Heartfelt words from Pete Menjares

Interim president shares goals, aspirations for upcoming year

Santi Quiroga Medina, News Editor

New President Dr. Pete Menjares in front of Ashton Hall. (Caitlyn Schnider)

Following former SPU President Dan Martin’s resignation in March of 2021, Interim President  Pete Menjares stepped into the position of interim president on Jul. 1 after many years of work in higher-education. Menjares, a third-generation Mexican-American, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. In his speech on Sep. 1 about the state of the university, Menjares explained to faculty and staff that he is inspired by his great-grandfather.


“My great-grandfather, who’s my hero…was a barber, and one of the things I remember about being with him was being able to watch him do what he did best and to do what he loved, which was caring for others,” said Menjares. 


After his time serving at Biola University and Fresno Pacific University, Menjares was invited by Martin in 2015 to become a member of SPU’s Board of Trustees, where he continues to serve. 


President Menjares’ California roots run deeper than just his educational and professional background. When talking with The Falcon, Menjares expressed thankfulness for growing up in California and the parts of Seattle that complement his hobbies.


“I really do love the Southern California lifestyle,” said Menjares. “I enjoy fishing, I ride a bike, so I love cycling, which is great in Seattle, and again just being outdoors. I’m just grateful for the life God has given me.”


Menjares also stated he loves people and community. He hopes to be able to meet students while walking around campus and for them to introduce themselves if they see him around.


Menjares and his wife Virginia have a grown daughter and three grandkids still in California. He misses them dearly and cited that as one of his biggest personal challenges, alongside his challenges as President. Despite missing his family, he knows he has important work to do at SPU, and in his address on the state of the university, Menjares spoke on the current controversy regarding the statement on human sexuality.


“The LGBTQIA+ conversations at matter are significant, and there are, in-fact, significant conversations taking place around human sexuality and gender identity at Seattle Pacific University,” said Menjares. “It’s personal, it’s faith, it’s life, it’s relationship, and it’s everything that makes us human beings. But I also know that sincere followers of Christ are divided on this, but I am committed to listening, to learning, and knowing more about the needs of the LGBTQIA+ members in our academic community.”


As conversations on this topic continue, he is ready to dive deeper into the issue.


Menjares also took the time to thank the community for being respectful in the midst of tense climates.


“I have already in my short time here on the ground been brought into several conversations, and I have to say that I have to articulate how appreciative I have been of the respect and dignity that I have been shown, and the civility that these engagements have already manifested to me,” said Menjares. “To me, that is a hope.”


Though Menjares stepped into the position of interim president during a difficult time at SPU, he is hopeful that his leadership will lead the university in a good direction.


“We’ve had a lot of change, and I’d like to take full advantage of my experience with higher education administration and my familiarity with the campus and just engender some confidence in the institution,” said Menjares, “God’s hand is upon us, he has not left us, he has not forsaken us.”