SU Voice Alumni Blog

African American Alumni Chapter Spotlight: Andre´ Taybron

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on February 2, 2015 at 10:02 PM PST

Andre´ Taybron is a 2000 MPA graduate and a member of Seattle University African American Alumni Chapter’s (AAAC) leadership team.

From seventh grade through high school, Andre’ lived with his single mother and three of his siblings in public housing in Wilson, North Carolina. Growing up in the “projects,” Andre´ constantly questioned why it was that his family and neighbors who worked so hard to provide for their families were not able to purchase a home in a middle-class neighborhood. 

Andre’s background living in public housing helped to shape his values and ideals around the need for better housing policy. “Today I’m a published author, scholar and entrepreneur. My firm, Broneist Consulting, provides urban design, planning, needs assessment, public policy development and administration implementation services,” Andre´ said.  

Andre´ has a B.S. in Communications, an MPA from Seattle University and a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington. 

“Academically, my knowledge and understanding of social justice and public policy flourished while completing my Master’s degree at Seattle University. I applied that knowledge to both my roles at the Seattle and Renton Housing authorities and as a Housing Planner at AIDS Housing of Washington.” Andre´ studied at Seattle University from 1998-2000. “While at Seattle University I learned to ask the tough questions. I knew when choosing Seattle University that I would establish a foundation for social justice ideals and philosophies to incorporate into my work. Understanding the Jesuit tradition taught me to think for myself and to test commonly accepted knowledge,” Andre´ shared. 

In 2014, Andre´ became a member of the Seattle University African American Alumni Chapter’s leadership team.  “After embarking on my professional journey and the real-world rat race, I noticed that something was missing – the SU culture and environment that I loved.” 

Andre´ began meeting quarterly with MPA alumni which helped keep him connected to Seattle University. Over the years he saw a lack of opportunities to engage and connect with African American professionals and community members and began to attend events hosted by the African American Alumni Chapter (AAAC).

 “I saw something in the participants of the AAAC that I wanted around me and more importantly, I wanted to be a part of the leadership to help influence the welcoming, professional and fun atmosphere.”

As a member of the AAAC leadership team, Andre´ hopes the group becomes a catalyst to bring people back to campus and to get alumni and students more engaged. 

“It is my passion and vision for the chapter to be a resource to uplift individuals who may have questions or struggles, for those who want fellowship and those who need more guidance, advice and mentorship. I want people to come out, bring their spouses, partners, children, family and friends to have fun and let the Seattle University community know that we are here as a chapter and part of what makes our Jesuit institution great!” Andre´ said. 

You can join the African American Alumni chapter this month for their Black History Month Celebration.

Seattle University Black History Month Celebration
February 20, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Seattle University | Casey Commons

RSVP now.


Black History Month Feature - Clayton Pitre, ‘68

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on February 2, 2015 at 10:02 PM PST

In honor of Black History Month we’re spotlighting   Clayton Pitre, ‘68, a member of the African American Alumni community and our 2015 Community Service Alumni Award winner.

Clayton was born in 1924 in Opelousas Louisiana, one of seven children .He attended Catholic school until the 9th grade, when he had to put his education on hold to work on his father’s farm. At the age of nineteen Clayton was drafted into the military, becoming one of the first African Americans to join the Marines. Clayton was trained at Montford Point, a segregated base in North Carolina. 

In 1945 Clayton’s unit was deployed to Okinawa, Japan, where Clayton, an infantryman in the 1st Marine Ammunition Company, was responsible for sending ammunition to the front lines. In January 1946 Clayton was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal. 

In 2012 Clayton and 400 fellow black marines from Montford Point were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by President Obama at a White House ceremony.

After his service in World War II, Clayton joined his brother in Seattle where he met his wife, Gloria Tony. While in Seattle he completed his education, first achieving his GED at Broadway Edison, a high school for veterans without a high school diploma, then, with support from the G.I. Bill, he worked his way through college as a postal clerk, husband and father of three. In 1968 Clayton graduated from Seattle University with an accounting degree. 

Clayton would go on to work in real estate for fourteen years, eventually becoming Chief Housing Developer for the Central Area Motivation Project (CAMP), where he helped to fund and build low-income housing across the city.

