The Kenmore City Council meeting on June 15 was paused to honor Dr. Daniel Church, current and retiring president of Bastyr University, and to present him the first ever Key to the City.
“Oh my goodness, it’s very embarrassing and flattering. I had no expectations of it, but was told to please come to the City Council meeting because they were going to honor me,” Church said. “I had no idea that I would get the Key to the city and that it would be the first. My that was a special treat.”
Attended by citizens of Kenmore and staff of Bastyr, the awarding of the Key to the City was a symbol of Church’s continued efforts to improve the relationship between the city of Kenmore and Bastyr, along with the numerous contributions Church has made to the community.
“I’m very, very glad that he is the first. A finer human being you won’t find,” said Kenmore Mayor David Baker. “He has bent over backwards to work with the city, he has been involved in everything we do… He’s supported a number of things we’ve done in the community, and he’s been part of them.”
While he joked about not knowing which door the Key to the City would open, a young Boy Scout in the audience had an answer for him.
“He came up to him afterwards and stood in line very patiently and then said, ‘Sir, you didn’t know what door the key would open, I have an answer for you.’ He put his hand on his chest and said ‘Its the key to our hearts,’” Church said. “Now, I have a key that opens the hearts of the people of Kenmore, and that’s just great.”
While Church is retiring at the end of June and moving out of the area, he doesn’t think that retirement will keep him away from working or away from Seattle very long.
“Well, it’s going to be a big change in several ways. One way is that I’ve never not worked, I don’t have hobbies to return to, so it’s a little challenging to find [something] to occupy my mind,” Church said. “We have lived in several places in the world, and never been in a place where we’ve been more well received than in Kenmore. It will be hard to leave and, I have a hunch, that we’ll be back.”
As Church heads out into the post-working world, those left in Kenmore will feel his loss.
“I do want to thank you for bringing Bastyr to Kenmore and making it one of the most important institutions we have here,” said Kenmore Councilman Nigel Herbig. “That is something we’re all very proud of.”
Each council member had something to say to Church, many reiterating their thanks and gratitude.
“Through your leadership we went from a college in Kenmore to Kenmore’s college and everyone just feels like part of Bastyr,” said Councilwoman Stacy Denuski. “Thank you.”
However, Kenmore has left an indelible mark on Church, one that will be there for the rest of his life.
“I’m better for having been here,” Church said. “I hope Kenmore will continue to be a good friend to Bastyr.”