SU Voice Alumni Blog

Welcome Ellen Whitlock Baker!

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 8, 2021 at 6:09 PM PDT

Photo of Ellen Whitlock Baker

The Seattle University Alumni Association (SUAA) has a new leader. Ellen Whitlock Baker will join Seattle University as Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement on October 4.

Ellen joins Seattle U from the University of Washington (UW), where she has served for 16 years, including more than seven years with the UW Alumni Association (UWAA). As a member of UWAA’s executive team, Ellen was responsible for the strategic development of UW’s alumni engagement practices. Most recently, Ellen has focused her work on how to create authentic engagement with alumni who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). She created an annual engagement conference for UW Advancement employees focusing on developing engagement programs with a racial equity lens, including securing sought-after Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) speakers and community leaders.

“I’m thrilled to join Seattle U at this particular point in time, with the new leadership of President Peñalver and the Strategic Directions and LIFT SU setting a thoughtful and ambitious course for the university,” says Whitlock Baker. “Seattle U’s alumni community will play an active role in the implementation of these new directions and I’m looking forward to stewarding the transformative partnership between alumni, students, faculty, staff and leadership. It’s clear that Seattle U is a very special place, and I can’t wait to join the team and serve this incredible alumni community.”

As Ellen prepares to join Seattle U, she is most excited to meet the alumni community to get as much feedback as possible. “That’s something I’m really passionate about—listening to and building relationships with communities,” shared Ellen. “I need to hear from alumni and stakeholders to know what to prioritize at SUAA.”

Ellen is impressed with the volunteer leadership and success of Seattle U’s alumni communities: its regional chapters, affinity groups and alliances. “Seattle U’s dedicated volunteer groups are ready, willing and able to support what is needed, both here and in the regions.”

The transition from a large state university to a mid-size Jesuit university brings with it many opportunities. One advantage Ellen appreciates is the access she will have to President Peñalver, Provost Shane Martin and other leaders across campus.Ellen notes, “It’s clear from our conversations that SU leaders trulyvalue alumni engagement. That is a great sign.”

Ellen has numerous accomplishments from her time at UWAA. She led and developed campus partnerships through the Constituent Relations program, creating a community of practice for all engagement-focused staff from schools and colleges across UW’s three campuses. As one of 20 leaders selected to serve on UW Advancement’s Equity Council, she recently led a process to develop a white ally group for the 600-person Advancement team. This year, Ellen was recognized for her university-wide leadership by receiving the peer-nominated Marilyn Batt Dunn Endowed Award for Excellence

Outside of work, Ellen loves to read, particularly young adult fiction. She is a passionate novice gardener, building three raised beds with her husband at the beginning of the pandemic that have resulted in a copious vegetable crop with relatively few plant casualties this summer. Ellen was born and raised in Honolulu, HI and came to the Northwest to attend Whitman University. She earned her Master of Public Administration at UW. She lives in Edmonds with her husband Jordan, daughter Linnea and pandemic puppy Kaiju.

Redhawk Recipes

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 24, 2021 at 3:06 PM PDT

Just in time for summer, we have two refreshing red Redhawk recipes. The Watermelon Mojito combines the sweetness of fresh watermelon, the zing from lime juice and kick of white ruma perfect cocktail to sip sitting pool side on hot summer afternoon or for an evening backyard party. Gazpacho is a classic cold, spicy Spanish soup, ideal for sweltering summer days—and a great way to use your home-grown tomatoes! 


Watermelon Mojitos
Watermelon mojito



















Ingredients:
4 fresh mint leaves
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces light rum (optional)
3 ounces watermelon puree, strained*
Club soda, to taste
Mint sprigs and watermelon wedges for garnish
*For watermelon puree, cut the watermelon into 1 inch cubes and blend for 15 seconds 

Directions

  1. In the bottom of a Collins or other tall glass, use a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon to muddle mint leaves, lime juice and simple syrup. 
  2. Fill the glass two-thirds with ice. Add rum and watermelon puree. 
  3. Top with club soda to fill the glass; stir well. 
  4. Garnish with a sprig of mint or small wedge of watermelon, if desired. 
      

