Staff Council

Staff Recognition


SPU staff members of the month are nominated by their peers and selected by Staff Council. If you would like to nominate a person for this recognition, proceed to the nomination page.

Meet the SPU Staff Member of the Month for January 2013


Mark Oppenlander

Director of the Center for Applied Learning
School of Business and Economics

Meet Mark Oppenlander. He single-handedly runs SPU’s Mentor Program, and is the great and powerful “Oz” behind the annual Social Venture Plan Competition. Every year, 250 students participate in the mentor program, and SVPC continues to blossom each spring. During his time as director for the Center for Applied Learning, Mark has personally matched more than 1,700 students with professionals in numerous careers. Mark is pure joy to work with, offering a unique sense of humor, and genuine care for each individual he interacts with. Congratulations Mark!

Name: Mark Oppenlander

Title: Director of the Center for Applied Learning in the School of Business and Economics

Born: Forest Grove, Oregon

How long have you been at SPU? Fourteen years total, with a break in the middle. I worked in Safety and Security, then the Controller’s office (before it transitioned to what is now SFS), from 1991-97, then I came back to SPU in 2005 and have been in the School of Business ever since.

How does your faith impact your work? In the Quaker tradition, we talk about the “spiritual nudge.” Life is more than focusing on just the intellectual or the mechanical — we are encouraged to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for direction and discernment. This greatly impacts how and with whom I place students in the mentor program. My faith doesn’t impact my work, it is integrated into my work: There is no divide between the sacred and the secular. God is present everywhere!

What’s something that few people know about you? I am a musician. As a student at SPU, I was on a music scholarship ― I was first chair bassoonist in the SPU Orchestra.

What fictional family is most like your family? My wife and I joke that we are like Nick and Nora Charles, from the “Thin Man” book series. They’re a crime-fighting detective team (with a little dog that follows them around; we have one, too, Cody).

If you could live in any other place, where would that be? I would love to live in a place like London for a while. The depth of culture and history would be very interesting. Montreal as well, but I’d have to learn French.

Favorite food and locale to consume it? Greek food! The best souvlaki can be found at Orexi in downtown Bellevue.

Please join Staff Council in congratulating Mark Oppenlander as Staff of the Month!