SU Voice Alumni Blog

Julián Castro

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on December 7, 2017 at 9:12 AM PST

Julian Castro


In the fall of 2012, Julián Castro, the young mayor of San Antonio, Texas, stood in front of a packed stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, and gave a rousing speech before the Democratic National Convention. He told the story of his grandmother, who came to the United States from Mexico and likely could not have imagined that her grandsons, Juli án and his twin brother Joaquin, would graduate from Stanford Law School and go on to lead successful political careers.

“The American dream is not a sprint or even a marathon, but a relay,” Castro said, touting his efforts to boost access to pre-kindergarten for San Antonio kids, and President Barack Obama’s work creates opportunities for underserved communities. He rallied the crowd to re-elect Obama, and in the process drew many comparisons to the president, who had given the convention speech eight years before.

Castro would go on to serve as Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked to bring homeownership within reach of more Americans and launched an initiative that brought internet access to public and low-income housing. (His brother won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.) Castro is now widely viewed as a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President.

On February 3, Juli án  Castro will come to Seattle University to Headline the Crosscut Festival, a two-day event that will put elected officials, business leaders, and cultural luminaries onstage with the region’s top journalists. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum will also be among the more than 70 speakers and panelists.

The event is a partnership between Seattle University and Crosscut, a nonprofit news website dedicated to spurring smart, civil dialog about the Northwest’s most pressing issues. For more information, or to buy tickets, go to

A Christmas Message from Fr. Steve

Posted by Stephen Sundborg, S.J. on December 6, 2017 at 1:12 PM PST

Fr. Steve at Advent Mass

The Advent season is one of joy and celebration. This year, it is especially true for me. You may have heard that Seattle University is celebrating my 20th anniversary as president. Twenty years offers much to reflect on. So many deep experiences of joy stand out.

Most importantly, I am grateful for all of you, our alumni. Do you know that in my tenure as president I’ve overseen the graduation of 44,000 students? I try to get to know as many students as I can. Each Seattle U class that I have had the honor to serve as president has taught me valuable lessons that have made me a better president.

I take great joy in students being able to attend Seattle University—to belong, to succeed, and to thrive—because of the Costco Scholarship Fund, the Sullivan and Bannan Scholarships, the almost miraculous Fostering and Alfie Scholarships, and dozens more scholarships. Our university leaps up in joy to be able to have these kinds of students among us, a diversity of deserving, needy, and dedicated students. They have transformed our university and made it so much better and more truly Jesuit because of who they have allowed us to serve.

I find joy in the development of several programs. Our Youth Initiative was truly blessed by God as it grew out of our being the first university in America to host a homeless encampment on campus. The School of Theology and Ministry continually surprises me in its ever-evolving and widening embracing of persons of all faiths, religions, commitments, and its remarkable bookfest, Search for Meaning. No college at Seattle University has more clearly claimed its place in these years in carrying out our mission than has the College of Science and Engineering, demonstrating how much science and engineering can do for the good of people.

Witnessing the intellectual passion of faculty and also of students—across all of our colleges and schools—in their scholarship and research brings me joy. A university is, after all, a matrix of intellectually passionate professors inviting and showing the way for students to find their own intellectual passions.

I have so much to be grateful and joyful for in this holy season. My prayer for all of you is that this Advent season brings you time to reflect with gratitude on what brings you joy and deserves celebrating.  Though you may have left campus, you are still a member of our Seattle University family and I wish our extended family everywhere a very merry Christmas. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers this holiday season and always.

Merry Christmas,

Stephen Sundborg, S.J.

