My name is Donovan Richards and I am a student in the graduate program. Being a part of the inaugural class, I desire to illustrate student life in our program.

While some might say that the path leading me to the SOT graduate program is unique, I would argue that it was providential. Seeing that I have always been interested in ideas and antiquity, my main focus in undergraduate education was philosophy and ancient Greek. I found my passion for learning in these higher levels of education and, by the end of my undergraduate career, it became clear that I would wish to pursue education at a graduate level. Thus, at the end of my senior year, I met with some of my professors and procured some recommendation letters for graduate applications.

After graduating however, I got married and took a job in the professional world. Graduate school was a goal and a dream that I planned to fulfill at a later date. Yet my entry-level job was nowhere near the level of fulfillment that I had found in my educational pursuits. My wife and I had constant discussions concerning my desire to continue my studies and my growing desire to continue my studies in a Christian setting with a Christian topic. The result of these discussions came in the form of researching the schools in the Northwest. From the start, Seattle Pacific University was the front-runner because of my interest in ethics, social justice, and business and theology. I applied and was accepted!

Soon after, I got a call from Dr. Richard Steele and Dean Doug Strong to welcome me to the program and to ask if I had any questions. I was floored to receive a personal call from a faculty member. Most of my undergraduate interactions were with graduate students so I felt a great deal of honor and worth in receiving such a call. To this day, the precedent for high relational expectations between student and faculty has continued, and it is a part of the program that I truly appreciate. From the small class sizes and prompt email responses to engaging in accountability and discipleship with the faculty members, relationship has been an integral part of my graduate career at SPU.

While I am sure many of the students have taken a variety of paths to end up at Seattle Pacific University, one thing is for sure: Relationships between students and faculty members are integral to the success of the SOT graduate program.

-Donovan Richards

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