to Athletics, Weter
Legacy Lives On
Goodbye to An SPU legend
On April 20, the Seattle Pacific University Winifred E. Weter Annual Faculty Award Lecture — providing faculty with a public platform to present “scholarship informed by a Christian worldview” — marks its 31st year with Associate Professor of Graduate Psychology Margaret Diddams lecturing on Martin Buber’s classic work, I and Thou.
Funded by Emeritus Professor Ross Shaw and his wife, Barbara, the lecture was named in honor of one of Seattle Pacific’s legendary professors, Winifred Weter, soon after her 1975 retirement. Thirty-one years later, SPU said goodbye to that remarkable woman. Weter died in her sleep on January 3, 2006, at the age of 96.
Though women with doctorates were rare in 1933, Weter earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She didn’t consider herself a trailblazer, though. “I can’t feel liberated because I’ve never felt oppressed,” she once said about her many achievements.
In 1935, Weter joined the faculty of Seattle Pacific College, where she taught Greek, Latin, and physical education. One of the few Seattle Pacific faculty members at the time with a doctorate, she later admitted, “A young lady with a brand new, unused Ph.D. was pretty special.” As the College’s first female coach,
Weter also led women’s athletics for 13 years.
When the Seattle Pacific women’s basketball
team made it to the NCAA Division II
Final Four in 2005, they visited the nonagenarian,
the University’s very first women’s basketball
coach. “The players were inspired by
it,” SPU President Philip Eaton told The Seattle
Times. “They thought it was very cool they
could do this, reach across those years.”
Weter served at Seattle Pacific for a total
of 40 years. At her retirement, the Board of
Trustees noted that her love for classical languages
and literature “inspired a similar love
and enthusiasm in thousands of students.”
When the Weter Lecture was established in
her honor, she began a long tradition of attendance.
“She attended every one until 2001 or
2002,” says William Woodward, professor of
history and two-time Weter lecturer. After
each lecture, she’d stand to say a few words.
“Fairly frequently,” Woodward
recalls, “she’d make a
point of saying there ought to
be more women lecturers.”
Weter would have been
pleased, then, to hear Diddams
in the April 20 Weter
Lecture discuss how businesses,
through reward and
social structure changes, can reclaim their “souls.” She will relate these topics to Martin
Buber’s ideas about the ways human beings
treat one another and conduct themselves in
the world. “It’s a privilege to be part of a tradition
that recognizes the scholarship and personal
excellence of Winifred Weter,” says
Diddams. The lecture will be held in Demaray
Hall 150 at 7:30 p.m.
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