Gazpacho (Serves 4)
Gazpacho photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Ingredients:
 
1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 
Tomato juice 
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped 
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper 
1/2 cup chopped red onion 
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced 
1 medium garlic clove, minced 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 lime, juiced 
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade 
  
Directions

  1. Fill a 6-quart pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. 
  2. Make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute.
  3. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup. 
  4. Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  6. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
  7. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with chiffonade of basil.

GOLD Council Adds 9 New Members

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 24, 2021 at 3:06 PM PDT

We are excited to introduce the nine new GOLD Council members who will start in the fall. They are bringing a lot of enthusiasm and new ideas. Get to know a little about them as you read their favorite Seattle U memories. 

Collage of new GOLD members

Nelson Taylor, ’17: Representing Seattle University all over the country as I played baseball with my best friends for the men's baseball program. 
 
Robin Lustig, ’18: One of my favorite SU memories is studying (procrastinating) with my friends and classmates at Cherry Street Coffee. 
 
Julia Grief, ’18: One of my favorite SU memories is celebrating Homecoming my senior year. It was such a festive time and it was a fun way to commemorate my last year at SU. 
 
Ty Bean, ’20: My favorite SU memory was going to Southpaw for Happy Hour before class with a bunch of my cohort mates. It was always a good time to catch up and have some pizza before class! 
 
Sophie Brooke, ’19: My favorite memories at Seattle U are the first times I played tourist with friends as a first-year - taking the ferry over to Bainbridge Island, visiting the Seattle Art Museum, finding the best Pho in Seattle (Pho Bac!), and my first late night dinner/dessert/breakfast at Lost Lake (classic Seattle U diner spot) where you can get pancakes, pie, and a burger in the same sitting at 11pm! 
 
Nikki Maryanski, ’19: My most fondest memories would probably be the baptism of my older daughter in St. Ignatius Chapel by Father Whitney, followed three years later by my wedding to my life partner and love of my life in the same chapel, and last but certainly not least my graduation in 2019. 
 
Jessie Dirks, ’19: One of my favorite memories from Seattle U is playing with the SU Drumline! We were a close-knit family with inside jokes and plenty of goofy antics. Drumline was where I could de-stress from classes and be myself. 
 
Genna Madic, ’16: My favorite SU memories revolve around my work in Leadership Development. The work ethic and camaraderie in that office was palpable. I loved working with Michelle Etchart, my grad assistants, and my peers to develop programming that impacted the whole community! 
 
Emily Thurston, ’14: Going on immersion trips through campus ministry to both Belize and Appalachia were my favorite experiences. I loved the opportunity to learn and travel with a reflective, committed group of people.

CELEBRATE PRIDE AND JUNETEENTH

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 24, 2021 at 2:06 PM PDT

Graphic for Juneteenth and Pride Month

June hosts not one, but two important celebrations:  Pride Month celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and Juneteenth, honoring the end of slavery on June 19, 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas. To celebrate our diverse alumni community, we are sharing our highly recommended books, podcasts, movies and ways to get involved.


PRIDE MONTH

Why do we celebrate PRIDE: What are the origins of Pride Month?

What we are reading: Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aickman

What we are listening to: Making Gay History hosted by Eric Marcus and One from the Vaults hosted by Morgan M Page

What we are watching: Changing the Game on Hulu

How we are celebrating: Seattle Pride Month and How to Celebrate PRIDE as an Ally

Where we are donating: Trevor Project 

 
JUNETEENTH 

Why do we celebrate Juneteenth?: What is Juneteenth?  

