SU Voice Alumni Blog

The Guadalupe Faith and Hospitality Experience Cuernavaca, Mexico

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on February 28, 2018 at 1:02 PM PST

A Seminar and Immersion for Seattle U Faculty/Staff and Community Members
By Deborah Anastasi Black, ‘00

 Group photo

Each December for the past 15 years, Jeanette Rodriguez, PhD, Theology & Religious Studies, has led a group of Seattle University faculty, staff and community members from outside campus on a journey to Cuernavaca, Mexico to participate in the Guadalupe Faith and Hospitality Experience. Hosted by an order of Mexican Benedictine nuns who serve at the Guadalupe Center, this social justice encounter addresses the need to “build bridges of understanding between north and south, rich and poor, and differing cultures and religions.” The 10-day trip concludes with participation in the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. One of the most important pilgrimage sites of Catholicism, the Basilica is visited by 18 to 20 million people on December 12th each year, Guadalupe’s feast day.

I was thrilled when notified that I would be one of eight participants in the 2017 immersion experience. Following is an abbreviated account of the trip.

Of the many gifts that our hearts received throughout this transformational journey, the first and one of the most indelible, was our time with the 12 Sisters at the Guadalupe Center. Through our daily participation in prayer and song, shared meals and evenings spent together, reflecting on the day’s experiences, we were able to connect with the Sisters in a way that transcended our limited language capabilities. When verbal translation was needed, however, Dr. Rodriguez and Sister Reyna mastered the task.

 Two people in Mexico

We visited two Children’s Projects, both built, physically and programmatically, with funds raised by North Americans who had spent time in Cuernavaca, had seen the impoverished conditions in which children and their families were living, and decided to make a difference. The benefactors provide training and community members, primarily parents, run the projects with the help of volunteers from abroad. Children receive academic instruction, extra-curricular activities, healthy food, a caring environment and hope for a better future.

The Project sites are surrounded by dwellings, some quite dilapidated, where the children live with their families. In l’Estacion, a severely impoverished urban barrio (neighborhood), we were invited into one of these homes.  It was a made of cinderblocks and had no bathroom or refrigeration. The parents and their two boys, ages five and nine, shared a single bed. The front door and window coverings were pieces of fabric. Asked if she feels safe in l’Estacion, the mother, Blanca, said no, explaining that children in the barrio had been kidnapped by traffickers and there is a lot of gang violence. She was grateful that her boys could attend the l’Estacion Children’s Project, and hoped that they would one day have better lives.

During our visit to the rural home of Ignacio Torres, aka “Nacho,” an Indigenous man and member of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), we learned about the history of the Indigenous people from the oppression suffered at the hands of the Spanish Conquistadors to the present-day impact of NAFTA. Nacho also told us of the Nahua people’s spirituality, the importance of seeds and the land, the seven directions and corresponding colors. He took us to a sacred place in the forest and performed an Indigenous religious ceremony. At one point, as we prayed, the wind suddenly kicked-up with gusto, snapping tree branches. It died as quickly as it had come. Was God speaking to us? It was a truly magical moment. Dr. Ted Fortier, an anthropologist and our trip co-facilitator, provided context and interpretation of the hieroglyphics that appeared on rock walls framing this sacred location.

 Mexican landscape

At the end of our time in Cuernavaca, we said good-bye and received a special blessing from the Sisters. We traveled by van to Mexico City on December 11th, where we stayed at the Mother House for the Benedictine Order. The house was within walking distance of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Thousands of pilgrims had already gathered in reverence to Guadalupe, the patroness of Mexico. Some had walked from miles away; some had come on their knees. Others had come on bicycles, standing in the back of pick-up trucks or by car. Many carried statues and pictures of Guadalupe to be blessed. They camped in the large square in front of the Basilica, which houses Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak) on which Guadalupe imprinted an image of herself in 1531. This is the miracle that the pilgrims come to see every year on her feast day. Masses are performed in the Basilica by priests from all around Mexico, and choirs perform all day and all night. At midnight the pilgrims sing to Guadalupe, and the next day Indigenous people from all over Mexico dance in the square wearing their traditional dress. It is an event to behold.

