SU Voice Alumni Blog
  • It's On: The Role of Athletics at Seattle U

    Posted by Caitlin Joyce on 5/2/2013 03:40:09 PM

    “People had fears of Division 1 that never came to reality. Our athletes are still great students and we continue to develop great university programs. - Erin Engelhardt, academic advisor to student athletes

    “We make decisions as a university that can change who we are and what we stand for. We need to make sure the changes we make are still true to who we are as an institution.” – Chris Paul, communications professor
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    On the evening of May 1st, spectators packed Connolly’s North Court.  Alumni, staff and students, perched on the edge of their seats preparing to see the battle take place on the court.  This wasn’t the type of action the hardwood was used to seeing.  No hoops, guards, or overtime. Just words - a debate entitled “The Role of Athletics at Seattle U.”

    Women’s basketball coach, Joan Bonvincini, Erin Englehardt, and debate student, Al Sadi represented the pro athletics argument.

    Their challengers were Chris Paul and Mara Adleman, both professors in the communications department, and Robby Noble, a graduating senior on the debate team.

    As the debate got under way, three primary arguments emerged. The first was whether Division 1 athletics aligns with Seattle U’s mission . According to Coach Joan, Seattle University’s mission to create leaders for a just and humane world mirrors her own values.

     “I’m an educator, not just a coach. My lessons are those in life: how to set goals, work as a team, and invest in the community. You’ll find my team doing more community outreach than most of the other students at the university.”

    Coach Joan and Erin Englehardt both agreed that athletics helped those attend college who may not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise, and that is indeed in line with our mission. “Look at our Recent Outstanding Alumnus Award winner, Santa Maria Rivera.” said Englehardt. “Without soccer, he would never have ended up at SU or be where he is today.”

    That argument didn’t fly with professor Adelman, who shot back saying, “We talk of our university as a premier Jesuit institution, but nowhere in the mission statement does it say that we have to be D-1. When people think of Gonzaga, they don’t think academics or Jesuit values. They think sports. Do we want the same reputation for our own school?”

    Professor Paul added his concerns over the NCAA’s treatment of student athletes,  Paul argued that universities who focus on athletics view it as a revenue source, yet the players don’t see that money, pointing out that the term “student athlete” is there to prevent those injured on the job from collecting workman’s comp. He asked the crowd if such an organization supported the just and humane values our institution was founded on.

    The second key argument questioned whether athletics affected a student’s success. “They’re under immense pressure to succeed, but to participate in their sport they are required to miss classes. It started off as 2 classes a quarter, and then jumped to 5 and now it’s at 6. We are setting them up to fail. To me that seems unjust and inhumane.” Adelman said.

    Englehardt countered with the facts that SU’s student athletes are on average 10 grade points ahead of other students and 70% of our student athletes have a 3.5 GPA .  “We have a senior going on to Harvard for grad school. She missed more classes in the fall for her graduate admissions interviews than because of her sport and I don’t hear anyone complaining about those absences.”
     
    The final argument and the one that perhaps drew the most reaction from the crowd, was that of the cost of D-1 sports. The opposition claimed that you can’t be half D-1 and you can’t do it on the cheap. It takes a lot of investment. “Gonzaga built a $30 million arena on its campus. Is that an investment we are prepared to make, or should we make?” questioned Paul.  Are there students who could benefit from that money being spent elsewhere?

    According to Paul, “on average schools in the WAC spend $12,000 per student and $56,000 per student athlete. “I’ve had athletes in my class. They have been great. However, I also have a lot of students who aren’t in a sport, and every student deserves the same resources and support.”
     
    Robby Noble went on to add “Perhaps there are other students, who are not doing as well that could benefit from the same resources, but are not offered them because they aren’t athletes. I’m graduating this year, with the highest GPA in my college, but I was unable to get into a grad school. Perhaps if I had the same support systems, I too could be celebrating my admission to a PhD program.”

    In defense of Seattle U’s athletics, Englehardt said that D-1 benefits students and alumni because of name recognition that it brings, “when applying for jobs, you want people to recognize the name of your university. On the east coast, Gonzaga currently has more pull than Seattle U because of its sports teams.”

    After all arguments had been made, the two sides retreated to their respective tables and the audience was asked to vote on the winner. A loud roar rang out in support of our communications faculty, followed by an even louder wave of cheers, posters, and stomping from those in favor of athletics. In the end, both sides agree that everyone wants what is best for our students, our alumni, and our University. We may have different viewpoints, but it’s that diversity of opinion and commitment to every form of excellence that makes this university truly great.

