SU Voice Alumni Blog

Haunted Seattle University

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on October 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM PDT

Among Seattle U residents, staff and alumni, legends of ghosts are whispered in hushed tones every time an empty elevator mysteriously opens, the lights switch off or a door slams. Are these ghosts or merely our nerves getting the best of us? In the spirit of Halloween, we thought we’d let you decide.

After nearly 125 years as an institution, each building on campus has its own stories passed from one generation of residents to the next. According to a former RA and RHA staff member, there’s more than just school spirit in Campion Hall.

Rumor has it that the ghost of a female student, whose life was tragically cut short, haunts the 10th floor.

According to the campus legend, handprints appear on windows, the elevator doors open late at night to reveal no passengers, and some students have even claimed seeing the girl in her former room. The exact room number remains a mystery, to prevent undue panic, but it’s said this one room has a higher than average turn-over rate.

“About eight years ago, a sensitive RA had a séance with the girl and asked her to stop bothering everyone.”

Questions remain as to if the séance worked or if the girl still lingers on the 10th floor.

Take a walk down the hill from Campion, and you’ll find yourself at Chardin. Once the Bessie Burton Sullivan Skilled Nursing Residence for the elderly, it is now a residence hall that also houses classrooms, labs and meeting spaces. When a place bears witness to the final moments of so many souls, it’s bound to leave a lasting impression on a place. Though remodeled, the building still holds the telltale physical signs of its former life, including a double-sided elevator designed to easily move caskets carrying the deceased in and out of the building. In the residential suites, fixed above the beds, you’ll find electrical outlets, placed high to accommodate respirators and other life supporting machines.

But what about those who passed away within its halls, have any spirits lingered?

According to Maria Ochoa, current Assistant-Director of Magis and former resident-minister who once lived in Chardin, the presence of the departed is felt by those now living there.

“I had students come to me saying that they experienced things. I’ve also heard there was an RA who saw an old woman in one of the windows. At one point I had two ROTC students come visit me, because one of the boys felt that there was the presence of something dark in his room. He said a dark shadowy man would appear from time to time and it would really freak him out.”

As a resident, Maria had her own brushes with the paranormal. While getting ready in her bathroom one morning, she felt a hand brush against her arm, giving her chills. A few days later, Maria had another encounter, in her bathroom. While brushing her teeth before bed, a shampoo bottle flew out of the shower and landed at the other end of her bathroom.

Fr. Mike Bayard, Jesuit in-residence in Chardin, has been approached by students who’ve had lights switch off and on, doors slam, or who feel a presence following them up the staircase.

“You always feel like there is someone with you on the stairs.” Fr. Mike said. “I myself have had two experiences in the building. Shortly after moving into Chardin, I was in bed reading when my room was filled with the smell of an old woman’s perfume. I am not an old woman and I don’t wear perfume so it obviously wasn’t mine. I live in Chardin year round, and in the summer I’m often the only one there. But at night, as I close my door and get ready for bed, I can hear people shuffling back and forth outside my room on the top floor.”

While Fr. Mike acknowledges a presence in the building, he isn’t ever frightened by it. “Students ask me to preform blessings to get rid of the spirits, but this is how I see it – this was a nursing home. These were good people. We’ve already asked them to move once - we shouldn’t do it again.”

So the next time you visit campus and a door slams, the lights flash, or a hand brushes your arm it might be a former Seattle U resident just saying, “Hello.”   
Have you experienced any ghostly activity during your time at Seattle U? Share it with us in the comments!

Alumni Spotlight: Stefanie McIrvin, '11 - Ghost Hunter

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on October 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM PDT

You might not know it to look at her, but 2011 Masters, Public Administration alumna, Stefani McIrvin, is a ghost hunter.

Yes, you read that right, a ghost hunter. While her day job might consist of managing things in Seattle University’s I.T. office, Stefanie has a passion for the paranormal.
Her fascination with the other side began at an early age, when her older sister purchased a historical mansion built in the 1800’s in Spokane, known as the Judge Nash House. She moved into the house at age 5 with her dad and three siblings.

