SU Voice Alumni BlogSU Voice Alumni Blog

Erin Kenway, ’08, Takes Her Passion for Social Justice from the Courtroom to the Big Screen

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on November 2, 2020 at 4:11 PM PST

A photo of a person standing in front of a watch tower outside of a prisonWhile an undergrad at the University of California, Irvine, Erin Kenway met a man who impacted her life’s trajectory. DeWayne McKinney was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 19 years before finally being exonerated. He spoke in one of her classes.

“I was so inspired by his story,” Kenway recalls. “For 19 years, DeWayne’s faith and his principles never wavered. He continued to fight without becoming angry or jaded. His story inspired me to become a lawyer so I could help stop the systemic injustices in our country.” 

Kenway was drawn to the Seattle University School of Law for its social justice mission, but also for its outstanding legal writing program.

“I worked for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a global law firm, for a year after graduating from UC Irvine and learned a lot about the importance of writing and persuasion and articulating ideas,” she says. “You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, you have to be the person who knows how to tell a story in a way that the audience, in this case the jury or the judge, can hear.”

After graduating from Seattle U in 2008, Kenway practiced law for 10 years, primarily representing disadvantaged victims of domestic violence in civil dissolution and child custody cases. She served on several committees for both the Washington State and King County Bar Associations, and co-coached Seattle U law students for the National Moot Court and National Appellate Advocacy Competitions as a volunteer.

Then in 2017, her passion for social justice took an unanticipated turn. Kenway met Katherin Hervey, a former Los Angeles public defender and volunteer prison college instructor, who was working on a documentary film project titled, “The Prison Within.” The film would expose the impact of untreated trauma on individuals and communities through the stories of men incarcerated for murder at San Quentin prison. Hervey had been filming participants of the Victim-Offender Education Group (VOEG), a restorative justice program inside San Quentin. The two women clicked instantly and decided to work together. Kenway joined Hervey as a producer, writer and executive producer on the project.

“We wanted to create a film that would allow a platform for the men inside to share their truth, but in a way that the audience could relate to,” Kenway explains. “Unlike other prison documentaries that exploit filming inside prisons to create a Scared Straight-type story, the VOEG program requires participants to do the hard, painful work of digging deep into their past to discover how the trauma they experienced contributed to their criminality, and to understand the trauma experienced by their victims.”

Our punitive justice system sets everyone up for failure. As said in the film, “hurt people, hurt people.” Restorative justice programs are badly needed in our prisons, but they are scarce.

“Current conversations around 'defunding the police’ by the mainstream media often overlook how much of that funding would be redirected to community programs to help heal the harm caused by the systemic inequities faced in our communities, stop the school-to-prison pipeline, and decrease recidivism rates,” Kenway says.

Premiering at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in January, “The Prison Within” received the Social Justice Award for a documentary film. It is currently available on Amazon and other streaming platforms.

Kenway is now a fulltime independent filmmaker and co-founder of Tarina Productions, with several projects in the works focused on telling human stories and tackling social justice issues.

Every day, alumni like Kenway show us how influential they are in creating a more just and humane world. As an active alumna, she continues to be engaged with Seattle U as an advisor for the law school’s annual Domestic Violence Symposium and as a financial supporter of the law school along with her husband. Kenway’s active involvement through volunteerism and giving helps Seattle U move toward reaching the President’s Challenge goal of engaging 10,000 alumni. Her efforts will help to ensure that current and future students have the same purpose-driven education and experiences that she did.

“We believe in Seattle U School of Law’s social justice mission,” she says. “The faculty does an incredible job creating opportunities for students to serve the community through student-driven legal clinics. They’ve also created a culture in which students learn not how to be great students, but how to be great lawyers and advocates. That’s a strong differentiator.”

Working Together, Building Something New

Posted by The Seattle University on September 30, 2020 at 2:09 PM PDT

Profile photos of Ann McCormick, '67 and Jonathan Choe, '20When Jonathan Choe, ’20, volunteered to interview Ann McCormick, ’67, for an alumni magazine, he had no idea that it would be the start of a meaningful and enduring mentorship. “I went in and did the interview. She gave me her number and said if you want to work with me and see what I am doing, give me a call! That summer, I was looking for things to do and decided to send her an email. She replied and said, come and join me,” said Choe. 