What we are reading: The Juneteenth Reading List

What we are listening to: Mixed Company by Simeon Coker and Kar Deveraux Lawson

What we are watching: Miss Juneteenth (all streaming platforms) & When They See Us (Netflix) 

How we are celebrating: How to Celebrate Juneteenth as an Ally

Where we are donating: The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) 

THE COVID-19 CRISIS: PROVOST SHANE MARTIN REFLECTS ON THE PAST 15 MONTHS

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 10, 2021 at 11:06 AM PDT

Provost Shane Martin at graduation The Seattle University community is delighted at the prospect of returning to “normal” campus activity this fall, given the wide availability of a COVID-19 vaccine and our state’s progress in vaccinating residents. As we continue moving toward the light at the end of a very long tunnel, we sat down with Provost Shane Martin to hear his reflections on the university’s handling of the COVID crisis and plans for the coming academic year.

Reflecting on the 15 months that have passed since campus went into lockdown in March 2020, how do you feel things have gone overall at Seattle U?

When we look at the numbers of cases of COVID-19 in our community, among our students, faculty and staff, we've done extremely well at keeping the campus safe. Of course, I can't overstate the level of disruption COVID has caused. There’s been real frustration and disappointment in being primarily virtual this past year, yet our faculty, supported by our staff, has done a phenomenal job delivering our high-quality curriculum virtually. They’ve work so hard, just put their heads down and moved forward, and there’s been great personal cost and sacrifice—more than I think anyone knew.

What are you most proud of in Seattle U’s handling of the COVID crisis?

I'm proud of the resiliency of our community, our faculty, staff and students. No one would have chosen this. No one would have wanted this. It was frustrating and disappointing, yet people rose to the occasion and carried out our teaching and learning mission. So, I'm just very proud of our people.

What about lessons learned? Hopefully, we’ll never have to experience another pandemic. But if there is a next time, is there anything you would do differently?

Yes. I think the personal impact of COVID, its toll on relationships, the lack of in-person meetings and classes, hit people harder than anyone fully realized. If I had this to do over again, I might focus more singularly on ensuring excellence in teaching and learning, with a less ambitious agenda for implementation of our strategic plan. We did pare down our ambitions for the plan’s implementation this year, but in hindsight I believe we should have been a bit more discerning about our people's capacity to deal with a crisis and think about change for the future. It's just difficult, especially when there are so many unknowns.

So, we're moving in the direction of some sort of normal in the fall 2021. At this point, what do you anticipate the fall reopening will look like?

In the past I could tell you exactly what the fall quarter would look like. Today we’re not completely sure because we're waiting for updated guidance to Higher Education that will come from Governor Inslee this June. We’ll finalize our fall plans once we receive that guidance. For right now, we’re planning to be primarily in-person, to have our residence halls open with two people to a room, and to return to an on-campus student experience more like the pre-COVID days. Keeping our campus safe is still a top priority, and we’re enlisting multiple measures to ensure the health of our students, faculty and staff. This includes investing heavily in enhancing our HVAC systems, so we’ll have stronger filtered ventilation in classrooms and other spaces, and we’re looking for ways to enhance the deep cleaning of our facilities and to ensure the availability of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer throughout campus. We've modeled a plan for physical distancing in the classroom, but at this point we're not sure what the guidance will be around unmasking. We’re also requiring students to be vaccinated, and we will ask our faculty and staff to be vaccinated, as well.

Where do things stand currently regarding international students’ ability to travel to Seattle U?

In the case of international students, we're also guided by the State Department and its determination of whether it’s safe to travel to and from international locations. We’re all learning that the key to eradicating COVID-19 is vaccinating a great enough percentage of a region’s population. While the United States hasn’t fully reached this percentage, we're well ahead of many parts of the world because we’ve had greater access to vaccines than some countries. We're hoping the situation will change soon, particularly since the U.S. is pledging to provide vaccine doses for other countries.

What about the halt on university sponsored travel? When will that be lifted?