“There were a lot of things that couldn’t be explained, that we all experienced while living in the house. Doors would open and close by themselves. The tea kettle would steam and whistle on the stove, even if there was no water in it. We would hear dance music coming from the ballroom and there would be no one inside. We’d also hear piano music coming from the parlor – my sister didn’t own a piano.”

Stefanie said that despite the weird happenings, and the occasional apparition of a maid or handyman, the house felt like home and the hauntings just became part of life. “The spirits were nice. If you lost something, you’d leave the room to go look for it and find it sitting on the table when you returned. It was like they were trying to help you out.”

While the house she grew up in made her a believer, she didn’t start hunting ghosts until she moved into an older home in West Seattle. “We moved into a house in 2007 and it was a very different kind of haunting. We’d hear heavy footsteps on the stairs, banging from inside the walls and screams coming from the basement.”

The malevolent nature of this haunting caused Stefanie and her now husband, Ryan, to look for ways to capture the events happening in their home. They set up cameras and attempted to record what they were hearing. In their efforts to document their haunting, the couple connected with other paranormal enthusiasts online, who invited Stefanie and Ryan on an official ghost hunt in Nevada at the Goldfield Hotel.

In 2008, they joined their fellow ghost hunters in the small mining town of Goldfield for a 2-night investigation. Their companions were Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin who would later go on to achieve fame through their Travel Channel show, “Ghost Adventures.”

The Goldfield Hotel has been out of operation since the 1940’s and has earned itself a reputation for paranormal activity. On the second night of their investigation, Stefanie and Ryan agreed to be locked inside alone.

During their lock-in, a rock was thrown at Ryan, followed by the sound of footsteps retreating quickly down a staircase. They also heard the loud clamor of footsteps and voices coming from the lobby. When the couple, who thought it was their friends retrieving them, headed to the front desk, they found the lobby empty and silent with the door still locked. Ryan began the investigation as a skeptic, but ended as believer in the paranormal.

Stefanie and Ryan continue to explore haunted locations, including a trip to the Eastern State Penitentiary and a stay in a haunted hotel in Placerville California.

“Do I get scared ghost hunting? Sure. But I think it’s because Hollywood teaches us that the paranormal is scary and dangerous and there’s a basic human fear of the unknown, but I think it’s more exciting than scary.” Stefanie said. “I really do think there’s more out there than we can see.”

A Legacy Story

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on October 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM PDT

Marilyn Gedda ,’57 met her husband Jerome Hueffed, ’53, ’65, at Seattle University as a fifth year teaching student. “We were both in school at Seattle University. I parked behind him and we walked to class together. After class we went to get coffee. That was in June, by August we were engaged, and by Christmas we were married.”  That was the beginning of not only Marilyn and Jerome’s story, but of a family legacy.
Marilyn and Jerome went on to have four children; Jean, ’89, Stephen,’88, ’95, Julie, ‘90 and Joe,’93,’98. All four went on to attend Seattle University at some point in their education, following in their parents’ footsteps. 

“I was always going to go to Seattle University. All my friends went there.  It was a wonderful experience.  I do think the fact that it was part of our family played a role in our children deciding to go there,” Marilyn said.

Stephen went on to get two degrees at Seattle University. As a student at Seattle Prep and a member of the Matteo Ricci program, Stephen always had his sights set on Seattle U.
“My time at Seattle University was a fabulous experience and I’ve continued to be impressed by how the school has continued to develop and grow,” Stephen said. While he did not meet his wife on campus, he did go on to marry her in the Chapel of St. Ignatius.
As a member of a legacy family, Stephen feels that the family tradition helps add to the fabric of a university.

“Seattle University has done a great job fostering Seattle U legacies, as well as attracting first generation and international students. It’s a balancing act. You want legacy members who can act as a bridge to the history of a university and remember where it came from, while also introducing new students who can create a more diverse and stronger student body.”
Stephen’s brother, Joe, was drawn to Seattle University for its academic excellence, prime location in Seattle and its small class sizes.

