SU Voice Alumni Blog

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:

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.

February 3, 2018

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

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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

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

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

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

A Christmas Message from Fr. Steve

Posted by Stephen Sundborg, S.J. on December 6, 2017 at 1:12 PM PST

Fr. Steve at Advent Mass

The Advent season is one of joy and celebration. This year, it is especially true for me. You may have heard that Seattle University is celebrating my 20th anniversary as president. Twenty years offers much to reflect on. So many deep experiences of joy stand out.

Most importantly, I am grateful for all of you, our alumni. Do you know that in my tenure as president I’ve overseen the graduation of 44,000 students? I try to get to know as many students as I can. Each Seattle U class that I have had the honor to serve as president has taught me valuable lessons that have made me a better president.

I take great joy in students being able to attend Seattle University—to belong, to succeed, and to thrive—because of the Costco Scholarship Fund, the Sullivan and Bannan Scholarships, the almost miraculous Fostering and Alfie Scholarships, and dozens more scholarships. Our university leaps up in joy to be able to have these kinds of students among us, a diversity of deserving, needy, and dedicated students. They have transformed our university and made it so much better and more truly Jesuit because of who they have allowed us to serve.

I find joy in the development of several programs. Our Youth Initiative was truly blessed by God as it grew out of our being the first university in America to host a homeless encampment on campus. The School of Theology and Ministry continually surprises me in its ever-evolving and widening embracing of persons of all faiths, religions, commitments, and its remarkable bookfest, Search for Meaning. No college at Seattle University has more clearly claimed its place in these years in carrying out our mission than has the College of Science and Engineering, demonstrating how much science and engineering can do for the good of people.

Witnessing the intellectual passion of faculty and also of students—across all of our colleges and schools—in their scholarship and research brings me joy. A university is, after all, a matrix of intellectually passionate professors inviting and showing the way for students to find their own intellectual passions.

I have so much to be grateful and joyful for in this holy season. My prayer for all of you is that this Advent season brings you time to reflect with gratitude on what brings you joy and deserves celebrating.  Though you may have left campus, you are still a member of our Seattle University family and I wish our extended family everywhere a very merry Christmas. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers this holiday season and always.

Merry Christmas,

Stephen Sundborg, S.J.

Alumni Seminar Series 2018

Posted by College of Arts and Sciences on December 6, 2017 at 1:12 PM PST

Christian Unity and World Peace: Ecumenism and Dialogue Among World Religions after 500 Years

After 500 years of separation among Christians, 2017-18 marks the anniversary of the Reformation that began with the posting of theses at Wittenberg by Martin Luther.  This year also has highlighted several events of dialogues within Christianity between Protestants and Catholics, as well as dialogues between followers of world religions.  This seminar will feature presentations by several faculty  members at Seattle University who have participated in these events: Michael Trice, a Lutheran pastor  and teacher in the School of Theology and Ministry; Peter Ely, S. J., professor of theology and Seattle  University coordinator of inter-religious dialogue; Jeanette Rodriguez, professor of theology and  writer on the Jewish Holocaust; Marc Cohen, professor of philosophy; Ali Mian, professor of theology  and expert in The Qur’an; Russ Powell, professor of law and author of articles on Islam and the  Middle East; and Manuel Mejido, member of the School of Theology and Ministry where he directs the  Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs.    These faculty members will lead Alumni Seminars on Christian Unity, interreligious dialogue among Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other religious traditions, and the relationship of these movements to world peace in the twenty-first century.

The seminars will take place on the following Tuesdays in Winter Quarter, 2018: January 16, January 30,  February 13, February 27, and March 13.  The seminars are open to Seattle University alums and other college graduates in the Seattle area.  The will run from 6:00 to 8:00pm on the Seattle University campus.  The cost of attending the five-session seminar is $150, which includes parking, refreshments and reading materials.   Those interested in participating may register by email at

The Alumni Seminars are organized by the College of Arts and Sciences of Seattle University under the guidance of Professor David Leigh, SJ.

Alumni Spotlight: Rickey Leachman

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on December 6, 2017 at 12:12 PM PST

Rickey Leachman
When Rickey Leachman, ’16, transferred to Seattle U at age 24, his life felt worlds apart from that of his undergraduate peers. He had served five years in the U.S. Navy and had attended a St. Louis public high school with mostly African-American students. And was a recent transfer from a community college.