That plays through summer and will likely remain in place through fall. We’ve made the decision that there will be no study abroad through the fall quarter, unless by exception. The virus has dramatically increased in some parts of the world, and we wouldn't feel safe about having our students and faculty travel to certain countries right now.

I’d like to ask you about Seattle U’s current test optional policy. In a story that appeared in the May 2020 issue of The Voice, you stated:

“There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that standardized tests by their very nature and how they’re put together have an inherent bias. Culturally speaking, students that have had less access to the cultural capital that are referenced in these exams start out on an uneven playing field compared to those who have had more opportunities to be exposed to topics in these exams.”

That said, will Seattle U return to requiring test scores in the future?

I feel stronger than ever that standardized testing is not the way to go for us in higher education. Seattle U went test optional last May for undergraduate programs, and that will remain a permanent policy. We've extended the test optional policy another year for our master's and doctoral programs in the non-law areas, and we'll decide on whether to make that permanent after this year.

Will some courses continue to be offered virtually when campus reopens?

I believe they will for a few reasons. In some situations, a virtual or hybrid environment lends itself well to content delivery and makes a program more accessible. This is probably most true at the graduate level. Depending on where the governor's guidance lands and what our requirements will be for physical distancing, some courses may be offered online or in a hybrid format based on space availability.

Despite the uncertainty that's existed across the higher education landscape around student enrollment and retention due to COVID, Seattle U's numbers for the fall are better than projected. What do you attribute this to?

Fall enrollment numbers, based on deposits received, are considerably better than projected at this point, and I think that's due to a few factors. First, in course evaluations, our students rated the quality of their courses more highly during the COVID period than pre-COVID. So, we know they’ve had a strong, positive academic experience. Secondly, I think students are ready to come and engage with the university and with one another.
I also believe that Seattle U—who we are, our mission and our values—is the university for these times. When we look at our commitments and our work in areas like diversity, equity and inclusion, sustainability, the environment and other areas that resonate with this generation of college-bound students, Seattle U, including our location, is a place they want to be.

In your opinion, have Seattle U alumni served an ambassador role that has impacted fall enrollment numbers?

I believe our alumni play a highly significant role in Seattle University's success, and they do that in several ways. First and foremost, they do serve as ambassadors for the university by sharing their Seattle U experience with their networks and their communities, and talking with people about Seattle U. In many cases, our alumni are employers of our graduates. They also help us with internships and externships and mentor our students. As we emerge from COVID, our hope is to deepen and strengthen the university’s relationship with our alumni. They are critically important to our academic programs.

 

 

Alumni Impact The Campaign for the Uncommon Good

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 10, 2021 at 11:06 AM PDT

Image of Chris Canlas, ’00, and Rob Nielsen, ’07With just a few weeks left until the close of The Campaign for the Uncommon Good, Seattle University’s largest comprehensive campaign ever, we are excited to share that we have raised over $293 million, far surpassing our $275 million goal. Seattle U alumni have played a crucial role—46 percent of all donors to the campaign are alumni.

The Alumni Campaign Task Force was charged with engaging alumni in the campaign, not only through giving, but through volunteerism, event attendance and more. Led by task force co-chairs Chris Canlas, ’00, and Rob Nielsen, ’07, the task force made significant contributions including creating systems that helped the university to more easily bring alumni into the life of the university.

When the campaign went public in 2019, they proactively invited alumni into programs like Seattle U Gives, our annual day of giving, and Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge (OMFM). Through OMFM, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., challenged 10,000 alumni to connect, volunteer and give to the university by June 30, 2021. With data still coming in, 9,397 alumni have answered the call, surpassing our previous high by 34 percent.

Both Rob and Chris are excited about the success of the task force and Seattle University Alumni Association in engaging more alumni than ever before—as well as the diversity and quality of programs available for our alumni. “I could not have imagined the great ways that our alumni relations would improve since I joined the task force in 2015. We have more ways to get involved than we ever had and we can meet more alumni ‘where they’re at’ to find opportunities to participate and give back to SU,” shared Rob.