 “My family placed a high value on small classes and academics above athletics, which is what I really liked about Seattle University.  At one point, I asked myself if I was attending Seattle U because my parents and family did, but I realized it was what I wanted. I felt good about the mission, Jesuit values and being connected to a bigger community of social justice.”
Looking back on their education now, both brothers agree that it’s one they are proud of and they’d be thrilled if their children continued the family legacy at Seattle University.
Are you part of a Seattle University legacy family? We’d like to invite you to celebrate your legacy with us as we institute a new tradition and honor our Seattle U families with a Legacy Reception and pinning ceremony on November 1stat 6:00 p.m. in the LeRoux Room at Seattle University. Event and registration details are available online.

Alumni Only Career Fair: RECRUIT Seattle

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on September 5, 2013 at 12:09 PM PDT


Thursday, Sept 12, 2013 |11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Seattle Center- 354 1st Avenue | San Juan Room - Northwest Rooms Building

Put on by MyWorkster, this career fair only invites alumni from four year universities.  At similar events in the past, 94% of attendees said they would go to another MyWorkster job fair and 57% landed an interview or job as a result of attending.

There are currently 10 universities and colleges participating and we expect more than 50 top companies from the Seattle area with hundreds of open positions will be present. They are looking to recruit graduates from Seattle University for their companies.

Network with alumni from nine other schools and representatives from:
Amazon, Zillow, Mutual of Omaha, Averro, Xerox, Paychex, Blue Cross, Verizon, Staples, Verizon,, Comcast, Regus, Symetra, Holland America Lines, Optimum Energy, Emeritus Senior Living and many more.

Registration information and a complete list of companies attending can be found online.

A Look at the New Core

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on September 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM PDT


How would you like to take a class called, “Sociological Digest: The Sociology of Food,” “Knowing What We Cannot See: Electricity,” or “Occupy the Parthenon! Religion and Protest in the Ancient World?” These are just some of the course options open to the students in the new Core Curriculum.

“After 25 years (with our current Core), it was clear we are a different university, our students are different, our world is different, the academic disciplines in the Core have evolved, and this is an opportunity to reshape it from the ground up,” explained new Core Director, Dr. Jeffrey Philpott.

Dr. Philpott sat down with us to explain just how the Seattle University educational experience is evolving with the introduction of the new Core curriculum compared to our alumni’s experiences of the last 25 years. “If an alum were to come back as a student, the three major differences they would see in their education would first be a greater focus on inquiry and how to ask questions. Classes are also smaller, with a maximum of 19 students in a class, which will invite more interaction.

 Secondly they’d see that there is more choice and flexibility. Where all students were required to take the same courses previously, now they can choose from a wide variety of courses with a broader representative of disciplines and faculty than ever before. All students will be learning the same objectives and values in these courses, but they’ll be taught in different ways. 212 faculty members have created new courses, allowing students to choose from over 350 course options to meet their core requirements.

And finally there’s a greater representation of faculty and disciplines represented in the core. There are class offerings across campus and departments that were never involved before. Students can be studying finance but learning Jesuit-values.”

The new core has four learning objectives:

1. Every student will have good background knowledge of the Jesuit-Catholic tradition. Students will reflect on questions of meaning, spirituality, ethics, values, and justice.

2. Students will understand where knowledge comes from and how to take part in inquiry. They’ll be active participants in the process of discovering knowledge, so that they are engaged learners.

3. Communication – Students will learn the tools to take what’s in their head and put it out into the world, with a focus on advocacy, writing, speaking and teamwork.
4. Global engagement – Students will understand issues confronting the world and how to be active agents for change. They will develop a basic understanding of how to interact with those from other cultural backgrounds. And study abroad will be made much easier; students can potentially fulfill all of their ’Engaging the World’ requirements while studying abroad.

When Dr. Philpott shared the new core with faculty and staff at Mission Day, the response was overwhelmingly positive. “I want to go back to school just so I can study those courses,” a Seattle University alumna, turned staff member, said.

“My hope is that the Core becomes a visible, signature program for the university,” said Philpott. The Core is the central educational experience of our undergraduates, and it’s an important part of our identity and educational mission. It is, in many ways, a cutting-edge Core. It uses best practices based in research. I think this is a Core that will get noticed by other universities. It will get noticed by parents of students as something distinctive about a Seattle University education.”

