Student-initiated solar panels with a capacity of 4,000 watts sit atop Otto Miller Hall.

Seattle Pacific's Urban Wildlife Habitat is an acre of land behind the SPU Library. The ground and its life forms enjoy sanctuary that provides not only shelter and food for animals but hands-on experience for botany and ecology students. They go there to identify plants and study growth rates, as well as plant and animal diversity.

SPU's historic trees are noted in plant expert Arthur Lee Jacobson's book, Trees of Seattle. Of Seattle's 4.35 million trees (the City of Seattle has inventoried them all), some of the "finest specimens of Oregon ash, English elm, wych elm, horse chestnut, Norway maple, sycamore maple, English oak, California valley oak, and white poplar" put their roots down at SPU, Jacobson notes. The conservation organization American Forests ranks Seattle as having one of the nation's top 10 urban forests.

Thanking Profs:
A Night Well Spent

Thank a Prof
A thankful Young Alumni Council

Thank A Prof drew 80 young alumni back to campus for a night of joyful reunions and fun with some of their beloved professors. Hosted by the Young Alumni Council, the event also honored 2014 Young Alumnus of the Year Char Beck '08, as well as the most recent YAC scholarship winner, Nathan Nelson '14.

From a rousing round of SPU trivia — the grand prize was claimed by Professor of Theology Bob Drovdahl — to the giant lollipop balloons to the open mic time of sharing thanks, it was a cheer-filled evening of gratitude.

Professor of Family and Consumer Science Sharleen Kato, a 1984 alumna, called the evening a fun night to reconnect with alums and "hear their enthusiasm as they engage in the next chapter of their life story."

We Need Your Help

What would you like in a redesigned alumni website for SPU? Please take a few minutes to tell us your thoughts. Your opinion will help shape the future website. Thank you!

Reception Welcomes
Legacy Families

Welcome Week brings in a brand new generation to campus each fall, and it's especially exciting when alumni bring their own children back to Seattle Pacific to continue the legacy as first-time students. The Alumni Office hosted 75 alumni and their
families for this year's annual Legacy Reception; the group enjoyed a picnic lunch on a
sunny Seattle day.

The group perused yearbooks from days gone by, reconnected with long lost friends, picked up alumni gear to represent SPU on the go, and told the new
students about campus life "way back when."

If you know of a high school student considering SPU, remember to offer to complete
an admissions fee waiver on
their behalf.

Record-setting Enrollment

This fall, SPU welcomed the largest student body at any time in its history: 4,270 students, 103 students more than the previous highest enrollment in Autumn 2011.

Also achieved this fall: the highest-ever student
retention rate, 87 percent. That is the proportion of first-time, full-time freshmen from the year before who returned for their second year.

Construction Watch …


New Residence Hall: A 74,794 square foot, suite-style residence hall is rising across the street west of Demaray Hall. The welcome mat will be extended to 150 undergraduate students for move-in September 2014. The construction includes kitchen, lounge, exercise facilities, and a parking garage. The building will have a partial environmentally "green" roof and is hoped to be certified the University's third LEED project. Watch the project's construction webcam, or visit the Facility and Project Management website for more information.

Hendricks Falcon Club: A significant renovation of the former Falcon Club Lounge was completed this fall and includes new carpet, furnishings, and audio/visual equipment. The space features a memory wall as well as expanded trophy cases dedicated to the history of Falcon Athletics. To improve the game-day experience, an additional viewing window to the main gym was added. A wired audio connection to the main gym was established, allowing play by play to be broadcast through the Club's speaker system.

Royal Brougham Pavilion Weight Room Renovation: An extensive renovation of the weight room is planned for May 2014. The project is slated to include installation of ventilation and cooling, new flooring, and replacement of the 35-year-old equipment.

Falcons on the Road Update
Date change! The men's game with Western Washington University is now on January 15, and will be televised. There will be no alumni reception due to the date change.

Job Search Resources
On CCC Alumni Web Page

Alumni of SPU should check out their alumni benefits page on the Center for Career and Calling website. They'll find career counseling for alumni, career events alumni can attend, and online resources alumni will find useful in their job search.

Mark your calendar for these events of interest to alumni in winter and spring 2014:

Career Mixer, February 13
Job and Internship Fair, April 9
Education Job Fair, April 24
Career Mixer, April 29

For further details, visit or call 206‑281‑2485.

Alum Teacher of the Year
Up for National Honors

Katie Brown

Katie Brown, MEd '09, is the 2014 Washington State Teacher of the Year and under consideration for National Teacher of the Year. President Barak Obama will announce the national winner next spring in a special White House ceremony.

The English Language Learners (ELL) specialist at Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham, Washington, Katie supports students who are learning English and teachers who instruct English language learners. She is known by students for never giving up on them and for motivating them to achieve their goals in school and in life.

He Saw to It That the Bands Played on

If asked how he spent his first summer after graduation from SPU, English major Brian Fisher '13 might be tempted to say, "hanging with hundreds of people in downtown Seattle listening to music."

As coordinator of the 35th "Out to Lunch Concert Series" for the Downtown Seattle Association, Fisher worked with a variety of local and national bands in 22 venues from Pioneer Square to Freeway Park. The musicians --- including Hey Marseilles, Pearl Django, the Portland Cello Project, and Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks --- played to appreciative noontime audiences numbering as many as a thousand people.

Stay Connected Links

Alumni Homepage
Alumni Directory
Response Magazine
SPU Falcon Athletics
iTunes U
Giving to SPU
LinkedIn Alumni Group
Alumni Facebook Page
SPU Twitter


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