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Dear Alumni and Friends,
excellence is a core value of Seattle University and a hallmark of
Jesuit education. We take particular pride in our faculty and graduates
who work for the greater good of others in academic and community roles.
In this issue of our e-letter, we focus on our own alumni who have
become college teachers themselves; some are new faculty and some have
many years of experience. Leigh Ann Gilmer puts a new twist on a
successful agricultural model for the fine arts, and another
agricultural model, the Urban Farm program, is a distinctive blend of
academic and service learning that produces tremendous benefits for the
broader community. Our students produced a 3-minute video on this
successful program, now in its second year, which is linked in the
College of Arts and Sciences is also about traditions that bring us
together as a community, first as students and then as alumni. I
encourage you to join us at our annual College of Arts and Sciences at
KeyArena men’s basketball game on January 24. Meet fellow alumni and
faculty at KeyArena’s Club Live at 5:30 p.m. and enjoy the game against
UT-San Antonio at 7 p.m. Join us on campus on the evening of February 19
when we celebrate two outstanding history professors. We will first
install Professor Tom Taylor as the Reverend Louis Gaffney, S.J. Chair
and Theresa Earenfight as the Theiline Pigott McCone Chair in
Humanities, and then be treated to the Al Mann lecture, given by noted
medical historian Professor Bridie Andrews.
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
The Urban Farm,
a component of the college’s Environmental Studies program, has
distributed almost 15,000 pounds of fresh produce to local food banks
this year. The two-acre farm, located on the site of the King County
South Treatment Plant, began operations in early 2011. Although the
project is in an uncommon location for a farm -- adjacent to a major
highway in Renton and sandwiched between an RV storage facility and a
wastewater treatment plant—it has been an overwhelming success.
participate in the Urban Farm as part of regular coursework in
sustainable agriculture or as volunteers. At the end of 2011, Wells
Fargo gave the project a $100,000 grant to increase production and
improve infrastructure. As a result, students planted more than 40 fruit
trees, installed irrigation systems, added blueberries to minimize
erosion, and increased the number and variety of vegetables. Members of
the community, including a team from Wells Fargo, assisted with
planting, weeding, and harvesting.
doubled the amount of food we produced this year,” said Professor
Michael Boyle, project manager. “We made a real difference in the lives
of hundreds of families who rely on our food banks.”
The students build on their classroom learning with a hands-on experience that has long-term implications.
this project can work here, it can work anywhere,” Boyle added. “Our
students can take what they’ve learned and use it wherever they are,
whether in urban, suburban, or rural communities.”
Seattle University's Urban Farm from First Sight Productions onVimeo.
Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. announced the appointments of History Department Chair Tom Taylor as theReverend Louis Gaffney, S.J. Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences and History Professor Theresa Earenfight as theTheiline Pigott McCone Chair in Humanities.
Their installation ceremony will take place on Tuesday, February 19, at
7 p.m. Joining them is Dr. Bridie Andrews, who will give this year’s Al
Mann lecture, “Chinese Medicine: Medieval Healing or Modern
Gaffney chair promotes issues germane to the Jesuit mission and
identity of the faith that does justice and supports the Jesuit ideal of
teaching. As chair, Tom Taylor will address the theme “Jesuit
Missionaries: A Historical and Global Perspective.” Because of their
missionary calling, extensive travels, and detailed record keeping,
Jesuits have become valuable sources for research. Planning is underway
for lectures, workshops, and seminars focused on different geographic
regions and Jesuit influence directly linked to world history. The chair
is made possible by the Jesuit community at Seattle University,
Pigott McCone Chair is given to an outstanding teacher and scholar in
one of the basic humanities disciplines in the College of Arts and
Sciences. Earenfight will further scholarship on “Health from a
Historical Perspective” through symposia, conferences, and lectures.
Presenters will include anthropologists who study health care,
historians who study the social and political impact of epidemics in the
modern world, and literary scholars who study depictions of health and
disease in novels and nonfiction works.