Chris agreed, noting that, “We often feel that our alma mater only reaches out when they are engaged in fundraising. However, in the past few years, Seattle U has new found ways to involve its alumni population in more meaningful and relational ways, and less transactional.”

As they look forward to the future of Seattle U, Chris and Rob invite alumni to come back to campus, get involved and put Seattle U Gives on your calendar (February 24, 2022). “Participate!” invites Rob. “Your alma mater wants to better serve and connect with you and would love to find a way to put your skills, talents, and expertise to better use through service.”

One way to connect soon is to celebrate the successful close of the campaign by viewing the campaign feature on Tuesday, June 29. Visit the campaign website on June 29 for more details.

 

Joe Schultz, ’06, Opens Home and Heart to International Student in Need

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 10, 2021 at 11:06 AM PDT

Alumnus Hameed Makttoff smiles in the sunlightWhen Joe Schultz, ’06, saw a Renton High School track coach’s Facebook post seeking a room to rent for an international high school student in need, he didn’t hesitate to respond.

“My undergrad experience at Seattle U inspired me to share my home,” Schultz explains. “I am from a culturally homogenous town in Montana and SU opened my eyes to a broader world of people, places and ideas, what we should expect of ourselves and of society. I wanted to help and my wife, Vanessa, and I had an extra room.”

The student, Hameed Makttoof, ’20, had escaped war-ravaged Sadr City, Iraq, and landed in Seattle via United Nations guaranteed safe passage. At the time he was 16-years-old, alone, illiterate and unable to speak English. A social services organization placed him in a group home with other youth in the foster care system and enrolled him at Renton High School as a freshman. He took three English Language Learner (ELL) courses each day and joined the cross country and track teams. He was a talented runner.

A year later, a frightening racist encounter with a group home employee drove him to seek new living accommodations. Makttoof moved in with Joe and Vanessa, both special education teachers at Chief Sealth International High School, as an18-year-old sophomore.

“We weren’t sure what our relationship would be—parental or landlord/tenant,” Joe says. But Hameed quickly became part of our family, and Vanessa and I became like an older sister and brother to him.”

The Schultz’s transferred Makttoof to Chief Sealth High School, which has a strong ELL program and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse student bodies in Washington State. Joe and Vanessa took turns tutoring Makttoof at home, often one cooking dinner while the other worked with him. “Education was a beacon to Hameed, and he worked harder than anyone I’d ever met,” Joe says. In 2016, Makttoof graduated high school.

He enrolled at Central Washington University on a track scholarship, but the demands of college athletics and a heavy academic schedule became overwhelming, and his grades began to spiral downward. Always supportive, Joe told Makttoof about a Seattle U program he’d learned of called Fostering Scholars.

“I had read about the program in The Seattle Times and Seattle U publications,” he says. “Fostering Scholars appeared to provide a very supportive environment for promising students who had been in the foster care system and needed some extra support in transitioning to college life. The program provided financial, academic and personal assistance while students worked towards an undergraduate degree and navigated adulthood. It sounded like just the thing for Hameed. Plus, Seattle U is close to our home.”

Joe connected Makttoof with Colleen Montoya Barbano, director of the Fostering Scholars Program, and she was struck by Makttoof’s determination to do what it took to be at Seattle U. He returned to Central for a quarter and took the upper-level classes in math, science and psychology, his area of interest, that SU undergraduate admissions had advised, earning straight A’s. He applied and was accepted to Seattle U and the Fostering Scholars program as a transfer student.

In June 2020, Makttoof graduated from Seattle U in with a BA in psychology. He was on the Dean’s List and received the Bayanihan Award for Community Service and Involvement. Later that summer he was notified of his acceptance to graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he recently completed his first year in the PhD Clinical Psychology program. Makttoof received his U.S. citizenship in 2019.

