Seattle Pacific University

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Seattle Pacific University
Seattle Pacific University (logo).png
Former names
Seattle Seminary
Motto Engaging the Culture, Changing the World
Type Private
Established 1891
Affiliation Free Methodist Church
Endowment $87.8 million[1]
President Daniel J. Martin
Undergraduates 3,467 (2015)
Postgraduates 975 (2013)
Location Seattle, Washington, US
47°39′01″N 122°21′42″W / 47.65019°N 122.361667°W / 47.65019; -122.361667Coordinates: 47°39′01″N 122°21′42″W / 47.65019°N 122.361667°W / 47.65019; -122.361667
Campus Urban, 43 acres (170,000 m2)
Colors Maroon and White         
Athletics NCAA Division IIGNAC
Nickname Falcons
Sports 12 varsity teams
Mascot Talon the Falcon

Seattle Pacific University (SPU) is a private liberal arts university in Seattle, Washington, founded in 1891 in conjunction with the Oregon and Washington Conference of the Free Methodist Church as the Seattle Seminary. It became the Seattle Seminary and College in 1913, adopting the name Seattle Pacific College in 1915, and took its present moniker in 1977. Seattle Pacific University is a member of the Christian College Consortium.

Seattle Pacific is tied for 151st in the 2018 U.S. News and World Report's Best National Universities rankings; it is the only private university in the Pacific Northwest to make that list, and the only Christian College Consortium member to be ranked a Best National University.[3] SPU joins the University of Washington and Washington State University as the only three institutions from Washington state named to the magazine’s list.[4]


On June 5, 2014, a shooting occurred in Otto Miller Hall in which one student was killed and two other students were injured. The suspect was not a student at the school and had no connection to the university.[5] On November 16, 2016, he was convicted in the shooting[6] and sentenced to 112 years in prison.[7]


SPU Tiffany Loop

The university sits on a 43-acre campus at the northern end of Queen Anne Hill, near the Fremont neighborhood and approximately four miles north of downtown Seattle. Many of the trees on the campus' central Tiffany Loop are among the oldest in the city. SPU also owns and operates two satellite campuses: a wilderness field station specializing in biology on Blakely Island in the San Juan Islands and Camp Casey, a former US military fort re-purposed as a conference and retreat facility on Whidbey Island. Notable buildings on the Seattle campus include:

Alexander Hall

Alexander Hall
McKinley Theater

Named after the first president of Seattle Pacific University, Alexander Beers, this four-story brick building is home to the School of Theology. The founder's first name, Alexander, was used as the board did not want a building on campus called "Beers Hall." The building also houses the Sociology and History departments within the College of Arts and Sciences. Alexander Hall is the oldest building on campus, and at the time of the University's founding was the only building on campus. A $6.2-million[8] seismic retrofitting and renovation of the interior office space and chapel was completed in 2014. Next door to Alexander is the main performing arts space on campus, the McKinley Theater.

Demaray Hall/Clocktower

Demaray Hall is the central academic building at Seattle Pacific University, housing numerous classrooms as well as the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Student Academic Services and Student Financial Services. Administrative offices, including the offices of the president and provost, are also located in Demaray. The building is named for Calvin Dorr Demaray, president of SPU from 1959-1968 and pastor of First Free Methodist Church, from 1948 to 1959.[9]

The clocktower in front of Demaray Hall was given to Seattle Pacific University by the class of 1966. It displays a bas-relief sculpture designed by former Professor of Art Ernst Schwidder, titled "Science, Religion and Humanities," which was brought to fruition by former Professor of Art Larry Metcalf and three of his students. The cast-stone relief panels depict various areas of study: the physical sciences, social sciences and humanities. Its symbols are drawn from American Pima, Arabic, Aztec, Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek cultures.[10][11]

Gwinn Commons

Gwinn Commons

Gwinn Commons is home to three different points of interest. The Crossroads at Gwinn Commons is the main dining hall on campus. Upstairs is the university's main, multi-use location. A pair of large rooms, the Queen Anne Room (named after the neighborhood in which SPU is located) and the Cascade Room (named after the mountain range that can be seen from Upper Gwinn Commons) can each hold up to 500 people. Multiple functions are held in Upper Gwinn, ranging from Group (a Wednesday night worship service), admissions events, lectures, board meetings and more. The President's Dining room is also located here. In addition there is the Corner Place Market, or C-Store, which holds a Cocina Del Sol and also a market where students can purchase various daily necessities. Wells Gwinn, for whom the dining facility is named, served 32 years on the Seattle Pacific Board of Trustees.

