How long have you been at SPU?
Ten years, as of this upcoming November.
Tell us about a memorable good day at work.
The morning following the June 5 (2014) campus tragedy, I arrived on campus emotionally drained, having stayed really late the night before. I walked through Martin Square and encountered a sign that said, “He makes beautiful things out of dust.” I wept. I came to lean on this scripture throughout the coming days and weeks, and when I hear the song of the same name, even now, it still elicits strong emotion.
It was only nine days later that the Commencement team pulled off all of the different high events, and I was so proud of all of our staff and faculty in celebrating and honoring our graduating students so well, even through a time of mourning and tragedy. He truly does make beautiful things out of dust!
How does your faith impact your work?
On my good days, I walk into work praying that I would give God all the glory and blessing that he deserves through my work. I try to remember that each person I encounter is made in the image of God, and that I need to treat that person with respect, kindness, and dignity. I believe that God ordains our work, and that everything we do, big or small, is a way that we can worship him throughout our days.
Tell us the piece of your life journey that brought you to Seattle Pacific University.
I have lived near SPU for about 19 years, since moving to the Seattle area. Many of my friends from church, my kids’ schools and sports, etc., are faculty, staff, alumni, and students from SPU. I noted early on that there was something special about this place, and I was determined to be a part of it. I am grateful that God created a place for me here, and that I get the privilege of serving this community
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
I enjoy hanging with my family — husband Chuck, and kids Elsie (almost 15), Emmett (18), and Audrey (21). Audrey feels very far away, as she attends Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so Facetime calls are frequent!
I also love gardening, kayaking, hiking, watching my kids’ sports, rooting on our Falcon athletic teams (Go, Falcons!), and traveling (hoping I can do more of that some day!). I am also mildly obsessed with African wildlife, and usually go to sleep each night listening and watching a “safari live” program. It gives me peace.
What’s something that few people know about you?
I played saxophone in middle school and early high school, and have been trying to re-learn it during this more “stay-at-home” season. Let’s just say my new hobby has not been as popular with those who share space with me. I also LOVE '80s music, so it’s been fun to (attempt to) play some tunes ranging from Spandau Ballet to the Eagles.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Hands down, my favorite thing about my job is getting to work with amazing people. I learn so much from my colleagues — those who are younger and those who are older and wiser. And I have learned of so many faith stories along the way.
I have to pinch myself sometimes that here, in Seattle, I get to talk about God in my office or pray with someone I work with. In my new role, I love working more with students and families. What a privilege it is to be able to represent the good work that faculty and staff are doing here at SPU by sharing our mission and story with those who are in the midst of their college search process.
What's the most important thing that you want people to know about you?
Maybe not MOST important, but something that I feel is important to share … the importance of mental health, always, but more importantly, in this season. I have been seeing a counselor, with my husband, for the last number of years. It is one of the best decisions I ever made. Please consider seeking professional help, even if you think you’re in a good place!
Anything else you would like to share?
After having served in the Provost’s Office for nine years, I transitioned into my new role in the Undergraduate Admissions Office in November. What a blessing it has been to see how different parts of the University perform their roles well and serve the greater good, each in their own way. I am really proud to work here, and to be a member of such a rich, diverse, and faithful community!
Please join Staff Council in congratulating Michelle McFarland as the June 2020 Staff of the Month!