Seattle Pacific University

SPU-alexander-hall“Seattle Pacific University is a Christian university fully committed to engaging the culture and changing the world by graduating people of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom, and modeling grace-filled community.” —Seattle Pacific University Mission Statement

Remember Jon Meis, the student hailed as a hero for stopping the gunman at Seattle Pacific University last month? He is the kind of exemplary student the college is seeking.

SPU President Daniel Martin announced to the June 2014 graduating class that a scholarship had been created in Meis’s name “in recognition and honor of Jon’s quick thinking, selfless act and brave response.” Meis, an engineering major, received two standing ovations during the graduation ceremony. The John Meis scholarship will go toward an engineering student in future years.

All SPU students gain an outstanding education grounded on the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the tools to influence our multicultural and complex world for good, preparing them to actively engage in the communities they go on to serve.


SPU dates back to 1891, when it was founded by Free Methodist pioneers as the Seattle Seminary. Over the years as the school grew, its name was changed several times until finally becoming Seattle Pacific University in 1977.

SPU is only about 10 minutes from downtown Seattle, located on the quiet north slope of the city’s Queen Anne Hill residential neighborhood. SPU’s 43-acre campus borders the Lake Washington Ship Canal and boasts majestic trees (including some of the oldest remaining original trees in Seattle), open lawns, gardens, and views of Mt. Rainier.

Alexander Hall, a four-story brick structure (see photo above), is the oldest building on campus. At the time of the university’s founding it was also the only building on campus. Eaton Hall, built in 2003, is the newest and most advanced building on campus. Housing biology, chemistry, and psychology labs, the building is complete with an electron microscope, cold room, fully contained greenhouse, and LEED Certification.

SPU also owns and operates two satellite campuses: a wilderness field station specializing in biology on Blakely Island in the San Juan Islands, and a former military fort turned retreat facility at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island.

SPU offers degrees in a wide variety of subject areas in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions. Undergraduates can choose from 61 academic majors, and graduate students can earn master’s degrees in 20 different programs, including those in the schools of business and education. SPU’s pre-med track has become widely known for its 90-100% acceptance into medical schools right out of SPU.

Student Life

SPU has a total enrollment of 4,000 students, with a gender distribution of 33.4 percent male and 66.6 percent female students. The student-faculty ratio is 15:1, and the school has 48.8 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. Approximately 54 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 46 percent of students live off campus. Freshmen are required to live on campus in the residence halls unless they are living with family. At SPU, alcohol is not permitted for students of any age.

Students at SPU can get involved in about 50 clubs and an extensive network of volunteer opportunities. For example, every month the SPU food lab hosts a Community Kitchen; a time for homeless people to come and assist with cooking meals that they then all eat together. Student athletes can play at the intramural level or try out for the Falcons varsity teams, which compete in the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

For Honor Students, SPU offers a four-year alternate series of general education classes called University Scholars, which revolves around a Great Books reading list and the writing of a lengthy senior dissertation. During the academic year, members of the SPU community meet in the library for a weekly event called “Creative Conversations,” during which they share scholarly and creative works in progress.

Since 2007, SPU has sponsored a voluntary Social Venture Plan Competition in which students develop projects that can make a difference in the world. By requiring students to develop business proposals that are later judged by Seattle-area small business owners, the Social Venture Competition develops participants’ entrepreneurial skills.

SPU offers a number of student services including health service and health insurance. Many students and alumni utilize the Center for Career and Calling, which helps them perfect cover letters and portfolios, among other services, to ease the job search.


SPU’s tuition and fees were $33,813 for the 2013-14 school year. About 73 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $22,544.

SPU takes a holistic approach to evaluating applicants: “We look at your GPA and test scores, and then we read between the lines. What kind of classes did you take? Are your grades getting better, declining, or are they consistent? We read your essays, and we read your recommendation letters. We also look at your activities to see what you are doing with your time. All of this information paints a picture of who you are and whether you are prepared for Seattle Pacific University.”

The acceptance rate at SPU is 79.5 percent. If you are not accepted the first time, they allow you to re-apply. According to their website, “Denying students is tough all around. We want the best for every student and that sometimes means saying no. Some students really want to be at SPU, and we recommend that they take a minimum of 30 transferable college-level credits, and we’ll re-evaluate the application. Other students attend another school on their list and graduate from that school. In each case, we hope that you stay motivated to complete a college degree.”

Homeschoolers are welcome to apply to SPU, and a parent can submit an Academic Recommendation, but they will also need one from a non-family member. “Perhaps another parent in your homeschool co-op, or a teacher from the public school where you may have taken a class, would write for you. If neither of these exist, you should consider another adult who knows your academic abilities and future plans.”

Summer Visit Days

Interested in possibly attending SPU? This summer is a great time for a campus tour (11:00 and 2:00, Mon-Fri); or you can sign up for a Summer Visit Day! Summer Visit Days (9:00am-12:30pm) will be held on 7/11, 7/25, 8/1, 8/15, and 8/22/14. See for more info.

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