SU Voice Alumni Blog

Honoring Veteran and Military Service

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on October 3, 2019 at 3:10 PM PDT

Veterans Cake Cutting Ceremony Group Picture

As we approach Veteran’s Day, we would like to highlight some of the contributions that Veterans provide to our communities. Check out the following opportunities to listen to stories, get involved in veteran groups or attend events that support or highlight the contributions that veterans have made to our communities.

Join the Veteran’s and Military Alumni Group for an intimate conversation with Elis Salamone, on Thursday, October 17 as she tells her personal story of failure and how a change in perspective continues to help her reach her goals. Elis Salamone is an award-winning, board-certified woman’s health nurse practitioner and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. Elis has completed two deployments. During her first tour, she was the officer in charge of a team of 25 medics/nurses. She served with Army Special Forces in her second tour in Afghanistan. Since retiring from the military, Elis continues to work as a nurse practitioner at the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority and is a speaker, educator, mentor and advocate across Washington State.

Interested in making a connection with the Seattle U military and veteran community? The Veteran and Military Alumni group is dedicated to strengthening a diverse, inclusive, and belonging group for [PC1] veterans, military and dependent alumni. Get connected with other military and veteran SU alumni through educational events, socials and service-oriented activities. Reach out to Bianca Galam at for more information.

Finally, Homecoming festivities are taking place over Veteran’s Day weekend where we will be honoring our veterans and expressing our gratitude for their service at the following events.

  • Homecoming Day of Service Breakfast
  • Robert Bennedsen Veterans Day 5K
  • Homecoming Rally and Redfest
  • Homecoming Basketball Game

The Power of the Liberal Arts Experience

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on October 3, 2019 at 3:10 PM PDT

Profile Picture of Brian Gonzales

As Brian Gonzales, '00, owner of PAIRODIME, a technology, marketing and design company, reflects on his experience at Seattle University you get the sense that all the big and small opportunities he gained while at SU have contributed to his personal and professional journey.

“One of the things that got me excited about the campus was the culture. Getting to attend a school that is grounded in a Catholic background and located in the Pacific Northwest was a great choice for my family,” said Gonzales. As a student on campus Brian was involved in student council, worked at the radio station, drew political cartoons for the Spectator and was involved in several student organizations. The liberal arts education he received while at SU allowed him to explore different academic subjects all through the ethical lens of the human experience. “The most rewarding part of my education were all the different opportunities that SU had to offer,” said Gonzales.

Brian’s outgoing nature combined with his diverse educational background laid the groundwork for him to own his own digital consulting company. “It’s so important to develop the total human. Because of my education at Seattle U, I can chameleon myself into anything my clients need,” said Gonzales.

Brian’s passion for networking, growing community and helping to build the Portland Chapter led to his involvement in the Uncommon Impact: Portland reception. He will be creating a unique and inclusive experience for those who are unable to attend the reception by livestreaming the event. Check out the livestream on our Seattle U Alumni Association Facebook page on Thursday, October 10 at 6 p.m. “I am excited about the livestream event for Portland! It’s a great way to engage with people utilizing popular social media platforms,” says Gonzales. Register here to meet other Seattle University Portland Chapter community members at the Uncommon Impact: Portland reception. 

Other Uncommon Impact Reception Sites:

Living a Legacy - From Father to Daughter

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on October 3, 2019 at 3:10 PM PDT

Profile pictures of BJ and Cymran Giri

Originally from Nepal, BJ Giri, ‘86, came to Seattle University on a scholarship to pursue a degree in engineering. “My father had previously worked in the Northwest and really wanted me to go to school here,” said Giri. While attending Seattle U he connected with his professors and was involved in several intramural sports. “SU is great! I loved living and working as an RA in the dorms because it allowed me to meet lots of different people from all over the world,” said Giri.

When it was time for his daughter, Cymran, to explore colleges, he suggested that she look at Seattle University. “It’s always great to have your kids follow in your footsteps. I told her it was a great school and I really enjoyed being there, and now, I think she does too,” said Giri.

“My dad encouraged me to look into Seattle University. He told me he got really close to his professors and was able to talk to them about more than education. I thought that was awesome! I knew that I wanted that experience, too,” said Cymran, ‘22. Throughout her first year at SU, she enjoyed participating in thought-provoking discussions in theology class and connecting with faculty members providing her the same Seattle U experience she had always heard from her father.

Last year, their family attended the Legacy Family Celebration where Cymran, as a freshman, was pinned as a legacy student. “It was really cool to see a diverse group of families and all the different generations,” said Cymran. This year, she will have the opportunity to tell her story and what it means to be a part of a legacy family.

Are you a member of multigenerational Seattle U family? Celebrate your family’s SU tradition with us by attending the Legacy Family Celebration.

