SU Voice Alumni Blog

Arrupe Seminar Now Open to Alumni

Posted by Corinne Pann, Director, Marketing and Communications, SU Alumni Association on June 6, 2019 at 10:06 AM PDT

Alumni now have the opportunity to join faculty and staff in the Arrupe Seminar, a year-long exploration of the history, spirituality and educational vision of the Jesuits, with a specific focus on how this tradition is relevant to the current challenges and opportunities at Seattle University.

The seminar will start in October and runs for 15 sessions on Tuesdays from 3:45-5:35 p.m. or Wednesdays from 8-9:50 a.m., ending in May.

Previously open to faculty and staff only, alumni are now invited to participate. One alum who is also a staff member says about the seminar, “I am an alum and have worked here for 2 years, but this seminar really brought it all together for me.”

The seminar is available to people of all faith traditions, no faith background, atheists, and all seekers. It explores the spirituality of the Jesuits in order to understand the foundations of Jesuit education with a lens toward uncovering the mysteries of the human experience.

Through readings, presentations and discussions, seminar participants learn about the life of St. Ignatius, the tradition of personal and communal discernment, Ignatian spirituality, the commitment to justice in Jesuit education, the key role of laywomen within Jesuit ministries, and the relevance of the Jesuit heritage to the challenges and possibilities facing SU today.

The seminar is free of charge and participants will be provided with reading materials and refreshments.

Email for information or to register.

Celebrating a milestone! Breaking ground on the center for science & innovation

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on June 6, 2019 at 10:06 AM PDT

Photo collage of the CSI groundbreaking event

Last week, over 400 donors, alumni, faculty, staff, students and community partners gathered for the official groundbreaking for the Center for Science and Innovation (CSI). We celebrated this milestone with joy!

Father Steve shared from the podium, “The Center for Science and Innovation is the most ambitious project undertaken in the university’s history. It will provide a new gateway to campus and transform the way we educate students across disciplines; and it will serve as a hub of innovation, collaboration, corporate and community engagement—a place where we will shape the world’s next generation of leaders.”

When it opens in 2021, the CSI will significantly enhance the educational opportunities we provide our students. It will position us for new initiatives and enable our students to engage more deeply with local industry and with the surrounding community.

The majority of funds for the CSI are being raised from generous alumni and donors including PACCAR ($5 million), Amazon ($3 million), Microsoft ($3 million) and Murdock Trust ($1.75 million). Named spaces already include the PACCAR Courtyard, the Amazon Computer Science Project Center and the Microsoft Café.

In the words of Board of Trustees Chair Nicole Piasecki: “It takes a community to make this vision become reality. We would not be joined together today without the efforts of our volunteers, the generosity of our donors and their shared faith in the vision for this project.” Many thanks to all of you for being part of our community!

For those who were not able to join us, here is a quick look at last week’s celebration.

Seattle University Says Farewell to a Beloved Professor

Posted by Matteo Busalacchi, Marketing Assistant, Seattle University Alumni Association on June 6, 2019 at 10:06 AM PDT

Professor David Madsen, PhD, '69

Professor David Madsen, PhD, ’69, has been an institution at Seattle University for over 30 years, but his history goes all the way back to his undergraduate education 50 years ago. He has been a professor of humanities, served as director of the University Honors Program, moderated for the university’s Naef Scholars and has served as Grand Marshall at commencement for 18 years. This year, with undying gratitude and appreciation, the university says farewell to Dr. Madsen in his professorial role.

“Watching Dr. Madsen teach was the first time I knew I wanted to be a university lecturer. Over two decades later, I am one, and I still consider him the paradigm of an engaging teacher,” says Matt Burch, ’00. “I’ve never seen anyone else electrify a seminar room the way he did.”

For the past 38 years, Professor Madsen has been building a reputation among his students as being as hard a grader as he was influential in their lives after college. He has touched countless students with his insatiable desire to teach not only Latin and Greek, two of his favorite subjects, but also to show students how to survive in the fast-paced world that surrounds a university.

“One of the toughest graders, but most motivating. He made you dig deep and think. As challenging as his class was, it was also one of the most interesting and worthwhile.,” notes Dana Lynn Chauncey, ‘12.

Tory Bowes Lake commented on the lifelong impact of Dr. Madsen’s class. “He uniquely found a way to conduct his lectures and teach subject matter in a way that was interesting, intellectually stimulating, and entertaining—a combination not many professors have mastered as well as he did. He made you want to do well and be a better student. To him I credit my professional writing ability, my ability to present information to large groups of people, and an ability to effectively communicate across any medium.