Parents definitely did take notice when Dr. Philpott explained the new Core to prospective students and parents at the Accepted Students Open House. “As a parent, I was really impressed. It was the kind of education my son would be engaged by, and one that I think would really help him learn the material,” Corinne Pann, a prospective parent shared.

An in depth overview of the core and class offerings can be found online.

What do you think of the new core? Are these they types of classes you’d be interested in auditing?

Alumni Seminar Series

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on September 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM PDT

Seattle University’s curriculum is designed to make students active participants in their education, creating life-long learners. As alumni, Seattle University invites you back to the classroom to continue that learning without the distraction of grades or papers with the Alumni Seminar Series.

This fall, seminar participants will enjoy exploring the timely topic, “Uncertainty and Turmoil in the Middle East.” You’ll go beyond the headlines with History Professor Carmen Gitre and Law Professors Won Kidane and Russell Powell for a provocative look at events taking place in the Middle East and their effects beyond their borders. This series begins meeting on Tuesday, October 1st.

Alumni who have participated before will know these impactful seminars are nothing new.  Fr. David Leigh, S.J., has been heading the Alumni Seminar Series for the College of Arts and Sciences since 1983. Modeled after the Seattle University Honors Program, the alumni seminar program has evolved into a quarterly series, led by Seattle University faculty members.

The focus shifts each quarter. In the fall, there is usually an emphasis on the human person. Topics include theology, philosophy or history. For winter, participants are invited to examine relevant social issues, such as emerging economies or social trends. For the readers among you, the focus shifts to literature in the spring.

“What makes the seminar series so engaging, is that everyone who is there, is there because they have a love of learning,” said program director, Fr. Leigh. “I also like to offer a discount to those in the teaching profession, as re-exploring things like literature can really benefit them in the classroom.”

This series includes six, two hour and thirty-minute sessions, parking, refreshments and course materials for $240. If you are interested in attending any upcoming seminar series, please contact to learn more.  

SU Alumna Directs First Nativity School in Seattle

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on September 4, 2013 at 3:09 PM PDT

Seattle Nativity School - Jesuit Values for the Next Generation

Led by Seattle University alumna and Executive Director, Renee Willette, ‘13, the Seattle Nativity School opened its doors to its first ever class of middle school students on September 3rd.  Seattle Nativity School is a Catholic, Jesuit-endorsed STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) middle school that serves exclusively low-income families.

"The mission of the Seattle Nativity School is to break the cycle of poverty through education. We are nurturing hope in the lives of our students, their families and communities by using the Jesuit criteria to educate the whole person,” said Seattle Nativity School President, Father Joseph Carver, S.J.

Spiritual and intellectual growth, love and a commitment to justice are values ingrained in the foundation of the school and its educational structure. 

Seattle Nativity School has deep roots in the Seattle University community. In addition to Willette, several members of the school’s board are alumni or members of the SU community, including Rev. Peter Ely, S.J., Diane Kocer ’82, George Hofbauer,’85. President Joseph Carver, S.J. may not be a Seattle University alum, but he’s taken courses at Seattle U and is the newest resident of the Jesuit residence on campus, Arrupe House.


Father Pedro Arrupe once said that a Jesuit school’s biggest asset is its alumni. Those alumni who are not engaged in their communities  fail to realize Arrupe’s vision. This vision is realized when we educate young men and women  -- so they’ll become a transformational force in society. And aren’t those values the reason why so many chose a Seattle University education?

There are many ways for Seattle U alumni to get involved with our school,” Carver said. “We need people who are willing to donate their time to help tutor our students in reading and math, to share STEM expertise, to become class mentors or to join us for a ‘work party.’”

There are currently 60 nativity schools, across 22 states, but the Seattle Nativity School is the first school of its kind in Seattle. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle Nativity School or want to get involved, you can visit their website.  

Alumni Spotlight: John Boyle '02

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on September 4, 2013 at 1:09 PM PDT

With football season ready to kick off, John Boyle is the perfect recent alumnus for us to highlight.  John graduated from Seattle University in 2002 with a degree in Economics, but he did not go on to crunch numbers. Instead, he writes about the bone-crunching action of the Seattle Seahawks as the sports reporter for the Everett Herald.