When CAMP lost its funding in 1973, Clayton joined the Veteran Administration office, where he worked for eleven years until his retirement in 1984. Though retired, Clayton remained committed to serving his community. He formed the African American Dollars for Scholars program and chaired the program for 17 years. 

"I've been at Garfield and Roosevelt and seen kids with 3.8 grade-point averages walk away with all the scholarships and the ones with 3.0 feel no need to try. Our mission is to encourage them to go beyond high school and come back to the community as productive citizens.” Clayton said in a Seattle Times article about the program.

Clayton’s community outreach doesn’t end there. He  served as the Vice President of the Central Area Senior Center, has been a member of the  Knights of Columbus for over 60 years and continues to act as a mentor for the fraternity,  Kappa Alpha Psi . 

Clayton’s Catholic faith is an important part of his life. He’s been a member of St. Mary’s parish for 52 years, where he created a child care center and was the President of its board. He considers the creation of their child care center one of his proudest achievements.

In paying tribute to Clayton, Susan Clifford Jamroski , Major Gift Officer for the Virginia Mason Foundation, said, “He has mentored hundreds of people as a true servant does.  Clayton rarely looks back.  He is always future forward; the next person who needs help, the next opportunity, the next friend.  As a Catholic born in the south and of very humble origins and now in his ninth decade, he continues to press full steam ahead.”    

The Seattle University community is honored to be able to call him one of our own. 

We hope you’ll join us to celebrate Clayton and our other Alumni Award winners on April 18. 

30th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration
Saturday, April 18
Fairmont Olympic Hotel 


School of New and Continuing Studies

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on February 2, 2015 at 10:02 PM PST

Seattle University is adding something new to the mix for adult learners. Those who want the benefit of an outstanding Seattle University education, but are not looking for the traditional college experience can now turn to the School of New and Continuing Studies.

The new school caters to the traditionally underrepresented demographic of adult learners. The school accepts those who have completed at least 60 hours of college credits and want to complete their degree or those who are looking to add to their skills set.  The hybrid nature of the school (all classes consist of online and in-person course work) makes education accessible to even the busiest schedules. 

The school plans to launch BA programs in spring of 2016, but has already hit the ground running with their one-year Web Development Certificate, which launched its first cohort in January 2015. The Web Development Certificate consists of eight courses designed to transition students from a typical web user to an entry-level front end web developer. 

Seattle’s reputation as a high tech hub makes this certificate especially relevant. 52,000 web and software technology jobs were posted in Puget Sound in 2013 alone and the median income for web developers in the United States is $62,000. 

"We believe the program has a responsibility to serve everyone in the Puget Sound Region. The web industry is desperate for an infusion of diverse perspectives and fresh talent. Our students reflect this goal: The first cohort is made up of 60% women and represents a range of life experience and backgrounds." Shawn Rider, the Director of Web, Application and Technology Studies for the School of New and Continuing Studies, said.

Not only are the courses led by knowledgeable instructors with real-world industry experience, but the entire Web Development Certificate is designed to build compelling professional portfolios that will impress employers, recruiters and help students land a job upon completion.  The school is enrolling new cohorts quarterly and are now accepting applications  for  the certificate program beginning in April 2015. Those interested in learning more about the program can visit their website.  

The addition of the School of New and Continuing Studies is an exciting opportunity for Seattle University and life-long learners alike. Make sure to stay tuned as more news and information are announced. 


Employer Information Sessions

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 8, 2015 at 2:01 PM PST

Alumni, did you know that Employer Information Sessions are a valuable tool to help you on your job hunt? Join recruiters from companies such as Amazon, Puget Sound Energy, The Peace Corps and more each week on campus during the lunch hour.

This is your opportunity to learn what it’s like to work at some of the top companies in the Puget Sound area and about their values and mission. You’ll gain insights directly from recruiters as to what they look for in candidates and position yourself for interview success. 

Learn about all upcoming information sessions on the Career Services homepage

New Brand, New Look

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM PST

Last summer, Seattle University began work on the first of several updates to our website. The refresh of the site is based on best practices and aligns with the Seattle U brand initiative  to tell our story with greater clarity and impact.