Ames Library

Ames Library (View from Lower Campus)

The Ames Library was completed in 1994. Housing over 250,000 volumes and 1,300 print periodicals, it grows by 6,000 new titles a year. Students, faculty, and alumni have access to the collections of Summit and the Orbis Cascade Alliance, comprising over 30 million items held in Washington and Oregon academic libraries, including the University of Washington. In addition to printed reference materials, the library also has access to myriad electronic databases including JSTOR, ProQuest Direct, EBSCOHost, First Search, and others. Access is available to the university community via login both on and off campus.

Ames Library (View from Upper Campus)

During the academic year, members of the SPU community meet in the Library for a weekly event called "Creative Conversations," during which they share scholarly and creative works in progress.

Peterson Hall

Peterson Hall

Peterson Hall is the second-oldest building on campus and houses the School of Education as well as the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. In the basement is a food lab, as well as a sewing lab. Each month, SPU's food lab plays host to a Community Kitchen - an outreach to the city's homeless population wherein these individuals join with members of the university community in cooking and sharing a common meal.

Student Union Building

The Student Union Building (commonly known as the "SUB") was built in the 1960s and still serves as a central point where many students gather. On the first floor is the Pacific Collegium, a hub for commuter students. Dining options provided by the on campus dining services can also be found in the SUB. UNICOM, a student-run information desk assists with ticket sales, bus passes, pool passes, among other general information items. ASSP, the student government of SPU has its offices in the SUB along with STUB, the student event programming organization.

Philip W. and Sharon K. Eaton Hall

SPU's main hard sciences facility houses biology, chemistry and some psychology labs. Built in 2003, it is the most advanced building on campus, complete with an electron microscope, cold room, fully contained greenhouse and LEED Certification. This building is central to those students in the Pre-Professional Health Sciences programs. SPU's pre-med track has become widely known for its annual 90–100% acceptance into medical schools following graduation. On May 23, 2012, the SPU Board of Trustees announced that it named the building in honor of past SPU president Philip W.Eaton and his wife, Sharon.

McKenna Hall

McKenna Hall

The School of Business, Government, and Economics (SBGE) is located in McKenna Hall. In addition to undergraduate degrees in Management, Accounting, Economics, Political Science, and Global Development Studies - SBGE also offers three graduate level degrees: Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Information Management, and a Master of Arts in Management. SBGE is home to the Center for Applied Learning and the Center for Integrity in Business which examines the intersections of theology and contemporary business.


Seattle Pacific University has five residence halls. The university offers other on-campus residence options, such as the Cremona and Wesley apartments, and other small suite- or apartment-style living facilities for continuing students. All residence halls feature single-gender floors. The five residence halls are Ashton Hall, Hill Hall, Moyer Hall, Emerson Hall, and Arnett Hall.

Freshmen are required to live on campus in the residence halls unless they are living with family. Meal plans are required for all students living in the dorms. Students may leave campus housing when they are 20 years old, have junior class status, have petitioned and been approved to live off campus by Campus Housing, or are graduate students.

SPU Main Gate

Arnett Hall welcomed its inaugural residents in Autumn 2014. As SPU's second smallest dorm with only four resident floors, it features suite-style single, double, and triple rooms, a main lounge on the first floor, and a green roof and roof deck on the fifth floor. Rooms on the upper floors may also feature views of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. It is located in the northwest corner of campus, just across the street from Demaray Hall and just down the hill from Gwinn Commons, SPU's dining hall.

Ashton Hall, opened in 1965, is SPU's largest residence hall with more than 400 students on 12 floors. Nine of the floors are for women, and the other three floors are for men. It was named in honor of Philip F. Ashton, PhD, a psychology professor (1929–1971). The hall is located on the highest point of SPU's campus. Many rooms have views of the campus and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Annual Ashton events include the Ashton Cup lip-sync contest, the Ashton Art Show, and a formal ball. In previous years the ball has been held at the Space Needle, on an Argosy Cruise, and at Seattle's W Hotel. Ashton Hall is also home to the Orangemen of 6th West (6w), a notable floor on campus, who display their school spirit by attending men's basketball home games and some away games, leading cheers for the Falcons and occasionally against the referees and the other team.