Friday, October 25
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Campion Ballroom

The Campaign for the Uncommon Good

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on October 3, 2019 at 3:10 PM PDT

The Campaign for the Uncommon Good Header Image

On Tuesday, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., introduced The Campaign for the Uncommon Good, the largest campaign in Seattle University’s history, with a goal of $275 million. We enter the public phase of the campaign having raised $250 million from more than 20,000 donors. Now we invite our 83,000 alumni and the broader Seattle U community to engage with us and the campaign that will equip our students with the knowledge, purpose and experience necessary to fearlessly build a better future for all.

The Campaign for the Uncommon Good supports construction of the new Center for Science & Innovation, scholarships and mission-driven programs such as mental health support for students, service learning and maintaining the Jesuit character of the university.

The Seattle University Alumni Association will be focused on engaging our alumni to volunteer, attend events, participate in chapter and affinity group programs, serve as an ambassador for SU Gives or mentor students.

We will be officially launching the campaign to the public over Homecoming Weekend November 6-10. Alumni, families and friends of the university are invited to enjoy lectures, reunions, Homecoming Day of Service, the Red Umbrella Parade, alumni mass, the Redhawk Redfest Rally and Homecoming basketball game.

In addition to Homecoming, the Alumni Association is hitting the road for The Uncommon Impact Tour. We will be visiting Portland, Honolulu, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Spokane, Tacoma and the Puget Sound Eastside. At these events, you will hear from President Sundborg, S.J., and other Seattle U dignitaries about The Campaign for Uncommon Good and continue to build the SU community in those areas. We hope to strengthen our existing regional chapters and build new ones where they don’t currently exist. If you are interested in helping to build your region’s chapter, contact the SU Alumni Association.

With The Campaign for the Uncommon Good, we will amplify the good we’re already doing and expand into areas where we can have the broadest and most enduring impact. Our time is now to empower champions for a just, inclus


Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 5, 2019 at 2:09 PM PDT

Groups of women talking and holding paper

Career Conversations, our popular new professional development offering, provides small group sessions with career coach Paula Fitzgerald Boos covering a range of job search and transition networking topics. 

This monthls topic is: Effective Actions and Strategies for Networking 
Date: Wednesday, September 18 
Time: 7:30-9 a.m. 
Location Seattle University Advancement and Alumni Building, Room 107 

Mark your calendars now for the remaining Career Conversations sessions! All are held from 7:30-9 a.m. 

  • October 16 - Conducting Effective Informational Interviews 
  • November 20 – Moving Online Connections to In-Person Relationships 
  • December 18 – Signs It’s Time for a Career Change 
  • January 15 - Personal Branding
  • February 19 - Resume Best Practices
  • March 18 - Seeking Mentorship
  • April 15 - Career Transitions: Communicating Transferrable Skills
  • May 20 – Generating Advancement Opportunities
  • June 17 – Navigating your Current Work System 

Making a Difference: Homecoming Day of Service

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 5, 2019 at 10:09 AM PDT

Seattle University student gardening for Day of ServiceJoin Seattle University for one epic day of service to make a difference in our local community and in communities our alumni call home around the globe. SU’s signature Day of Service event is taking place during Homecoming weekend on Saturday, November 9 and for the first time, is going global with sites across the country and around the world. It is an incredible opportunity to get friends and family together to volunteer.

In Seattle, we have partnered with more than 25 community organizations and several of the organizations will be bringing their projects to the Seattle U campus. All Seattle area volunteers are invited to the Homecoming Day of Service kick-off breakfast before serving. 

We are challenging all Redhawks to actively participate. With our diverse selection of sites, you can choose programs and partners that align with your passions. It’s a “great way to give back to the community and get to know organizations that do great work,” said a past volunteer. 

We are still confirming regional sites and hope to add more. With your support, we can make a positive impact on our local communities and globally. Don’t see a service site in your area? Have an idea for a service site in your neighborhood? Interested in leading a site? Contact Stephanie Jamieson at for leadership opportunities and regional or global site ideas and locations.

Coming Home to Reconnect

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 5, 2019 at 10:09 AM PDT

Headshot of Alumni Spotlight Kristen MorganWhether it is building understanding around ways to prevent suicide, helping women and men with addiction, or in her new role providing educational services to incarcerated adult males, Kristen Morgan, ’09, ’13, is living the mission and values gained while attending Seattle University.  

“The experiences I gained from classroom discussions in conjunction with practicum and internships opportunities shaped the direction of what I wanted to do post-graduation,” says Morgan. In addition to engaging classroom conversations, the opportunity to fully participate in spiritual programs like Search Retreat and immersion programs like Mexico Mission Trek gave her a better understanding of the community and people who have different lived experiences. 