As a student, John took elective English classes and spent his senior year working on the Spectator.   “I feel like part of the reason I’m able to have a career in a field unrelated to my major is that Seattle U does a good job encouraging a well-rounded education, regardless of your course of study.”

What stands out most to John about his time at Seattle University are the long-lasting friendships he made and the community he built.  While not something John was acutely aware of as a student, he’s felt the impact of the Jesuit-education in his work. It shapes the way he writes about a person-he sees the bigger picture and tries to capture the whole person for his stories.  

“I love my job. I get to attend games and be behind the scenes. I’ve covered the Olympics, the Sounders, the Mariners and of course, the Seattle Seahawks. I think what I like most about my job is the variety. I know people who have to do the same thing day to day at their job, but I’ve never experienced that in mine.”

 As someone who has a career he loves, his advice to the next generation of Seattle U graduates is  “Pursue something you’re passionate about. You’ll be happier that way.”

And for you Seahawks fans, John said that the team is one of the most talented in the NLF and it’s hard to imagine them doing anything but great this season.

Are you an alum that would like to be featured in a recent-alumni spotlight?  Contact us at and tell us why you’d make a great story

Alumni & Family Weekend, '63 and '03 Reunions

Posted by Corinne Pann on August 14, 2013 at 12:08 PM PDT

Join us November 1, 2, & 3 for Alumni and Family weekend and 10th and 50th reunion celebrations for the classes of 2003 and 1963.

You are invited back to campus to reconnect with Seattle U friends, see all the changes on campus (a lot has changed even since 2003!), mingle with students, and rekindle your school spirit.

We have a full calendar of events planned for the weekend.  Here are some highlights:

Friday, November 1st, 2013
Legacy Reception 
Are you a Seattle U alum and parent of a current student?  Or were your parents or grandparents also alumni?  We are celebrating our legacy students and alumni at an exclusive reception where we will institute a new family tradition.  Bring your SU students and alumni family members to celebrate Seattle University legacies.

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
Class of 1963 Golden Reunion Luncheon
Celebrate 50 years!  We need your help to invite classmates and share photos and memories. Volunteer to support your reunion today!

Class of 2003 - 10th Reunion

Come home to celebrate your accomplishments with friends, food and good memories.  We have an evening reception planned, but would like your help planning an after party, inviting classmates and sharing photos.  Sign up to be a reunion volunteer today!

Filipino Alumni Chapter Reunion 
Members of the Filipino Alumni Chapter will return to campus for the Annual FAC Reunion. 

Stay tuned for an official invitation and a full schedule of weekend events. 

Recent Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Cannon Sedillo, '03

Posted by Corinne Pann on August 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM PDT

"I'm really excited to see old friends at our 10th reunion this fall," said Lauren Cannon Sedillo, a 2003 graduate of Seattle University and member of the Alumni Board of Governors.  Sedillo views this not only as an opportunity to reconnect with friends, but as a way to help other alumni reengage with the university.

Though she enjoyed her time at Seattle University, Lauren didn't stay involved right out of college or reflect on what her education had meant to her until she got some distance after graduation, and attended a public university.

Lauren continued her education, getting a masters in classics from the University of Washington. This gave her the opportunity to reflect on her Jesuit education. "At Seattle University there is significantly more emphasis on community outreach.  The need for community service is integrated into each program. It really is about living the mission. The focus is not just on your education, but about how you and your classmates are affecting the world. That's what it means to be Jesuit educated." Lauren has continued to live out the Jesuit mission these last four years, serving on the Executive Leadership Council for HopeLink, a nonprofit based in Redmond.

After a few years away from Seattle U, "I began running into SU community members," said Sedillo, "and started to realize how important those connections to my alma mater were. I wanted to keep those relationships going." It was these chance encounters that lead her to the Alumni Board of Governors. "I told them how I wanted to reconnect and they suggested that the board was a great place to start."

As a board member, Lauren has not only reconnected with Seattle University, but is helping others to do so as well. She is one of the first volunteers for her 2003 class reunion and is looking forward to helping others reconnect with the university and classmates at the reunion.

Are you a class of 2003 graduate? Do you want to join Lauren and help us plan your 10th reunion after party and spread the word to your classmates? Contact the Alumni Relations office