SU Voice Alumni Blog

Presence over Presents: Advent Reflection

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on December 2, 2015 at 2:12 PM PST

“Christmas is not meant to be simply a day of celebration; it is meant to be a month of contemplation. But because Advent

has been lost somewhere between Thanksgiving turkey and the pre-Christmas sales, we have lost one of the richest seasons of the year. Unless we can reclaim Advent, the lack of it will show dearly in the way we go through the rest of life itself.”   - Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB from Sparks of Advent Light

The season of Advent, which begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas in the Christian church, marks a time of longing and hopefulness. The word Advent derives from the Latin meaning “coming”, and in that spirit Christians await for the peace, love, and light of God made incarnate through the birth of Jesus. 

Inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola, each of us as Jesuit educated alumni are invited to become attuned to the inner stirrings of our soul. In the midst of what always seems like a hurried holiday season, our focus often shifts from presence to presents. Our days are bombarded daily (if not hourly or by the minute) with consumerism. Not to mention that now, more than ever, we are experiencing the deep suffering pain of the world constantly flashing across our TV, computer, or phone screen. We desire peace not only within our homes, schools, and workplaces, but also in own hearts and minds. In pausing to create the interior space necessary for true reflection to occur, we take a first step towards personal transformation.

Catholic Benedictine nun, author and social leader Joan Chittister, OSB shares the following reflection on Advent from her book The Liturgical Year: “Advent relieves us of our commitment to the frenetic in a fast-paced world. It slows us down. It makes us think. It makes us look beyond today to the “great tomorrow” of life. Without Advent, moved only by the race to nowhere that exhausts the world around us, we could be so frantic with trying to consume and control this life that we fail to develop within ourselves a taste for the spirit that does not die and will not slip through our fingers like melted snow.” 

Sr. Joan inspires us to see Advent as a time for noticing God’s embodiment in our very own lives – within our desires and choices. So, how do we slow ourselves down to reflect on the true meaning of this season? No matter what faith tradition or spiritual practice you follow, we invite you to consider these reflective questions as you prepare for the days ahead:

Where is the star of hope and peace leading you?

Who needs your welcome and hospitality?

What desires to be born within you?

We at Magis wish you a wonderful Advent season, and hope to see you at the Alumni Advent Mass this Saturday, December 5th at Seattle U.

To learn more about Magis, visit us online.

Photo credit: Nativity by Jeff Weese, Creative Commons License

The Perfect Christmas Cookie Recipe

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on December 2, 2015 at 2:12 PM PST

Nothing puts you in the holiday spirit faster than that first bite of a perfect Christmas cookie. But what makes for the perfect Christmas cookie? It all depends on who you ask. We figured why not ask a pro? We turned to Seattle U alumna and owner of “Hello Robin,” Robin Wehl Martin, ’95, MEd, to share her favorite Christmas cookie recipe with us.

Picture from Hello Robin's website.

Robin did not set out to be a cookie maven. She was a mom who found herself with some free time on her hands for the first time in years. Looking for something to do, she started volunteering her baking skills to help in a friend’s shop in U Village. Robin’s favor soon turned into a baking obsession. 

“I was buying 50 pound bags of flour at Costco. One day my husband asked me how many sticks of butter we had. I threw out numbers. 9? 16? The answers was 98 sticks of butter.” 

Robin was spending all this money on baking supplies and giving away her cookies for free to neighbors and friends. It was fellow sweet proprietor and friend, Molly Moon (of Molly Moon’s Ice Cream), who convinced Robin to go pro. 

“She said, ‘your cookies are great and we don’t want to have to ask you for some every time we want them. We want to be able to buy them.’”

Molly had some extra space in her new building and offered it to Robin as a bakery. Just like that, history was made. Since 2013, Hello Robin has been a Capitol Hill’s favorite place for a cookie and Robin has a job she loves, catering to happy customers who enjoy her treats – and pay for them.

Luckily for us, Robin agreed to share some of baking secrets for the holiday season. Find her perfect Christmas cookie recipe below. 

Robin’s Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookies

“This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe I’ve loved for a long time.  They are the perfect winter cookie.  And summer.  And spring.  Ok, and fall.” 

Before we begin, some tips. 

“The biggest mistake people make is they overcook their cookies. Don’t overcook your cookies. The second biggest tip I have is that cookies should be eaten the day you bake them. No one really wants a day old cookie.” 


2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon mint extract (Sub out mint for vanilla if you aren't feeling festive)
1/2 cup powdered sugar — (for rolling the dough balls in)


1. Melt chocolate and butter together in a glass bowl in the microwave.  Start with 20 seconds at a time making sure to stir in between.  Do not overcook and watch it carefully so it doesn’t scorch.  Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and cocoa in a separate bowl. 