I returned from the Guadalupe Faith/Hospitality Experience with three distinct impressions. One, is the contrast between the warmth, hospitality and graciousness in which our group was received by the most marginalized and impoverished of Mexico’s people and the way that Dreamers and undocumented migrants are treated in the United States. The second is the Mexican people’s will to survive and the power of community in lifting children up and giving them a shot at a better future. Third, a draw (calling?) that I have felt toward working with children in developing countries is indeed real.

The Guadalupe Faith and Hospitality Experience is open to Seattle University alumni. If you are interested in participating in the December 2018 trip or have questions, contact Prof. Jeanette Rodriguez, jrodrigu@seattleu.edu.

Washington’s Trump fighter — at Crosscut Festival

Posted by Mason Bryan on January 31, 2018 at 2:01 PM PST

Bob Ferguson in front of flag.

When President Donald Trump issued an executive order attempting to prevent travel to the United States from seven majority-Muslim nations, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued, eventually winning an injunction on the most controversial elements of the proposed law. Overnight, the little-known attorney general with deep roots in Washington state became a standard bearer of the “resistance.”

When Trump issued the travel ban, it “really pissed me off,” Ferguson said in a September Crosscut piece. But he said he wasn’t surprised. His office had taken scrupulous note of the candidate’s campaign rhetoric, and they were holding weekly meetings to discuss the new administration, anticipating — correctly, it turns out — some kind of constitutional controversy.

Ferguson did it again last September, when he led Washington in joining 14 other states and the District of Columbia in another lawsuit against Trump, this time challenging his repeal of an Obama-era immigration policy. The program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, provides legal status to almost one million immigrants who arrived here as children. Ferguson also sued hotel chain Motel 6 after it admitted to providing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents with guests’ private information. To date, Ferguson has filed 19 lawsuits against the Trump administration, with five successful and 14 pending.

On Feb. 3, Bob Ferguson will speak at the Crosscut Festival, a two-day event that will bring together some of the best minds and biggest names in the Northwest. Rising political star Julián Castro will headline the festival. Also be among the more-than-70 speakers and panelists: former Barack Obama speechwriter David Litt, former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, and Zoë Quinn, the video game designer who was targeted during Gamergate.

For a full schedule of events, and to buy tickets, go to www.crosscut.com/festival.

JOIN US AT THE CROSSCUT FESTIVAL

The Festival, to be held at Seattle University, will put elected officials, business leaders, and cultural luminaries onstage with journalists from more than a dozen news organizations from around the region. It’s the Northwest’s answer to the New Yorker Festival or the Aspen Ideas Festival. We expect 1,500 people to attend, including hundreds of Washington college students.

Bob Ferguson will be part of a panel that discusses the future for DACA recipients during this tumultuous political time, along with Carlos Rodriguez, former Seattle U student body president and undocumented immigrant. The panel will be moderated by Crosscut Staff Writer Lilly Fowler.

Other panels in the track on race and social justice will explore police use of deadly force, reparations, sex and consent on campus, gentrification, and education equity.

Special thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kerry and Linda Killinger Foundation, and all of our other sponsors for making the event possible. The Northwest has been hungry for a gathering like this. We anticipate that it will become an annual happening that you will not want to miss.

From the entire team at Crosscut, we hope you’ll join us!

Online sales have now ended, but tickets will be available at the door.

By: Mason Bryan

American Catholicism, Xenophobia and Immigration

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, ’11, ‘18 on January 31, 2018 at 2:01 PM PST

The Catholic Heritage Lectures began eight years ago as a platform to discuss topics relevant to Catholics and society at large. Now the lecture series is housed under Seattle University’s Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, with the series focusing on a different theme each year.  This year’s Catholic Heritage Lectures’ theme is “That We May Be One: Racial Justice and the Catholic Church.”