Mann Lecturer, historian Bridie Andrews teaches Chinese, Japanese, and
East Asian history and modern world history at Bentley University. She
is internationally known for her scholarship on the history of medicine,
particularly Chinese medicine, pharmacy, and pharmacology. Her book,
Medicine, Culture, and Modernity in China, is being published by the
University of British Columbia Press.
graduates recently joined the ranks of college faculty. Jerome Veith
’05, Jason Miller ‘02, and Susan Meyers ‘99 return to the College of
Arts and Sciences. Alison Staudinger ’05 is teaching in the Democracy
and Justice Program at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. Jerome
Veith, philosophy and psychology major, returned to the College of Arts
and Sciences to teach in the Philosophy Department. Earlier this year,
he received his doctorate in philosophy from Boston College where he
taught undergraduate students. Veith, the son of an Air Force
pilot and a tour guide, grew up in Germany. He attended German public
schools, visited Seattle University as a high school senior, and was
accepted into the Honors Program. “I always knew I wanted to
focus on the humanities. I just didn’t know where my studies would lead
me,” he said from his office in the Casey building. “I thrived in the
Honors Program with its total immersion in a self-contained
curriculum." Fluent in German, Veith gravitated to German
philosophers and psychologists. It was Professor James Risser who first
introduced Veith to 20th century German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer.
With his ability to read texts in the original German, Veith enriched
the classroom experience and paved the way for his advanced studies. Veith
received a Fulbright grant last year and conducted research on
historical understanding and its significance for the humanities in
Freiburg, Germany. He is pleased to be back at Seattle University and
back to teaching. “Every class is different,” he said. “Each student brings a freshness to the course that is challenging and invigorating.” In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Veith serves on the editorial board of the International Yearbook for Hermeneutic.
Miller, class of 2002, started out as a theater design major, changed
his focus after taking a course with anthropology Professor Ted Fortier,
and now teaches in the Anthropology program.
graduation, Miller earned his master’s in anthropology from Western
Washington University where he centered his studies on applied and
visual anthropology. He went on to teach and manage the multicultural
center at Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon. For his doctoral
studies in anthropology, he chose the University of South Florida.
anthropology today is a broad field,” he said recently. “I’ve always
been particularly drawn to applied anthropology because it is more
participatory, particularly applied visual anthropology.”
has worked primarily with Native Americans and migrants from Mexico and
Honduras. Using his theater background, he develops visual narratives –
video and film – that bring insight into cultural issues through
the origin of modern photography and film in the late 1800s, media have
been used as a research tool. Anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory
Bateson, her husband, pioneered ethnographic research with photography
and film as their primary tools. With today’s technology, ethnographic
research is more accessible than ever.
films and images engage students,” Miller said, “and they develop
greater understanding and appreciation of diversity.”
Miller provides opportunities for students to create their own films and images.
is one thing to see an image or a film in class, but it is another for
students to collect and produce media themselves,” he said. “Taking the
step from media consumer to producer can be very powerful.”
Meyers, ‘99, keeps coming back to Seattle University. On her first
visit when she was 16, she accompanied her father to a theology class
and met the Honors Program Director, Hamida Bosmajian. Her second visit
lasted four years as she completed the Honors Program with a major in
English and a minor in Sociology. Now with her MFA and PhD in hand, she
has returned to teach English and creative writing as a member of the
always knew I wanted to be a writer,” Meyers said from her office in
the Casey Building. “I used to jot down stories on napkins during family
still in high school, Meyers attended the Hedgebrook writing residency
program. In college, she wrote about arts and entertainment for the
Spectator and published in Fragments, the Arts and Sciences literary
magazine. As a sophomore, she got her first taste of teaching while
working at the Writing Center.
went to Chile after graduation to teach English as a Second Language,”
she said. “I was hooked on the experience of being in a new culture and
learning another language, experiencing relationships across cultures,
and learning the stories of the people I met.”
receiving her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota,
she began doctoral studies at the University of Arizona where she
researched education and literacy in rural Mexico.
in rural Mexico was an amazing and humbling experience,” she said. “I
learned as much about myself and my own country as I did about Mexican
schools. Now, I’m working on sharing this information with U.S. teachers
so that we can all understand more about immigrant students—as well as
the profound socio-economic ties between the U.S. and Mexico.
has published in Calyx, Dogwood, Oregon Humanities Journal, Wilderness
House Literary Review, Rosebud Literary Magazine, The Minnesota Review,
WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Gender and Education, and Community
Literacy Journal. She is currently working on a historical novel about
her family’s circus, which operated throughout the western United States
during the early part of the 20th century, as well as an ethnographic
monograph about literacy and migration in the U.S./Mexico context.
three years teaching and working as the director of writing at Oregon
State University, Meyers returned to the English department. She now
applies her interests in global and historical studies to courses in
creative writing, literature, and composition.