3. Whisk together granulated sugar and eggs in a yet another bowl. Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and butter mixture and add mint extract and stir until smooth. Add in flour mixture. Taste the dough then refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours. 

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls using your palms, which you may need to wet, then roll in powdered sugar to coat. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each 1 inch apart. Bake until slightly firm in the center, about 15 minutes. 

5. Let cool slightly on sheets set on wire racks. Transfer cookies to racks, and try not to eat until cool. 

Don’t put away that apron just yet, Executive Chef for Bon Appetit at Seattle University, Justin Chalk, wanted to join in on the fun and shared his own favorite Christmas cookie recipe and baking tips. 

Justin’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

“This is a super simple sugar cookie recipe that my family likes to make and cut into fun holiday shapes, like snowmen, reindeer, wreaths or trees.  We then decorate them with icing.”

Before we get to the cookies, a few baking tips from Justin: 

Rotate the pan about half way through to help ensure even baking.

Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature is correct on your oven setting.

Use 1/4 inch wooden dowels to roll out your dough. It is a simple way to make sure your rolled dough is even.

Measure accurately.  I like to over fill the measuring cup and use the back side of a knife to level off the cup.

Chill the dough after cutting and before baking to make a softer cookie.


Christmas Cookie Ingredients

4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Icing Ingredients

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp water
3-4 drops of food coloring

Baking the Cookies:

1)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2)Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl.

3)In a different bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla.

4)Mix the flour into the butter sugar mixture a third at a time.

5)Divide the dough into four equal portions, then use a rolling pin to roll until about 1/4 of an inch thick and cut into your desired shape.

6)Place on a greased baking sheet and bake until cookies become lightly golden- roughly 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then remove from the pan

Making the Icing:

1)Combine the sugar and water to create a thick paste, then add desired coloring.



What are some of your favorite Christmas cookie recipes? Share them with us in the comments below. 

The Pacific Northwest Ballet: Reimagining the Nutcracker

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on December 2, 2015 at 1:12 PM PST

In 2014 the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) announced it would be retiring its beloved version of the Nutcracker, featuring sets and costumes designed by Maurice Sendak and choreography by Kent Stowell.  After 32-years, the Pacific Northwest Ballet decided it was time to take the show in a new direction.

That new direction debuted last Friday, when the Pacific Northwest Ballet premiered the reimagined Nutcracker with choreography by George Balanchine and costumes and sets designed by Ian Falconer, the artist behind the popular children’s book series Olivia. 

We turned to two of our alumni at the Pacific Northwest Ballet to get the inside scoop of what audiences can expect. Both Kristen Liang and Cassandra Lea are graduates of Seattle University’s Master of Fine Arts program and both work behind the scenes of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Cassandra is the Marketing Coordinator for PNB and Kristen is the Engagement Manager. They agreed that their favorite part of the productions is seeing everything come together from sketches on a page to opening night. 

“My favorite thing about this production has been watching the progress of all the costumes and sets as they are built. The artisans in the costume shop have done a spectacular job of bringing Ian Falconer’s illustrations to life and the costumes are gorgeous works of art in their own right. The sets are equally stunning and I’m so excited to see them up on stage.”  Kristen told us, going on to share that, “This production is truly a product of our community. PNB employed hundreds of local sculptors, artists and craftspeople. Even the short film that will begin this production was created by a local company.”

Despite the new look and feel, audiences needn’t worry. The show remains the same classic tale generations have come to love. “There are new costumes and new (to us) choreography, but the story is still very close to the previous version and people will still see many of their favorite characters like, Clara, Nutcracker, Snow and even the Peacock,” Cassandra said, assuring ballet fans they are in for a memorable experience.  “It’s going to be magical. The hall is beautifully decorated for the holidays. There are all new mini sets in the lobby to take your photo with, and a giant mouse and Mother Ginger sculpture. I also think that people are going to leave the performance in awe of the gorgeous new sets and costumes by Ian Falconer. I hope it will become their new holiday tradition.”

By the looks of Seattle Times arts writer, Moira Macdonald’s review of opening night, this show could very well cement itself in the hearts of Seattleites as a new holiday tradition. “It’ll be great fun to watch as this “Nutcracker” settles in for a long run; it is, like a stocking hung by the hearth, filled with treasures,” she writes.

You can experience the holiday magic for yourself at McCaw Hall with performances running until December 28th. Tickets are available online.  And when you go, remember Kristen’s favorite tip: pre-order your intermission refreshments and skip the lines.  

