Alumni Blog

Our Moment for Mission Exceeds Goal

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 8, 2021 at 8:09 PM PDT

Last year, President Emeritus Stephen Sundborg, S.J., challenged us to get 10,000 alumni involved in the life of the university by connecting, volunteering and giving. Thanks to our Seattle University alumni community, together we exceeded the goal of Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge with10,862 alumni stepping up to ensure that current and future students have the same purpose-driven, passion-fueled education and experiences that they did.

Alumni worldwide came together to make a difference for our students and university.

By connecting, volunteering and giving, alumni directly impacted the university community. Below are just a few examples.

  • Shasti Conrad, ’07, conceived and co-founded Alumni and Students of Color (ASOC) to create a safe, welcoming space for BIPOC students and alumni to come together.
    See more here.
  • Colina Bruce, ’07, ’15, used her candle business to raise funds for the new Black Student Union Scholarship.
    See more here.
  • Brian Gonzales, ’00, president of the Portland Alumni Chapter, shared the stories that keep him connected to SU through volunteerism and giving.
    See more here
  • Terren Drake, ’14, valued his mentee experience so much, he became a mentor for Albers School of Business and Economics Students.
    See more here.
  • Renee Rassilyer-Bomers, ’03,’05,’16 was the driving force behind the COVID vaccination clinic at Seattle U.
    See more here.
  • Class of 1963 and 1964 alumnae connected through SUAA’s new Reading Redhawks program.
    See more here.


Alumni involvement is essential to inspiring the next generation of leaders. Our Moment for Mission may be over, but alumni can still make a difference by connecting, volunteering or giving this year.

Homecoming, including the 50+ Reunion (Classes of 1971 and earlier) and the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Reuion, is a great opportunity to accomplish this while celebrating with your friends and classmates. Mark your calendar now for November 11-Sunday, November 14. Event registration is coming soon! Visit the Homecoming website to see the full schedule of events.  

Welcome Ellen Whitlock Baker!

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 8, 2021 at 6:09 PM PDT

Photo of Ellen Whitlock Baker

The Seattle University Alumni Association (SUAA) has a new leader. Ellen Whitlock Baker will join Seattle University as Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement on October 4.

Ellen joins Seattle U from the University of Washington (UW), where she has served for 16 years, including more than seven years with the UW Alumni Association (UWAA). As a member of UWAA’s executive team, Ellen was responsible for the strategic development of UW’s alumni engagement practices. Most recently, Ellen has focused her work on how to create authentic engagement with alumni who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). She created an annual engagement conference for UW Advancement employees focusing on developing engagement programs with a racial equity lens, including securing sought-after Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) speakers and community leaders.

“I’m thrilled to join Seattle U at this particular point in time, with the new leadership of President Peñalver and the Strategic Directions and LIFT SU setting a thoughtful and ambitious course for the university,” says Whitlock Baker. “Seattle U’s alumni community will play an active role in the implementation of these new directions and I’m looking forward to stewarding the transformative partnership between alumni, students, faculty, staff and leadership. It’s clear that Seattle U is a very special place, and I can’t wait to join the team and serve this incredible alumni community.”

As Ellen prepares to join Seattle U, she is most excited to meet the alumni community to get as much feedback as possible. “That’s something I’m really passionate about—listening to and building relationships with communities,” shared Ellen. “I need to hear from alumni and stakeholders to know what to prioritize at SUAA.”

Ellen is impressed with the volunteer leadership and success of Seattle U’s alumni communities: its regional chapters, affinity groups and alliances. “Seattle U’s dedicated volunteer groups are ready, willing and able to support what is needed, both here and in the regions.”

The transition from a large state university to a mid-size Jesuit university brings with it many opportunities. One advantage Ellen appreciates is the access she will have to President Peñalver, Provost Shane Martin and other leaders across campus.Ellen notes, “It’s clear from our conversations that SU leaders trulyvalue alumni engagement. That is a great sign.”

Ellen has numerous accomplishments from her time at UWAA. She led and developed campus partnerships through the Constituent Relations program, creating a community of practice for all engagement-focused staff from schools and colleges across UW’s three campuses. As one of 20 leaders selected to serve on UW Advancement’s Equity Council, she recently led a process to develop a white ally group for the 600-person Advancement team. This year, Ellen was recognized for her university-wide leadership by receiving the peer-nominated Marilyn Batt Dunn Endowed Award for Excellence

Outside of work, Ellen loves to read, particularly young adult fiction. She is a passionate novice gardener, building three raised beds with her husband at the beginning of the pandemic that have resulted in a copious vegetable crop with relatively few plant casualties this summer. Ellen was born and raised in Honolulu, HI and came to the Northwest to attend Whitman University. She earned her Master of Public Administration at UW. She lives in Edmonds with her husband Jordan, daughter Linnea and pandemic puppy Kaiju.