SU Voice Alumni Blog

Alumni Work in Nicaragua

Posted by Amanda Kelly on December 13, 2010 at 11:12 AM PST

Hi fellow SU alumni! I graduated in 2008 with a double major in Spanish and Philosophy. I was able to volunteer as a translator for the Professionals Without Borders Club on two trips to Managua, Nicaragua.  The trips were amazing, and after graduation I felt compelled to return to Nicaragua.  So in September 2009, I moved from Seattle to Managua. I currently work with the Asociacion Familia Padre Fabretto, a non-profit organization that was founded by Catholic priest Father Fabretto in the 1050s.  Fabretto works to break the cycle of poverty for Nicaragua children and families in both urban and rural communities.

I work at a center called Nica HOPE, that is located next to the municipal trash dump, known as La Chureca.  Workers in La Chureca sort all day in the sun and heat looking for recyclable goods to resell. Respiratory and skin disease are rampant, lead poisoning common, and there is a high level of domestic and sexual abuse of women and children.  Workers generally earn less than $2 a day.  I run a vocational jewelry program for youth and single mothers from the dump community. Instead of working at the dump, the students in our program come 2-4 times a week and learn how to make beautiful pieces of jewelry.  We sell those items in country, online, and through partners in the US. This year we were able to work with 102 students from the community and sold $60,000 in jewelry items, with half going directly to the students.

Without my experiences at SU, I don't think I would have ever made it here.  Before the trips, I didn't know a thing about Nicaragua, and without my Spanish skills I don't think I would have been able to be as helpful at my center.  I thank SU for helping me develop leadership skills and the confidence to move to another country and work for a cause I truly believe in.

Thank you,

Mallory Erickson, ’08.


Merry Christmas from Father Steve!

Posted by Amanda Kelly on December 3, 2010 at 10:12 AM PST


Advent, as we know, is a time of hope and anticipation. Even as we pray and open ourselves to new blessings, I believe this special season is as much an invitation to reflect on the graces already present in our lives. For me there’s just something about the increasing chill in the air and our seemingly endless Northwest nights that puts me in a particularly grateful state of mind.

And among the greatest blessings I count as president are the students, faculty and staff of Seattle University who so passionately embrace our mission of promoting justice; our alumni who never cease to amaze me as they excel professionally and live out our core values; and our friends whose generosity drives us forward so we can fulfill our highest aspirations.

This Christmas season, I want to thank you for supporting Seattle University and, in turn, committing to the growth of our students in mind, body and spirit.

My wish for each of you is that the comfort and inspiration of God’s love accompany you throughout this season of hope and the year to come. From all of us at Seattle University to you and yours—Merry Christmas!

Fr. Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.
President of Seattle University


Take a Kid to the Game ... for Free!

Posted by Amanda Kelly on December 3, 2010 at 9:12 AM PST


Welcome Christmas in Seattle! Grab your family and friends and head to Seattle Center on Saturday, December 11 for SU's Elgin Baylor Classic men's basketball game. Our gift to you- Any adult purchasing a ticket at the window that day will receive up to two free tickets for kids 14 and under. Wander around Seattle Center and go ice skating, check out the winter train and village, see ice sculptures and take in the festive lights.  Our special pre-game rally will include holiday treats, a chance to shoot photos with Santa Rudy and free RedHawks t-shirts for the first 100 guests. Rally begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Pavilion, located right beside the skate park just outside KeyArena.

At 5:00 p.m. SU RedHawks Men's basketball team will take on the Idaho Vandals. We will recognize Elgin Baylor's teammates, honor members of the 1958 NCAA runner-up team, and celebrate the 80th birthdays of Seattle University legends Johnny and Eddie O'Brien. Looking forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions, feel free to call the Office of Alumni Relations at 206.296. 6127 or shoot us an email.

Merry Christmas!

SU's Office of Alumni Relations





Practicing Discernment

Posted by Amanda Kelly on December 2, 2010 at 1:12 PM PST


After graduating from Seattle U in 2005, I often found myself contemplating my next steps: Should I go to graduate school?  What are my passions?  How can I use my gifts and talents in a way that brings me joy but also serves the needs of the world?  When I saw an advertisement for the “Living Into Your Life” discernment series that Magis was sponsoring, I decided that it was exactly what I needed.  Over the course of a couple of months, I gained valuable tools, grounded in the Ignatian tradition, for discernment.  One of the greatest things about the series was the sense of community that I found in the small group of young adults journeying through the same kinds of important life questions.  We supported each other through that very vulnerable place of our deepest longings and held each other in love and respect as we gave space to those hopes and dreams and fears.  I am grateful that I participated in the series and for the discernment tools and friendships that I gained.

Marissa Turner, '05


Illuminating the Holidays

Posted by Amanda Kelly on November 29, 2010 at 12:11 PM PST

Dear Alumni & Friends-

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are looking forward to the approaching holiday season. In the spirit of such a season, I wanted to take this chance to extend an invitation, on behalf of the student body at Seattle University, to join us on campus for a very special holiday celebration. It’s a new annual tradition emphasizing the spirit of the holidays by harnessing the community atmosphere of family and friends at Seattle University. The Illuminating the Holidays event will occur on December 1st from 7pm-8pm in the Lemieux Library East Plaza. Illuminating the Holidays will include complementary hot cocoa and cookies served in the Student Center Lobby, a toy drive, holiday carols, and a culminating ceremonial tree and campus lighting. I sincerely hope you will join us for such a spirited new tradition at Seattle University!