At the time, Choe was pursuing his double major: a degree in Philosophy and a degree in Humanities for Teaching from the Matteo Ricci College. “It was not your traditional internship. We worked as consultants with one of Ann’s business partners, built a website detailing the history of a very old tree in the Bay Area and ran around doing different things. It was just a blast,” said Choe. They kept in touch and worked together on several different projects. “I never want to let go of him,” said McCormick.

The beauty of this relationship was in its reciprocal nature. “I was thrilled to hear from Jonathan in the first place and include him in what I was doing. He had good ideas, a more modern viewpoint,” said McCormick. She appreciated his ability to share innovative viewpoints, the infectious energy he brought to projects, his focus on goals and his skills in programming and data. They continued to work together throughout his junior year at Seattle University. 

At the end of Choe’s senior year, McCormick contacted him with an exciting opportunity. She had a new idea: starting a project-based school in China that would focus on both social-emotional learning and traditional education. This was the start of Six Arts Academy. “A Chinese astrologer friend suggested a good name for the school would be Six Arts. The idea of mastering Six Arts is a 3,000-year-old Zhou dynasty philosophy that incorporated rites, music, archery, chariotry, calligraphy and mathematics. These were arts that all involved very deep focus, similar to Jesuit education,” said McCormick.

Choe had studied the Six Arts philosophy while at Seattle U. “One of my last classes was on virtue ethics, which has origins in Greece and China. It touches on the rules of relationships and what it means to be a noble person. When Ann told me about the Six Arts, I really liked the idea of taking abstract concepts and putting them concretely into practice. It reminded me of Jesuit spirituality. Being a contemplative in action. Contemplating about what it is you need to do and then going out and doing it. We were developing all this insight, now it was time to put it in action,” said Choe.

Ann and Jonathan got to work. They wrote documents on the school’s philosophy, links between the Six Arts and the understanding and foundations of virtue and put them online. They developed courses and started recruiting a staff. “I got to see firsthand how start-ups get off the ground and wrestled between being inspired and optimistic but also having to think about its practicality,” said Choe.  While the funding for Six Arts Academy hasn’t come together yet, Ann continues to work on the project while Jonathan is pursuing teaching high school math in Arizona. “Jonathan will always be a co-founder of Six Arts Academy and the person that stood at my side no matter what,” said McCormick.

“As a mentor, it’s important to immerse your mentee in every experience possible. I always encourage young partners to participate in the decision making at every level,” said McCormack. Jonathan’s experience working alongside Ann expanded his Jesuit values of contemplation and action. “Nothing throughout the process was off limits. That’s the wonderful thing about Ann—she’s living the process of God in all things and learning in all things,” said Choe. 

Jonathan and Ann continue to enrich each other’s lives. Inspired by their own connection, they are encouraging everyone in our alumni community to start a mentoring relationship with a current student. Seattle U students are looking for partners like you to guide them in discovering who they are and where they want to go after graduation.

Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge is calling for 10,000 alumni to join us in ensuring that students continue receiving a Seattle U experience that ignites their potential. By volunteering as a mentor, you can help us reach 10,000 while also helping students to become leaders of purpose and impact. 

Creating Long-Lasting Connections

Posted by Eashudee (Hanna-Marie Lucero), ‘20 on September 30, 2020 at 11:09 AM PDT

A group of 6 people holding a sign that says Indigenous student clubMy name is Eashudee (Hanna-Marie Lucero) and I’m from the Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico. I graduated from Seattle University in spring 2020 with a BA in Environmental Studies focusing on Urban Sustainability and a minor in biology. While on campus, I was very involved in clubs and different committees (including the Indigenous Student Association, Green Team and Earth Month committee) which allowed me to work with passionate staff, faculty, and peers to educate people on their waste practices while creating community for Indigenous peoples on campus. Being involved gave me the opportunity to network, which eventually led to my work study with the Indigenous Peoples Institute (IPI) on campus. When I graduated, IPI decided to keep me as the temporary administrative assistant which I’m eternally grateful for, as I’m able to give back to people that support me wholeheartedly while I apply to graduate school.  

