SU Voice Alumni BlogSU Voice Alumni Blog

A Conversation with Sister Helen Prejean

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 5, 2019 at 9:09 AM PDT

A photo of Sister Helen Prejean giving a speech

Best known for her 1993 book Dead Man Walking, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, Sister Helen Prejean recently received an honorary doctorate from Seattle University and delivered the Graduate Commencement address in June.

Together, The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Theology and Ministry, Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture and the Elliott Bay Book Company are pleased to welcome her back to campus to talk about her new memoir, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.

This new memoir tells her life story before she worked with death row inmates and leads up to pivotal social justice movements in the 1980s where Dead Man Walking begins. River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey chronicles her time with the congregation of St. Joseph in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, speaks of changes in the early 60s when her life was opened by the ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church and ends with a letter to Pope Francis about her concerns with the exclusion of women in the church. Despite all the work she has done throughout her lifetime addressing structural inequity, Sister Helen courageously uses this book to continue to shine light on areas where she still sees injustices, particularly the treatment of women and LGBTQ people in the church.

Sister Helen travels three-quarters of the year and has spoken in all 50 states. She has also been awarded over 65 honorary degrees throughout her career. Don’t miss this rare opportunity and intimate conversation with Sr. Helen Prejean on campus on September 9 from 7-8:30 p.m.

10th Annual Catholic Heritage Lecture Series

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on July 31, 2019 at 10:07 AM PDT

The Catholic Heritage Lecture Series engages the intellectual and religious communities of Seattle and the SU community to explore aspects of the Catholic intellectual traditions and the intersection of Catholicism and culture.

This year the Institute will highlight the contributions of three particular Catholic populations: Hispanic/Latin American Catholics, African American Catholics and Asian American Catholics. All lectures are free and are held at 7pm in Student Center 160 (LeRoux Room) at Seattle University.

Lecture Dates:

Series Intro: Thursday, October 3 - Thomas Landy, College of the Holy Cross

  • Thomas M. Landy, a sociologist with a specialization in the sociology of religion and Catholicism, is director of the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross. He founded and leads research for Catholics & Cultures, a web-based initiative to explore the religious lives and practices of lay Catholics in their particular cultural contexts around the world.

Thursday, November 14 - Cecilia Moore, University of Dayton

  • Cecilia A. Moore is the Associate Director of the Degree Program for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies. Her area of specialization is U.S. Catholic history and she is currently working on the history of black conversion to Roman Catholicism in the 20th century.

Thursday, February 20 - Hosffman Ospino, Boston College

  • Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, School of Theology and Ministry where he is also Director of Graduate Programs in Hispanic Ministry. He is currently advancing a national study on Latino Catholic vocations.

Thursday, May 14 - Gemma Cruz, Australian Catholic University

  • Gemma Tulud Cruz, Filipina-Australian theologian, currently works as Senior Lecturer in Theology and is a member of the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at Australian Catholic University. Gemma's research expertise is in migration theologies and she has served as a consultant to the Sub-Committee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity of the US Catholic Bishops' Conference.

Homecoming Has Something for Everyone

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on July 31, 2019 at 10:07 AM PDT

A collection pictures from homecoming festivities

You won’t want to miss Seattle University’s Homecoming held on Veteran’s Day weekend, November 6-10, 2019. Join us as the campus comes alive with pride and memories from the past and the present.

We will be honoring veterans and remembering those who have served our nation throughout the week and weekend with a cake cutting ceremony, a Veteran’s Day lunch for veterans and the military community, the Robert Bennedsen Veteran’s Day 5K and a tribute at the Homecoming basketball game that night.

For the first time, reunions join Homecoming to make it the biggest celebration yet. We’re celebrating:

Interested in learning opportunities? We’ve got you covered with a panel discussion on "Corporate Solutions to Social Problems" on Wednesday morning and an evening community lecture on Thursday. Stay tuned for speaker announcements!

Join us Thursday for our Homecoming Umbrella Parade where we’ll gather alumni to walk together to show the students that Seattle U is for a lifetime.