When asked about what he will miss most about teaching at the university, Dr. Madsen answered with, “That’s a no brainer: my students. A lot of times, I saw myself doing college boot camp” with his first-time freshmen, telling us that he enjoys being the stepping stone for students as they transition from high school to an independent, high-stakes university setting.

We asked Professor Madsen what he might want to say to those same freshmen who are now alumni and if he had any advice for them. His first answer was “community matters.” He emphasized the importance of cura personalis, a Latin phrase used often in Ignatian spirituality that means “care for the entire person.” He says in an age where everyone has their face to their phone, we must not forget the importance of genuine human connection and care and that we must always strive to forge genuine face-to-face connection. He said he hopes he was able to provide this same connection to his students.

In retirement, Dr. Madsen plans to do a lot of what he loves most: reading, walking and traveling, mostly back to the Mediterranean. He says even though Ireland and Norway are the places of his ancestors, Italy and Greece have his heart and therefore, he wants to spend as much time there as he can. He also plans to volunteer in his community so that he may continue to positively influence those around him, even after he has retired.

To see first hand the impact Dr. Madsen has had on this university, visit our Facebook page.

 Professor David Madsen, PhD, '69

Your Seattle University Alumni Benefits

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on June 6, 2019 at 9:06 AM PDT

Your degree is not the only benefit to being an alum of Seattle University. The Seattle University Alumni Association provides support and growth opportunities at every stage of your life and a broad array of benefits is one way we do that.

Alumni networking at an SUAA professional development event.

Career Engagement Advising
You have unlimited access to advising appointments up to one year after graduation.

Career Workshops
Tools for Transition Alumni Career Workshops are offered throughout the year to help you look for a job or change your career.

Build your network by connecting with the over 8,500 alumni professionals on our alumni LinkedIn group.

Alumni at an SUAA social event.

Alumni Chapters and Affinity Groups

Chapters and affinity groups are a great way for you to meet other alumni and stay connected. Designed to bring together alumni based on geographic regions, shared experiences, interests and identities, you'll enjoy social, professional, service and other opportunities of interest as part of a group.

SU Alumni Connect
SU Alumni Connect is the new alumni directory and the only place where you can connect with all 83,000 alumni, join alumni chapters and groups, post jobs and more. Activate your account!

Become a life-long learner with our alumni audit program. As alumni, you are able to audit undergraduate courses for a nominal fee ($35 or $55 per course).

Alumnus with an SU license plate

Seattle U License Plates

Show your pride and support student scholarships with a Seattle U license plate. Get yours now!

Seattle University Credit Card         
As a Seattle U alum, parent or friend, you are eligible to apply for the Seattle U Visa® Rewards credit card -- the only credit card that helps support the Seattle University Alumni Association with every purchase!

Alumni Discounts


Whether you are looking to purchase your own medical, auto, home or life insurance for the first time or you are just looking for the best deal, we have options for you.

Auto, Home and Rental
Seattle University alumni could receive a special discount on GEICO auto insurance. Visit Geico’s Seattle University page or call 1-800-368-2734 to find out how much you could save today! (Be sure to mention your affiliation with Seattle University to be eligible for the special savings.)

Medical, Life, Disability Insurance and More
Our partner, Alumni Insurance Program, provides comprehensive insurance offerings at money-saving group rates for medical, group term life insurance, disability, long term care and travel insurance.

Fitness Center Membership
Base Rate: $399 annually / $35 monthly
As an alum of Seattle University, you have the opportunity to use the facilities at the Eisiminger Fitness Center and take fitness classes with an alumni gym membership.

Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing network, has partnered with Seattle University to offer you an exclusive discount. Join today and pay only $15 (discounted from $70)

Legal Services
As alumni of Seattle University, you are entitled to a no cost, one-hour attorney consultation for advice on family law issues with Goldberg Jones.

Want more details about any of the benefits you’ve read about here? Visit our benefits website.

Congratulations Class of 2019

Posted by Raquel Davlos, '16, President, GOLD Council on June 4, 2019 at 10:06 AM PDT

Congratulations, Class of 2019!

Class of 2018 Commencement

Welcome to life as a Redhawk alum! As president of the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Council, I am thrilled for the Class of 2019 to join GOLD. Your GOLD Council has been hard at work to make the recent grad experience better and more valuable for all of you.