The Seattle University Alumni Association hosts over 20 different regional chapters, affinity groups, and business alliances. By joining the Sustainability Coalition and starting the Indigenous Alumni group, I’m able to keep working on issues I'm passionate about with the people I met in my undergrad. Staying connected to the SU community is important to me – the work we’re doing on campus doesn’t stop once we graduate. Bettering ourselves, our practices, and our communities to make sure that all voices are heard, valued, and listened to is a continuing process that needs commitment. With the support of the Seattle University Alumni Association, alumni are able to support one another while we work towards creating a more sustainable, just and accepting world.

Being actively involved in the Alumni Association has helped me stay connected to my friends while also meeting new people who I didn’t know as a student. One alumna I recently met reached out to me after an alumni event to offer mentorship advice, which I gladly accepted. I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of this opportunity if I wasn’t involved and connected. The Alumni Association not only helps people stay connected to SU – it allows us to reconnect with the SU community in new ways that we didn’t explore before, which is something that I wasn’t expecting but am grateful for! I am excited to continue to be an active participant in the Alumni Association because of their welcoming, supportive and wonderful staff who work hard to create space for alumni to continue to create community, which I think is something that all alumni should take advantage of.

Eashudee’s involvement in various alumni communities is a great example for alumni to participate in Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge. Find our all the different alumni communities by visiting our website and completing our interest form so we can get you connected to a group today! If you have any specific alumni community questions, please feel free to contact Bianca Galam at galamb@seattleu.edu.

Our Moment for Mission: The President's Challenge

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on September 30, 2020 at 11:09 AM PDT

Our Moment for Mission with a photo of two alumni standing in front of a treeIn the final year of The Campaign for the Uncommon Good and the last year in the tenure of President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., we are embarking on a critical point in our collective history. Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge invites 10,000 alumni to come back to and engage with Seattle U before the end of the school year. Engaged alumni are a vital element to the success of our students and impact the future of our communities.

By showing your support at events, volunteering and donating, alumni help students make real-world connections and provide them the opportunity to explore their passions—igniting their potential. Your involvement in their educational experience shows them that you care and that they are part of a larger, lifelong community. The simple act of sharing your personal journey with a student can have a lasting impact on their personal and professional formation as they forge their own path as a future leader. 
 
Seattle University impacted you. Now is your chance to impact Seattle University. Today, you have the power to ensure that current and future students have the same purpose-driven, passion-fueled education and experiences that you did. Become one of the 10,000 alumni empowering the next generation of leaders for a just and humane world.   
 
Now is our time to bring our shared mission to life! Come back to Seattle U by connecting with alumni and students at events, volunteering as a mentor or classroom speaker or making a donation of any size to expand access to scholarships and resources.   
 
Our moment is now. Let’s build a better future for all.

Watch Our Moment for Mission: The President's Challenge Launch

Watch The President's Challenge with Shasti and DJ

Building A Legacy for the Next Generation

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on September 30, 2020 at 10:09 AM PDT

Profile photos of Jessica Olarti, '20 and Chhavi Mehra, '20Everyone should have access to higher education. Yet, systemic barriers continue to impede many college hopefuls, including first-generation students whose parents or guardians have not received a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Seattle University is committed to empowering first-gen students and providing them with the tools to succeed. Chhavi Mehra, ’20, and Jessica Olarti, ’20, are recent first-gen graduates who, with the help of an SU education, are breaking barriers and leading our alumni community towards a more just and humane world.

When Jessica Olarti entered Seattle U as a freshman, her parents felt like she was finally on a clear-cut path towards a stable career. “A lot of first-generation students have parents that think that getting a college degree is the door to all of these job opportunities,” says Olarti. “They consider it success and the first step out of that cycle of having to work in unstable jobs.”

However, she soon realized that navigating college and gaining work experience is far from clear-cut. It’s a challenging journey—especially for first-gen students. Olarti noticed that she lacked much of the terminology that other students understood. However, with the help of the Outreach Center, Olarti was able to find the answers she needed to excel. “I lived in the Outreach Center. I worked there, and even on days when I wasn’t working, I went there a lot of times to ask for advice from my ‘big brothers and sisters’ on campus,” says Olarti.

