At the President’s Spring Forum Thursday morning, around 200 students, faculty and staff jumped to their feet as senior and ASSP President Isaac Gundersen announced the 2014 Faculty Member of the Year. Stepping onto the stage in Royal Brougham Pavilion, associate professor of music Brian Chin walked forward to accept the award from President Daniel J. Martin.
“Teaching music theory and aural skills, [Chin] has been breaking the barriers between academia and the city,” Martin said. “He is both cunning and pragmatic, and there isn’t a better person this award should go to.”
The annual President’s Spring Forum recognizes SPU’s staff and faculty who have reached milestones in their years of service at the university, as well as other awards, including Faculty Member of the Year.
Gundersen said that each year, ASSP asks students to nominate a professor whom they believe exemplifies strong service, teaching and Christian commitment to the Seattle Pacific community.
Director of Graduate Admissions and Marketing John Glancy presented 93 awards to faculty and staff members. According to Martin, the faculty and staff’s combined total years of service to the university are around 1,287 years. Martin compared the event and those receiving awards to trees.
“Trees all have distinct varieties and purposes,” Martin said. “Although not thousands of years old, we have our own historic trees.”
Martin said that over the years, SPU’s campus has evolved and the landscape has changed.
“There are new trees,” he said. “They have a different meaning for our community… We are grateful for those whose service at SPU began recently, 40 years ago or just this year.”
The ceremony recognized those faculty and staff who had reached landmarks between five and 40 years of service at SPU. Glancy put the milestone years in perspective for the audience by accenting the most notable events at the time.
“In 1979, 200 students participated in the first SPU day and 999 new students were admitted fall quarter, causing a housing shortage,” he said.
In the same year, he said that three new teachers with more than a century of service combined started teaching at SPU.
During the forum, 35-year honorees — professor of music Eric Hanson, professor of marketing Gary Karns and professor of chemistry Lyle Peter — received rocking chairs with the SPU logo engraved on the headrest.
Forty-year honorees — fine arts marketing associate professor Kim Gilnett, Maintenance Operating Engineer Jim McFarland and professor of history Bill Woodward — received glass plaques and a monetary check applied to an SPU fund in their honor.
The Oral B. Hemry Award for exempt staff member of the year was presented to Payments Department Supervisor Marci Walden. She also received a $1,000 prize. A $1,000 prize for the non-exempt staff member of the year was presented to Administrative Assistant for Family and Consumer Sciences Mia Hayes.
Martin said that the faculty and staff who were honored during the forum showed true dedication and commitment to the SPU community.
“We get nourishment from our roots, those around us and our peers… Eventually, we get to rest in the shade [of our work],” Martin said. “Today, we are doing just that.”