It’s a season of incredible transition that is both exciting and daunting, and I want you to know that you have a massive network of alumni to support, guide, and advocate for you as you go forth to set this world on fire. The GOLD Council exists to foster and provide opportunities for connection amongst recent alumni, and we are here for you socially and professionally.  Involvement with the GOLD Council has been a deeply rewarding way for me to stay involved in a community I love so much, and give back to the university that has impacted my life in immeasurable ways.

As the textbooks close and the post-grad life is now before you, we would love for you kick off your alumni experience with the Going GOLD celebration TONIGHT and the GOLD Summer Party in August. Join us for the Redhawk Ring-In during Summer in Seattle where we get to greet members of the Class of 2023.

Be sure to activate your SU Alumni Connect profile and connect with us there, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on upcoming events and initiatives.

Congratulations on all of your accomplishments; graduation is no small feat. And cheers to a summer free of homework!

Signature of Raquel Davalos

Raquel Davalos ‘16
GOLD Council President

Observing Ramadan at Seattle U

Posted by Corinne Pann on May 1, 2019 at 3:05 PM PDT

By Amina Ibrahim and Anab Nur

Ramadan marks the ninth month of the lunar calendar in Islam. For Muslims around the world, the holy month is spent fasting, refraining from food and drink, from sunrise to sunset.  In Seattle, this means we fast from 4 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. People who participate in the fast wake up before 4 a.m. to eat suhoor (a pre-dawn meal) and then offer a morning prayer. In addition to their normal daily activities, Muslims spend the month of Ramadan increasing their prayers, reciting the Quran, and giving to charity. During this holy month, Muslims reflect on how to better perform Islamic values in their daily lives, such as patience, solidarity, and peace. Each night, as the sun sets, we break our fast with a date and a glass of water surrounded by family, friends, and community members. The end of Ramadan is marked by a religious holiday called Eid-Al Fitr.

Celebrating Ramadan at a university and in a country where many people have never met a Muslim presents an array of challenges. Many people are unaware of Ramadan. Many Muslims I know recall being met with wide eyed shock as they are asked, “Not even water!” after telling a non-Muslim they are observing Ramadan.  Yes, we do not eat or drink anything, not even water. Observing Ramadan while in college sometimes means taking an exam at 2 p.m. when we haven’t consumed anything for over eight hours. It means not always being in community for iftar (the breaking of the fast) as intended, because we are studying for finals.

But, Ramadan at Seattle U has also meant being able to break fast with other Muslim students and Campus Ministry staff members at 9 p.m. It has allowed for Muslim students to pause and spend time reflecting on the purpose of education, social justice, and community. We find ways to connect with other Muslims on campus during this month; we decide on which days we want to break fast together, share tips on how to get through long days full of classes and work, offer up spaces to one another to take quick midday naps, and frequently come together to pray in congregation.

It is difficult to practice a spiritual fast in a community that does not also pause and reflect with you. However, it also offers a unique experience for Muslims in college. We get to find ways to intentionally integrate some of the most beautiful aspects of our faith into our daily lives in hopes that these practices will continue and grow beyond this month. We are constantly looking for ways to reach out to the community around us to share iftar meals, to tell them about our practices, or to extend our patience and solidarity to them when necessary.

 This Ramadan we strongly urge you if you are not Muslim to reach across to your Muslim neighbor. Attend an interfaith iftar at a local mosque and pause and reflect during this holy month.


Nazir Harb Michel, ‘08

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on May 1, 2019 at 3:05 PM PDT

Nazir Harb Michel, ’08, has a deep sense of mission to the Muslim community, East-West relations and to his deep love of language. He credits Seattle University, especially the Honors program and Sullivan Scholars community, with transforming him into “someone with the courage and wherewithal to seek higher peaks and always work to improve himself.”  

As a student, Nazir rekindled the Muslim Student Association (MSA) just two years after 9/11 wanting to build community. He set out to create a safe space for students to be themselves and part of that included their relationships with Islam and Muslim identity. He also wanted his community to celebrate their strengths, skills and passions beyond this identity. “We were scientists, engineers, philosophers, linguists, dancers, musicians, artists, and goofballs too,” he recalls of his peers and community members. The sense of connection and community Nazir helped to rebuild and create resulted in MSA being recognized with the Ignatian Spirit Award in 2007.

After graduating with degrees in International Studies and Sociology, he went on to earn two masters degrees—one from Princeton University and one from Georgetown University. He then earned his PhD in Arab Studies and Political Interactional Sociolinguistics from Georgetown University, where he also served as Muslim Life Program Coordinator. 