0042: PNB School students in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling.
0606: PNB School students in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling.
1121: Elizabeth Murphy and Jerome Tisserand in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Angela Sterling.

Alumni Spotlight: John O'Brien, '53

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on December 2, 2015 at 1:12 PM PST

This year, many children in Western Washington will not get Christmas dinner, a visit from Santa, or even presents. But thanks to the Forgotten Children’s Fund, up to 100,000 of these children will get a chance to talk to Santa and receive personalized gifts and a full fridge for their Christmas feast. SU basketball legend, John O’Brien, ’53, served as the Forgotten Children’s Fund’s President for ten years and worked as one of their Santas delivering gifts to children for over 35 years.

“There is so much need,” John reflects on his time as Santa. In his years with the Forgotten Children’s Fund, he visited over 750 homes dressed as Santa Claus, toting a bag of hand-wrapped gifts specially selected for each child. While John would sing with the kids and give them their presents, volunteer “elves” would sneak into the family’s kitchen and stock the refrigerator with food for Christmas dinner—a complete surprise for the families. John recalls that, for many children, this visit was their first real Christmas. 


Perhaps the most memorable experience of John’s time in the Santa suit was a little boy named Charles. “One year, I had three youngsters, and one of them was named Charles,” John remembers. John picked a gift out of his bag for Charles, which the mother offered to take in his place. But before John left, she changed her mind: “She said, ‘Santa, would you do me a favor and come say hello to Charles? He hasn’t spoken in months, I’m afraid we’re going to lose him.’” When John entered Charles’ room, he found a sick little boy under a sheet, but “[Charles] saw Santa, and he started talking.” That, John explains, is “the power of the Santa suit.”


For John, putting on the Santa suit was just another way to live the Jesuit mission he came to know as a Seattle University student. He thinks of the Jesuit-educated mindset as “Jesuit ESP: Educate, Stir the Pot, and Prepare.” To John, the Jesuit way is about taking what you’ve learned to the whole community—and being the Santa underprivileged kids wouldn’t otherwise get a visit from is just a small part of that.


While John recently had to hang up his Santa suit for health reasons, he looks back on his time as Santa as a family affair. Both of John’s late brothers, Jim and Ed, participated in the program as Santa until their passing, and now Ed’s son carries on the tradition. But the organization has no problem finding new Santas when one retires the beard—as John says, “Good stuff attracts.”


Now operating in five counties with a “North Pole” base of over 100,000 square feet in Renton, the Forgotten Children’s Fund has expanded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. John remains proud to be involved with them, declaring, “[It’s] a great community.” There are thousands of volunteers, dozens of Santas, and hundreds of thousands of gifts as they enter the 2015 Christmas season, ready to bring joy. Looking back on his time as Santa, John recalls with a smile that “it really made Christmas.” 


You can learn more about volunteering for the Forgotten Children’s Fund as a gift-wrapper, selector, or even a Santa here.

Article by Miranda Benson, '16


New Graduate Programs and Certificates

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on November 5, 2015 at 1:11 PM PST

As alumni of Seattle University you are already familiar with the outstanding education SU offers. You have experienced the passionate professors, small class sizes and nationally recognized programs first hand. Are you ready to come back for more? Five of Seattle University schools and colleges have launched five new advanced degrees, seven certificate programs and introduced improvements to existing degree programs to help you reach your career goals.

There’s never been a more exciting time to return to Seattle University for graduate school and as alumni of Seattle University your $55.00 application fee is waived. 

Don’t take our word for it. See the newest graduate degrees and certificates Seattle U has to offer. 


 Albers School of Business and Economics

Masters Degree:
Business Analytics (in partnership with the College of Science and Engineering)
The Master of Science in Business Analytics program (MSBA) will train individuals with a strong knowledge of decision and data sciences, capable of  solving complex problems, with multiple variables and goals, over multiple periods and subject to risk, and of detecting patterns, establishing new hypotheses, and in general taking advantage of the vast amounts of high-frequency data that are nowadays available to businesses.

College of Arts and Sciences 

Masters Degree:
This Master in Social Work degree builds on our strong BSW degree program and meets a growing demand for social workers with advanced degrees. The program offers two degree opportunities. The 2-Year MSW is now accepting applications for a September 2016 start. A 10-month Advanced Standing MSW, designed for individuals who have a Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) from an accredited program, will be implemented in August 2017.




College of Education

Masters Degrees: Adult Education and Training  (New online format)
This online master’s degree teaches you to be a more effective adult trainer and educator.
Adult Education and Training’s online master’s degree is the perfect choice for professionals who want to turn subject matter expertise into a fulfilling career as an educator, coach, consultant or trainer.