Emerson Hall

Emerson Hall, opened in 2001, is the campus's second newest residence hall, featuring suite-style single, double, and triple rooms, card-access security, a main lounge with gas fireplace and Northwest wood beams, and an exercise center. Emerson also has a "Bridges Program", which lets students participate in intentional programs and conversations related to global issues and cross-cultural relationships. Emerson events include a quarterly Coffee House, the Emerson Film Festival, and the Spring Banquet. The hall is named for the street on which it resides.

Hill Hall, which opened in 1962, located in the upper middle of the campus just steps from Gwinn Commons and the SPU Library, is known as the "family" hall for its comfortable atmosphere. It features a newly updated main lounge, the REX athletic center, and the Hill Hall "beach", a grassy area behind the hall popular for outdoor recreation and sunbathing. Hill Hall events include "Decade" Skate (a song-based skit competition), a retreat to Camp Casey, an annual ball, and 6th Hill "Beach Bash." It is named for the Reuben Hill family who donated property to the school for its expansion.

Moyer Hall, opened in 1953 and remodeled in 1983, is located in the center of the campus on the edge of Tiffany Loop. The smallest of the traditional residence halls, Moyer was named in honor of Jacob Moyer, PhD, professor of chemistry and dean (1925–46). The hall's annual events include a fall retreat, an ice-broomball game, a citywide scavenger hunt, and an all-hall banquet. In the past, the ice-broomball game was played between residents of Moyer and Marston Hall (no longer used for housing). This annual "Toilet Bowl" match featured as its trophy a urinal removed from Moyer during the 1983 remodel, which the losing hall was required to display prominently the year following their loss. The 05–06 school year also introduced a new event called The Experience Moyer Project (EMP), which featured musical talent from the hall as well as a variety of other activities.

The university owns multiple additional residences including Bailey, Cremona, 37 West Dravus, Falcon, Wesley and other buildings known by address rather than name are owned and maintained by SPU. These apartments are closer to campus but provide a more independent-living situation. They provide a great aggregate living environment among students. The 35 and 34 West Cremona apartments were remodeled in 2008–09 and 2009–10, respectively, and the Wesley Apartments at Cremona and Dravus, as of the 2011–2012 academic year, are now owned and operated by SPU and include the offices of two of the Residence Life Coordinators. The school sold the Robbins apartments in 2012.


  • New Student Convocation: Has its roots in a 1932 convocation where new students and faculty gathered to celebrate the opportunities and challenges of the new academic year that lies ahead.
  • Homecoming: First instituted in 1935 at the school's 42nd Commencement, Homecoming is now celebrated in early Winter Quarter and hosts class reunions, athletic events, drama and music performances, a student talent show, and other gatherings of alumni, students, and faculty.
  • First Free Methodist Church
    Tradition: Tradition represents the SPU community's Christmas celebration. Begun in the late 1980s, Tradition takes place in the Tiffany Loop during the first week of December and focuses on the birth of Christ through hosting a Christmas tree-lighting, carol singing, sleigh or horse rides, readings of the Christmas story, and live nativities.
  • Ivy Cutting: A part of SPU graduation since 1922, graduates receive a cutting from a long ring of ivy, symbolizing the graduate's ties to the university and new life found afterward.
  • Baccalaureate: Occurring the night before Graduation, this service of worship and reflection is planned by the senior graduating class and featuring student speakers.
  • Commencement: Commencement celebrates the scholarship, service, and Christian growth of graduating seniors, and degrees are awarded for both undergraduate and graduate level students.
  • Social Venture Plan Competition: SPU sponsors this annual competition in which students develop projects that can make a difference in the world. It is a core component of both the coursework in the School of Business, Government, and Economics By requiring students to develop business proposals that are later judged by Seattle-area entrepreneurs.