As a post-doctoral research fellow, Nazir worked on Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, a multi-year research project dedicated to educating the public about Islamophobia.  He guided research on the Danger & Dialogue: American Catholic Public Opinion and Portrayals of Islam published in September 2016. Unfortunately, the report largely finds that most American Catholics hold troubling beliefs about Muslims and Islam. Unable to name similarities between Catholicism and Islam, only 14% of America Catholics have a favorable impression of Muslims. In addition, those who consume content from Catholic media have more unfavorable views of the Muslim community and of Islam. These findings have led the Bridge Initiative to produce factual content for Catholic media and help publishers to distinguish reliable sources from those with Islamophobic agendas.

After the birth of his second daughter, Nazir and his family returned to Seattle where he currently resides. He is the senior associate domain expert for the Middle East and North Africa at Dataminr, a company that turns global data into real-time alerts for tech, corporate and PR clients. He says of his current role, “it is in many ways the culmination of all my years of study and a place to bring to bear the constellation of values that I have been traveling by since my time at Seattle University.”

Nazir is speaking on “Being Muslim in America” on May 4 for Seattle U Alumni Association partner, the Ignatian Spirituality Center. Nazir hopes to create understanding about Muslim communities, open a channel for dialogue and communicate hope. “While I cannot represent all Muslims, I hope to be a sincere ambassador by sharing my stories. If we can build common ground and start to see eye to eye, we can begin to look past stereotypes and politics,” says Nazir. 


This Ignitian Life
Being Muslim in America

May 4, 2019
Social: 9 a.m.
Program: 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
St. Joseph Parish Center

Learn more and register.

Groundbreaking: The Center for Science and Innovation

Posted by Matteo Busalacchi, Marketing Assistant, Seattle University Alumni Association on May 1, 2019 at 1:05 PM PDT

Arial shot of the future Center for Science and Innovation at Seattle University.

After years of planning, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. and the Center for Science and Innovation Task Force will host a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday, May 30 to commemorate the important milestone of the start of construction. All Seattle U alumni are invited to the celebration, which will feature a community lunch where you can enjoy music, food, a photo booth and a VR tour of the new building.

Designed to be the new visual centerpiece of Seattle University, the Center for Science and Innovation (CSI) will be the cornerstone of the future of STEM on campus. The project aims to bring cross-disciplinary collaboration to students and faculty in a building designed to enhance learning, cultivate creativity and enrich understanding for the world’s next generation of leaders.

Construction for the new building will be completed in 2021 and will be accompanied by renovations to the two other College of Science and Engineering buildings. Once complete, the CSI will have 111,000 square feet of new space and will house labs, maker spaces, classrooms, offices and open-use areas.

Funding for the project, Seattle University’s largest ever, comes mostly from private donors and includes industry partners like Amazon, Microsoft and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Recently announced, both Amazon and Microsoft have contributed $3 million and the Murdock Charitable Trust gifted $1.75 million, with all citing the importance of providing a space for our future STEM leaders to prepare for responsible and ethical leadership.

As part of their partnership, Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, will join students for a fireside chat moderated by Roshanak Roshandel, PhD, associate professor and chair of the computer science department and an Amazon Scholar. Students will have the opportunity to exchange views on the future of computer science access to education and career opportunities in computer science, artificial intelligence and related fields.

“The Center for Science and Innovation is the boldest project that we’ve ever done,” says President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. “It represents the way our education is moving, which is to complement the humanities with our science programs.”

We hope you will join us for the groundbreaking ceremony.

Center for Science and Innovation Groundbreaking Ceremony
May 30, 2019
Program and groundbreaking: 11:30 a.m.
Lunch: 12:15 p.m.
Seattle University – Lower Mall

Registration is free.

Visit the CSI web page to take a virtual tour of the building and learn about this transformational addition to Seattle University.

SUstainability: It’s Core to our Jesuit Identity

Posted by Yolanda Cieters Sustainability Manager, Seattle University CEJS on April 4, 2019 at 10:04 AM PDT

This week marks the beginning of Earth Month, a celebration that holds great significance for our campus community. As Father Steve remarked in his campus-wide announcement on April 1, 2019, “as a university committed to building a more just and humane world, we are well aware of the existential threat climate change poses to all peoples, especially those living on the margins of society.”

Seattle University is committed to more comprehensively addressing climate change, advancing sustainability and educating students as thoughtful caretakers of our natural and social environment. We take our cue from Pope Francis who, in his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si', challenges humankind to take responsibility for the planet and be mindful of those who are suffering most from the ecological crisis before us. In February 2019, the Society of Jesus released its four global “apostolic preferences” with the third being “Care for our Common Home” or a focus on environmental justice and sustainability. 