Alumni Seminar Series 2018

Posted by College of Arts and Sciences on December 6, 2017 at 1:12 PM PST

Christian Unity and World Peace: Ecumenism and Dialogue Among World Religions after 500 Years

After 500 years of separation among Christians, 2017-18 marks the anniversary of the Reformation that began with the posting of theses at Wittenberg by Martin Luther.  This year also has highlighted several events of dialogues within Christianity between Protestants and Catholics, as well as dialogues between followers of world religions.  This seminar will feature presentations by several faculty  members at Seattle University who have participated in these events: Michael Trice, a Lutheran pastor  and teacher in the School of Theology and Ministry; Peter Ely, S. J., professor of theology and Seattle  University coordinator of inter-religious dialogue; Jeanette Rodriguez, professor of theology and  writer on the Jewish Holocaust; Marc Cohen, professor of philosophy; Ali Mian, professor of theology  and expert in The Qur’an; Russ Powell, professor of law and author of articles on Islam and the  Middle East; and Manuel Mejido, member of the School of Theology and Ministry where he directs the  Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs.    These faculty members will lead Alumni Seminars on Christian Unity, interreligious dialogue among Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other religious traditions, and the relationship of these movements to world peace in the twenty-first century.

The seminars will take place on the following Tuesdays in Winter Quarter, 2018: January 16, January 30,  February 13, February 27, and March 13.  The seminars are open to Seattle University alums and other college graduates in the Seattle area.  The will run from 6:00 to 8:00pm on the Seattle University campus.  The cost of attending the five-session seminar is $150, which includes parking, refreshments and reading materials.   Those interested in participating may register by email at

The Alumni Seminars are organized by the College of Arts and Sciences of Seattle University under the guidance of Professor David Leigh, SJ.

Alumni Spotlight: Rickey Leachman

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on December 6, 2017 at 12:12 PM PST

Rickey Leachman
When Rickey Leachman, ’16, transferred to Seattle U at age 24, his life felt worlds apart from that of his undergraduate peers. He had served five years in the U.S. Navy and had attended a St. Louis public high school with mostly African-American students. And was a recent transfer from a community college.

Rickey chose Seattle U in part because he “didn’t want to be another number.” He found a sense of community on campus when he discovered a collegium for transfer students. “Feeling I had a place on campus to go where I would see other students in the same predicament as I was made me feel like I was not the only one on campus.” Soon he became a Transfer Success Leader, reaching out to other transfer students to “build community throughout the year.”

Seeing Rickey’s diligence, a fellow veteran asked him to take over as VetCorps Navigator. Rickey’s own experience had taught him that other veterans were probably struggling just as he once had. “Most vets are not going to ask for help and then they have problems like I did. It’s not big stuff but if it starts to add up, you’re going to withdraw.”

Building community became a theme for Rickey, a psychology major who strongly believes in “perceived social support.” It’s one reason he was vice president of the Black Student Union. “… It’s a way of feeling connected to other African Americans on campus.”

A sense of community also drove the aspiring psychologist when he counseled homeless youth whose hardscrabble lives resembled his own. “I try to show those kids that if I can go to college, anybody can go to college.”

Rickey credits his Seattle U education with expanding his knowledge, which shapes the way he approaches situations with clients and furthers his career goals.

Since graduation, Rickey has gone on to become a medical case manager at Lifelong Aids Alliance. In his role, Rickey helps clients navigate barriers to receiving healthcare.

Rickey hopes to return to Seattle University to pursue a Masters in Psychology, so he can continue to make a difference and serve the needs of at-risk communities.


Spotlight: Kendra McDermott, '16

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 2, 2017 at 12:11 PM PDT

Spotlight: Kendra McDermott, ‘16



Kendra reading a magazine.

After struggling to pay her way through college, once living in her car to afford tuition, Kendra never envisioned graduate school as part of her life plan. After earning a degree in accounting, she found that climbing the corporate ladder did not suit her. Her prayers for direction and purpose were answered by a call to serve others. Years of volunteering opened her eyes to the need for healthcare in low-income communities. She felt compelled to make a difference working in frontline care as a nurse practitioner and sought a graduate program that would teach not just nursing skills but also how to advocate for her patients. Then a married mother with a toddler and a second child on the way, she found what she was looking for in Seattle University. A scholarship made it possible for her dreams to become a reality. As a student, Kendra’s goal was to work at the forefront of colon cancer detection for underserved geriatric populations. Since graduation, Kendra has realized her dream and is a nurse practitioner in gastroenterology at Swedish.