Educating Non-Native English Speakers(Online format)
This master's in education degree in Educating Non-Native English Speakers and ELL endorsement prepares the growing numbers of educators, instructional coaches and instructional leaders who serve non-native English speakers in pre-K-12 settings. 

College of Nursing

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate


College of Science and Engineering

Masters Degree: 
Structural Engineering
Graduates from this program will hold a strong understanding of holistic building performance through courses in advanced structural analysis, advanced steel and concrete design, seismic design, and performance-based design. Moreover, graduates will be prepared for careers in industry through professional development courses in project management, communication and professional ethics.

Software Architecture and Design
Software Project Management

Visit the Graduate Admissions website to learn more about information sessions and application requirements. 



All Jesuit Alumni & Friends Mass and Brunch

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on November 4, 2015 at 11:11 PM PST

 Who doesn’t like a good brunch?

If you enjoy Sunday brunch and would love to connect with some inspiring Jesuit alums, then join Magis on November 22 for the first ever All Jesuit Event.  All Jesuit Events are an opportunity to celebrate Jesuit education. Magis (an alumni ministry at Seattle U) gathers Jesuit alumni, family and friends of Seattle for opportunities to connect, network, and share about how a Jesuit education, when nurtured beyond the college years, can become a life of leadership in the service of others.

This month’s event, Lives Transformed by Jesuit Education: Alumni & Friends Mass and Brunch, will be hosted at Seattle U from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. A special Alumni Mass will be held at 9:00 a.m. in the Chapel of St. Ignatius, followed by brunch at 10:00 a.m. in Student Center 160. In collaboration with a number of local Jesuit alumni chapters, Magis invites you, your family and friends to gather for food, networking, and inspiration. Hear reflections from Seattle University’s President Fr. Steve Sundborg, S.J. and inspiring alumni on what it means to be Jesuit-educated and how Jesuit education has transformed their lives. 

Alumni include: 

Michael Alcantara, a graphic designer and illustrator, and graduate of Seattle University and Seattle Preparatory School, as well as a participant in Magis’ Contemplative Leaders in Action alumni leadership formation program;

Virginia Klamon, an executive leadership coach who holds a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University, and is a graduate of Saint Louis University;

Matthew Tilghman-Havens, a Senior Wealth Planner for The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank, and double alum of Boston College.

An event like this is a great opportunity to get re-inspired by your Jesuit education.  Meet new or greet old friends, and get to know others in the larger Jesuit alumni community. Overall, it’s an opportunity to share the Jesuit mission with family and friends!

Individual tickets are $25 (or only $15 if under the age of 35). To reserve a table of 8 for your alumni chapter and/or family and friends, simply click here to register yourself and your guests. Or, ask friends to list your name as the table host if they register on their own. This is a family friendly event; kids 12 and under are free. Space is limited, so be sure to register today. Stay tuned about other All Jesuit Events by visiting Magis online.


Alumni Basketball Rallies are Back!

Posted by Isaac Gardon on November 4, 2015 at 10:11 PM PST

Redhawk Basketball is Back!

Basketball season is coming soon and that means alumni rallies! Join Seattle U alumni, students and friends for three mega rallies this season. Enjoy food, fun and team spirit and get ready to cheer the Redhawks on to victory. 

The Seattle U men’s basketball team ended the 2014-15 season on a high note, advancing to the finals of the WAC Tournament and the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational after victories over Pepperdine and Colorado. This promises to be an exciting year.

Get out your SU gear and head to KeyArena - you won't want to miss a minute of the action!

Go Redhawks!

Midnight Madness @ The Key

Friday, November 13, 2015
WBB v. Montana State | 4:30 p.m.
Mega Rally at Coke Corner | 6:00 p.m.
MBB v. Arkansas-Pine Bluff | 7:30 p.m.

Get tickets!


Saturday, February 6, 2016
Mega Rally at Coke Corner | 6:00 p.m.
MBB v.  Missouri-Kansas City | 7:00 p.m.

Get tickets!

Home Closer & Senior Night

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Mega Rally at Coke Corner | 6:00 p.m.
MBB v. Utah Valley

Get tickets!

For a complete season schedule visit:


Alumni Day of Service - Become a Site Leader

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on November 4, 2015 at 10:11 PM PST

"I enjoyed serving alongside old friends and new friends and giving to those who need help." 

Alumni Day of Service brings together Seattle University alumni, friends and family to participate in service projects. We are excited to host Alumni Day of Service as a part of Homecoming Weekend on February 6, 2016.

We are looking for Alumni Site Leaders!