Following the fall lecture, which explored the racial divide within the Catholic Church, the winter quarter lecture brings together diverse panelists who will examine “American Catholicism, Xenophobia and Immigration.” The topic opens up conversation about xenophobia and the history of Catholic immigration to the United States. The panelists will explore both the Catholic Church’s rich theological and spiritual teaching to welcome the stranger, as well as its complicity as institution and community in xenophobia. We sat down with Dr. Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, director of the Institute of Catholic Thought and Culture, to get a deeper look at this year’s topic and its relevance to the Catholic community.

“We plan the lecture themselves at last a year in advance and try to get a sense of salient social issues that are surfacing both on campus and in our country. With the rise in discourse around the Black Lives Matter Movement, immigration, and troubling attitudes towards Islam, it just seemed important for us to engage the issue of racial justice in the Catholic Church,” Catherine said. “The Church has had something to say about this issue so we want to see what that is, while acknowledging that the Catholic Church has much work to do. There’s just so much to address with this topic. For example, how xenophobia exists in the church, and how Catholics have been victims of xenophobia and the important role the Catholic Church has played in fighting for the rights of immigrants; these topics are very close to the heart of Pope Francis.”

The panelists for this winter’s lecture include:

Dr. Laurie Cassidy, PhD, is a theologian and spiritual director who explores how Christian mysticism can be a resource for personal and social transformation, and what it means to be a Catholic of Irish descent exploring issues of whiteness.

Dr. Arturo Chavez, PhD, is the president of the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio Texas, and is nationally recognized for his efforts to combat racism and poverty.

Dr. Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos will frame and facilitate the evening.

When asked what she hoped people would take away from the lecture, Catherine said, “The understanding that whoever we are, unless we are indigenous to this land or descendants of enslaved people brought here against their will, we share something in common with new immigrants ­– stories of migration. The fear of the stranger, the one who is different, is part of the history of this country since its colonization. We can’t assume we know who the newly arrived immigrant is based on the color of their skin. The evening will be an opportunity for people to understand the complexities of this country’s immigration narratives and learn about the resources within the Catholic tradition that remind us the call ‘to welcome the strangers because we were once strangers on this land.’”

You can learn more about the winter lecture here. This lecture is free and open to everyone in the community, even if you have not attended previous ICTC lectures in the series.

American Catholicism, Xenophobia and Immigration
Thursday, February 22, 2018
7 p.m.
Pigott Auditorium

Saying Farewell after 27 Years

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on January 31, 2018 at 2:01 PM PST

At the end of this academic year, Seattle University Choir Director Joy Sherman will retire after 27 years of service to the university. It should come as no surprise that after 27 years, Joy, more affectionately known as Doc, has had a lasting impact on alumni and students alike.

Megan (O'Connor) Cycyota, ’07, an alumna of Seattle University’s choir program had this to say, “As someone who has spent a lot of time around music growing up, Doc provided a fresh inspiration for me when I joined the Seattle University Choirs.  She challenged us to be our best selves (musically and otherwise) and loved us through some of the more difficult times of our college years.  Learning from her and singing with her choirs was one of the most joyful experiences of my time at Seattle University!”

Micaela Pearson, '12, shared, “I participated in choir for all four years of my undergrad experience, and now I’m back as an alum for the last couple of months, so needless to say, Doc and her choirs have been a defining part of my Seattle University experience.  The mission of the Seattle University Choirs under Doc’s direction - tucked carefully into every student’s binder prepared with music and other essential class items - is to bring love into the world through choral music. This starts in rehearsals through the rapport between students and Doc, and is cultivated through necessary values of discipline, humor, care, and everlasting dedication and blossoms into fullness at our concerts. Doc leaves the Seattle University community with a legacy of music born of intense passion, vibrant curiosity and unwavering focus on excellence.”

Seattle University alumni and students will have the chance to say farewell to Joy and honor her contributions with a retirement celebration and concert during Reunion Weekend. Tickets for Reunion Weekend and the celebration are available here.

Saturday, May 5, 2018
Seattle University Choir Reunion
2 p.m.
Campion Ballroom

Choir Rehearsal

3:30 p.m.