Exciting Season Ahead for Redhawk Basketball

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 2, 2017 at 10:11 AM PDT

Calling all Redhawks! The 2017-18 men’s basketball season is shaping up to be one to watch. It all starts Friday, November 10 at Saint Louis. This game will be the first with new Head Coach Jim Hayford at the helm. During WAC Media Day, Hayford said the Redhawks would be focusing on shooting a lot of threes, attacking the basket and dominant post play. This season will have fans on the edge of their seats. Don’t take our word for it, in a recent article, Hero Sports said, “The Seattle University Redhawks have become the most interesting basketball team in the Emerald City.”

It’s not just the action on the court you have to look forward to, but a season of alumni rallies and a chance to enjoy the newly renovated Connolly Center Complex, as the Redhawks prepare to host home games on campus and in KeyArena.

When asked, Coach Hayford said, “My desire is to build a basketball program that all of Seattle U's alumni will take great pride in. I want our games to be a meeting place for current students and alumni, something that draws people together.”

Get ready to show your Redhawk pride at this season’s alumni pre-game rallies and mark your calendars so you don’t miss a minute of the action.

Alumni Rallies
Saturday, December 16 v. Portland

Saturday, January 6 v. Grand Canyon

Saturday, February 3 v. Utah Valley
Homecoming Weekend

Jump-shot during Basketball Game

Seattle U’s Homecoming Gets a New Addition!

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 2, 2017 at 10:11 AM PDT

Homecoming Weekend may not be until January 31- February 4, 2018, but it’s never too early to mark your calendars and make plans to return to Seattle U.

As part of Homecoming, Seattle University will host the inaugural Crosscut Festival February 2-3. The festival, a signature event for SU Homecoming 2018, serves as a multi-faceted marquee event designed for students, alumni, faculty, staff and our community-at-large. Join some of the most influential and provocative thinkers in politics and business, as well as cultural luminaries and academics, interviewed live on stage by the region’s best journalists.  You can learn more at

We will still have your favorite Homecoming traditions including the Red Umbrella Parade, Homecoming Day of Service, Battle of the Bands, the Homecoming mega rally, basketball game and more.

So mark your calendars now! Homecoming Weekend 2018 is one you won’t want to miss. Keep an eye on the Homecoming webpage to get all of the latest details.

Updated Cross Cut Festival Flyer

Recipes to Sweeten Up Your Holiday Spread

Posted by Lucy Damkoehler, Bon Appetit Management Company on November 1, 2017 at 4:11 PM PDT

3 apple fritters on a plate

Apple Fritters
Lucy Damkoehler, Bon Appetit Management Company

Sick of boring old apple pie for the holidays? Change up your tradition by frying up these apple packed fried goodness! Start your holiday morning off right with a plate full of these with your favorite cup o’joe or finish your meal, pairing these with a chilled glass of Beaumes De Venise wine.


Makes 32 fritters
1 ½ cup bread flour, plus 3 cups to flour work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 ¼ teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
4 whole eggs
8 oz or 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 large apples
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
8 cups vegetable oil for frying


