SU Voice Alumni Blog

SU Voice Survey Results Are In!

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on April 2, 2020 at 2:04 PM PDT

A sincere thank you to everyone that took the time to complete the SU Voice survey. We had 52 respondents answer questions that will help us refine the content that we put in this newsletter to alumni as well as help us define and plan for new programming for the future. Find some of the highlighted sections of the report below. 

Results showed the majority of readers who answered the survey are either neutral or satisfied with the SU Voice alumni newsletter. 

A bar graph that illustrates the how satisfied or unsatisfied respondents are with the newsletter


Respondents were most interested in reading about the following five topics: university news, alumni member benefits, class notes, alumni profiles and upcoming events.

A bar graph that highlights the top five content areas that people are interested in read about in the SU voice


Survey results also shed light on alumni interest in attending various in-person events.

A bar graph showing interest of event attendance by event type.

As we continue to strategically determine our next steps for expanding our connection to alumni, we are grateful that you have given us this information so we are able to start, stop or continue various programming and communications with you. Our goal is to deepen relationships between the university and our alumni that foster lifelong connection and support to open pathways to engagement in the life of the university.

Care on the Frontlines: An Alumna's Expertise with COVID-19

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on April 2, 2020 at 12:04 PM PDT

Naomi Diggs profile picture wearing her doctor's coat in her office with a bookshelf in the backgroundOn January 21, the Center for Disease Control announced that the first novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the U.S. was in Washington state. Since then, the state has identified quarantine locations, closed public schools and businesses, waived testing costs and most recently issued a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order that requires residents to stay home unless they need to pursue an essential activity. These efforts have been put in place to help flatten the curve of the virus and slow the rate of infection, and to give our hospitals and healthcare workers a fighting chance. 

Naomi Diggs, MD, ’04, '20 is a physician and leader at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle where she is part of the coordinated COVID-19 response team. She and other Swedish leaders have been working around the clock to ensure adequate PPE supplies, access to testing, and ability to manage a surge of patients. Dr. Diggs leads a large team of physicians who care for acutely ill patients across all five Swedish hospitals in the Puget Sound. Diggs is accustomed to hectic days leading her team during the pandemic.  In addition to caring for patients, her work includes ensuring accurate communication across the organization between her colleagues in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and emergency department.   

“We are cautiously optimistic that social distancing is working. So far, Seattle is not like New York where the healthcare system is at risk of being completely overwhelmed. We are constantly working on obtaining resources and improving our operations to prepare,” said Diggs. While pandemic training isn’t explicitly a part of medical school, Diggs said that as a physician, she and her colleagues have been training their entire careers for this kind of crisis. “The physicians on my team have been on the frontlines of many different epidemics from SARS to H1N1 and even HIV-AIDS. While the scale of coronavirus is unprecedented, taking care of sick people is what we are trained to do.” 

As a Leadership Executive MBA student and recent graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at Seattle University, Diggs has developed greater insight into her motivation for showing up and leading. Healthcare workers do not have the luxury of holing up in their homes to shield themselves from coronavirus. Countless Swedish caregivers get up each day and make the choice to leave the safety of their homes and head to work. Diggs said “When people go into healthcare, they know they’re not making widgets. We are living our mission each day. We’re getting a lot of attention now, but this is what heath care is every day. We take care of the sick and ill.” 

Diggs continued, “Honestly, it’s quite inspiring to be in healthcare now.” New information is being gathered locally and around the world to help hospitals treat patients and better understand this disease.  Diggs noted, “I am proud of us as a discipline. Not only are we taking care of patients, but we are also handling the data and science at the same time. We have trials going on that are literally affecting how we handle patients and protocols in real time.” 

Diggs continues to do her part and when asked how Seattle U alumni can help, she advised, “Continue social distancing, get your information from accurate and reputable sources and take care of your neighbors, friends and families.  The only way we will get through this is if everyone does their part.” 

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, check out the CDC Symptom & Testing website for a coronavirus self-checker, call your doctor’s office or schedule a virtual visit through Swedish Medical Center. 

COVID-19 Brings Challenges and New Opportunities

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on April 2, 2020 at 10:04 AM PDT

Throughout these unprecedented times, Seattle University has kept the health, safety and well-being of our students and the university community paramount. Since we last communicated about our COVID-19 response, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., released a video message, calling on us to “look out for one another and care for one another.” Watch the video.  

Faculty are busy preparing to teach virtually when the quarter starts on Monday, April 6 and staff across campus are working to create engaging experiences for students and alumni for our current reality. As Fr. Steve said, “While this is a time we need to keep our distance physically, it is as important as ever that we stay connected.”