Visitors will experience a fresh and inviting homepage and landing pages for Admissions, Alumni, Academics, Student Life and a new Graduate Studies page.  

The new look uses crisp photography and updated brand colors and fonts. The landing pages are also designed to be scrollable and clearer, which will help the increasing number of visitors using smartphones, with well-designed link placement and less text. We're excited to feature our SU community with the embedded Instagram feed, more prominent news placement and continued upcoming events.

We wanted the new to reflect the transformative, rigorous and well-rounded experience Seattle University offers. The redesigned site strives to: 

Convey Seattle University's commitment to academic excellence, social justice and Jesuit education;

Authentically and boldly communicate the unique student experience at Seattle U;

Improve functionality and navigability and drive interest in the university; and

Align the website with the Seattle U brand refresh.

The update was made possible with the help of a large number of university constituents, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, divisional leaders and SU's Brand Leadership Group, a representative body of key university stakeholders. Each of these constituents offered constructive feedback and edits to enhance the look, navigability and authenticity of the new site.  

We are excited about the new look for and look forward to bringing you continued improvements and additions as we work to strengthen Seattle University's web presence.

Visit our homepage and let us know what you think. 


Seattle U License Plates: Available Now

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM PST

They’re here! We are excited to announce that Seattle University license plates are now available. Proceeds from each Seattle U license plate go to support Seattle University student scholarships. Now you can drive with pride while supporting our students!

The launch of SU plates has gotten off to a strong start thanks to the generosity of those who participated in our online auction for the first 25 SU plates. With your help we’ve raised over $21,000 for Seattle University students. 

To show your SU pride and purchase your own Seattle U plate visit your local Department of Licensing office and apply in person or visit our website and apply online. 

Have you already ordered your Seattle U plate? Show us how you drive with pride. Snap a picture of your vehicle with its sporty new SU plate, share it with us on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #SUPlates and we’ll send you an alumni license plate frame. 

We can’t wait to see the roads of Washington state filled with Seattle U pride. 



Dance Marathon Alumni - Help Us Reach Our Goal

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM PST

You know Seattle University’s reputation for social justice, but did you know the students of Seattle University are receiving national attention for the difference they are making in the lives of Seattle’s children?

In 2007, Seattle University began the Dance Marathon. A 16-hour event, Dance Marathon raises money Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH). The money raised benefits the hospital’s Uncompensated Care Fund which provides medical care for kids whose families could not otherwise afford it. In just seven years, Seattle University’s Dance Marathon has raised over $190,000, becoming the largest dance marathon on the West Coast.

In 2013, Seattle University’s Dance Marathon won the Chairman’s Award for Guild Excellence presented by the SCH Guild Association Board of Trustees. 

In July 2014, Seattle University’s Dance Marathon was recognized for their accomplishments at the National Dance Marathon Conference where they were nominated for an award in innovation and took home the award for Best Website. 

 “For me there is no other more vibrant embodiment of the SU mission on our campus than Dance Marathon. It was a signature part of my Seattle University student experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world,” Seattle U alumna and former Dance Marathon participant, Katy Granath,’14, said.

This year the Seattle University Dance Marathon takes place on Saturday, February 21, with the goal of raising $73,000. That’s just $1.00 for every Seattle University alum with 100% of the proceeds going to support Seattle Children’s Hospital. You can help Seattle U Dance Marathon reach its goal by making a donation to Seattle Children’s Hospital on their website

Dance Marathon would like to engage alumni, especially those who danced while they were students, in the event this year.  In addition to donating, you can participate by coming to the event during the alumni time or you can donate to or bid on the silent auction.

Attend the Event

Saturday, February 21
3:00-5:00 p.m.
Campion Ballroom 

Join other SU alumni and student dancers to play games, hang out with the Miracle Kids, dance and show your support for the cause. 

Participate in the Silent Auction 

Make a donation or bid in the online silent auction that takes place during the 16-hours of the Seattle Dance Marathon. 

Make a donation to the Dance Marathon Alumni Fundraising page.

Fr. Dave Anderson: The Seahawk’s New Priest

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM PST

You’ll likely find Fr. Dave Anderson doing one of two things: praying or helping the Redhawks –– and now the Seahawks –– catch their prey.  Recently, Fr. Dave, the longtime chaplain to the Seattle U men’s basketball team and chaplain for Seattle U alumni, was hired to be the priest for the Seattle Seahawks.