For Chhavi Mehra, the process of coming to America for higher education was far from easy. She grew up in India, and while she was excited by the prospect of coming to America, she also struggled with the prospect of leaving her family. She knew that she needed scholarships to afford college due to the high cost of education in the U.S. Despite these barriers, Mehra persisted. “The society I come from is very patriarchal. I can’t imagine going back home and seeing myself married, having kids and starting a family without really going after my dreams,” says Mehra. “And that’s what my mom wanted for me—she wanted me to have the choice to create the life I really wanted for myself.”

After first getting her Associate of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from South Seattle College, Mehra applied to Seattle U. She was excited to be awarded both the Messina Scholarship for transfer students and be a part of the Alfie Scholarship Program. “I was so grateful for these scholarships. They really helped in making my decision to go to Seattle University, because if those scholarships didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have been able to afford my university education. I’m really grateful for that.”

At Seattle U, both Olarti and Mehra were drawn to SU’s focus on social justice.

“I graduated from Albers, so I learned how the world works economically, and because of SU I also learned about social justice issues. I understand the world through different perspectives. It helps me both professionally and socially,” says Olarti.

For Mehra’s capstone project, she worked to create the Project First-Gen podcast, where she interviewed first-gen students and professors at SU and beyond. “Social justice was at the heart of each of my projects at Seattle U, as well as personally and professionally,” says Mehra. “With Project First-Gen, we were able to empower others while also empowering ourselves. It gave people a platform to shine in their own unique way. And for that, it focused on underrepresented populations, namely students of color and first-gen students.”

Both Olarti and Mehra are 2020 graduates. Using the skills and values they honed at Seattle U, they are emerging as leaders for a better future. Once Olarti completes the required course work for her CPA she will be work at the BDO accounting firm. “This is a stable career path that I decided to pursue. Had I not gone to college, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. There's power in knowledge and if someone like me can learn all of these things, then I can give that knowledge to my family and to other people who don’t have the resources that I did.” Mehra is currently working three jobs, including working as an editorial intern for The Borgen Project – a Seattle-based nonprofit that works to fight global poverty. “Again,” says Mehra, “social justice is at the heart of my mission.”

In late October, we will be sending a special Building Legacy Celebration message to first-generation and legacy students recognizing their commitment to education at Seattle University. Whether a student is following in the footsteps of those before them or paving the way for future members of their community to follow, we want to honor and celebrate their dedication to an education of both thought and action. We also invite you to join us in recognizing first-gen students on November 8 as part of First-Generation Celebration Day.

SU Alumni Leading Washington State Elections

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on September 30, 2020 at 10:09 AM PDT

Two side by side headshots of Jon Cantalini and Shasti Conrad

With the election only 35 days away, the countdown has already begun. From tv news to daily swipes and scrolls on social media, the 2020 US election is everywhere. Polls, stats and Democratic or Republican party strategy moves are top of mind as the US launches into one of the most contentious election years in recent history. 

We spoke to Shasti Conrad, ’07, political consultant and chair for the King County Democrats, and Jon Cantalini, ’18, campaign manager for Kim Wyman, about their thoughts on how this election cycle will be different from any other and resources and tips for alumni on getting active as we count down to election day. 

 

Getting Into Politics 

Both Conrad and Cantalini fostered their passion for politics while attending Seattle University. “Seattle University’s focus on social justice and awareness made me want to find ways to make a difference and engage with the community,” said Conrad.  
Cantalini shared similar thoughts on how the mission of SU helped to direct his place in the political sphere. “Everyone thinks of Seattle is a hub for democratic politics, which it is, but I really found that moderate republican sphere. Seattle U made me realize this was a career option. I was able to connect with a lot of alumni that have gone into politics,” said Cantalini. 

The Changing Landscape 

A pivotal election in the middle of a worldwide health crisis, civil unrest and wall-to-wall news coverage is overwhelming. “It feels like this election has monumental importance because it really is going to define who we are as Americans and what we want out of government. People’s lives are at stake,” says Conrad. “There was already a lot going on, and then 2020 brings on a pandemic where 200,000 people have died and clashes between citizens and the police. You realize just how differently people see the world, and everything does feel at stake. The general public feels that importance.” 