  • Mix together in a medium-size bowl with a wooden spoon 1 ½ cups bread flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, yeast and eggs until all the flour is mixed in.
  • Flour your work surface using the extra 3 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time.
  • Pour the dough on to the floured surface, dust the top with another ½ cup flour and begin to knead.
  • The dough is going to be very sticky. Knead it until all the flour on the surface is gone, then add another ½ cup, until you have used 2 cups. Your dough will still be sticky, but workable.
  • Now take the diced butter and put it into the middle of the dough, and begin kneading again. Continue to add flour as you need it, kneading until all the pieces of butter are gone.
  • Form into a ball. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  • Mix together ½ cup sugar, 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Peel and core 2 large apples, and cut into ¼ inch pieces, then into thirds.
  • Take your dough that has rested out of the refrigerator, place on a well-floured surface and roll out to ½ inch thickness.
  • Place the slices of apples in the center of the dough and fold the sides of the dough over the apples.
  • Take a dough cutter and start to chop up the dough into many pieces, folding it over on its self and chopping more.
  • Chop the dough until it forms back into a ball.
  • Pat the dough into a ½ inch thick square. Cut into 32 pieces, and place on a baking sheet.
  • Store the baking sheet in a warm area and let the fritters rise for 20 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a deep wok to 325 degrees F.
  • Carefully drop 6 to 8 fritters at a time into the hot oil.
  • Fry until each side is golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Take the fritters out of the oil and place on a paper towel, then toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm or room temperature.


Baked apple tart with edges folded over.
This picture is the same recipe, just made in a free form pie (galette)

Toffee Apple Pie
Lucy Damkoehler, Bon Appetit Management Company

Spike your traditional apple pie with some sweet sticky bourbon toffee sauce, to help keep the FUN at the adult table!



Makes one 9 inch double crust pie
Ingredients for the pie crust:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 oz or 2 ½ sticks cold butter, unsalted, diced
3-4 oz ice water

Ingredients for the filling:
3 lb baking apples, peeled and ¼ inch thick slices
4 oz or 1 stick butter, unsalted
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
2 oz bourbon
¼ cup flour
1 egg, for egg wash
Sugar for topping the pie

Directions for the pie crust:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and butter until the butter is pea size. Add the water, starting with 3 oz. Add more as needed. Mix just until the dough forms a ball. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes up to 24 hours. Roll each ball into a 10-inch circle, place one in the bottom of a pie dish and brush the edges with egg wash. Set the other circle aside to top with.

Directions for the pie filling:
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Using a stainless steel pot, add the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and bourbon together. Stirring often, cook it until it begins to get thick- about 3-5 minutes. Place the peeled and sliced apples into a casserole dish. Pour the toffee over the apples, add the flour and mix. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the apples have begun to get soft. Let cool. Once the filling is cool, pour into the prepared pie shell. Top the pie and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 40-50 minutes- until crust is golden brown and the fruit begins to bubble.



Celebrating 20 Years

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on October 5, 2017 at 3:10 PM PDT

On September 26th, 2017, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., celebrated 20 years leading Seattle University. More than 41,000 alumni have diplomas with his name on them. To say he has had quite the impact on the Seattle U community is an understatement. In speeches and the most recent Seattle University Magazine, Fr. Steve has taken a forward-looking approach as he reflects on his presidency, envisioning the university over the next five years. We are taking a look back at just a few of Fr. Steve’s many accomplishments and new additions that have influenced our alumni of the last 20 years during their time on campus and since.   

Chapel of St. Ignatius
In 1997, Fr. Steve inaugurated the award-winning Chapel of St. Ignatius, designed by architect Steven Holl to focus on the spiritual needs of students.

Seattle University Mission
Fr. Steve says that the writing and acceptance of the university mission statement in 2003 is the defining moment of his presidency. The Seattle University mission remains alive and well in the education and actions of students, alumni, staff and faculty.

McGoldrick Learning Commons
In 2010, the McGoldrick Learning Commons was opened, as a new addition to the historic Lemieux Library, providing enhanced learning opportunities for the Seattle U community.  

Seattle University Youth Initiative
Launched in February 2011, the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI) has quickly become the largest community engagement project in the institution’s history and a signature element of the university. In 2012, the White House honored Seattle University with one of only five Presidential Awards for community service.