Despite these challenging times, the Seattle University Alumni Association is building programming options that will cultivate robust virtual communities where you can engage with the SU alumni community both near and far. Check our website regularly and stay connected to us via Facebook, TwitterInstagram or LinkedIn to get programmatic updates.

Virtual Programs, Events and Resources

Seattle University and partner organizations are offering a variety of ways to engage with your alma mater and community during this time.

Professional Development

In light of current circumstances, we will be waiving fees for the following Career Conversations and Tools for Trasition series.


Community and Service


Seattle U continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and regularly updates the community through its coronavirus website to reflect the latest state and university developments. 

It's Going to be Clawsome!

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on April 2, 2020 at 9:04 AM PDT

Its Going to Be Clawsome Albers Crab Feed Website Banner

Grab those crab cakes and join us online! In lieu of an in-person gathering, the 18th Annual Albers Alumni Crab Feed will be transitioning to a virtual auction. Our goal to empower the next generation of ethical leaders through scholarships and distinctive Jesuit education depends on your continued support and competitive spirit. Join us for a week of bidding on a plethora of fantastic packages, all from the comfort of your home! All net proceeds from the online auction will support current and future Albers student scholarships. 
Here are ways you can participate: 

  • Bid generously on exciting auction items when our online catalog goes live on Friday, April 3, 2020.  We have many items this year that we’ve never had at the Crab Feed before!  
  • Support a Scholar! Make a gift to support scholarships for Albers students by virtually raising your paddle. Remind friends to take advantage of any eligible corporate giving matches! 
  • Share our online auction with your network – The best part about a virtual Crab Feed is that everyone can come! 
  • Check our event page for more information.

Let’s get crackin’! See you online starting on April 3rd! 

SUAA Expands Spirituality Offerings

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on March 4, 2020 at 12:03 PM PST

On March 1, the Seattle U Alumni Association (SUAA) officially started its partnership with the Ignatian Spirituality Center (ISC) to offer Ignatian program offerings directly to Seattle University alumni. Already a partner with other areas of the university, ISC responds to the spiritual hunger in our world by providing spiritual direction services and programs intended to “assist persons of all faiths to serve Christ’s mission of compassion, healing and justice.”

The ISC offers a wide variety of programs and retreats to meet you where you are in your spiritual journey and to help you deepen and explore your relationship with God. By using the Ignatian lens to faith, which focuses on discernment, finding God in all things and becoming contemplatives in action, the ISC is able to serve alumni of all faith traditions and stages of life.

“We are excited to bring an expanded suite of quality spirituality offerings to our alumni in partnership with the Ignatian Spirituality Center. They are leaders in Ignatian formation and spiritual development in the Seattle area. Through this partnership, we are able to meet our alumni’s requests for more spirituality programming,” says Jonathan Brown, Assistant Vice President of the Seattle University Alumni Association.

Weekend and one-day retreats invite you to engage in reflection and discernment and experience the gifts of Ignatian prayer and contemplation. Spiritual direction services connect alumni with spiritual directors who can support them as they navigate life choices. This Ignatian Life series explores the intersection of Ignatian spirituality and current issues, such as immigration and the climate crisis, in daily life and culture. A series for men invites them to reflect on relevant life issues using an Ignatian lens.

ISC has two program for younger alumni. IgNite program retreats are geared toward the specific needs and interests of our alumni aged 21-35. Contemplative Leaders in Action (CLA) is a two-year faith formation and leadership development program for young adults (20's and 30's) that nurtures individual growth and strives to develop a cohort of leaders who can bring the dynamics of faith and justice to lead their families, co-workers and communities.

While ISC programs are not exclusively for Seattle U alumni, as we look toward the future, we have the possibility of SU-only programming and bringing ISC programs to campus.

A few of the upcoming events:

Novena of Grace
Tuesday, March 10—Wednesday, March 18

12:30 pm at Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University (Eucharist)
6:30 pm at St. Joseph Church, Seattle (Contemplative Prayer)*
1:00 pm at St. Joseph Church (Eucharist)
1:00 pm at Chapel of St. Ignatius (Eucharist)
Gerry Scully, Mary Pauline Diaz-Frasene, and Fr. Mike Bayard, Retreat Presenters

This Ignatian Life: Reimagining Racial Justice
Sunday, March 29, 2020
1-4 p.m.
St. Joseph Parish Center, Seattle
Jimmy McCarty & Marilyn Nash, Presenters

God at Work: Young Adults Practicing Ignatian Spirituality in the Workplace
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
6:30-9 p.m.
Seattle Preparatory School, Seattle

Learn more about the Ignatian Spirituality Center and their retreats and programs.