Deepening Sustainability across Seattle University
The commitment to sustainability at Seattle University began with ecological preservation in the 1960’s. Practices have since expanded to include sustainable landscaping, strategic energy and water conservation, waste management, transportation programs, as well as advancing sustainability in teaching, learning, research and scholarship. When Seattle University joined the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC; 2007) and adopted a Climate Action Plan (2010), Seattle U pledged to further deepen and strengthen its commitment to environmental justice.

In 1989, our campus was designated a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and since 1998, SU has been a pesticide-free campus. In 2018, SU received the Tree Campus USA designation after developing a tree care program that aims to ensure a safe, attractive and sustainable campus urban forest.

The 2018 Sustainable Campus Index published by AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) ranked Seattle University's sustainability curriculum and related academic offerings third in the country. 80 faculty members have conducted sustainability research, 62% of students are engaged in community service and 400+ sustainability-related courses are offered. Thanks to student-led action, Seattle University became a single-use plastic water bottle-free campus in 2010 and obtained the title of Fair Trade designated campus in 2015.

In September 2018, Seattle U made the headlines when the Board of Trustees voted to divest the university’s $230 million endowment from fossil fuels within the next five years, becoming the first university in Washington State and the first Jesuit university in the world to do so.

In 2016, Seattle U began participating in AASHE’s rigorous benchmarking STARS program and out of the gate achieved a gold rating, which improved in 2018. STARS counts more than 900 participants in 30 countries and is the most widely recognized framework worldwide for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. With a GOLD STARS rating under our belt, in 2018 Seattle U made its debut in the top 10 of the Sierra Club’s “Cool School Rankings,” and was named one of only 26 universities to The Princeton Review Green College Honor Roll. In early 2019, SU received the EnviroStars “Champion” designation for its demonstrated success in the areas of energy and water conservation, pollution prevention, use of safer products, sustainable transportation, and recycling and composting. 

These honors highlight the many ways Seattle University is working to care for our common home, but as President Sundborg rightly stated, “we know we must do more.”

Earth Month at Seattle University
During Earth Month 2019, Seattle U has several initiatives and events aimed at engaging our campus community in a reflection on how SU can further the university’s path towards a more just and sustainable world.

Alumni, note the following opportunities during Earth Month:

  • Students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to submit their “SUstainability Idea” in this online survey. The contributions will help guide the university’s new Sustainability Action Plan, which the President’s Committee for Sustainability (PCS) will soon start work on.
  • Thursday, April 25: Interfaith Earth Day Speaking Event
  • Thursday, April 25: Earth Day Video Contest Showcase and Documentary Screening "United by Water" 
  • Monday, April 29: Achieving Carbon Neutrality: Microsoft, Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle University

Learn more about these and other Earth Month events and Seattle U SUstainability.

Spiritual Practice and Working on the Margins with Greg Boyle, S.J.

Posted by The Seattle Uni on April 4, 2019 at 9:04 AM PDT

We conclude this year’s Catholic Heritage Lectures with Greg Boyle, S.J., on Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. Fr. Greg is the founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the world. He comes to Seattle U to share riveting stories of what three decades of working with gang members in Los Angeles has taught him about faith, compassion and the enduring power of kinship.

In the face of unfavorable law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies that encouraged suppression and mass incarceration, Fr. Greg sought a different approach to ending gang violence. He, alongside parish and community members, adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treating gang members as human beings.

In 1988, they started what would eventually become Homeboy Industries, an organization that employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises to assist them in the transition back to a life without gang violence. At Homeboy Industries, thousands of young men and women seeking a better life walk through the door every year and are provided with critical services, resources and most importantly, hope.

Father Greg is the author of the 2010 New York Times-bestseller Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. His 2017 book is the Los Angeles Times-bestseller Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.

Fr. Greg has received the California Peace Prize and has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. In 2014, the White House named Father Boyle a Champion of Change. He received the University of Notre Dame’s 2017 Laetare Medal, the oldest honor given to American Catholics.

Tickets are going quickly for Fr. Boyle’s visit. Register now to save your seat.

Catholic Heritage Lectures
Spiritual Practice and Working on the Margins

Thursday, May 9 | 7 p.m.
Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University
Registration is required.

Fr. Boyle is also speaking at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish on Wednesday, May 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available here.