Candidates have also had to pivot to meet voters where they are. Instead of door knocking and in-person meetings, many candidates have implemented phone banking, text messaging and on-demand media.  “Everything is pretty much different, that’s the hard part. You have to rethink how to reach voters. We have been adapting and finding new ways to reach out, through social media and their circles of influence. It’s very grassroots, and it’s word of mouth that’s helping people spread the word for political candidates,” said Cantalini.  

Voter Turnout During the Time of Coronavirus 

With the election just weeks away, concerns about the voting process may dissuade some from taking action and voting. But, Cantalini and Conrad both emphasize that the voting process in Washington state is ready. “I think Washington state is in the perfect position for this. We have developed a system that gives voters safety. I think we are going to see very high participation in our election. Washington state is ranked in the top 10 states in the county for participation because it is so easy to vote,” said Cantalini. Conrad further emphasized that Washington’s mail-in voting process has already been embedded into the culture of the state. “When you hear it being debated nationally, it doesn’t work on Washingtonians, it doesn’t work on us. People are comfortable with receiving a ballot at home, filling it out on time, turning it in. We had record turnout for the primary. It tells me that people are more engaged than ever,” said Conrad. 

Getting Informed 

Being an informed voter is one of the ways that you can prepare for November 3. “Don’t base your vote on people’s parties, but examine what people stand for and what they are going to do and how they are going to affect your community,” said Cantalini. 

When asked about resources to learn more about candidates, Conrad said, “There are a number of great candidate guides, for example Fuse Washington and League of Women Voters. For younger generation Z voters, I like to see who the Sunrise Movement is endorsing. Also, we at King County have our set of endorsements on our website. People should check their voter registration on vote.wa.gov.” 

Cantalini’s recommendation is visiting the Secretary of State website. “Secretaries of State are doing a campaign called #TrustedInfo2020, so no matter where you are in the country, your Secretary of State will provide trusted information on how to register to vote, registration and ballot deadlines, and requesting absentee ballots if you’re not in a mail-in state,” he said. 

Getting Active 

Both Conrad and Cantalini emphasized making a plan this election season. “Make sure you know where your local drop boxes are. Make sure you know where your voting center is. With everything happening with USPS nationally, make sure you turn in your ballot early. Make sure you get that postmark in by 8 p.m. on election day,” said Cantalini. Conrad emphasized that “there are lots of ways to get engaged. Your favorite candidates need all the support that they can get. Then, just vote. The absolute best way to get other people to vote is to talk about why you are voting—why it matters to you. We need everyone to vote.” 

Fall Feature: Chicken Satay

Posted by Sam Donohue, ‘16 on September 11, 2020 at 2:09 PM PDT

Thai Chicken Satay

Download Thai Chicken Satay Recipe

Ingredients for Satay Marinade  

  • 1 can coconut milk  
  • ½ cup soy sauce 
  • 1 ounce sriracha hot sauce (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar  
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric  
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander  
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin  
  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil*  

Ingredients for quick steamed yellow rice (place all ingredients in a rice cooker, stir well) 

  • 2 cups rice (jasmine, regular or basmati rice)  
  • 2+ cups water  
  • 1 pack saffron seasoning (add real saffron if available)  
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder  
  • ½ teaspoon salt  
  • ½ to ¾ cup raisins (optional) 
  • ½ to ¾ cup silvered almonds (optional) 

Procedure 

  • Combine marinade with your meat or vegetables and refrigerate for 4-6 hours tightly covered. For seafood marinate for 2-3 hours
  • Grill or roast meat, vegetable or seafood, slice and serve on steamed yellow rice. Add peanut sauce if desired and enjoy! 

Notes: 

  • Can be used on chicken, pork, beef, tofu, vegetables or seafood 
  • You can cut your meat, vegetable or seafood and place on a skewer if you wish
  • Make enough marinade to coat your meat, vegetable or seafood. Extra marinade can be kept up to 2 weeks refrigerated
  • More often than not I just marinate whole boneless chicken breasts in the marinade, grill them and then slice thinly at an angle and fan them out over a bed of steamed rice plain or flavored.