High School Summer Scholars Institutes at Seattle University

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on March 4, 2020 at 11:03 AM PST

a group photo of students involved in the SU summer scholar institute

This year Seattle University will provide two residential high school academic enrichment summer camps for current ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students. At the foundation of both programs are social justice and innovation. As alumni of Seattle University, we welcome applications from your children and youth you work with to provide this opportunity that will allow them to explore higher education in a fun, challenging, hands-on, empowering way while earning college credits.

Seattle University’s Summer Business Institute is an Albers School of Business & Economics (Albers SBI) program focused on social entrepreneurship. The weeklong overnight program operates from July 5-10, 2020. Young scholars will stay in residential halls, dine at Cherry Street Market and engage with our corporate partners. Also, Albers SBI provides young scholars the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship, marketing, data visualization, accounting, economics and more.

The Seattle University AI4ALL is a two-week residential experience from July 12-24, 2020, for high school students interested in criminal law and artificial intelligence (AI). Throughout the two weeks, young scholars will learn about the intersection of modern technology and criminal justice issues, such as facial recognition, bias, and equity. This program is hands-on and will include engagement with law enforcement and Seattle area tech companies.

Nonetheless, Seattle University’s Summer Scholars Institutes are about more than the classes. Scholars who successfully complete their programs will receive support in college essays, scholarship searches, resume writing and more! Priority deadline for applications close on March 30, 2020. Also, scholarships are available for Washington state students and children of alumni to Seattle University.

Crosscut Festival 2020

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on March 4, 2020 at 10:03 AM PST

a group of women holding crosscut and Seattle University drawstring bags

The Crosscut Festival at Seattle University will be back on campus Saturday May 2 and we’d love to see there! Like years previous, the Crosscut Festival will feature dynamic and nationally renowned speakers. Engage with well-known headliners, respected journalists, and critical thinkers around five dynamic topics: business, politics, race and social justice, science and environment, and headliners.

As Seattle University alumni, you can email and request 1-2 complimentary general admission tickets. You will be entered into a lottery for a limited number of tickets and will be notified by April 8 if you are selected. Don't want to wait? Purchase discounted alumni tickets. Come to the festival to reconnect with your fellow alums, engage in thought-provoking conversations, support local media and Seattle University.   

2019’s schedule provides some insight into what to expect for 2020. Even though planning for the Festival is far from complete, you will recognize many names booked so far: former US Senator Jeff Flake, PSB NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, journalist and commentator Soledad O’Brien, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and many more to come.

Look for a full rollout of names later this month and if you’d like to get the news as it breaks, sign up for updates.

Father Sundborg Announces Plans to Step Down in June 2021

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on March 4, 2020 at 10:03 AM PST

After serving as the university’s president for the past 24 years, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., will join next year’s graduating class at commencement in June of 2021 and step into the next chapter of his life. “Father Steve” as he is affectionately known, became president in 1997 and today is the state’s longest-serving college president. Fr. Sundborg was ordained a priest in Seattle in 1974 and completed his doctoral studies in spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1982. He taught theology at Seattle University from 1982 to 1990 and served as provincial of the Northwest Jesuits from 1990 to 1996.

During his presidency, the Seattle University campus has been transformed physically with construction of, among other facilities, a student center, a law school, residential housing, a center for the performing arts, a library and learning commons and a fitness center. A new Center for Science and Innovation will open in fall 2021. Under his leadership, enrollment has grown 78 percent to almost 7,200 students, as the university has strengthened its academic programs, more deeply engaged with community partners and developed an educational mission that forms leaders for a just and humane world.

Fr. Sundborg initiated strategic opportunities for Seattle University to carry out its mission, championing endeavors such as the Costco Scholarship Fund for highly qualified underrepresented students and the Seattle University Youth Initiative to strengthen education and support systems for 1,000 local youth while providing community-engaged learning for students.

As Seattle University’s longest serving president, he has signed diplomas for more than 45,000 of the university’s alumni. He often speaks of the important role the alumni play, saying that the way they live their lives is the best measure of whether Seattle U is achieving its mission.

A search committee was announced with the goal of identifying Fr. Sundborg’s successor by this November. Fr. Sundborg will work with the new president during a transition period leading up to his final day in office on June 30, 2021.

In his message to the Seattle University community, Fr. Sundborg said, “I believe it is better at this time to look forward to the opportunity that lies ahead for the university. In my view there is no better or more needed education for today and tomorrow than our kind of Jesuit education in our dynamic city and region. We are 'Seattle’s Jesuit university,' a powerful educational formula, drawing on the resources of both the world’s most renowned educational tradition and one of the world’s most dynamic and future-focusing metropolitan areas.”