Fr. Dave’s duties with the Seahawks involve celebrating Mass for Catholic players, staff and coaches before their home games at the Bellevue Hyatt. While he is excited to work with his favorite football team, Fr. Dave’s service to the Seahawks stems from his striving to serve God. “Part of Jesuit spirituality is encouraging us to go to the frontiers.” Fr. Dave said, “Where are those places that people cannot access the Eucharist? This is one of them.”

With a grueling schedule and Sunday games, worship isn’t readily accessible to many of the Seahawk’s devout. Dedication on the field can lead to a spiritual desert in the lives of professional athletes. That’s less likely to happen with Fr. Dave serving the 12th man and his five Catholic friends. 

While he gathers with the whole team during team meetings, Fr. Dave presides a Catholic Mass for five team members –– four coaches and one player –– before each home game. “Here we have five men who are devout Catholics,” Fr. Dave said, “They want to celebrate Mass every week and during the season –– when they have Sunday games –– they will not be able to go to Mass because of their commitment to the team.” 

Fr. Dave, who admires the commitment these men make to the body and the faith, carries Mass to them. Together, these five men and Fr. Dave pray and experience faith, connection and solidarity with one another before each home game. Together, God is felt. 

God is felt at Seattle U, too. But Fr. Dave’s new position is a different job from being Chaplain to the men’s basketball team. “I have daily contact with the men’s basketball team,” says Fr. Dave. “I have direct contact with the Seahawks five times a year. My expectations with the Seahawks are that I have Mass with them five days a season.” Humility, like his clerical collar, is part of Fr. Dave. 

Fr. Dave sees potential growth for his role, both at CenturyLink Field and Seattle University. “I would like to connect the Seahawks and the Redhawks,” he shared. “In the future, I want to be able to have Pete Carroll or a player come and speak on campus. What would they want to tell our students? What would they have to say to us? Pete Carroll has something to tell us of great value. He is a man of faith, living in a world often void of it.”

Fr. Dave furthered, “I want to bridge the Seahawks and the Redhawks. Part of this [new position] is discovering how I can act as a bridge.” 

Building bridges isn’t new to Fr. Dave. He does it for a spiritual living. “Faith is all about relationships,” says Fr. Dave. After a short pause he adds, “Faith is communal.” Faith, like a sports team, like being an alumnus and alumna, is centered upon community. 

Perhaps that’s why this position is a natural fit for Fr. Dave; his roles with Seattle University and his role with the Seahawks are centered upon being an incubator for faith and community. Working with the Seahawks is just an extension to what he’s already doing: stretching the reach of the Eucharist as he aids alumni, the Redhawks –– and now the Seahawks –– to reach their spiritual and physical feats. Together, with the help of Fr. Dave, let us pray (and prey). 

4th Annual National Jesuit Alumni Day of Service

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM PST

This spring, Magis and the Seattle University Alumni Association are joining Jesuit universities and colleges across the U.S. to engage graduates in shared service for the 4th annual National Jesuit Alumni Day of Service on April 25th. Along with other Jesuit-educated alumni, this is a fantastic opportunity to engage your friends and family in supporting the community, as well as demonstrating the life-changing and enduring power of a Jesuit education. Be sure to save the date!

As you may already know from your time as a student, being out in our neighborhoods with fellow community members puts us in touch with the complex realities of families living in the Seattle area. The partner organizations we work with not only provide much needed charitable resources, but many work for long term systemic change with some of our society’s most pressing issues. Within this kind of direct service partnership, we seek to grow more self-aware, deepen our compassion, engage our critical thinking, and hopefully be called into action. Here is what one alum who served at the FoodBank at St. Mary’s last year had to say: 

“It was really touching to see the amount of people in the community that St. Mary's serves. It is sad that there is so much need, but the dignity with which these people were received as customers to the food bank and the emphasis on food quality provided to them was very moving.”

As Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., former Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) once said: “When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.”

