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Dear Alumni and Friends,
College of Arts and Sciences is known for a diverse student body, and
we encourage our students to follow their passions. In this issue of our
e-letter, you will read about an alumnus who exhibited his art at the
Olympic Games in London, another working with mentally ill adults, and a
student helping with children suffering from trauma.
You will also find an eclectic range of upcoming activities that I hope you can attend. Here are a few to add to your calendar:
The next Catholic Heritage Lecture
features Dr. Peter C. Phan on “What Will the Church Look Like in 2050: A
Prognostication from Asia” on April 18. Dr. Phan is recognized as one
of the most important North American Catholic theological voices of our
times. This lecture is sponsored by the newly formed Institute of
Catholic Thought and Culture, under the direction of Theology and
Religious Studies Professor Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, profiled here.
Registration is now on for the spring Alumni Seminar Series.
Our distinguished faculty revisit classics of literature from the
Medieval Ages to Tom Stoppard’s “Acadia,” with Shakespeare, Edgar Allen
Poe, Leslie Silko, and Josef Conrad in between.
Joining us this quarter is LeRoux Scholar Thomas Worcester, SJ, who will present “From Warrior Pope to Pope of the People: The Changing Papacy, 1513 to 2013”
on May 7. For your listening enjoyment, plan to attend our Brahms Music
Series, Songs of Celebration Spring Concert, and Miró String Quartet
concert. I also encourage you to come to the Lee Center for the
award-winning play “Fefu and Her Friends,” by Cuban American playwright
Marie Irenes Fornes. Be prepared though, the audience moves from room to
For the most recent information about all things Arts and Sciences, join our Facebook page.
I look forward to seeing you soon!David V. PowersDean
Theology and Religious Studies Professor Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos
has been named director of the new Institute for Catholic Thought and
Culture at Seattle University. The institute is designed to encourage
the study, development, and understanding of the Catholic intellectual
tradition, both within the university and for the broader scholarly and
religious communities of the Pacific Northwest. Punsalan-Manlimos will
continue to teach in the College of Arts and Sciences where she directs
the Catholic Studies program.
Punsalan-Manlimos started her college years majoring in physics and
computer science at Ateneo de Manila, a Jesuit College in the
Philippines. During those years, she gravitated towards theology and
philosophy, challenging herself with “the big God questions.” When her
liberation theology professor offered her a scholarship to do a master’s
in theology and teach at the college, she jumped at the chance.
“I used my background in science to examine questions about the
relevance of religion,” she said from her office in the Casey Building.
“The chair of the physics department, a Jesuit, was my thesis advisor.”
After teaching for a few years, leading Ignatian retreats, and
advising student organizations, she took some time to explore her next
steps. She soon realized that teaching was where she needed to be. She
earned her doctorate in Systematic Theology from the University of Notre
Dame and began teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2004.
As the founding director of the Institute for Catholic Thought,
Punsalan-Manlimos will build on her experiences facilitating the Aruppe
seminar and the Faculty Summer Justice Seminar and developing the
university’s Catholic Heritage Lectures. She also co-founded the Women
in Jesuit Mission.
“I want us to engage in a dialogue about real questions we have as a
community and bring together scholars to think about what it means to be
a Catholic university, what our responsibilities are, and how we
address the tension between the Church and the academic environment,”
Punsalan-Manlimos is confident that engaging in the hard questions will be rewarding though difficult.
“We can do our best with integrity to pursue knowledge and understanding,” she said. “It may be a rough ride, but a good ride.”
The next Catholic Heritage Lecture
features Dr. Peter C. Phan on “What Will the Church Look Like in 2050: A
Prognostication from Asia.” Dr. Phan is Recognized as one of the most
important North American Catholic theological voices of our times. The
lecture, which is free and open to the public, takes place on April 18
at 7 p.m. in Pigott Auditorium.
“I love art. I live art,” said Paul Mullally, class of 1971, from his studio in Seattle.
With backpack, paint, canvas, and his art degree in hand, Mullally
travelled throughout the world after college. He cultivated his art
outside the classroom, painting portraits, street scenes, and
landscapes. He made friends everywhere along the way. Last summer, his
“Alaska Bound – Triumph of the Spirit” was shown at a special fine arts
exhibition at the Olympics in London. Today, it is part of a permanent
collection of art from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics soon to be installed
in a new museum in Beijing. It didn’t come easy.
Mullally enrolled in Seattle University three times. In between, he
attended flight school in Florida and joined an Army reserve unit.
Inspired by Fine Arts Professors Marvin Herard, Val Laigo, and Nick
Damascus, he majored in art, and within two years of graduation he was
off to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, painting people
and places at every stop.
“I soon realized that I needed to improve my technical skills,” he
said about deciding to enroll in New York’s Art Students League.