Do you work for a non-profit that needs alumni volunteers? Is there an organization or volunteer project you're passionate about or already involved with? We are recruiting alumni to organize service projects and serve as site leads for day of service 

How To Volunteer

(Submission Deadline: November 16th)

We are looking for volunteers to lead projects at service sites of their choice.

The responsibilities of an alumni site leader include:

Choosing a service site

Submitting an online application for your site

Coordinating with service site staff to confirm volunteer duties

Acting as a lead the day of the event

Submit your project for consideration!

Want to serve, but can’t be a site lead? Mark your calendar now! Registration will be available December 1. 


Honoring a True Person for Others: Anne Van Ness Farrell

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on November 4, 2015 at 10:11 PM PST

Longtime SU supporter, advocate Anne Farrell is this year's Ignatius Medal recipient

Anne Van Ness Farrell is perhaps best known as the former president and CEO of The Seattle Foundation, who grew the once small, regional body into one of the nation's top community foundations. A civic leader of grace and humility, Farrell has achieved much in her storied life and career.

The meaning behind the medal resonates strongly with Farrell. Choosing her words with care, she says "I'm awed by the importance of it and what it represents-a 'just and humane world.' That's what I want for this world as well." 

Farrell's relationship with Seattle University began in the mid-1980s when the university came to the Seattle Foundation to request a grant for street signage. The request posed a conundrum for the foundation, which had a strict policy against funding religious institutions. Ultimately, the foundation was swayed by the value Seattle University brought to its surrounding neighborhood. Signage created a welcoming invitation to a campus that was, in Farrell's recollection, a "mysterious presence" to those outside its borders. 

In 1987, Farrell accepted an invitation from President William Sullivan, S.J. to join the Board of Regents and within a few years she became a trustee. Now a lifetime trustee emerita, she co-chaired Seattle University's capital campaign from 2003 to 2009 and oversaw the successful $37 million drive for the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. 

A shared mission and values drove Farrell's involvement with the university. She was drawn to the university's commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, its scholarships for first-generation college students, its belief in the whole student, its integrity and its transformative work in the community. 

You can learn more about Anne Van Ness Farrell online here.


Posted by Caitlin Joyce on November 4, 2015 at 10:11 PM PST

“Being an entrepreneur means you’re innovative, you think outside the box, you always see the shortest path to success.” – May McCarthy, ’84

 On November 19, the Seattle University Alumni Association hosts the fall installment of the acclaimed SU Advantage | Networking Night series entitled, "Cultivating Entrepreneurial Spirit: The New Career Path."

The night promises to change your idea of what it takes to get ahead in a competitive business landscape. Speakers, May McCarthy and Randy Massengale, will take turns breaking down the formula for success for entrepreneurs as well as those working in a company or nonprofit.

May McCarthy, a best-selling author, angel investor and Albers School of Business and Economics board member, is well known for her success with startups and her passion for sharing her knowledge with others. “I’ve started six successful businesses, the first when I was a sophomore in college. That company grew to have 450 employees in four different states,” May said of her beginnings in the business world.

May shared her five qualities of successful entrepreneurs. They:

Are risk takers.

Have vision to see beyond the status quo.

Are tenacious.

Are creative.

Are passionate.

“You need to be passionate about what you’re doing. After working a 20-hour day, it will be that passion that keeps you up at night thinking about how you can do it better and create the best possible product. People succeed because there’s a problem to be solved and they create the solution.” 

This event isn’t just for those interested in creating a successful startup. Seattle University Extraordinary Leadership professor, Randy Massengale, will delve into the importance of these lessons for “intrepeneurs”- those individuals inside a company or organization who want to be innovators, execute ideas and get ahead. 

“People want to think that things haven’t changed and it is just a matter of time until they get promoted, but if you don’t take the initiative, the chances of that happening are small. You need to hustle to get ahead,” Randy shared.

With over 30 years in the technology sector, Randy says the first step to becoming a successful “intepeneur” is to disengage from your prior knowledge. “People need to unlearn old mindsets and habits.”

Both May and Randy are avid supporters of Seattle University and are excited for this opportunity to connect with alumni and help prepare them to get ahead in their careers. 

“It is my sincere hope that people will come away from this event knowing that what they learned at SU is real and it is like currency to be spent in the business and nonprofit community,” Randy said. 

Reserve your spot for the November 19th SU Advantage Networking event and learn what it takes to prosper in today’s competitive landscape. After the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in rounds of structured networking. 


SU Advantage | Networking Night
"Cultivating Entrepreneurial Spirit: The New Career Path"
Thursday, November 19 | 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Sorrento Hotel  | Top of the Town Room
Register now.