Rickey chose Seattle U in part because he “didn’t want to be another number.” He found a sense of community on campus when he discovered a collegium for transfer students. “Feeling I had a place on campus to go where I would see other students in the same predicament as I was made me feel like I was not the only one on campus.” Soon he became a Transfer Success Leader, reaching out to other transfer students to “build community throughout the year.”

Seeing Rickey’s diligence, a fellow veteran asked him to take over as VetCorps Navigator. Rickey’s own experience had taught him that other veterans were probably struggling just as he once had. “Most vets are not going to ask for help and then they have problems like I did. It’s not big stuff but if it starts to add up, you’re going to withdraw.”

Building community became a theme for Rickey, a psychology major who strongly believes in “perceived social support.” It’s one reason he was vice president of the Black Student Union. “… It’s a way of feeling connected to other African Americans on campus.”

A sense of community also drove the aspiring psychologist when he counseled homeless youth whose hardscrabble lives resembled his own. “I try to show those kids that if I can go to college, anybody can go to college.”

Rickey credits his Seattle U education with expanding his knowledge, which shapes the way he approaches situations with clients and furthers his career goals.

Since graduation, Rickey has gone on to become a medical case manager at Lifelong Aids Alliance. In his role, Rickey helps clients navigate barriers to receiving healthcare.

Rickey hopes to return to Seattle University to pursue a Masters in Psychology, so he can continue to make a difference and serve the needs of at-risk communities.


Spotlight: Kendra McDermott, '16

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 2, 2017 at 12:11 PM PDT

Spotlight: Kendra McDermott, ‘16



Kendra reading a magazine.

After struggling to pay her way through college, once living in her car to afford tuition, Kendra never envisioned graduate school as part of her life plan. After earning a degree in accounting, she found that climbing the corporate ladder did not suit her. Her prayers for direction and purpose were answered by a call to serve others. Years of volunteering opened her eyes to the need for healthcare in low-income communities. She felt compelled to make a difference working in frontline care as a nurse practitioner and sought a graduate program that would teach not just nursing skills but also how to advocate for her patients. Then a married mother with a toddler and a second child on the way, she found what she was looking for in Seattle University. A scholarship made it possible for her dreams to become a reality. As a student, Kendra’s goal was to work at the forefront of colon cancer detection for underserved geriatric populations. Since graduation, Kendra has realized her dream and is a nurse practitioner in gastroenterology at Swedish.

Exciting Season Ahead for Redhawk Basketball

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 2, 2017 at 10:11 AM PDT

Calling all Redhawks! The 2017-18 men’s basketball season is shaping up to be one to watch. It all starts Friday, November 10 at Saint Louis. This game will be the first with new Head Coach Jim Hayford at the helm. During WAC Media Day, Hayford said the Redhawks would be focusing on shooting a lot of threes, attacking the basket and dominant post play. This season will have fans on the edge of their seats. Don’t take our word for it, in a recent article, Hero Sports said, “The Seattle University Redhawks have become the most interesting basketball team in the Emerald City.”

It’s not just the action on the court you have to look forward to, but a season of alumni rallies and a chance to enjoy the newly renovated Connolly Center Complex, as the Redhawks prepare to host home games on campus and in KeyArena.

When asked, Coach Hayford said, “My desire is to build a basketball program that all of Seattle U's alumni will take great pride in. I want our games to be a meeting place for current students and alumni, something that draws people together.”

Get ready to show your Redhawk pride at this season’s alumni pre-game rallies and mark your calendars so you don’t miss a minute of the action.

Alumni Rallies
Saturday, December 16 v. Portland

Saturday, January 6 v. Grand Canyon

Saturday, February 3 v. Utah Valley
Homecoming Weekend

Jump-shot during Basketball Game

Seattle U’s Homecoming Gets a New Addition!

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on November 2, 2017 at 10:11 AM PDT

Homecoming Weekend may not be until January 31- February 4, 2018, but it’s never too early to mark your calendars and make plans to return to Seattle U.