*Add vegetable oil last while blending ingredients together 

Meet Your GOLD Council

Posted by GOLD Council on September 11, 2020 at 1:09 PM PDT

Question: What have you been up to during quarantine?

A photo of Nina

Nina Cataldo, ‘15

I've been cooking and experimenting with recipes! And I've learned to enjoy and appreciate more time alone - something I've never been good at  before."

A profile photo of Alex standing in front of the water

Alex Cartagena, ‘17

“This summer I did a road trip. Seattle -> Idaho -> Montana-> Wyoming ->Utah ->Nevada -> Oregon and back. I had the opportunity to do some beautiful sightseeing and eat a lot of ice cream from local shops."

A photo of Rose sitting on a boat

Rose Breeskin, ‘13, ‘16

“During quarantine I’ve gone on several sailing trips in the San Juan Islands, baked a lot of bread and pies, and taught myself how to do fancy manicures at home!”


A profile photo of Katie standing in front of neon lights


Katie Bradley, ‘18

“Traveled back to Colorado and went on a bunch of hikes with my family - it was great to see my family and explore new trails.” 

 


A photo of Zack with a holiday suit jacket

 

Zack Kravey, ‘19

“I fulfilled a decade-long passion and got a job at a bike shop, learning how to become a bike technician. I recently started taking up downhill mountain biking and am looking forward to graduating from green/blue trails and eventually take on some bigger jumps!” 

A photo of two women standing in a field with face masks on



Caitlin Joyce, ‘11, ‘18

“I took my mom social distancing blueberry picking in Snohomish and got 5 pounds of delicious blues!”  

 

A photo of Nick holding a clear umbrella standing in the rain

Nick Skok, ‘13

“I stayed in Japan during the quarantine as the situation was better controlled without food or toilet paper shortages.” 

 

A photo of John standing in front of a skyline

 

John Fulmer, ‘15, ‘18

“I’ve been getting into road biking and fly fishing! After work I’m usually riding my bike around SLU or on the Burke-Gilman, and on the weekends I’m usually hanging out on the Snoqualmie river.” 

BSU President Shares her SU Experience

Posted by Adilia Watson, ‘21 on September 2, 2020 at 4:09 PM PDT

A group photo of the Black Student UnionThe Black Student Union(BSU) is my source of hope at Seattle University. Since my first year, I have been frustrated with the microaggressions I've experienced on campus. One conversation that stuck with me happened my sophomore year. We were in a BSU meeting and addressed how our peers expect our input whenever the class discussion focuses on someone Black. BSU has been the only place I felt comfortable voicing this issue and knew people would truly understand.

Black Student Unions across the country have been a necessary resource for Black and African-American students, staff and faculty to find community. Black students frequently have to invest our time in spaces that aren't as pro-Black as the Black Student Union. Our club is a space for healing and authentic expression of the Black body. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and the recent murders of Black people, we found it vital to meet, heal and collaborate to make a change on our campus. In our recent Black community meetings, members had the freedom to express their struggles of being Black at a predominantly white institution and express their grief over the violence caused by systemic racism.

Black, Indigenous and People Of Color (BIPOC) students consistently overload themselves to establish better financial security to make ends meet. The inequities for Black students in colleges have been present for years and show up in enrollment, persistence and graduation data as stated in a recent Hechinger Report article. Black people have to work harder than our non-Black peers to succeed in our future careers. We have to work multiple jobs, join different clubs and are often required to work twice we hard as our white peers to reach similar standing.

Our club's initiatives have consistently centered the Black experience. As president, I initially felt guilty for asking for accommodations solely for Black students. Then, I realized that my role in BSU is to keep centering Black people and to advocate for resources, accommodations or supports that would not only increase, but improve the experience of Black students on campus. I'm passionate about leading the Black Student Union because there is much work to be done on this campus to make it a more just and equitable place for Black people and all people of color.

There are two ways alumni can support Black students on campus.