Choir Concert
8 p.m.
St. Joseph’s Parish

To learn more about Joy Sherman and her tenure at Seattle University, read the Spectator’s reflection on her final year

African American Alumni Chapter Relaunched

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on January 31, 2018 at 2:01 PM PST

 

This Black History Month, we are excited to announce the relaunch of Seattle University’s African American Alumni Chapter (AAAC).

The newly reinvigorated chapter is hosting its first event, “The Black and Brown Panel: What It Means to Be a Person of Color in the Workplace,” on Tuesday, February 20. The panel will address issues important to Seattle U’s black and brown alumni and students and invites all who identify as black or brown to participate. You can learn more about the panel here.

Duron Jones, ’14, is the chapter’s new president and a graduate of the business administration program. He is the owner of the Innovation Tribe of America. Since his graduation in 2014, Duron has stayed active in the SU community as the director of the Summer Business Institute at Albers School of Business & Economics.

Duron Jones Headshot

Of the African American Alumni Chapter, Duron said, “The AAAC is a community of Seattle University alumni who identify as African American and are passionate about engaging with their alma matter no matter where they live or their interests. We function under three guiding principles and goals, which are to foster and strengthen the community of Seattle University black/African American alumni across the world, engage and support the black/African American student population, faculty, and staff of Seattle University and to be of true service in the community surrounding our alma mater, Seattle University.”

When asked what hopes the chapter had for its continued growth and future, Duron responded that they are most excited for the chance to not only build a stronger community among  alumni, but to also build stronger connections with the Black Student Union and black/African American students on campus. It’s important to the chapter that they be able to support student success through mentorship, internships, scholarships and more. Duron went on to add, “We want the alumni community to know that we have an open door policy. We encourage alumni to reach out to us and share their thoughts because we truly want our African American alumni to feel like they've had the opportunity to help shape the chapter and gain the alumni experience they envision for themselves.”

The chapter invites those alumni who don’t identify as black or African American to reach out for partnership opportunities so that all alumni can work towards supporting the Seattle U community.  

If you are interested in getting involved with the AAAC, Duron invites you to engage with the chapter on SU Alumni Connect. “Reach out to us and let us know you want to get involved and we will help you find your fit,” Duron said.  You can also find the chapter on Facebook. The chapter is still looking to fill a few board positions.

Join the African American Alumni Chapter at their first event on February 20.

Black & Brown Panel: What It Means to Be a Person of Color in the Workplace
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
5:30–7:15 PM
Seattle University Student Center 160, LeRoux Room
Learn more and register.

SU Voice Article: STEM: What Sets Seattle U Apart

Posted by Seattle University on January 11, 2018 at 12:01 PM PST

The College of Science and Engineering is the most rapidly growing college or school at Seattle University, no doubt a reflection of Seattle’s booming science and technology sector. More than 100 full-time and part-time faculty members offer a relevant, hands-on approach to STEM education to more than 1,100 undergraduate majors and graduate students. Seattle University scientists, engineers and computer scientists are game changers, but what sets them apart?

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: STEM EDUCATION AT SEATTLE U

Seattle University College of Science and Engineering graduates enter the workforce prepared to lead interdisciplinary teams and manage complex projects, and thanks to their holistic liberal arts education, they are equally skilled communicators. While they focus on the technical aspects of a problem, they never lose sight of the broader implications of the solutions. They know how to approach tough problems and collaborate to get the best results.

It is what they study here—and how they study it—that makes our students and alumni stand out. A Seattle University education broadens our students’ horizons while encouraging deep dives into new knowledge and discovery. Here, they develop a sense of passion and purpose, and they emerge ready to impact the world for the greatest good.

SHATTERING THE GLASS CEILING: WOMEN IN STEM AT SEATTLE U

Seattle U is leading the way and increasing the number of innovative, tech-literate women who are prepared to make a difference in today’s competitive workforce. At Seattle U, women majoring in the STEM disciplines thrive in a demanding environment. Seattle University is the only university in the country with women chairing all of the engineering and computer science departments. As female students interact with strong, successful women on the faculty, they get the clear message, “You have an equal place at Seattle U—and in the world of tech!” They leave SU prepared to take their place in the industry.

