Roughly 15 years ago, Gary and Barbara Ames walked through the doors of Seattle Pacific University with a vision. It was a vision of a university that brought forth educational opportunity for students of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Out of this vision, Gary Ames, now a member and chair of the Seattle Pacific University Board of Trustees, and his wife founded the Ames Scholarship in 2001. The scholarship program has invested in the higher education and financial support of over 100 SPU students.
On Nov. 20, SPU held a dedication ceremony to name the library building in honor of the Ames’ and their impact on the university. The ceremony acknowledged the contributions Gary and Barbara Ames have made and unveiled a plaque outside the Ames Library.
“We walked through the doors of this university really having no relationship, having heard about it and admired it from afar,” Gary Ames said. “I can tell that after 15 years we are really impressed. I can’t think of a better place to invest than this institution.”
According to the couple, the scholarship awards financial support to students with the most underrepresented cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
As roughly 50 students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for the christening ceremony, President Daniel J. Martin highlighted how the Ames Scholarship has contributed to the future of its recipients.
“Ames alumni are working in areas such as business, high tech, K-12 [education], arts, non-profit [and] healthcare,” Martin said. “They’re making a difference in missions organizations, in government and in many other vocational paths.”
Martin emphasized the impact Gary and Barbara Ames have made on students and the university.
“These scholarships were founded on the knowledge that these students who come from the most underrepresented cultural and ethnic backgrounds bring valuable life experiences to SPU and greatly impact the campus,” Martin said, reading from the plaque.
Martin went on to point out that following the Ames’ lead, other institutional investments are bringing more diversity to the university.
“Admissions and recruiting strategies have been more intentional in recruiting a diverse class, the John Perkins Center was founded in 2004…and students have also prioritized this as a core value,” Martin said. “Through the efforts of ASSP, intercultural clubs have also increased from one in 2002 to 15 this year.”
Martin also said that the founding of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in 2008 and the recent addition of the vice president for intercultural affairs position to the ASSP core team show the university’s dedication to diversity.
He added that the decision to name the library was intentioned to honor the Ames’ generosity and inspire students to continue SPU’s mission of engaging the culture and changing the world.
“May Gary and Barbara’s dedication of the greater good inspire future generations of Seattle Pacific University students to follow in their footsteps,” Martin said, closing the ceremony.
This article was published in print on Dec. 3. Due to technical difficulties, it was published online on Dec. 5.