The Schultz’s demonstration of the Jesuit value of cura personalis (care for the whole person) in their relationship with Makttoof and Joe’s role in connecting Makttoof to the life-changing Fostering Scholars Program are beautiful examples of how this alumnus engaged with the very heart of Seattle U.

 

Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge Comes to a Successful Close

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 10, 2021 at 11:06 AM PDT

Collage of Colina Bruce, the Alumni and Students of Color (ASOC) and Women of SU members

As the comprehensive Campaign for the Uncommon Good approached its final year, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., challenged the Seattle University Alumni Association to engage 10,000 alumni with the university through connecting, volunteering and giving by June 30. We are proud to announce that 10,401 (and counting) alumni have joined the Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge! Thank you for making this initiative a success.

Over the past several months the SU Voice has shared stories of alumni responding to this challenge and below are three more examples of the impact our alumni have made in the last year. And if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to get involved, there are still a few weeks left before Our Moment for Mission officially comes to a close on June 30.

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Alumni and Students of Color: a new paradigm for community

Seattle University taught me how to create community. That’s one of its gifts to me. Everywhere I’ve gone in my professional life, I’ve created a community that provided the support I needed. Now I want to support others.

– Shasti Conrad, ‘07


A new alumni group is currently in formation at Seattle U, one that sets aside traditional structures associated with organizations in favor of community. Alumni and Students of Color (ASOC) will provide a safe, welcoming space for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) alumni and students to mingle and engage in conversation with others who share similar experiences in grappling with race-related challenges both within a Seattle U context and beyond.

“So many of us are used to having to claim power in spaces or come in with an agenda in order to be seen or heard,” says ASOC co-founder Shasti Conrad, ’07. “That’s not what ASOC is about. We don’t want to be a performance-based group. It’s not about delivering specific results; it’s about creating space for it.”

Co-founder Rita Bruce, ’75, concurs. “We will lead with trust and move at the speed of trust in building community. It’s important that we form groups to “do,” but ASOC is forming to “be.” Out of “being,” and anchored in Jesuit values, we will serve. We are alumni-driven and will serve an untapped wealth of BIPOC alumni; through this service we will mentor and welcome-in students of color.”

While Seattle U does have established affinity groups for alumni of color, including African-American, Filipino and Indigenous alumni, ASOC is intended to serve as an umbrella community for all these groups, and to amplify what each group is doing.

“We’re greater together,” Conrad explains. “You need numbers to enact change. ASOC is also a place where alums can be honest about ways that Seattle U needs to grow and do better. How can SU demonstrate its commitment to being more equitable and create a platform to uplift alumni and students of color? ASOC provides a way for the university to be part of the solution at a time that we’re grappling with racial justice in this country.”

ASOC’s 15-member steering committee is comprised of alumni from different backgrounds who have been gathering virtually since the beginning of the year. Still very much in formation, ASOC hopes to begin active outreach in the fall.

For more information about Alumni and Students of Color contact Shasti Conrad, shasti.conrad@gmail.com or Rita Bruce, 5rfbruce@gmail.com. 

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Colina Bruce, ’07, ’15, Supports Access to Education with Black History Month Periodt.

While isolating at home during the pandemic, many people discovered a new hobby that brought them joy and a renewed sense of purpose. Colina Bruce, ’07, ’15, decided to transform her hobby into a new home business. She launched Noir Lux Candle Co. on Labor Day, September 7, 2020, turning her love of handcrafting small-batch soy candles in joyful nostalgic scents into an online for-profit venture. It’s a new direction for Bruce, who has worked in the non-profit sector her entire career, but she’s not abandoning her roots.

Bruce partners with non-profit organizations, helping them to raise funds that support their mission through her “Candles for a Cause” collection. Each candle is themed and comes with a custom label. Bruce researches aromatherapy blends and essential oils to create fragrances she feels represent the mission of each partner organization.

