Remembering Ed Bauman

Honoring the founder of Seattle Pacific University’s electrical engineering department

Audrey Oscarson, Staff Writer

Edward James Bauman died peacefully at the age of 88 on January 2nd, 2022 in Lincoln, California. (Courtesy of University Communications)

Dr. Ed Bauman, founder of the electrical engineering department at Seattle Pacific University, passed away in early January. He is remembered as being devoted to the education of his students as well as supporting their well-being and faith.

Don Peter, a retired engineering professor, was recruited by Bauman and remembers him as an integral part of the department.

“He definitely had a vision he felt came from God for what we could have in terms of engineering programs that honor Christ,” said Peter. “He [had] an amazing combination

of strong leadership and also kindness.”

Bauman helped put together a curriculum that met national accreditation standards and pushed to get the program to be the best it could be. He hired a team of professors that would work together and had the same vision for the department.

“He would have weekly departmental meetings,” said Peter, “and not only do we discuss the nuts and bolts of running the program and the curriculum, but we also shared about students that we were ministering to. He also allowed time for us to individually share what’s going on in our lives so that he could be a support.”

He also supported students in their learning as well as their lives. Dr. Melani Plett, the current chair of the electrical engineering department and director of engineering and computer science programs, was a student under Bauman whose life and career were impacted greatly by Bauman

“He was generous with his time and energy. He also sought the good for those around him,” said Plett. “He has made an impact on every single electrical engineering (EE) grad at SPU.”

Plett remembers how Bauman was the reason that she became a professor at SPU. She had never planned on teaching, but he kept in touch with her and eventually invited her to come back and teach.

God used that phone call to change the trajectory of my whole career,” said Plett. “Ed then mentored me when I came to SPU and began teaching. He helped me to pay attention to each student’s needs.”

One of the programs Bauman created to support students in their faith was High Flight. The program was started with the help of James Irwin, Apollo 15 astronaut and friend of Bauman. High Flight gave students the opportunity to worship, pray and study the Bible together.

Peter recalled that faith was a very important part of Bauman’s life, and he strived to bring his faith into his teaching.

Ed Bauman started the Electrical Engineering Department at Seattle Pacific University in 1984. (Courtesy of University Communications)

“He wanted to let students see, by precept and also by example, that as a professional you can live out your faith in the professional workplace, and you can do it in a discreet way, but without fear,” said Peter. “He wanted people to know that no matter what you do, you can be a witness for Christ.”

Plett hopes that she will be able to continue Bauman’s legacy at SPU.

“Now that I am the Director of Engineering and Computer Science at SPU, I strive to live up to the model that Ed set for me.  Loving others by serving them.  Sharing my faith as naturally and frequently as I can. Looking to serve God while teaching and serving my students and colleagues,” said Plett.

Bauman will be remembered at SPU as someone who cared deeply about everyone around him. 

“He really cared about each student and went to a lot of effort to give them his time, counseling, or whatever they needed, he would do it. That’s what made him outstanding,” said Peter.