The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
President Dr. Philip Eaton welcomes President-elect Dr. Daniel Martin to campus in Upper Gwinn Commons on Tuesday afternoon.
Photo credit: ALEX HERBIG/The Falcon.
Unanimous vote decides Dr. Eaton’s successor
By MEGAN HOYE,
Published: April 11 2012
Dr. Daniel J. Martin was elected the 10th president of Seattle Pacific yesterday in a unanimous vote by the SPU Board of Trustees.
The president-elect will take office on July 1, allowing SPU’s current president, Dr. Philip Eaton, to serve for the remainder of the academic year. The search for Dr. Eaton’s successor began in October after he announced his resignation last fall.
Dr. Eaton introduced Dr. Martin to faculty and staff at a reception yesterday. He said a primary focus of his final year was finding the right person to assume leadership of the university, and Dr. Martin is the right fit for SPU.
“I want you to know that this is a grand moment in the life of SPU,” Dr. Eaton said.
Dr. Martin is the current president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio. He said he has been watching SPU’s rise in the academic community and modeling himself after Dr. Eaton’s example since the mid-1990s.
“My interest in Seattle Pacific stems first and foremost from my belief in your vision and mission,” he said. “I want to keep that front-and-center of who we are and what we do and have that frame our steps for the future.”
Senior Josh Norquist, president of the Associated Students of Seattle Pacific and the student representative on the presidential search committee, said Dr. Martin’s sympathy with SPU’s mission is what will make him a strong president.
But, Norquist said, Dr. Martin will bring new skills and a fresh outlook that will help the university prepare for the future.
“He’s got his own style,” Norquist said. “He’s got a lot of energy. He definitely has his own perspective.”
In an interview yesterday, Dr. Martin said his approach to leadership focuses on relationships and conversation.
“I’m excited to get to know as many of the students as I can on a personal level,” he said. “I want to talk to them about their lives, about their futures — it’s fun for me to get to know my students.”
Dr. Martin, 45, will move to Seattle with his wife, Pam, and his two sons, Jacob, 15, and Joshua, 13.
Pam Martin said her family is excited to move to a more urban location and to connect with the SPU community.
“We want to interact with students,” she said. “We want them in our house; we want them talking to us. We’re here for y’all; we just want you to feel comfortable with us and open to us.”
When the search committee identified Dr. Martin as a frontrunner among a pool of more than 200 candidates, a team of committee members visited Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s campus to interview faculty and students about Dr. Martin’s strengths and weaknesses as a president.
Dennis Weibling, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said this campus visit affirmed Dr. Martin’s influence on campus and popularity with his students.
Norquist echoed that sentiment.
“Mount Vernon isn’t in a place that’s very much like Seattle, but when we went to visit the campus, I was really blown away by how similarly the campus shares our vision and mission,” he said.
The president-elect is a part of the online culture at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Throughout his tenure at the school, students have uploaded videos to YouTube of Dr. Martin dancing onstage at various school events.
“I am very proud to say that he is president of my school,” a user commented on one such video.
Dr. Martin earned concurrent Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Kansas schools of law and business. He also earned a Doctor of Education in higher education policy and leadership from the University of Kansas and a Doctor of Education in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
Norquist said that as he sifted through more than 200 résumés at the beginning of the presidential search process, Dr. Martin stood out as a candidate.
“Higher education is going to face a lot of challenges in the next decade or two,” Norquist said. “It’s good to have someone who can commit to sticking around.”
One of those challenges is breadth.
“We, as an institution, are pretty close to full,” Norquist said. “We don’t have a lot of space left, but we want to continue to expand. One big puzzle Dr. Martin will have to unravel is how to grow under the unique constraints we have.”
Norquist said other challenges include adapting to changes in technology, remaining accessible in an economic climate that is prompting some students to choose less expensive options for their educations, and the university’s desire to grow in prominence.
Dr. Martin said he looks forward to assuming his new position this summer.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity to join this community, to do all I can to be that connecting point so that others can come alongside and partner with this university to explore avenues that we hadn’t yet thought about or dreamed about,” he said.
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