These fond memories and career-focusing experiences Kristen had while at Seattle U really pushed her to get involved in the Search Retreat 50th reunion planning committee. “Search Retreat was a central part of my time at SU. Many of the relationships that I developed while at Search Retreat and through my time at Campus Ministry continue to this day,” says Morgan. With the 50th anniversary of Search Retreat and her Class of 2009 10th Reunion falling on the same weekend, Morgan is enthusiastic to come back to Seattle U and see old friends and reminisce about this special time in her life. 

“I know the school has changed so much since the time I left,” says Morgan. She is excited for this reunion weekend and the opportunity to “reconnect and see where my peers are in their professional lives, gain perspective on how privileged we were to experience this type of education and refamiliarize ourselves with the level of academic and spiritual growth that we got while at SU.”

Reliving positive experiences and renewing friendships are two great reasons to attend. Join Kristen Morgan and come home to Seattle U for reunion and Homecoming Weekend.

Find out more:

Seattle U is Coming to You

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 5, 2019 at 10:09 AM PDT

A group picture of people smiling at an event

Connect with fellow Redhawks in your area at one of our seven regional Uncommon Impact Tour receptions. Learn more about the state of the university and get updates from President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and/or Provost Shane Martin, PhD.

As we visit these seven regions, we are excited to strengthen our existing chapters and build new chapters where they don’t yet exist. Regional receptions are designed to build your local community by expanding your network of Seattle U alumni with different professional backgrounds and life experiences. If you are interested in taking a leadership role in building your local community, please email Bianca Galam.

So, come ready to engage  while enjoying delicious food and building your SU regional community! 

Uncommon Impact Reception Dates and Locations

Click on the location and reception date to register for that event.

A Conversation with Sister Helen Prejean

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 5, 2019 at 9:09 AM PDT

A photo of Sister Helen Prejean giving a speech

Best known for her 1993 book Dead Man Walking, which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, Sister Helen Prejean recently received an honorary doctorate from Seattle University and delivered the Graduate Commencement address in June.

Together, The College of Arts and Sciences, School of Theology and Ministry, Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture and the Elliott Bay Book Company are pleased to welcome her back to campus to talk about her new memoir, River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey.

This new memoir tells her life story before she worked with death row inmates and leads up to pivotal social justice movements in the 1980s where Dead Man Walking begins. River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey chronicles her time with the congregation of St. Joseph in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, speaks of changes in the early 60s when her life was opened by the ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church and ends with a letter to Pope Francis about her concerns with the exclusion of women in the church. Despite all the work she has done throughout her lifetime addressing structural inequity, Sister Helen courageously uses this book to continue to shine light on areas where she still sees injustices, particularly the treatment of women and LGBTQ people in the church.

Sister Helen travels three-quarters of the year and has spoken in all 50 states. She has also been awarded over 65 honorary degrees throughout her career. Don’t miss this rare opportunity and intimate conversation with Sr. Helen Prejean on campus on September 9 from 7-8:30 p.m.

10th Annual Catholic Heritage Lecture Series

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on July 31, 2019 at 10:07 AM PDT

The Catholic Heritage Lecture Series engages the intellectual and religious communities of Seattle and the SU community to explore aspects of the Catholic intellectual traditions and the intersection of Catholicism and culture.

This year the Institute will highlight the contributions of three particular Catholic populations: Hispanic/Latin American Catholics, African American Catholics and Asian American Catholics. All lectures are free and are held at 7pm in Student Center 160 (LeRoux Room) at Seattle University.

Lecture Dates:

Series Intro: Thursday, October 3 - Thomas Landy, College of the Holy Cross

  • Thomas M. Landy, a sociologist with a specialization in the sociology of religion and Catholicism, is director of the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross. He founded and leads research for Catholics & Cultures, a web-based initiative to explore the religious lives and practices of lay Catholics in their particular cultural contexts around the world.

Thursday, November 14 - Cecilia Moore, University of Dayton

  • Cecilia A. Moore is the Associate Director of the Degree Program for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies. Her area of specialization is U.S. Catholic history and she is currently working on the history of black conversion to Roman Catholicism in the 20th century.

Thursday, February 20 - Hosffman Ospino, Boston College

  • Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, School of Theology and Ministry where he is also Director of Graduate Programs in Hispanic Ministry. He is currently advancing a national study on Latino Catholic vocations.

Thursday, May 14 - Gemma Cruz, Australian Catholic University

  • Gemma Tulud Cruz, Filipina-Australian theologian, currently works as Senior Lecturer in Theology and is a member of the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at Australian Catholic University. Gemma's research expertise is in migration theologies and she has served as a consultant to the Sub-Committee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity of the US Catholic Bishops' Conference.