Dear Alumni – The Advent season is upon us and I want to begin with warm wishes of hope to you and yours! This is a time when we reflect on our blessings of the past year and look with anticipation toward Christmas and the new year. As president of a Catholic and Jesuit university, I am grateful and proud of our students, faculty, staff and especially our alumni, who after leaving this institution, model our core values on a daily basis. This Christmas season I want to thank you for supporting the growth of our students in mind, body and spirit so that when they graduate, they too may carry on the legacy and mission of this institution as you do. A big part of our mission is to encourage our students to find their true callings. This encouragement does not end with graduation. We pray and encourage always that you, our alumni, continue to discern your calling. As the weather turns colder and we move into the holiday season, we are all invited to reflect on what matters most in our lives. We take our hopes, dreams and aspirations and give them to God so that they may be blessed and fulfilled through Jesus Christ. May you know the comfort and inspiration of God’s love this season and all through the year. From all of us at Seattle University we wish you and yours a very blessed Advent season and a merry Christmas! Fr. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.President, Seattle University
Join us for a favorite university tradition and bring a little Seattle U Christmas magic to your holiday.
Christmas Tree Lighting and Alumni Reception
Thursday, December 5, 2013Reception | 5:30 – 6:45 p.m. | Kinsey Gallery - Admission and Alumni Building Tree Lighting and Christmas Carols | 7:00 p.m. | Seattle University
Advent Mass and Reception Sunday, December 8, 2013Mass | 4:00 | Chapel of St. IgnatiusReception | 5:00-7:00 p.m. | Pigott AtriumFamilies are welcome at all events.
In 1944, Dr. Paul A. Volpe began his career at Seattle College as a professor in the Department of Commerce and Finance, but little did he know he was also beginning a family legacy spanning three generations. In 1947, Dr. Volpe went on to become the first Dean of the business school, bringing the number of schools at Seattle College to five. The college would go on to be renamed Seattle University in 1948.
Dean Volpe was dedicated to the Jesuit values of the university, evident in his promotion of his college and his efforts to improve the student experience, saying that “to educate men and women in character, intellect and professional capacity is the goal of the School of Commerce of Seattle University.” In 1948, Dean Volpe instituted night classes to better fit the needs of working students.
In 1965, Dr. Volpe resigned as Dean of the School of Commerce, in order to serve on the President’s Advisory Council. Dr. Volpe was the first non-Jesuit in Seattle University history to be appointed to the President’s Council. Despite his resignation, Dr. Volpe continued to teach business management courses until his death in 1968.
Dr. Volpe’s pride and belief in Seattle U's mission was shared with his wife Marie, and was passed on to his seven children, Paul Vincent, Tessie, Ginny, Mark, Peter, Marian and Esther, who all went on to attend Seattle University, as would six of his grandchildren. In 1999 his grandson, Paul A. Volpe II, earned the “Paul A. Volpe Award,” for the highest academic excellence in the Albers School of Business and Economics.
Paul and Marie Volpe with their 7 children.
As a freshman attending a Seattle University orientation dance, Dr. Volpe’s youngest daughter, Esther, met Tom Drouin, a fellow legacy student and her future husband. The couple was married by Fr. Axer, S.J., a Seattle U professor and close family friend.
As Esther and Tom built their own family, they instilled in their children those Jesuit values that were a cornerstone of their education and that Dr. Volpe had believed in so strongly – intellectual and academic excellence, social justice and Catholic faith.
Joseph, the Drouin’s oldest, graduated from Georgetown, and completed the TESOL program at Seattle University, preparing him for his current role as a teacher in South Korea.
Their daughter, Rachael Drouin, is currently a senior in Seattle University’s nursing program.
“Our family legacy played a role in our children, nieces and nephews planning to attend Seattle University; that and pride in keeping their grandfather’s name alive,” Esther said.
In 2010 the family attended a re-dedication ceremony for the Volpe Room in the Albers School of Business and Economics.
“Seattle University has been good to my family.” Esther shared that when her mother died in 2004, Fr. Sundborg, Fr. Sullivan and Fr. Reichman officiated her service. “We have always felt welcomed by the university.”
When speaking to the importance of legacy families, Esther said, “People often think of legacy families as important for their donations they make to a university, but I see their importance as having pride in the university and keeping their family at the school. I’ve noticed the Jesuit values and the global world view very present in Seattle University alumni and students as they graduate. I’ve read about their impact in the community, for example the Seattle Nativity School. They’re carrying out those Jesuit values of social justice and epitomizing a Jesuit education."