Seattle University’s Black Student Union (BSU) is one of Bruce’s partner organizations. This year, BSU members decided to amplify the call for diversity, equity and inclusion through the university’s first Black-serving scholarship initiative. The BSU scholarship aims to help recruit and retain Black and African-American students with demonstrated financial need. The organization’s goal is to create a $200,000 endowed scholarship. Bruce serves as an advisor to BSU.

“I wanted to support the scholarship effort, so I asked the students if I could donate 10 percent of proceeds from a candle I would custom-make for BSU and promote on my website during the month of February, which is Black History Month,” she says. “They were excited about that.”

The candle Bruce created is called, “Black History Month Periodt.” The word “month” is intentionally crossed out. “We celebrate Black History Month every year,” Bruce explains, “but it feels like one month is not enough time to really dive into the accomplishments of Black folks. So rather than celebrating and amplifying Black History Month, I wanted to make the statement that Black history is history period, and we should acknowledge it year-round.”

The candle’s fragrance is called Caribbean teakwood, which contains amber, ginger and musk. “It really embodies what I think of when I think of Black culture,” she says, “strong, fragrant, diverse, complex, significant.”

BSU members also promoted the candle through their social media. A donor offered to match funds raised through candle sales throughout the month of February, which brought total funds raised through the candle funding stream to $1,000.00. Bruce plans to continue supporting BSU through sales of the Black History Month Periodt. candle each February.

Why is it important for Bruce to stay engaged with Seattle U as an alumna? “As a college student, I was always looking for mentors or for opportunities to network with professionals who looked like me, who had an experience that was similar or different from mine, and who was doing well,” she says. “It was encouraging and motivating. So now when I have any sort of platform, I want to utilize it not just to tell my own story, but to give current students hope and an opportunity to visualize their future selves achieving success.”

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Women of Seattle U Establishes First Alumni Community-Driven Scholarship Endowment

The Women of SU, an alumnae affinity group with a mission to lead, empower, serve and grow, aligned with the university’s comprehensive Campaign for the Uncommon Good in 2018 to establish an endowed scholarship for students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Theirs is the first-ever scholarship initiative driven by an alumni community at Seattle U.

“The initiative evolved through our members’ desire to support current and future students while we also worked to build our alumnae community,” says Mary Gorjance, past president, Women of SU. “We looked to the College of Science and Engineering (CSE), given Seattle U’s enhanced emphasis on STEM education and the campaign’s initiative to build a flagship Center for Science and Innovation. When we also discovered that every department in the CSE at that time was headed by a woman, we saw our scholarship as integral to a Seattle U legacy of support for women and other underrepresented students in STEM education.”

The group’s fundraising efforts were complicated by the COVID pandemic, which eliminated in-person events. However, University Advancement’s annual Seattle U Gives fundraiser, which happens 100 percent online, provided an even more important stream of support during 2021.

“Seattle U Gives is a 24-hour grassroots, momentum-building event supporting a number of university funds,” says Gorjance, who currently serves on the Alumni Board of Governors. “Women of SU was able to promote our scholarship and inspire alumnae, family and friends to support it with whatever they could afford. We want our scholarship recipients to feel there are thousands of alumnae behind them as they pursue their studies at Seattle U.”

Seattle U Gives experienced its most successful year in 2021. A total of 22 gifts were made to the Women of SU Scholarship, unlocking an additional $5,000 challenge gift to the scholarship fund.

Women of SU has surpassed the required $50,000 goal to fully fund an endowment, raising $70,000 in under three years. The initial scholarship recipient will be announced in fall 2021. The alumnae group hopes to continue growing the endowment and the number of students it can help each year through future donor contributions.

 

Your Alumni Benefits 2021

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 10, 2021 at 11:06 AM PDT

Once a Redhawk, always a Redhawk! The Seattle University Alumni Association is here to support you at every stage of your journey with a broad array of exciting, worthwhile and money-saving benefits.