    Fr. Dave Anderson: Alumni Chaplain

    Posted by Caitlin Joyce on 5/1/2013 05:23:50 PM

                                                                                                          
    Upon graduation from Seattle University you take with you your degree, your Jesuit values, life-long friends, and your very own alumni chaplain. Fr. David Anderson, S.J., is a graduate of Gonzaga University and has acted as the Seattle University alumni chaplain for the past seven years.          

     Fr. Dave
    As the alumni chaplain, Fr. Dave celebrates weddings, baptisms, first communions, as well as attending to other spiritual needs that arise in the daily lives of our alumni. On any given day, you might find him visiting the sick, providing prayers and comfort, and presiding over the funerals of those community members who pass away.  

    “What I value most about my job is being there in a time of crisis, and providing support and prayers to those in need. Simply being in the room with someone can bring tremendous comfort.”

    Father Dave’s presence at Seattle University extends across campus and beyond. He presides over the annual alumni Advent mass, performs invocations at alumni events, and participates in the Lenten Reconciliation services on campus. Fr. Dave has the opportunity to connect with current students, in his role as resident minister in Campion Hall.

    Those who regularly attend Men’s basketball games will know that he also serves as the chaplain to the men’s basketball team. In this role, he provides support and reflection for these young men who are under immense pressure. “I also go on the road with the team. This really adds something when people can see our Jesuit Catholic influence because there is a Jesuit sitting on the bench.”

    What you may not know about Father Dave is that he is also the Crystal Mountain chaplain, where he celebrates mass for Catholics on the mountain. What’s his favorite part about being the Chaplain there? Presiding over the 6 a.m. sunrise Easter mass and seeing the sunrise over the snowcapped mountains.
     
     If you have spiritual needs and would like to get in contact with Fr. Dave, email him or contact Margaret Moore.

    Recent Alumni Spotlight: Danielle Berry, '07

    Posted by Caitlin Joyce on 5/1/2013 05:14:59 PM
    When asked about her college experience, Danielle Berry, ‘07  said, “I was raised Lutheran, I didn’t know what to expect from a Catholic University.” But after graduating with a BS in Nursing, she found it was the Jesuit classes that she enjoyed the most. Before attending Seattle U, Danielle received her BA in Comparative History of Ideas from University of Washington. Because she has attended both UW and SU, she can really appreciate the differences between both learning environments.
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    “I’m a strong supporter of Seattle U and the required service learning. It’s focused on building the character of its students. It makes students well-rounded and allows them to see people in a different light.” As part of Danielle’s classes, she and her classmates worked as tutors and in partnership with the local Boys and Girls club of King County. “By working with this community, I can better connect with my patients that live there now.”

    According to Danielle, the values that Seattle U instilled in her shaped what she looked for in a place of employment. Danielle currently works at Harborview Medical Center in the Neurology Intensive Care Unit. “Harborview has a service mentality,” Danielle says. “We give away nearly $200 million in services to our lower income patients, including those who are homeless.”
     
    The values of her employer are important to her, but Danielle’s favorite part of her job, are the direct connections she has with her patients.  “We see people who come in with trauma and spinal cord injuries. We work with them a lot, develop relationships and prepare them for rehabilitation. These are people who end up in wheelchairs, and need to look to someone else for all their basic needs. It can be pretty intense. However, there’s nothing more rewarding then when patients come back to visit you, and you see how they’ve continued to engage in life, and you know that you helped empower them to live their life and be a member of society.”

    Since being at Harborview, Danielle has continued her relationship with Seattle University by returning to speak with graduating classes and recent alumni. “I share with them the lessons of my experience, and give them advice about getting over the transitionary hump of entering the working world, in order to help them be successful. I’ve realized that by being a mentor, giving back has just become a part of my life.”

    Danielle says that when it comes to big career decisions, she still finds herself thinking about the values that Seattle University taught her. When people ask me what University I recommend, I always say Seattle University, because it’s those values and those service learning opportunities that really prepared me for my career.”

    If you are interested in being a mentor to Seattle University students, visit the Redhawk Network.

    If you would like to submit suggestions for our next Recent Alumni Spotlight, email Caitlin Joyce.