As Rachael Drouin prepares to graduate from Seattle University, she has already demonstrated her commitment to these values, from volunteering in New Orleans on a mobile medical unit to caring for over 500 children at a clinic in South Africa.
“My Grandmother Marie believed in the ideals and mission of this university to the day she died; after my grandfather’s passing, she continued to carry on his legacy and instill the Jesuit tradition in her children and grandchildren. Legacy is not something we choose for ourselves, but rather something that is bestowed upon us from our ancestors,” Rachael said.
The Volpe family embodies what Seattle University is all about - social justice, academic excellence and tradition. Twenty-nine year old Paul Volpe had no way of knowing when he took a job at Seattle College what a lasting legacy he was creating for his family and the university, but it is one we are sure would make him proud.
Shasti Conrad, a Sullivan scholar and Honors alum, quickly made her mark when she came to Seattle University from Oregon. As the founding president of the Oxfam student club, she worked with the university's food service, Bon Appetit, to ensure that only fair trade coffee would be used on campus. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Oxfam hosted a week of events to raise funds for rebuilding. With the Seattle University Youth Initiative, she helped students at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School to improve their reading skills. But it was the Sociology major's thesis on social activism that paved the way for her work at the White House.
"I looked at social activism among the hip-hop community," Conrad said. "I was interested in how to get young people involved in politics, particularly young people of color."
After graduating and spending some time abroad, Conrad came back to Washington state to work as a field organizer on the 2008 Obama for President campaign. Another alum, Alyson Palmer, class of 2006, had joined the campaign in Indiana and following the election was asked to put together the White House intern program. Upon her suggestion, Conrad applied and became one of only 100 interns headed to Washington, D.C., as a presidential intern.
"I joined the White House Office of Urban Affairs," Conrad said. "It was a new office focused on how the federal government could partner with cities to revitalize urban communities."
It didn't take long before Conrad became the staff assistant to Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President on Disability Policy.
By the summer of 2010, Conrad had drawn the attention of Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. Jarrett oversees the Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Engagement; and Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport. Conrad moved to the West Wing to serve as her executive assistant.
"I slept with my Blackberry on vibrate," Conrad said. "It was the summer of the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, the first debt ceiling crisis, and the Middle East in turmoil."
Sitting close to the seat of power, Conrad developed an appreciation for leaders and leadership. She realized that even the most powerful have the same concerns as everyone else.
"They have kids. They want to do well. They get nervous before a speech," she said. "Regardless of their political views, they chose public service and want to make things better."
An experience with U2's Bono was a highlight: "I told him I had gone to Seattle University, and he told me how much he valued the work of the Jesuits. We bonded over the Jesuits."
Conrad left the White House to work as the briefings director on the 2012 re-election campaign for President Obama, returned to D.C. to assist with the inauguration on the Vice President's team, and has now returned to the Puget Sound area.
Reflecting on her experience with the President and his team, Conrad stressed the importance of her experiences at Seattle University:
"I felt like my classes and the campus communities I was a part of always stressed the connection between the work we were doing and how we made a difference for the greater good. Beyond my own personal enrichment, those experiences gave me a strong sense of the importance of working with a purpose. When I joined the Obama campaign and later worked at the White House, I knew that I was in the right place because I felt the same way I had during the best moments I had at Seattle U. Being able to recognize and create meaningful community has been one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned at Seattle U. and something that I brought with me to the White House and take with me wherever I go."
In September, Conrad began the Master's in Public Affairs program at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She plans to focus on international development.
"I was a kid from Oregon walking the halls of the White House where the first black President of the United States lives," she recalled. "People were engaged, interesting, and looked like me. The experience opened up doors for me that I would never have believed possible."
Thank you to Laura Paskin and the College of Arts and Sciences Newsletter for allowing us to publish this recent alumni spotlight.
Professor Dr. Phillip Thompson, director for the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability will be the keynote speaker at the premier SU Advantage | Networking Event entitled “People, Planet, Profit: Our Obligation to the Triple Bottom Line.” But what is the triple bottom line? We sat down with Dr. Thompson to learn more about the topic and find out what it means to him.
