Alumni Blog

Introducing Our 2018 Alumni Award Winners

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on February 28, 2018 at 3:02 PM PST

On February 13, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., the Seattle University Alumni Association and the Alumni Board of Governors announced Seattle University’s 2018 Alumni Award recipients. For the past 33 years, Seattle University has celebrated the Alumni Awards, honoring alumni who exemplify our Jesuit values and excel in the areas of leadership, professional achievement and community service. 

We will celebrate the achievements of these outstanding Seattle University alumni and faculty as part of Reunion Weekend at the 33rd Annual Alumni Awards Celebration on Friday, May 4, 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle. 

Alumni of the Year

Jim, ’69, and Jan Dwyer, ’70

Alumni of the Year: Jan and Jim Dwyer

Jim, ’69, and Jan Dwyer, ’70, have shown lifelong commitment and leadership to Seattle University. Both served on the Alumni Board of Governors and Board of Regents and Jim served on the Board of Trustees. Jan and Jim have volunteered their time for numerous fundraising campaigns, including chairing the Seattle University Gala, and Jan’s continued support of the Athletics department and women’s basketball team.

University Service Award

Peter Lee, PhD, ’64

University Service Award: Peter Lee, phD, '64

Peter Lee, PhD, ’64, is one of Seattle University’s earliest international students and most actively engaged. Lee led the Hong Kong alumni chapter for 17 years. He made the lead contribution and secured the remaining funds for the Asian Studies Program and established the Peter L. Lee Endowed Lectureship in East Asian Culture and Civilization. 

Community Service Award

Bernadette O’Leary, ’97

Community Service Award: Bernadette O'Leary, '97

Bernadette O’Leary, ’97, principal of St. John Catholic School, is described as one of the finest educators and school leaders whose talent and dedication rises to the top. “Bernadette is a woman for others with a clear commitment to social justice,” says Katrina Freeburg, a former colleague. 

Professional Achievement 

Major General Barbara Holcomb, ’87

Professional Achievement Award: Major General Barbara Holcomb, '87

Major General Barbara (Bonine) Holcomb, ’87, is the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) and Fort Detrick, Md., the first nurse to serve as commander there, and is Chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. She is highly awarded and decorated for her extraordinary career.  

Distinguished Faculty Award

David Madsen, PhD, ’69

Distinguished Faculty Award: David Madsen, phD, '69

Professor David Madsen, PhD, ’69, graduated from Seattle University and then joined the faculty in 1981 as an assistant professor. Associate professor in the history department since 1996, Madsen has directed the University Honors Program, moderates the Naef Scholars and has served as Grand Marshall for 18 years. 

Outstanding Recent Alumna

Shasti Conrad, ’07

Outstanding Recent Alumna Award: Shasti Conrad, '07

Shasti Conrad, ’07, is a dynamic change maker whose work is guided by diversity and inclusion. She was a White House intern under President Barack Obama and then moved to a West Wing job with the senior advisor to the president. As a Princeton Graduate Fellow, she worked with The Malala Fund, traveling with Malala Yousafzai to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. Conrad is the U.S. campaign manager for the 100 Million Campaign. 

Reserve your spot at the 33rd Annual Alumni Awards Celebration on May 4.

Seattle University's Jesuit Identity

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on February 28, 2018 at 3:02 PM PST


Seattle U is at its heart a Jesuit university rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition. That tradition has defined the university through dynamic evolutions since its founding in 1891. For at least three decades, Jesuit universities worldwide have been creatively examining how to preserve their identity with the number of Jesuits in decline. Today there are currently 27 Jesuits living and working at Seattle University, some serving as resident ministers in the dorms or teaching our students as professors. 

Our vision calls for all Seattle U colleagues to know what it means to be Jesuit -- to balance self-reliance with interdependence, knowledge with spirituality, and mind with heart. Our faculty and staff, steeped in this tradition, will continue to develop Seattle U’s Jesuit Catholic character. They, in turn, will be the ones to inspire students and alumni to carry forth the Jesuit flame as leaders for a just and humane world. To realize this vision, Seattle U is pioneering a model for becoming Jesuit in a new way.

This new approach to our Jesuit Catholic identity hopes to ensure that future students, faculty and alumni share the same strong education rooted in Jesuit values as those who came before. Some ways in which Seattle University’s Jesuit Identity has evolved include:

The Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture

Seattle University’s Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture invites the Seattle University community to retrieve, reclaim and revive a tradition of exploration, examination and engagement with the intersection of religion and culture, of faith and reason, and of church and world by creating a culture of rigorous study of and dialogue with the Catholic intellectual and wisdom tradition.

The Center for Jesuit Education

The Center for Jesuit Education offers programs and services designed to foster a deeper understanding of the Jesuit and Catholic mission of Seattle University. Many of the programs are oriented toward faculty and staff, though other populations served include alumni, students and university board members.

The Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., Endowment for Jesuit Teaching and Ministry

President Sundborg’s commitment to furthering Seattle U’s Jesuit tradition of excellence in education, teaching and service will be his legacy. The Endowment for Jesuit Teaching & Ministry will secure his vision in perpetuity, assuring our ability to recruit, welcome and employ Jesuits whenever they are available to join us. It will help to secure the Jesuit presence, a touchstone for the Jesuit education that Seattle University has offered since our founding in 1891.

Campus Ministry

Rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition, Campus Ministry serves a vibrantly diverse, yet inclusive community of Seattle University students committed to exploring understanding, and deepening a faith that does justice in their lives.

Regardless of one’s faith background, Campus Ministry provides an open and hospitable community to gather in friendship, conversation, discernment and understanding of what one’s purpose is in life through retreats, service, liturgy and worship, immersions, social justice education, reflection activities and more.

The Roger Gillis, S.J., Endowment to Enliven the Student Experience

Fr. Rog believed strongly in providing a variety of ways for students to be in community with and serve one another. This is why the Roger Gillis Endowment will support student retreats and immersions, ensuring these opportunities continue to exist for generations to come.

Visit our website to learn about other ways our Jesuit tradition continues to thrive on campus.