The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Inauguration makes Martin SPU’s 10th
By , Assistant News Editor
Published: April 3 2013
The estimated 130-year-old white poplar tree rooted in Tiffany Loop has grown with Seattle Pacific University since the school’s founding.
Citing the roots and historic legacy of the white poplar, President Daniel J. Martin constructed a metaphor centered around trees to illustrate his vision for the university in his Inaugural Address, held in McCaw hall at 2 o’clock on Tuesday.
“As we pursue our mission within the complex context of higher education, there will be moments when it will be good to draw nourishment from our roots and rest in the shade of the white poplar,” Martin said to the audience that filled the lower level of McCaw hall.
Martin is the 10th person to assume the role of SPU president.
In his address, Martin revealed that a new white poplar, cloned from the other, will be planted in another location on campus.
“My hope is that 130 years from now, Seattle Pacific University will continue to value this second-generation white poplar as it serves and links to our founding and as a reminder of our core values, our beliefs and our founding purpose,” Martin said.
Along with the white poplar tree, Martin emphasized that a second tree, of a different genus, a white oak, would be planted to symbolize a new chapter in SPU’s story.
“It is not a white poplar; it is a different species; it will carry different meaning for our community. May the oak’s majestic canopy and its magnificent size remind us always to consider new thoughts, new strategies, new deliveries and resources,” Martin said.
After seeing the inauguration ceremony, freshman Rachael Welch said she felt like she was a part of the university’s story.
“Seeing all the professors walking down and noticing a few of them I’ve had for classes – and I felt like I was part of a bigger story being in there,” Welch said
Among the audience were faculty, dressed in their academic regalia, representatives from 60 other universities across the country, staff and some students.
“It was very impressive – the number of outside constituents. I thought it was very impressive; we had Councilmember Tim Burgess there. I thought he gave a very good welcome to SPU, and it signifies SPU’s standing in the local community and the impact we have on the city,” business professor Dr. Ross Stewart said.
Burgess was among the seven people to give greetings during the inauguration ceremony, including Dr. Benjamin McFarland, the chair of the faculty at SPU; Dr. Gary Newbill, the president of SPU Alumni Association; ASSP president Nate Strong; Dr. Edward Blews Jr., the president of Council of Christian Colleges and SPU alumnus; Dr. Les Steele, executive vice president of Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; and Father Stephen Sundborg, the president of Seattle University.
“Today is an important milestone in our building process,” McFarland said in the first greeting to Martin.
SPU’s orchestra and one of SPU’s choirs performed at the inauguration ceremony.
“It was fantastic to be a part of it. It was really cool to see all the ceremony and to really be a part of this new chapter SPU is going through,” senior Michael Gencarella said.
Gencarella said he was required to attend because he sang in the choir but would have gone anyway.
“Even if I wasn’t [required], I would have jumped at the opportunity [to go]. I was really looking forward to this. It’s nice to reflect on all the great history SPU has,” he said.
Stewart said that this inauguration was similar to the two other SPU inaugurations he has attended. He said that he liked that the focus was not just on Martin, but on SPU as an institution as well.
“What’s interesting about [Martin] is that he really has that belief. I get the sense that he’s not necessarily uncomfortable with the role of president, but he’s kind of a humble guy that wants to refocus,” Stewart said. “He’s very much wanting to bring everyone as a player of the place.”
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