Dr. Thompson, also a professor in the College of Science and Engineering, explains, “The triple bottom line is what it sounds like.” I task my students to play the role of an engineer and entrepreneur, always conscious of the triple bottom line. They must develop a business that will be profitable, while being sustainable and paying a living wage.”
Dr. Thompsons explains that this ethical running of a business is not detrimental to the financial growth of a company. If done correctly, it encourages innovation and increases profits. There is no better example of this than the Bullitt Center, the greenest building in the world, where Dr. Thompson conducts much of his work.
The Bullitt Center was built as part of the Living Building Challenge. For this challenge buildings could not contain any hazardous materials: there is a red list over 400 materials that are harmful to the environment and none of these could be used in the creation of the building.
One of the materials, similar to Tyvek, (a vapor barrier) that was due to be used in production of the Bullitt Center contained one of the red listed materials and therefore, some innovation was required. The manufacturer agreed to create a new vapor barrier that did not contain the harmful material and the end result was a product that was cheaper to produce than the original and proved more effective.
“This is an unintended consequence, but one with improved outcomes. The manufacturer now has a clean product that works better thanks to innovation inspired by care for the triple bottom line.”
How else are Dr. Thompson and his classes using sustainability for a great social and economic impact?
With help of his students, Dr. Thompson is working with Holy Family School, a low income kindergarten to 8th grade Catholic school, to remove concrete and create a rain garden and urban farming project for the school. It will save the school money, allow them to grow vegetables for the community and teach the next generation the importance of sustainability.
Another of Dr. Thompson’s projects is one alumni can see for themselves on a tour of the Bullitt Center. Dr. Thompson and his students test the water produced by a wetland on the 3rd floor of the Bullitt Center, which cleans gray water and sends it to the aquifer below the building. If the water meets the Department of Health’s standards, it will mean success for the team.
“Sustainability impacts every industry. If your company is spending money on energy, and through sustainability you can reduce consumption and therefore increase profits, then you’re looking out for your bottom line.”
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Philip Thompson’s work and the impact of sustainability on business, join us on November 19th at 6:00 p.m. at the Sorrento Hotel for our first SU Advantage | Networking Event featuring Dr. Phillip Thompson and Dean Mike Quinn of the College of Science and Engineering. Registration is now open.
Seattle University has produced many graduates who’ve gone on to serve our country and make us proud. Thank you to all of you for serving your country.
In honor of this Veterans’ Day, we are featuring one alumnus and veteran who has dedicated his time to helping other veterans navigate the benefits process.
Don D. Whedon, Sr., ’73, is a retired member of the United States military. He has served across different branches including the Navy, Army and Air Force in both Vietnam and Grenada.
After Vietnam, Whedon returned home to attend college and play football. Whedon took classes at different colleges and universities until finally coming to Seattle University where he studied psychology.
“The Jesuits who taught at Seattle University really cared about the students as individuals and cared that they learned the material. At other schools it seemed like the professors didn’t care about the students, but not at Seattle University. Fr. Goldberg, Professor George and Dr. Strickland knew so much.”
In 2005, Whedon retired from the military and completed veterans’ service training. He now works as a veterans’ service officer for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Whedon acknowledges that his education at Seattle University helped direct his career goals. “The Jesuit values are to give and to serve and that’s what I do. It keeps me alive and it keeps me healthy. I’ve always been one to help someone get the help that they need. I’ve worked a lot with homeless veterans identifying those most in need of help and raising money for Catholic Community Services to find homes for veterans.”
Though not a lawyer, Whedon is well versed in the veterans’ claims process. If there are any alumni who are looking for help navigating litigation or claims with the Veteran’s Administratino, Don Whedon would like to help.
This Thanksgiving we asked members of the university community to share with us their favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday. Here is what they had to say.
Do you have a favorite family tradition or recipe? Share it in our comments and we might just share it on Facebook.