“Painting 6 days a week for 6 hours a day changed my life, and I learned
to paint the way I wanted to.”
Mullally has never stopped painting, travelling, and making friends.
By 2012, he had become internationally recognized for his
representational art. Although he has received numerous awards and
commissions, including one for a portrait by the Senior Queen of Bhutan,
being invited to participate in the London Olympics art exhibit was an
In 2008, the Cultural Ministry of China hosted an international arts
event for the Beijing summer games. Seeking to build on that event, the
ministry planned an exhibit at the 2012 Olympics. A suggestion from his
friend, Chinese artist Huihan Liu, led Mullally to submit his art for
consideration for the London exhibition. When the Cultural Ministry
invited him to participate, Mullally chose “Alaska Bound – Triumph of
Spirit.” The painting depicts the fishing fleet at Fishermen’s Terminal
on Seattle’s waterfront.
"To me, fishing in the Arctic expresses what it means to have unity
of spirit in pursuit of a common goal," he said, “and that is what the
Olympics are about.”
The International Olympic Arts Event at the Museum of London opened
in August 2012. The exhibition was staged in five galleries, the largest
exhibit Mullally had ever participated in. Organizers had brought
together 150 artists from throughout the world; Mullally was one of only
five American artists represented.
Mullally paints almost every day in his studio which is filled with
mementos from his travels, his artwork, photographs, and the most recent
addition, his Olympic medal.
Rixon couldn't have asked for a better job when she graduated last June
with a degree in Social Work. She joined the team at the new Crisis
Solutions Center run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC),
the largest multi-service agency serving homeless adults in the Puget
Sound area. The agency is nationally recognized as a leader in services
for chronically homeless adults with behavioral health disorders.
The Crisis Solutions Center provides short-term residential treatment
for up to 40 people at a time. Admittance, which is voluntary, is only
by referrals from an emergency room or first responder.
"We provide a safe, therapeutic alternative to jail and
hospitalization for people in a crisis due to mental illness," she said
Before coming to Seattle University as a transfer student from
Bellevue Community College, Rixon spent a year volunteering in inner
city Atlanta at a food bank and an after-school program. Her
kindergarten students came mainly from immigrant families, and she
became a liaison between the families and the schools and other
community resources. She continued working with immigrant families when
she returned to Washington and did her senior Social Work practicum at
Compass Housing Alliance.
"Working with adults in downtown Seattle as part of my Compass
internship got me interested in mental health," she said. "I saw the
importance of housing in creating stability in the rest of a person’s
She soon met Bill Hobson, DESC's executive director, through a class
at SU and learned more about the value of integrating housing, mental
health, and substance abuse treatment for people who are homeless.
For many, the Crisis Solutions Center is a critical stop in breaking
the revolving door of homelessness and hospitalization. A voluntary
program that maintains a full-time staff of psychiatrists, nurses,
social workers, and case managers, the center is designed to connect
people with the supports they need to avoid the next crisis. Some return
to their homes within 72 hours; others stay at the center for up to two
"I see a lot of people who have never received mental health
treatment," Rixon said. "Most have had some interaction with a health
care provider, but not a consistent relationship. Those with chronic
mental illnesses need a long-term solution that includes housing with
comprehensive support services. DESC is providing that solution."
Student Profile: Perla Castaneda
speaking before 1,000 business people or working one-on-one with a
pre-teen, Perla Castaneda is passionate about education and making a
Castaneda graduates in June with a dual major in social work and
psychology. She was chosen to emcee and speak at the annual Costco
breakfast, an event that raises scholarship funds for underrepresented
students at Seattle University and the University of Washington.
Seattle University was Castaneda’s first choice for college, and her Costco scholarship enabled her to attend.
“I have had the incomparable opportunity to study at an academically
challenging Catholic Jesuit university,” she said. “It means a lot
because my faith community is a strong source of support for me.”
During her first year as a biology major, Castaneda explored a range
of courses and soon changed her major to social work, realizing she
wanted to work in direct service with people. In her junior year, she
went on a service trip to Belize where she spent time with that
country's poorest. She saw a level of poverty that books couldn’t begin
“The families were so warm and generous,” she said. “Even though they
had so little, they wanted to share a meal with us when we delivered
food. It was an eye-opening experience.”
Now a senior with a second major in psychology, Castaneda is spending
her practicum at Ryther Child Center, a behavioral and mental health
services agency for children and their families. The agency offers
residential and outpatient treatment. Castaneda works mainly with
children ages 10 – 14.
“The yearlong practicum has been intense because the children have
been through so much trauma,” Castaneda said. “I put my social work
skills and background in psychology to use every day. I’ve learned from
my practicum that this is the work I'm meant to do and the population I
want to work with.”
Castaneda plans to go to graduate school in social work and continue her work in the mental health field with adolescents.