RESEARCH ROCK STARS: INVESTIGATING PROBLEMS ATTHE LEADING EDGE

Seattle University undergraduates have research opportunities their peers at larger universities only dream of. Working side-by-side with professors, these student researchers expand their knowledge while working to solve problems in science, engineering and computer science. All of them develop important transferable skills, confidence in their abilities and a passion for discovery that will serve them well in any career.

BY THE NUMBERS

93%
College of Science and Engineering (CSE) alumni have a 93% placement rate within 6 months of graduating. (U.S. Department of Education)

Top 15%
US News and World Report ranks Seattle U in the top 15% among all engineering programs offering Bachelor's or Master's degrees.

25%
CSE has received 25% of all awards ever given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

43%
Of CSE students are women

17%
Of CSE students are under-represented minorities

42%
Full-time faculty in CSE are women

50%
Projected increase in total CSE enrollment by 2022

100%
Enrollment increase in Computer Science & Software Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering

COMPUTER SCIENCE: INDISPENSABLE FOR ANY DISCIPLINE

Record numbers of Seattle U students are enrolling in computer science courses, making the Department of Computer Science the fastest growing at the university. Because our students understand that every company is a tech company, many of them are double-majoring across disciplines. When the new Center for Science and Innovation (CSI) is complete, it will create new opportunities for every Seattle U student to take courses in programming, machine learning, analytics and design, making each student more marketable and prepared to tackle the challenges of the future.

Want to learn more about how Seattle University students and alumni are becoming leaders in STEM? Check out the College of Science and Engineering page and stay tuned for more information on the Center for Science and Innovation.

Zoë Quinn – At the Center of Gamergate

Posted by Caroline Gerdes on January 11, 2018 at 11:01 AM PST

Seattle University will host the inaugural Crosscut Festival February 2-3 as part of Seattle U Homecoming 2018. As alumni of Seattle University, you enjoy discounted tickets to the Crosscut Festival.

Zoe Quinn will be one of 70 speakers at the Crosscut Festival.

Zoë Quinn – At the Center of Gamergate

Zoe Quinn

We’ve all read horror stories about dangers lurking online, yet we still call for rides, meet dates and leave passwords or other intimate details in plain sight with the help, or hindrance, of our digital devices. But what if the machines that connect us with the world turned against us? Even worse, what if the threats leapt off the screen and terrorized us in real life? In 2014, this worst-case scenario played out for video game developer Zoë Quinn — and then some — when she found herself at the center of Gamergate.

Gamergate is the dangerous chaos that unfolded after Quinn’s ex-boyfriend launched an online siege against her. In what Quinn’s website calls a blog post “cobbled together from private information, half-truths and outright fictions,” he set in motion a movement with a “rallying cry” for hordes to go after her. Her accounts were attacked, she was doxed (her personal information was released online), her private photos were stolen, and she received death and rape threats.

Instead of fleeing the male-dominated gaming world, Quinn has used her experience as a platform to speak about sexual harassment, hate speech and technology. Since Gamergate, she has testified about online abuse at the United Nations. She recently published a memoir about her experience, “Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate.” And Quinn's most famous online game, Depression Quest, has been played by more than 2 million people.

On February 3, Zoë Quinn will come to Seattle University as part of the Crosscut Festival, a two-day event that will put elected officials, business leaders and cultural luminaries onstage with the region’s top journalists. Rising political star Julián Castro will headline the festival. 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. Quinn will be part of a panel that discusses the tech industry’s struggle to attract a more diverse workforce.


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. Get your discounted alumni tickets here.

- Caroline Gerdes

Homecoming Day of Service 2018

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on January 11, 2018 at 11:01 AM PST

Seattle University's Homecoming Day of Service brings together SU alumni, students and friends to participate in service projects over Homecoming Weekend. From beautification projects to creating Valentine’s cards with Relay for Life, we have projects for the whole family. Registration is now open.