“I love this whole season of the year from harvest, to Halloween, to Thanksgiving, to Advent, to Christmas. For me it is all about being thankful for blessings, a time when the season slows down, darkens, becomes more golden,a time to savor the grace of God. I think Thanksgiving Day is the best of all American festival occasions.” – Fr. Steven Sundborg, SJ, President of Seattle University
“My favorite Thanksgiving memory growing up in North Dakota involves the family ritual of packing up the car with the ten of us (including parents) to go to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Mel’s farm for the holiday. By late November a smooth layer of ice covered the “slough,” the half-acre pond created by the run off from the horse trough. Anywhere from 30 to 50 relatives gathered around the table as my grandfather intoned the grace before meal. The Thanksgiving dinner itself was a banquet for a czar: turkey with dressing, pheasant, duck, yams, potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, cole slaw, green jello with mandarins, fruit salad—all for starters, followed by either pumpkin pie or pecan pie å la mode.” – Fr. Pat Howell, SJ
“The best part of Thanksgiving is the Tofurky and the games. A nicely marinated and carefully baked Tofurky is an excellent pairing with games to play with the family after we’re done eating.” –Professor Chris Paul, PhD., Department Chair, Communications
“One time a friend of mine returned from a dinner with family and friends. I asked him, "what did you have for dinner?" He responded," I don't really remember, but I do remember what we talked about and the great time everyone had." Meals with family and friends is more about being together than about the food we share.
Thanksgiving is about remembering all that God has done for us, and out of gratitude freely sharing what we have received.”– Fr. Dave Anderson, Alumni Chaplain
“My favorite part of Thanksgiving, like so many families, is bringing everyone together and sharing stories and memories at the dinner table. Since my parents were born in Italy and Ireland, our Thanksgiving dinner when I was growing up in Connecticut did have a large turkey but definitely had an Italian flair. We had homemade tortellini soup in broth and my sisters and I helped my mom and grandmother (Nona) in making the tortellini pasta. We also had homemade lasagna which was fabulous. Even as kids we were allowed to have some of my grandfather's (Nono) home brewed red wine. We mixed a small part of wine with ginger ale or 7-Up and thought it tasted great! A lot of special memories.” – Joan Bonvicini, Seattle University Women’s Basketball Head Coach
“Every Thanksgiving I go to my in-laws, grab a big plate of food and switch between watching the NBA and NFL games. My goal is to sit in one spot for as long as humanly possible!” – Cameron Dollar, Seattle University Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“In my family, one of my fondest Thanksgiving traditions was eating homemade Italian pasta. My stepfather, who is Sicilian, following his mother, would always make ravioli or linguini or some other pasta dish from scratch. He made his version of his mother’s sauce, hauled out the pasta machine, and worked for hours to create the finest pasta I had ever tasted. He did all this in addition to the usual Thanksgiving meal. When my wife and I married years ago, we couldn’t always journey to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving. So we continued this Sicilian tradition on our own in solidarity. It came to be our favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal, the working and reworking of semolina dough, the crank and squeak of the pasta machine, and fragrant release of garlic and herbs in the sauce simmering on the stove. The result was so light and delicate, one bite was all you needed to wonder why on earth anybody ever settled for store-bought pasta. All of it added up to more than a little bit of home and to a renewed sense of connection with family and with our shared past.
A little over a decade ago, my wife and I gave up eating meat for health and ethical reasons. Gone were the turkey and dressing, the gravy and wishbone. But the homemade pasta remained and became all the more valuable as a result. Now our diet is pretty much entirely plant-strong. While this life choice has meant giving up some treasured recipes—my grandmother’s legendary chicken soup, for example—it hasn’t meant a loss of our essential Thanksgiving tradition. For this reason, I am all the more thankful that my stepfather, Frank Lofendo, introduced it all those many years ago. Maybe it even helped pave the way for the dietary life we lead now.” – Professor Sean McDowell, PhD., Director, University Honors Program
“The thing I love most about Thanksgiving is the stuffing!” – Susan Vosper, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations
“One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories and traditions has more to do with what we did with the turkey after Thanksgiving. I come from an Italian-American family that had a traditional American meal but then put an Italian twist on the leftover turkey. We used the turkey to make homemade ravioli and cappelletti (a small tortellini-like pasta for soup) to be eaten the next day. Multiple generations are involved in making the pasta and filling. It’s still my favorite way to have turkey!” – Laurie Prince, New Student Family Programs, Student Development
Tim Albert’s Deep Fried Turkey
“Well, my favorite is deep fried turkey. I became addicted to this in New Orleans. This is a variation on a recipe that I like. But you should go with what you like and I experiment with variations on this annually.” – Tim Albert, Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life
Find Tim's favorite deep fried turkey recipe here.
Thanks to Bon Appetit for sharing two of their Thanksgiving favorites.
Bon Appetit’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Bon Appetit’s Pumpkin Cheesecake