Currently, we are seeking volunteers to locate and lead National Jesuit Alumni Day of Service services sites in the Seattle area and around the country. If you or your alumni chapter are interested in leading a service opportunity in your area, please visit the Day of Service web page for guidelines and a link to a brief survey to complete regarding your service site. You may also contact Maria Ochoa at Magis for more information. Registration for participants at service sites will be in March.

We hope you’ll join us!

Recent Alumni Spotlight: Arsalan Bukhari, '04

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM PST

We sat down with Arsalan Bukhari, a 2004 Seattle University finance graduate and current Executive Director for the Washington branch of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Originally from Pakistan, Arsalan came to the United States with his mother and sister in 1990 as a ten-year old. They moved to Seattle to be closer to his uncles who relocated to Seattle after retiring from the United States military.

Arsalan smiled as he recalled being a child in Karachi, Pakistan preparing to move to the U.S. “Seattle had a reputation for being rainy, but in Karachi the rain was warm and tropical so that was what I thought Seattle would be like.” He was in for a shock his first Pacific Northwest winter. 

Attracted by its small class sizes, good reputation and scholarships, Arsalan found his way to Seattle University after completing his associates degree at a local community college.  

As a transfer student, Arsalan became actively involved in Seattle U’s campus life. He served as an officer in the Toastmasters Club, organized student activities, wrote an occasional editorial for the Spectator and even performed on the Quadstock main stage after his band, Irtiash, won Battle of the Bands.

“Seattle University helped prepare me for my career, especially the Albers Career Services Center. They encouraged a lot of internships, reviewed my resume and helped prepare me for job interviews,” Arsalan said. 

The skills he learned as an intern and an Albers student remain relevant in his career at CAIR.

CAIR is a national Muslim civil rights organization. They defend Muslims in civil rights cases, for example, if someone is denied the opportunity to practice their religion or experiences discrimination.

In his role, Arsalan engages in proactive media work, organizes major events such as a state-level Muslim Lobby Day and works to build coalitions made up of civil rights groups, religious institutions and those in academia. 

CAIR works to provide the Muslim community with political empowerment, educate the public and to teach the media how to responsibly report on the Muslim community. 

The lack of representation of mainstream Muslims’ lives in the media is a national issue. According to the Gallop Poll 60-75% of national media coverage of Muslims is negative. Arsalan and his team have been working with the Seattle Times for a more fact-based realistic representation of the American Muslim community. CAIR does this through ongoing analysis of the Seattle Times articles that feature Islam, Muslims and relevant topics to see how the articles are framed, if they contain problematic words and to see if the coverage is a factual representation of the Muslim community. They then share their findings with the Seattle Times. 

CAIR shared with the Seattle Times that the word “Islamist,” considered an offensive anti-Muslim slur, was used over 388 by the Seattle Times in 2012. Since they began working with Seattle Times to educate its journalists, there has been more accurate coverage of Muslims in the Seattle media.

“There’s still of lot of work needed to educate the public, especially with groups actively promoting fear,” Arsalan said. “In 2001, 40% of the American public had a positive view of Islam. In 2005 it was 41% but in December 2010 in dropped to 30%. That’s a 10% increase in negativity toward Islam attributed to the national controversy over Park 51, “the Ground Zero Mosque,” perpetuated by groups with extreme anti-Islamic agendas. 

Arsalan went on to explain that the American public has a lot of misconceptions about the Muslim community. There are facts that would actually challenge those misconceptions. For example, according to a Gallup Poll, Muslim women are the second most educated religious group in the United States and Muslim men and women have the smallest pay gap of any group. Islam is also the most racially diverse religious group in the U.S.

Despite how far there is still to go in the fight for understanding and acceptance of Muslims, Arsalan is not discouraged. He finds meaning in the work they do and the difference they make. “What is most meaningful about the work we do is when we fully resolve someone’s case after they’ve been fired for religious reasons. Many people suffer because they feel they need to hide their faith,” Arsalan said. 

Arsalan said that the Seattle U community can make a difference by being allies with the Muslim community. “You can affirm your values by standing up to bigotry when you see it. Hold media editors accountable for factual reporting and don’t let others divide us along ethnic or religious lines.” Arsalan conclude by saying, “The United States has so much opportunity and is the best place to raise a family, get educated and be a Muslim.” 

You can learn more about CAIR and their work by visiting their website.