One way to support is through mentorship. We are working with the Career Engagement Office to be a part of the Black Alumni and Student Group on Redhawk Landing, the university’s new mentoring and networking platform. Alumni help us gain the experience and professional connections that we need before leaving campus. Many of us are registered for Redhawk Landing where we are excited to connect with alumni personally and professionally.

The second is donating to the first student-led, Black-serving scholarship at Seattle University. The Black Student Union Scholarship is intended to increase enrollment of Black and African-American students and help them persist and graduate with fewer financial concerns. Currently, we have raised over $16,000 for the fund. Most of the donations have come from students and parents. The fact that so many of our peers see us and are willing to support is awesome, but we still need help to fully-fund this initiative. Our fundraising goal is to reach $200,000 by February 1, 2021 so we are able to select at least 20 Black scholarship recipients in the spring. This amount would allow us to disperse scholarships to multiple students for years to come. This is a huge step towards making the university a more accessible environment for Black students and would highlight the Seattle U community's;commitment to supporting and uplifting marginalized students by helping to fund their education.

To make a donation to the BSU Scholarship, follow these steps.

  • Click here.
  • Select "other" under the designation.
  • Type in "Center for Student Involvement - BSU Scholarship" in the comments section.

Or you can send a check:

Make your check out to Seattle University.

Write "Center for Student Involvement - BSU Scholarship" on the memo line.

Mail your check to:
Seattle University
University Advancement
901 12th Ave.
PO Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122

Reflecting on 23 Years at Seattle University

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on September 2, 2020 at 4:09 PM PDT

a number of photos of President Sundborg during his time at Seattle UniversityA lot can change in one year, let alone 23 years. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. started serving as the president of Seattle University in 1997 and will retire in June 2021 after 24 years of leadership. President Sundborg has facilitated massive transformation of the university, including the physical expansion of campus and the evolution of our community’s mission and identity.

“I wish I had a photo of what Seattle University looked like from the air when I started and what it looks like now. People come now, from 23 years ago when I started and are amazed,” said Sundborg. Since the start of his time at Seattle U, President Sundborg has overseen the construction of 12 different buildings on campus. But, it’s not only physical changes that have been impacted by his influence, President Sundborg helped to focus the university’s efforts by sculpting and shaping our mission.

“We have really lived by and been committed to the mission. It’s the magnet that has kept us doing what we are doing, and the biggest transformation is having that mission and referring back to it.” The university’s commitment to “educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empower leaders for a just and humane world” can be seen in how the university has embraced service. “Three quarters of the undergraduate students have a course that has a component that is service learning," said Sundborg, "Our education is more connected and applied to our community rather than simply learned in the classroom.”  

One person alone can’t implement all of this change. President Sundborg credits significant investments in the university, strong board leadership and being in the middle of a vibrant city that is on the cutting edge of technology. “We are Seattle University. The innovation of the city propels us forward,” said Sundborg. 

President Sundborg has drawn inspiration from his deep connections within the SU community. “I’ve already begun to miss relationships. I am going to miss students. I am going to miss being part of a team. Underneath the work, there is a love and an affection that grows. I am in this web of relationships with students, friends, administration and alumni. You take for granted that one day you might not be in that web anymore. I’ve already begun to feel it.”

As he reflects on the last two decades, President Sundborg can’t help but also be excited for Seattle University’s future. “I don’t know another university that has the potential of development that Seattle U has. To be the Jesuit, independent, private university, centered at the very heart of Seattle has an upside potential that is extraordinary.” According to President Sundborg, the core of Seattle U’s potential rests in the evolving education landscape coupled with the integration of new technology to help students prepare for the future. He goes on to state that fostering deeper and broader connections with Seattle and bringing relevant issues and content to students on campus will be pivotal in shaping the next chapter of Seattle U’s history.

So, what’s next for Fr. Steve? He’s looking forward to getting back to being a Jesuit Catholic priest in a more personal and pastoral manner. “I am 77 years old. Rather than Father Steve, I am Grandfather Steve to most undergraduates. There comes a time when you need to be recharged and find a non-administrative way of being a Jesuit Catholic priest.”

There will be many opportunities to hear from and engage with President Sundborg over the course of the school year. Most immediately, be on the look out for an invitation to the President's open forum on Thursday, September 24.