Biography

Phil in Study 2Philip W. Eaton

Let me tell you a little about myself. I grew up in a business family. My father was an entrepreneur of the old sort. Out of necessity and hard work, a bit of luck and uncanny savvy, he built a business, taking mostly raw desert land in the Phoenix area and making it into something useful for a rapidly growing city. He was one of the pioneer developers in Phoenix. My older brother, David, followed in these footsteps and successfully continues this work to this day. At one point in my working life, I spent eight years in this business.

But I was a middle child. What do middle children do? They find their own unique and unexpected identities — and so I launched out on my own path and ended up with a Ph.D. in literature. “What in the world are you going to do with that?” my father asked. I think I’ve been trying to answer that question all of my life.

With an undergraduate degree from Whitworth University, I moved on to Arizona State University for my graduate work, eventually receiving a Ph.D. in English and American literature. I taught literature for seventeen years at Whitworth, a rich and meaningful time in my life and the life of our family. I loved my students. I loved my subject matter — the penetrating insight into culture and life that literature provides. I loved this university.

In February 1996, I became the 9th president of Seattle Pacific University. I cannot imagine a more challenging and fulfilling role of leadership than those seventeen years at this flourishing Christian university. We sought together to engage the culture and change the world through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This vision matters to me. It is the story of my life and my leadership. It is the story of my work with the wonderful people of Seattle Pacific.

Sharon and I have enjoyed a long and rich life together. We have three amazing sons, all married to wonderful women, and seven of the liveliest grandchildren you can imagine. Life is good, absolutely never boring. I am the author of Engaging The Culture, Changing The World: The Christian University In A Post-Christian World. I am a writer, speaker, and consultant, hoping to be helpful to those who lead and the organizations they serve. I thank God daily for the chance to bring some measure of joy and grace into the world.

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