Kevin Eggers
ASSU President


Dakota 38

Posted by Amanda Kelly on November 17, 2010 at 1:11 PM PST

Dear All,

On behalf of the Center for the Study of Justice in Society (CSJS), we are excited to partner with the American Indian Institute
to host the first public screening of Dakota 38 on Thursday, December 9th in the Seattle University Pigott Auditorium! Dakota 38 is a feature length documentary film by Smooth Feather Productions which tells the story of this 330 mile journey. See the film trailer.  Both Eric Noyes, Director of the American Indian Institute, and Jim Miller, the Lakota Spiritual Leader who inspired the film, will be in attendance and will join us in a panel discussion after the film screening. Admission is free, for film details and tickets are available here. 

Thanks to our campus partners, the Office of the President, Campus Ministry, and others, for their support of this event.

Thank you,
Gail Lasprogata, Director
Seattle University Center for the Study of Justice in Society 

Re-imagine life, work & faith in turbulent times.

Posted by Amanda Kelly on November 2, 2010 at 9:11 AM PDT

Sometimes I feel paralyzed when I start to think about all of the challenges that our world faces: war, peak oil, limited resources, and natural disasters.  When I start to feel discouraged I like to read any of the books by my long time friend, Tom Sine.  Tom is a local author and international speaker who works as a consultant in futures research and planning for organizations including Habitat for Humanity, and Bread for the World.  In Tom’s books and talks he takes a good hard look at the challenges we all face but instead of compounding the despair, he raises our hope by recounting stories of individuals, families, and communities whose imagination has been liberated for compassionate and creative responses.  This Wednesday, November 3rd Tom will be speaking on campus at the Public Square Forum hosted by Magis from 6:30-8:30pm in LeRoux, Student Center 160.  Tom’s talk is titled, “Is There Life After Jesuit Education: Re-imagining Life, Work, & Faith for Turbulent Times.”  Feel free to join us if you need a good dose of hope! 

Tom Norwood, Assistant Director of Magis


Matteo Ricci Anniversary

Posted by Amanda Kelly on November 1, 2010 at 8:11 AM PDT

The alumni of Matteo Ricci College enjoyed two days of events commemorating the 35thAnniversary of the founding of the college and the 400th Anniversary of their patron, Matteo Ricci.  Thursday, October 21, at the Inaugural Matteo Ricci College Lecture in the Humanities, Oxford University’s Rev. Antoni Ucerler S.J. spoke on the “Global Legacy of Matteo Ricci, A Jesuit Humanist’s Encounter with China.” Images, insights, and excerpts from original texts provided an almost personal encounter with Ricci.  On Friday, a hugely successful first Alumni Symposium brought together alums from throughout the history of the college – from the 1st graduating class through class 2010.  A professionally diverse panel of alumni addressed the ways in which the study of the humanities has impacted their life and work.  At the reception in the Paccar Atrium, alumni reconnected over great food, conversation, and a strolling magician.  If you have not already been to the 6th floor of the beautifully redesigned library, make sure to take the opportunity to see the stunning 6-panel Ricci map of the world, created with the permission of the Library of Congress from a detailed digital scan of Ricci’s original, hand-drawn map.  Alumni of Matteo Ricci College can be proud to know that this map, which Ricci himself considered to have a magical effect due to its size and format, was presented as a gift from Matteo Ricci College to the University.


Thoughts from Fr. Rog

Posted by Eli Christopher on October 20, 2010 at 10:10 AM PDT

L-R Fr. Roger Gillis, S.J. and Fr. Mike Bayard, S.J.

Dear Friends –
Since the full knowledge of my cancer became known to everyone I have been overcome by the positive notes and visits and to a certain extent, the overwhelmingness shouldn’t be surprising because I was bowled over by the realization of how much I am loved.  Part of the reason for feeling overwhelmed was also because I was realizing just how much I am loved – loved so deeply. (I am never surprised how good and beautiful you are, realizing that about myself was more difficult.  But the two go together!) This confirms that when I am in touch with the Holy Spirit, I believe and act out of love. 

 It is not always easy to love ourselves. On the other hand, it is easy for me to love all of you.  It isn’t too tricky, because if you love other people, they’ll love you back!  My apostolic mission at S.U. has been to love other people.  I open up a card and you would thank me for something I did – and you reminded me of it.  But lovers don’t keep score.

And just as we need to be reenergized or encouraged in the Holy Spirit in communal worship, retreats, and friendships, I have a few things to encourage you with:

Forgive one another.  Mr. Thirty-two Search is ALWAYS moved to tears with people finding it in themselves to reconcile.  That is at the center of our belief.

Take time to be with each other and to encourage each other.  You can’t build community at a distance.  We all get busy but take time for one another because this is how we know we are loved.

Take care of yourself.  I’ve learned a lot about health and a shout-out to all of my women friends 40 and over, please get a mammogram.  Also, Fr. Mike lost weight and if he can do it, so can you! 

In all of this, take heed of St. John’s call:  Love one another.

Love, love, love,

Fr. Rog


Steve Brilling on the Annual Business Plan Competition

Posted by Amanda Kelly on October 20, 2010 at 9:10 AM PDT

As an alum of Seattle U, you have a unique opportunity to continue to derive value from your University relationship through our Annual Business Plan Competition and Business Roundtables.  The Competition is open to alums as well as our current students. It essentially gives contestants a chance to “test drive” their idea, with the active support of the business community. We have $30,000 in prize money plus the ideas are exposed to potential investors—prior contestants have raised over $2million from this exposure.   The business roundtables—Executive and Next Generation—provide for peer-to-peer conversations with other business professionals as well as offer continual professional development. This  highly successful program has been helping business professionals run their company more effectively as well as provide assistance to the critical steps in succession planning.

Both the competition and roundtables are more fully described on our website. I would be glad to take your call if you would like to participate or learn more.