Previous names

As the school developed from a seminary of the Free Methodist Church to its current status as a doctoral degree granting institution, its name has changed over time to befit its changes in status:[12]

  • 1891 - Seattle Seminary
  • 1913 - Seattle Seminary and College
  • 1915 - Seattle Pacific College/Seattle Pacific Christian College
  • 1977 - Seattle Pacific University


Student enrollment

(Statistics are based on Autumn Quarter 2015)

  • Total enrollment: 4,175
    • Undergraduate students: 3,202
    • Post-baccalaureate students: 26
    • Graduate Students: 947
  • Continuing Education: 5,126 (2013-2014)


Class size

  • 77 percent of autumn quarter 2011 undergraduate classes had enrollments of 30 or fewer.
  • Student-Faculty Ratio 14:1 (Based on Common Data Set definition)

Academic profile

The SPU Clock Tower

Seattle Pacific was ranked among the 2017 U.S. News and World Report’s Best National Universities, and is the only private university in the Pacific Northwest to make the list. SPU joins the University of Washington and Washington State University as the only three institutions from Washington state named to the magazine’s list. (U.S. News defines national universities as those institutions offering a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral programs, and committed to producing groundbreaking research.)[14]

Academic program statistics

  • Undergraduate Majors – 69
  • Undergraduate Minors – 53
  • Undergraduate Concentrations – 51
  • Master's and Post-Master's Degrees – 24
  • Master's Concentrations – 24
  • Doctoral Programs – 5
  • Graduate Certificates – 12

Academic structure

  • College of Arts and Sciences
    • Fine Arts
    • Humanities
    • Science and Engineering
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • School of Business, Government and Economics
  • School of Education
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Psychology, Family and Community
  • School of Theology


SPU offers a four-year alternate series of general education classes for honors students called University Scholars that revolves around a Great Books reading list and the writing of a lengthy senior dissertation [1]. Along with literature classes, the curriculum includes two Faith & Science classes and a Christianity & Scholarship class. The work load is generally very rigorous.

A student in the program will take his or her sequence of University Scholars courses with the same cohort of 40 students for the entire four years. A student may be admitted to the program regardless of major. Students apply in the spring of their senior year of college; a few students are invited into the program after their freshman year at SPU. There are no University Scholars classes scheduled for the fall of their junior year, in order to give students the opportunity to study abroad [2].



The university's athletic teams participate in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the Division II level of the NCAA.

Men's Varsity Athletics

Women's Varsity Athletics

  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball

Notable alumni

Presidents of SPU

Alexander A. Beers, Ph.B., M.A. 1893–1916
Orrin E. Tiffany, PhD 1916–1926
C. Hoyt Watson, Litt.D. 1926–1959
C. Dorr Demaray, Litt.D 1959–1968
David L. McKenna, PhD 1968–1982
David C. Le Shana, PhD 1982–1991
Curtis A. Martin, PhD 1991–1994
E. Arthur Self, PhD 1994–1995
Philip W. Eaton, PhD 1995–2012
Daniel J. Martin, JD, EdD 2012–present


  1. ^ As of November 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2012 Endowment Market Value" (PDF). 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ NAICU – Member Directory
  3. ^ "Seattle Pacific University - U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings". 
  4. ^ "A "Best National University" - Seattle Pacific University". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  5. ^ "Paul Lee: a young man with 'infectious positive attitude'". The Seattle Times. 
  6. ^ "Man Found Guilty In Fatal Shooting At Seattle University". CBS Seattle. November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Aaron Ybarra sentenced to 112 years for deadly shooting at Seattle Pacific University". The Seattle Times. February 17, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Alexander Hall Campaign". Retrieved June 21, 2016. 
  9. ^ Mcdermott, Terry (November 4, 1992). "C. Dorr Demaray, 91; College Expanded During His Presidency". Seattle Times. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  10. ^ "SPU Arts Guide". Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Demaray Hall Pamphlet" by Seattle Pacific College
  12. ^
  13. ^ "SPU Facts". Forbes. 
  14. ^ "A "Best National University" - Seattle Pacific University". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  15. ^ "University Scholars - Seattle Pacific University". Retrieved 2015-11-22. 
  16. ^ "The National Anthem "Full Throttle"". Seattle Pacific University - Alumni. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Daniel Sandrin Transfers from Portland, Joining Brother". Seattle Pacific University Athletics. 2000-05-23. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  18. ^ "Korea's Next Hoops Star in Making". The Dong-A Ilbo. 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 

External links

  • Official website
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