We live our mission on Saturday with our first global Homecoming Day of Service. You can register now for any of the 21 service sites in the Puget Sound region. Not in the area but would still like to organize a service project for alumni in your area? Contact Stephanie Jamieson at We’ll let you know as service sites in other regions are confirmed.

Saturday night we celebrate our Seattle U pride with the biggest, most exciting Homecoming rally we’ve ever had. We’re combining our Red Fest celebration with the rally so we’ll have activities for everyone as well as live entertainment. We’re still firming up details, but let’s just say we are hoping to see 1,000 SU alumni, students, faculty, staff, families and friends gearing up for the Homecoming basketball game against Eastern Washington University at our very own Redhawk Center.

We’ll wrap up the weekend with alumni mass at the Chapel of St. Ignatius.

This is a weekend you don’t want to miss. Check out the full schedule on our Homecoming website and mark your calendars!

Register now!


Volunteer Service and Welcoming Spiritual Community for Mature Adults

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on July 29, 2019 at 12:07 PM PDT

Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JV EnCorps) is now accepting applications for 2019-20.  JV EnCorps, a program of JVC Northwest, provides rewarding opportunities for service, community and spiritual formation for adults 50 and older who are committed to social and ecological justice. During their ten months of part-time service, participants meet monthly for fellowship, reflection and to explore the values of community, spirituality, simple living and social and ecological justice. “I knew JV EnCorps would challenge my current sense of spirituality, my day to day relationships with every type of person, and how I treat creation. I looking forward to our monthly gathering for the opportunity to reflect, connect and support the greater good,” says JVEnCorps participant Patricia Freeburg, ‘75. 

Our values arise from Ignatian Spirituality and JVEnCorps is an inclusive and ecumenical community. “I have found such a wonderful and like-minded group of people to be with and to share life’s ongoing and ever unfolding faith journey,” says Elizabeth Hansen, ’54, and JVEnCorps member since 2014.

There are JV EnCorps groups now forming in six Northwest cities including Bend, Portland, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma and Vancouver, WA.

Priority application deadline is August 31 with an opening retreat in September.  

For more information email

Top 3 Ways to Get Involved

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on July 29, 2019 at 11:07 AM PDT

A woman is having a conversation with a student

Alumni are a powerful resource to admissions offices. “The connection is everything,” says Lucas Ruiz, '11 Assistant Director of Admissions. “Being able to connect the institution with the person, and the affinity the student has with this person, entices them to consider Seattle University. That makes a big difference.” An alum can be the first contact for a high school student to connect with and learn about the campus and the community.

While prospective students may want to know general information about SU, alumni offer real and personal experiences about classes, favorite professors, making friends and the type of campus community Seattle U provides. “Alumni are Seattle University’s strongest advocates and recruiters. Merely by doing their own great work, with a heart inspired by their time at SU, alumni proudly broadcast the exceptional education one can get here,” says Jonathan Brown, '92, '94, Assistant Vice President of Alumni Engagement.

With the start of fall term just around the corner for high school students across the state, now is the perfect time to take a future Redhawk out for coffee or connect at a family gathering to discuss your memorable experiences. Tell them about any clubs or activities you were involved in or why Seattle University was the best college for you.

Top 3 Ways to Get Involved Today:

Nominate a Future Redhawk

  • Participate in our Alumni Referral Program. It generates a personalized referral to the prospective student, while introducing this future Redhawk to the SU Admissions.

Share your Pride with a SU Pennant

  • Work at a school or in a community-based organization? Need an SU pennant to show off your school pride and start conversations with future college students about your own experience? The first 5 people to email will receive a SU spirit pack that contains a t-shirt, SU college pennant and more! Tell us your role, who you work for, and how this spirit pack will help you engage a future Redhawk. Additionally, 50 more teachers, counselors and others who work with students will receive a pennant to proudly hang in their office or classroom!

Attend an Event

  • Stay informed and connected by attending an alumni event. Find a complete listing of alumni events and choose one to attend. Connect with other alums and keep up on the latest happenings and news so you can promote the Seattle U of yesterday and today.

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.

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 8,700 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.

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.