Return to Division I Athletics 
As of 2012, Seattle University completed the five-year process of returning to Division I athletics, creating more visibility for the university and more opportunities for our talented and committed student athletes to compete on the national level.

William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center
In order to educate the whole person, mind and body, Seattle University has invested in the Connolly Complex, first with the addition of the William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center in 2012, and again in 2015 with a complete renovation of the Connolly Complex to ensure gender equity and Title IX compliance.

Core Curriculum
Alumni tell Fr. Steve that the most important thing at Seattle U is the Core Curriculum which was completely revised in 2013 to make the curriculum more relevant for students as they engage in learning about themselves, their communities, and the world. 

A Visit with Pope Francis
Arguably the highlight of his career, Fr. Steve and a small group of Seattle U community members traveled to Rome to meet with Pope Francis for 45 minutes in 2014, an experience that has impacted his leadership ever since.

School of New and Continuing Studies
Established in 2015, The School of New and Continuing Studies (NCS) became Seattle University’s 9th distinct school or college.  NCS programs are specifically designed for adult students. 

Endowment for Jesuit Teaching and Ministry 

Throughout his tenure as president, Father Sundborg’s goal has been to push further Seattle U’s Jesuit mission and the unique set of values we hold as a university. The Endowment for Jesuit Teaching and Ministry, in his name, will secure Fr. Sundborg’s vision in perpetuity.

You can learn more about the Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., Endowment for Jesuit Teaching & Ministry by contacting Saoirse Jones.

For a more in-depth look at Fr. Steve’s tenure at Seattle University, don’t miss the story in the most recent issue of the Seattle University Magazine.

Living the SU Mission in Your Career

Posted by Matteo Busalacchi, '19 on October 5, 2017 at 10:10 AM PDT

“Seattle University strengthened my passion to serve our community and reminds me that my place in this world was not to live a singular life, but to support and help others.” – Ann Yoo, ‘98, Board of Governors President.

As Ann puts it, a Seattle University education isn’t just about learning how to be successful in your career once you graduate. It’s more than that; it’s also about what kind of person you want to be in your personal and professional lives.

It may not always be obvious how to extend your Seattle U education and its mission into your career, but that's exactly what we will tackle at our next SU Advantage Networking Night. So join us Wednesday, November 1 for “Living the Seattle U Mission in Your Career”.

The event promises valuable discussion and interaction with five alumni panelists who currently sit on the Board of Governors. Ann Yoo, ’98, Nicole Hardie, ’98, Mikel Sagoian, ’12, Matt Iseri, ’05, and Chris Sample, ’11, will share with you their experience of how they have successfully extended Seattle U’s long-standing mission and values into the workplace.

“The values of treating the whole person and… serv[ing] each other in community have guided me in my daily work,” Nicole Hardie, a flight nurse for Airlift Northwest, says. Her commitment to her work not only as an exemplary nurse, but also as an emotional caregiver during times of crisis, shows how the lasting effect of her Seattle U education challenged her to go beyond what is required and do what is right. “It is those values that I hold closest to me as I meet people in their tragedies.” 

“To me it means treating others how you would want to be treated,” Chris Sample, PACCAR Area Operations Manager for the PacLease Division, says about his ideal working environment. “The key to any successful business or social movement is to open lines of communication where everyone is heard and no one fears sharing ideas.”

On November 1, our panelists will share valuable insights into their path in a variety of fields and explore lessons learned along the way. Following their discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to network with each other and the panelists.

In addition to the main event, there will be an optional networking lesson with event moderator, Elizabeth Atcheson, Founder of Blue Bridge Career Coaching, at 5:30 p.m.

Register now to claim your spot at this the highly anticipated SU Advantage Networking Night.


SU Advantage | Networking Night
“Living the Seattle U Mission in Your Career”

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
5:30-6 p.m. - Optional "How to Maximize Your Networking Night" Session
6-8 p.m. - Networking and panel discussion
Seattle University |LeRoux Room | Student Center

Register now!