election season was in full swing, Alison Staudinger, class of 2005,
was busy settling into her first year at the University of Wisconsin –
Green Bay. The Honors Program graduate had just joined the faculty in
Democracy and Justice Studies, an interdisciplinary program encompassing
history, political science, sociology, law, and economics.
an undergraduate Staudinger was immediately challenged by the rigorous
environment of the Honors Program. Faculty encouraged her to intern with
the U.S. Department of State at the embassy in Prague. Students in her
cohort created a safe space for vigorous debate, critical analysis, and
lasting friendship. When History Professor David Madsen recommended a
course in political theory, she found her niche. Staudinger majored in
both political science and English literature with minors in medieval
history and philosophy.
a brief stint in Boston working for a nonprofit grant-making agency
focusing on health disparities in women and girls, she headed to the
University of Maryland to pursue her doctorate in government and
“I always felt like teaching was what I was supposed to do,” she said.
joined the ranks of academia as an instructor in the Honors Program
class at Loyola Chicago while finishing her dissertation on women, work,
an assistant professor in Green Bay working with many first-generation
college students, she more fully appreciates her experiences at Seattle
liberal arts education gave me skills to read and think analytically,
to walk through an argument and break it down and analyze it,” she said.
“I hope to encourage and motivate my students to be fully engaged in
society, just as I was encouraged at Seattle University.”
pig at Pike Place Market may be one of the most photographed art
objects in Seattle, but Leigh Ann Gilmer found a different agricultural
model to bring attention to the arts.
was Gilmer’s first love, but art soon became her passion. While in
Paris during a three-month stay after graduating from college, she soon
found herself visiting one museum after the next.
didn’t know much about art before,” she said recently. “A whole new
world opened up for me, and I knew that I wanted to get involved in
supporting the arts community.”
who grew up in Yuma, returned to Arizona and worked at the Museum of
Northern Arizona in its visitor services unit. When Seattle came up
after she took a “Where should I live?” quiz online, she bought a
one-way ticket to Seattle and landed a job as membership manager at the
Museum of Glass in Tacoma. She spent almost as much time in the hot
shop as she did coordinating membership events and engaging with the
community to increase support for the museum. Before long, she joined
the Advancement team at Seattle University as assistant director of the
annual giving program.
I saw that Seattle University had an MFA in Arts Leadership, I jumped
at the chance to dig deeper into the world of nonprofit arts
organizations,” Gilmer said. Seattle Artthrob became the final project
for her degree.
in careers of artists is often left to wealthy patrons, but I was
looking for something different,” she noted. “With community supported
agriculture, people invest in local farmers and receive food deliveries
in return. What if people did the same with art?”
Master’s degree in hand, Gilmer began implementing Seattle Artthrob.
Like venture capitalists, individual shareholders pay $250 to generate
stipends for six local artists selected by a juried panel. In return,
the artists produce limited edition works of art that all shareholders
a risk-taker by nature, Gilmer credits the cohort model of the MFA for
building her confidence as well as her skills to put Seattle Artthrob in
only did I gain the skills to work with boards and budgets, but I now
have a large network of support – classmates, alumni, and leaders in the
arts—to help me,” she said.
of us have heard through the media or from friends with children in
college about the cost of higher education. We have been bombarded with
employment statistics of recent college graduates. Often missing from
these stories is what is gained from receiving a liberal arts degree.
Powers is resolved to reinvigorate the conversation around the value of
a liberal arts education and better communicate the importance of the
learning experience at a place like the College of Arts and Sciences.
Joining him in this effort is a group of higher education leaders from
across Washington as well as faculty and staff in the college, Seattle
University Regents, and the Arts and Sciences Leadership Council.
We invite you to participate and help us move this conversation forward. Send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with “Why I value my liberal arts education” in the title and provide us with the following information:
will use some of your statements on a new website dedicated to this
purpose. We also plan to share these stories with applicants and their
families who are asking the tough questions about whether or not to
invest in this great undertaking.
special event that brings this message home is set for April 12, 2013
when Dean Powers will bring the meet with accepted and current students
and their parents. Mark your calendars, and join with fellow alumni to
share why you value your liberal arts degree. We are convening in Pigott
Auditorium from 6 - 8 pm. This effort is being led by the College of
Arts and Sciences, along with the Alumni Relations Office, Career
Services, and the Admissions Office.