The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
Former students say university more lenient than before
By ABBY SMITH, Staff Reporter
Published: January 30, 2013
Seattle Pacific alumni Bob Schaper bets the current SPU student population wouldn’t survive at the university in 1963.
“You animals wouldn’t last a week at SPU in our day,” said Bob Schaper, laughing.
Schaper and his wife, Carol Schaper, attended Saturday’s Founder’s Club gathering, which was a part of Homecoming Weekend. Alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago were invited to reunite over cookies and coffee.
For these Seattle Pacific University alumnae, Marston-Watson Hall was an all-girls dormitory; Otto Miller was an administrator and chapel was mandatory.
“We were on a tight leash,” said Carol, who graduated from SPU in 1963 with a degree in missions. “We went to mandatory chapel five times a week,” she said. “And they took attendance.”
Instead of Peer Advisors, dorms had House Mothers, who made sure students were in their rooms by their 7:30 p.m. study time curfew.
“At 9 every night, we got a 45-minute break to go on quick dates,” said Carol who remembered frantically driving with her boyfriend through Queen Anne only to arrive at the dorm after the House Mother locked the doors. “The punishment for missing curfew was being ‘Campused,’” she said. “I wasn’t allowed to leave campus for a month.”
Women on campus also had a dress code in 1963.
“We weren’t allowed to wear pants,” Carol said. “Except on Saturdays, when we were supposed to be cleaning our rooms.”
Carol and Bob Schaper met while both taking classes at SPU and married in the summer. Getting married in the middle of a quarter was grounds for explusion in ’63, they explained.
“We had a lot of rules, but I followed them because I believed in all of them,” Carol said. “I worry that SPU has lost something by lowering their standards.”
“I graduated with a psychology degree but didn’t know anything about drugs or alcohol addiction,” he said. “We were too separated from the rest of the world. We were clueless.”
While the alumni reminisced, they also shared their hopes and concerns for the future of SPU.
When President Daniel J. Martin addressed the crowd, they peppered him with questions about upcoming construction projects and future enrollment projections.
Many alumni were concerned about how SPU plans to preserve the on-campus community with the growing popularity of online classes.
The community that alumna Shirley Peterson found during her time at SPU made a huge impact on her life.
When her fiancé, also a student at SPU, was killed in a construction accident before graduation in 1952, Peterson relied on the campus community for support.
“Not everyone talked to me about it,” Peterson said,.“But everyone felt for me.
“It was a tragedy that sparked revival and compassion on campus,” she said, giving her old roommate a hug. “I hope that SPU is still a place that fosters that type of community.”
While rules and buildings have changed, the mission of SPU has remained constant over the years.
“The purpose of SPU has always been to be an influence for Jesus Christ,” Frank Cranston said.
Cranston graduated in 1956 and worked in the Seattle public school system for over 40 years but returned to SPU as both an adjunct professor and a member or the Board of Trustees.
“The Petersons gave this land to SPU to train people to go out to the mission field. Not necessarily to Africa, but to schools, businesses, and doctors offices,” said Cranston.
“You articulate the mission better now,” he said. “But we had the same goal.”