In a separate message to the university community, Nicole W. Piasecki, chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to thank Father Sundborg for the unprecedented impact he has had on our university. Under his leadership, Seattle University has grown and flourished, consistently rising in national and regional rankings.”

Piasecki also announced the appointment of a Presidential Search Committee to oversee the search process. The committee will be charged with conducting the search and presenting recommended finalists to the Board. The committee includes Trustees, students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Jesuit community.


Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

Posted by A contribution from Sheila Oh, Department of Computer Science on February 6, 2020 at 9:02 AM PST

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) is the largest, global women in technology conference, with nearly 25,000 attendees in 2019. The demand for attending the conference is extremely high— it sells out in a matter of hours. Conference highlights include a career fair featuring over 400 organizations looking to recruit female and underrepresented talent, over 400 sessions, and over 900 speakers.

Ten students from Seattle University’s Computer Science Department received travel awards to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women (GHC) in Computing in Orlando, Florida. All attendees submitted their resumes before the conference and scheduled interviews during the conference. With the large number of companies represented at GHC, students were able to learn about companies and opportunities that they may not have the exposure to in their individual internship and job searches.

One of the most impactful moments of the conference was the opening keynote. The energy of the room was electric as students were surrounded by female technologists from around the world. One of the most important aspects of GHC is that attendees were able to build community and a support network. Students appreciated being able to spend time with fellow SU students and were relieved that they were “no longer isolated or alone.” They were able to rely on each other for support both during and after the conference.

“Being at GHC was incredibly beneficial for my outlook of being a woman in tech. Being around the awesome positivity and constant messages of empowerment was really important for me as a boost for my morale and an inspiration for finishing my degree,” said an SU student attendee. GHC was an extremely positive experience and the energy from the conference has continued. All attendees have been actively involved in ACM-W, whose mission is to promote a stronger community among women in technology through professional connections, opportunities for technical and educational development and community outreach. Additionally, students continue to reflect on the importance of giving back and supporting other female students in the department and building community.

In the words of another student, “I'm so thankful for the opportunity to attend GHC 19. I had the chance to attending over a dozen talks where I deepened my knowledge on cyber-security. During the career fair, I networked and learned of women empowering organizations that my fellow students and I could join. And finally, it was most eye opening to see so many women in engineering gathered together to share knowledge and empower each other.”

A Jesuit University of Distinction

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on February 5, 2020 at 3:02 PM PST

Aerial view of Seattle University quad

In January, Seattle University unveiled the Strategic Direction for 2020-2025: “A Jesuit University of Distinction for a Time of Change.” This vision and the goals outlined in it represents in a clear and compelling manner what Seattle University wants and is committed to become. 

The strategic direction was developed with the voice and contributions of the whole university, including students, staff, faculty and alumni, and were facilitated and articulated by a deeply engaged Steering Committee. This vision of the future shapes the university from academics and operations to alumni engagement and partnerships for professional development.

By fully aligning our talents and resources to the needs of society, our students and our alumni in a time of innovation and change, we will shape a Seattle U that is better, stronger and increasingly recognized for its excellence, purpose and impact.

Strategic Direction Goals 

  • Reimagine and revise our curriculum: We will comprehensively reimagine and revise our curriculum, including a review of our academic calendar, to deeply embed practices and qualities that make our education more distinctively Jesuit and empowering. 
  • Strengthen professional formation: Seattle and the Puget Sound region offer extraordinary opportunities to the university and its students. We will leverage and build upon this location and our connections. 
  • Enhance the student experience: We will build a campus environment that engages, enlivens and educates all students. We will value and celebrate the diverse identities that comprise our community. 
  • Support the success of our community: Because equity and diversity are integral to our character, values and excellence, and essential in our education, we will prioritize inclusive recruitment, hiring and retention practices and provide the range of programs and learning opportunities that help all faculty and staff thrive in a diverse environment.
  • Reposition for change: We will build the strategic, institutional and financial capacity that undergirds the success of these strategic directions. We will link them to multi-year enrollment, tuition and aid strategies and comprehensive academic and financial plans that see affordability and access for students to an education well worth it while assuring the financial viability of the university.

We will be coordinating the efforts of a number of working groups to support these goals. The Strategic Planning Council will be a major vehicle to move Seattle University forward in making decisions about its future. These working groups will be populated in consultation with the appropriate shared governance bodies such as the Academic Assembly, Staff Senate, SGSU and GSU. 

Read the full vision, goals and key initiatives by visiting this website.