As part of Homecoming, Seattle University will host the inaugural Crosscut Festival February 2-3. The festival, a signature event for SU Homecoming 2018, serves as a multi-faceted marquee event designed for students, alumni, faculty, staff and our community-at-large. Join some of the most influential and provocative thinkers in politics and business, as well as cultural luminaries and academics, interviewed live on stage by the region’s best journalists.  You can learn more at

We will still have your favorite Homecoming traditions including the Red Umbrella Parade, Homecoming Day of Service, Battle of the Bands, the Homecoming mega rally, basketball game and more.

So mark your calendars now! Homecoming Weekend 2018 is one you won’t want to miss. Keep an eye on the Homecoming webpage to get all of the latest details.

Updated Cross Cut Festival Flyer

Recipes to Sweeten Up Your Holiday Spread

Posted by Lucy Damkoehler, Bon Appetit Management Company on November 1, 2017 at 4:11 PM PDT

3 apple fritters on a plate

Apple Fritters
Lucy Damkoehler, Bon Appetit Management Company

Sick of boring old apple pie for the holidays? Change up your tradition by frying up these apple packed fried goodness! Start your holiday morning off right with a plate full of these with your favorite cup o’joe or finish your meal, pairing these with a chilled glass of Beaumes De Venise wine.


Makes 32 fritters
1 ½ cup bread flour, plus 3 cups to flour work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 ¼ teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
4 whole eggs
8 oz or 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 large apples
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
8 cups vegetable oil for frying


  • Mix together in a medium-size bowl with a wooden spoon 1 ½ cups bread flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, yeast and eggs until all the flour is mixed in.
  • Flour your work surface using the extra 3 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time.
  • Pour the dough on to the floured surface, dust the top with another ½ cup flour and begin to knead.
  • The dough is going to be very sticky. Knead it until all the flour on the surface is gone, then add another ½ cup, until you have used 2 cups. Your dough will still be sticky, but workable.
  • Now take the diced butter and put it into the middle of the dough, and begin kneading again. Continue to add flour as you need it, kneading until all the pieces of butter are gone.
  • Form into a ball. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  • Mix together ½ cup sugar, 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Peel and core 2 large apples, and cut into ¼ inch pieces, then into thirds.
  • Take your dough that has rested out of the refrigerator, place on a well-floured surface and roll out to ½ inch thickness.
  • Place the slices of apples in the center of the dough and fold the sides of the dough over the apples.
  • Take a dough cutter and start to chop up the dough into many pieces, folding it over on its self and chopping more.
  • Chop the dough until it forms back into a ball.
  • Pat the dough into a ½ inch thick square. Cut into 32 pieces, and place on a baking sheet.
  • Store the baking sheet in a warm area and let the fritters rise for 20 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a deep wok to 325 degrees F.
  • Carefully drop 6 to 8 fritters at a time into the hot oil.
  • Fry until each side is golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Take the fritters out of the oil and place on a paper towel, then toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm or room temperature.


Baked apple tart with edges folded over.
This picture is the same recipe, just made in a free form pie (galette)

Toffee Apple Pie
Lucy Damkoehler, Bon Appetit Management Company

Spike your traditional apple pie with some sweet sticky bourbon toffee sauce, to help keep the FUN at the adult table!



Makes one 9 inch double crust pie
Ingredients for the pie crust:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 oz or 2 ½ sticks cold butter, unsalted, diced
3-4 oz ice water

Ingredients for the filling:
3 lb baking apples, peeled and ¼ inch thick slices
4 oz or 1 stick butter, unsalted
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
2 oz bourbon
¼ cup flour
1 egg, for egg wash
Sugar for topping the pie

Directions for the pie crust:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and butter until the butter is pea size. Add the water, starting with 3 oz. Add more as needed. Mix just until the dough forms a ball. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes up to 24 hours. Roll each ball into a 10-inch circle, place one in the bottom of a pie dish and brush the edges with egg wash. Set the other circle aside to top with.

Directions for the pie filling:
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Using a stainless steel pot, add the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and bourbon together. Stirring often, cook it until it begins to get thick- about 3-5 minutes. Place the peeled and sliced apples into a casserole dish. Pour the toffee over the apples, add the flour and mix. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the apples have begun to get soft. Let cool. Once the filling is cool, pour into the prepared pie shell. Top the pie and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 40-50 minutes- until crust is golden brown and the fruit begins to bubble.