A male alumni talks with another alumni mentor

Professional Development

Mentoring
Redhawk Landing is your place to find a mentor or volunteer to mentor a student or fellow alum through short- or long-term engagements.

Career Coaching
You have unlimited access to career coaching appointments through the Career Engagement Center up to one year after graduation.

Career Workshops
Tools for Transition alumni career workshop and Career Conversations are offered throughout the year to support you in changing your career path and learning new professional skills. For our upcoming sessions, visit our Events page.

LinkedIn
Build your network by connecting with nearly 9,000 alumni professionals on our LinkedIn group.

Two recent GOLD alums smile during an event in a building on campus

Alumni Communities

GOLD – Graduates of the Last Decade
Seattle U GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) provides recent alumni connections to other alumni and the university through community gatherings, service opportunities and professional development. To stay updated on GOLD activities, follow GOLD on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Alumni Chapters and Affinity Groups
Join our alumni communities to build connections and benefit from the power of participating in an alumni network. Our many regional chapters, affinity groups and alliances engage alumni based on shared location, interests and identities.

A postgraduate student talks with a professor

Lifelong Learning

Alumni Audit Program
Missing the classroom learning experience? As an alum, you can audit undergraduate courses for a nominal fee ($35 or $55 per course).

Library Access
SU alumni can check out books from the Lemieux Library. Access to the catalog is available from the library's website. 

A group of alums hold an oversized Seattle U license plate

Spirit and Pride

Seattle U License Plates
Are you living in Washington State? Show your Redhawk pride and support student scholarships with a Seattle U license plate.

Seattle University Credit Card          
Seattle U alums, parents and friends are eligible to apply for the Seattle U Visa® Rewards credit card—the only credit card that supports the Seattle University Alumni Association with every purchase!

A zumba class dances in a UREC studio

Discounts

Auto, Home and Rental Insurance
Seattle University alumni receive a discount on GEICO auto, home and rental 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, the 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
As an alum of Seattle University, you can use the facilities at the Eisiminger Fitness Center and take fitness classes with an alumni gym membership.

Hotels
Alumni visiting campus can take advantage of discounts at Seattle-area hotels including The Sorrento, The Crowne PlazaSilver Cloud Hotel (Broadway) and Springhill Suites. Mention your Seattle University alumni status to receive a discounted rate.
 

Jumpstart your professional development!

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 10, 2021 at 11:06 AM PDT

As you prepare to graduate, you are probably thinking about what’s next. Seattle University has two offerings to prepare you for your job search! 

Level Up Your LinkedIn

Hosted by the Seattle University Alumni Association

Exclusively for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, Level Up Your LinkedIn will help you optimize your LinkedIn profile to spotlight your most valuable skills and jumpstart your professional journey. Even if you're not looking for employment right now, this class can help you stay current, supporting your professional development for years to come.

Our popular career coach, Elizabeth Atcheson of Blue Bridge Consulting, will be presenting.

Tuesday, June 29
4-6 p.m. PDT
Online via Zoom

Here's what you'll get:

  • A clear understanding of why LinkedIn is so important and specifically what recruiters look for
  • Tips on using LinkedIn to build and strengthen your professional network
  • Advice on content for key sections including Headline, About, Experience, and Education
  • Perspective on your head shot and background photo – key elements to differentiate you
  • Specific advice for applying to jobs on LinkedIn and using Messaging to get into interview pools
  • A two-page worksheet to complete ahead of time and a detailed LinkedIn checklist

Career Kickstarter Camp

Hosted by the Seattle University Career Engagement Office

Graduates seeking jobs and internships are invited to a one-day conference to work on resumes, cover letters, interviewing and navigating the job market while networking and building community with their fellow Redhawk students and alumni. Registration is required.

Wednesday, June 23
10 a.m.-3 p.m. PDT
Online via Zoom