This year we are excited to offer service projects on both Friday, February 2, and Saturday, February 3. Visit the Homecoming Day of Service website for more details on each service opportunity.

Projects include:

FRIDAY
February 2, 2018

Community Lunch on Capitol Hill
9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Jubilee Women’s Center
10 a.m.-2 p.m.


SATURDAY
February 3, 2018

AlleyCat Acres
10 a.m.-2 p.m.

FareStart
10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Full Life
10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Habitat for Humanity
10:15 a.m.-3 p.m.

Navos
10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Pioneer Human Services
10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Relay for Life: Seattle University Chapter
9-11 a.m.

Seattle Tilth
10 a.m.-2 p.m

St. Francis House
9 a.m.-1 p.m.



Alumni chapters across the country will be participating in Homecoming Day of Service, including Hawaii, the Bay Area and Portland.

Participants are invited to join us on Saturday morning for the Kickoff Breakfast before service projects begin. A light continental breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. in the Rolfe Community Room located in the Admissions and Alumni Building on Seattle U’s campus. This will be a great opportunity for service groups to connect with each other, as most projects are within walking distance of Seattle University.

Sign up for your service project today and join us to live the mission of Seattle University!

 

Introducing the New Face of the Seattle University Alumni Association

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association is excited to welcome Jonathan Brown, on January 11, 2018 at 10:01 AM PST

Jonathan Brown in his new officeThe Seattle University Alumni Association is excited to welcome Jonathan Brown, EdD, ‘92, ’94, as our new Assistant Vice President. Jonathan comes to Seattle University from Highline College where he was the Associate Dean for the Center for Service & Leadership, Engagement and Assessment. Jonathan served at Highline from 2001 and was named 2017 Employee of the Year among 1,000 eligible employees.

Jonathan is a double Seattle U alumnus, earning a Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy and English (Honors Program) in 1992 and Master of Arts, Student Development Administration in 1994. He completed his Doctorate of Education at the University of Washington in 2015.

Jonathan has been an active Seattle U alumnus since graduation. He founded and led an SU alumni chapter for Student Development alumni until stepping down to pursue doctoral studies and has taught graduate courses in the College of Education.

We sat down with Jonathan to ask him about his new role at Seattle University and his hopes for the alumni community.
When asked what called him to return to Seattle University, he replied, “I'm not sure I ever wanted to leave in the first place! Seattle U has always been a home space for me. The opportunity to return to a campus I adore, work with people I admire, and connect with fellow alumni to build meaningful communities attracted me to apply. I have remained elated since I got the call offering me the job.”

In his role as AVP, Jonathan is most excited about engaging the Seattle U alumni community, or as he refers to them, the world’s finest alumni, which is currently 78,000 strong. He is also looking forward to rejoining a campus that influenced so many aspects of his core identity. “Perhaps most exciting is the opportunity to contribute to a community where we all share the common bond of receiving an education from an excellent institution that inspires students to lead, serve and grow. Now, that feels worthy of being my life's work!”

In regards to his new position, Jonathan says that he is here to be of service to the Seattle U alumni community. “I am returning at a time when the university wants to hear the voice of alumni. We want to feel the strengthened presence of our graduates, new and old, engaged and active, with meaningful connections back to the school, and as agents for positive change in their communities. I want alumni to know there is still space at the Seattle U table and our alumni team will help you find it.”
In his first year, Jonathan plans to listen and learn from the alumni community and volunteers and to focus on strengthening systems of alumni engagement through building and supporting meaningful alumni communities and connections. Jonathan concluded with an invitation for alumni. “If this sounds exciting to you, please reach out to our SU Alumni Association team—we would love to hear from you!”

You can contact the SUAA office at alumni@seattleu.edu.

Our online alumni community, SU Alumni Connect is also a great way to learn about upcoming events, join chapters and reconnect with classmates.

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 www.crosscut.com/festival.