SPU President resigns

Dan Martin to leave University after nine years of service

Kyle Morrison, News Editor

Dan Martin announced his resignation on March 30th, the second day of Spring Quarter. (Marissa Lordahl)

On Tuesday March 30, President Daniel J. Martin announced his resignation from SPU after nine years in his role. He made the decision public in an email that was sent out to the entire SPU community.

Martin will begin a new role at a health care foundation by the end of April. He has not clarified what foundation or where he will be moving to, saying only that he will be moving closer to his hometown in the midwest.

Martin took office as Seattle Pacific’s 10th president in 2012 when he succeeded Phillip W. Eaton.

Chairman of the SPU Board of Trustees Cedric Davis released a statement praising Martin for his accomplishments at SPU and outlining the path ahead for the University.

“Though we are saddened to learn of President Martin’s planned departure to pursue a new chapter in his life, we are also indebted to his remarkable and dedicated leadership over the past nine years of service as president of our beloved SPU,” Davis said.

Davis also listed some of Martin’s accomplishments which include retrofitting Alexander Hall, more than tripling SPU’s endowment from $42 million to $137 million, helping create the Office of Inclusive Excellence, being one of the architects of “tuition reimagined,” and leading SPU through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Martin was also president during the shooting at Otto Miller Hall and tragic death of Paul Lee in 2014 as well as the crane accident that killed Sarah Wong in 2019.

Martin and the rest of the university have faced criticism over the last year on their handling of issues regarding the Black Lives Matter movement as well as their treatment of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Many students and faculty thought that Martin’s office took too long to address the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed in 2020. There is also frustration about the University’s solutions regarding racial injustice on campus.

In January, SPU was sued by adjunct professor for nursing Jeaux Rinedahl for sexual discrimination. Rinedahl alleges that he was denied a full time faculty position because he is gay. This led to a protest outside Dan Martin’s house on Jan. 16 and a campus wide movement to eliminate the University’s controversial statement on human sexuality, which has yet to be resolved.

Following the downward trend of campus student populations nationwide, the SPU student population fell from a high of 4,175 in 2015 to 3,601 in 2020 under Martin’s leadership.

In his initial statement Martin expressed gratitude for his time at SPU, as well as the people he has gotten a chance to meet and bond with.

“I continue to be deeply humbled and honored to have served the mission of SPU over these past nine years. I am immensely grateful for the faculty, staff, students, families, alumni, and trustees who I have had the privilege of serving alongside and becoming friends with along the way,” Martin said.

Martin went on to say that he believes now is the right time for him, his family, and the University to move in a new direction.

“2020 was also a year of significant personal loss for me with the death of both my father and my sister,” Martin said. “In addition to addressing the pandemic over the last year, It is this context that contributes to my understanding that this is the right time for a transition for me as well as for SPU.”

The Board of Trustees is already at work trying to find Martin’s successor. In their press release, it was revealed that Provost Laura Hartley will serve as the executive in charge of SPU until the board can find an interim replacement.

“Upon receiving President Martin’s resignation, the Board began working on a transition plan for interim leadership. The Board intends to appoint an interim president while a search for SPU’s 11th president occurs,” Davis said.