SU Voice Alumni Blog

BSU President Shares her SU Experience

Posted by Adilia Watson, ‘21 on September 2, 2020 at 4:09 PM PDT

A group photo of the Black Student UnionThe Black Student Union(BSU) is my source of hope at Seattle University. Since my first year, I have been frustrated with the microaggressions I've experienced on campus. One conversation that stuck with me happened my sophomore year. We were in a BSU meeting and addressed how our peers expect our input whenever the class discussion focuses on someone Black. BSU has been the only place I felt comfortable voicing this issue and knew people would truly understand.

Black Student Unions across the country have been a necessary resource for Black and African-American students, staff and faculty to find community. Black students frequently have to invest our time in spaces that aren't as pro-Black as the Black Student Union. Our club is a space for healing and authentic expression of the Black body. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and the recent murders of Black people, we found it vital to meet, heal and collaborate to make a change on our campus. In our recent Black community meetings, members had the freedom to express their struggles of being Black at a predominantly white institution and express their grief over the violence caused by systemic racism.

Black, Indigenous and People Of Color (BIPOC) students consistently overload themselves to establish better financial security to make ends meet. The inequities for Black students in colleges have been present for years and show up in enrollment, persistence and graduation data as stated in a recent Hechinger Report article. Black people have to work harder than our non-Black peers to succeed in our future careers. We have to work multiple jobs, join different clubs and are often required to work twice we hard as our white peers to reach similar standing.

Our club's initiatives have consistently centered the Black experience. As president, I initially felt guilty for asking for accommodations solely for Black students. Then, I realized that my role in BSU is to keep centering Black people and to advocate for resources, accommodations or supports that would not only increase, but improve the experience of Black students on campus. I'm passionate about leading the Black Student Union because there is much work to be done on this campus to make it a more just and equitable place for Black people and all people of color.

There are two ways alumni can support Black students on campus.

One way to support is through mentorship. We are working with the Career Engagement Office to be a part of the Black Alumni and Student Group on Redhawk Landing, the university’s new mentoring and networking platform. Alumni help us gain the experience and professional connections that we need before leaving campus. Many of us are registered for Redhawk Landing where we are excited to connect with alumni personally and professionally.

The second is donating to the first student-led, Black-serving scholarship at Seattle University. The Black Student Union Scholarship is intended to increase enrollment of Black and African-American students and help them persist and graduate with fewer financial concerns. Currently, we have raised over $16,000 for the fund. Most of the donations have come from students and parents. The fact that so many of our peers see us and are willing to support is awesome, but we still need help to fully-fund this initiative. Our fundraising goal is to reach $200,000 by February 1, 2021 so we are able to select at least 20 Black scholarship recipients in the spring. This amount would allow us to disperse scholarships to multiple students for years to come. This is a huge step towards making the university a more accessible environment for Black students and would highlight the Seattle U community's;commitment to supporting and uplifting marginalized students by helping to fund their education.

To make a donation to the BSU Scholarship, follow these steps.

  • Click here.
  • Select "other" under the designation.
  • Type in "Center for Student Involvement - BSU Scholarship" in the comments section.

Or you can send a check:

Make your check out to Seattle University.

Write "Center for Student Involvement - BSU Scholarship" on the memo line.

Mail your check to:
Seattle University
University Advancement
901 12th Ave.
PO Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122

Reflecting on 23 Years at Seattle University

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on September 2, 2020 at 4:09 PM PDT

a number of photos of President Sundborg during his time at Seattle UniversityA lot can change in one year, let alone 23 years. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. started serving as the president of Seattle University in 1997 and will retire in June 2021 after 24 years of leadership. President Sundborg has facilitated massive transformation of the university, including the physical expansion of campus and the evolution of our community’s mission and identity.

“I wish I had a photo of what Seattle University looked like from the air when I started and what it looks like now. People come now, from 23 years ago when I started and are amazed,” said Sundborg. Since the start of his time at Seattle U, President Sundborg has overseen the construction of 12 different buildings on campus. But, it’s not only physical changes that have been impacted by his influence, President Sundborg helped to focus the university’s efforts by sculpting and shaping our mission.

“We have really lived by and been committed to the mission. It’s the magnet that has kept us doing what we are doing, and the biggest transformation is having that mission and referring back to it.” The university’s commitment to “educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empower leaders for a just and humane world” can be seen in how the university has embraced service. “Three quarters of the undergraduate students have a course that has a component that is service learning," said Sundborg, "Our education is more connected and applied to our community rather than simply learned in the classroom.”  

One person alone can’t implement all of this change. President Sundborg credits significant investments in the university, strong board leadership and being in the middle of a vibrant city that is on the cutting edge of technology. “We are Seattle University. The innovation of the city propels us forward,” said Sundborg. 

President Sundborg has drawn inspiration from his deep connections within the SU community. “I’ve already begun to miss relationships. I am going to miss students. I am going to miss being part of a team. Underneath the work, there is a love and an affection that grows. I am in this web of relationships with students, friends, administration and alumni. You take for granted that one day you might not be in that web anymore. I’ve already begun to feel it.”

As he reflects on the last two decades, President Sundborg can’t help but also be excited for Seattle University’s future. “I don’t know another university that has the potential of development that Seattle U has. To be the Jesuit, independent, private university, centered at the very heart of Seattle has an upside potential that is extraordinary.” According to President Sundborg, the core of Seattle U’s potential rests in the evolving education landscape coupled with the integration of new technology to help students prepare for the future. He goes on to state that fostering deeper and broader connections with Seattle and bringing relevant issues and content to students on campus will be pivotal in shaping the next chapter of Seattle U’s history.

So, what’s next for Fr. Steve? He’s looking forward to getting back to being a Jesuit Catholic priest in a more personal and pastoral manner. “I am 77 years old. Rather than Father Steve, I am Grandfather Steve to most undergraduates. There comes a time when you need to be recharged and find a non-administrative way of being a Jesuit Catholic priest.”

There will be many opportunities to hear from and engage with President Sundborg over the course of the school year. Most immediately, be on the look out for an invitation to the President's open forum on Thursday, September 24.

Catching Up and Reconnecting

Posted by Julia Grief, ‘18 on September 2, 2020 at 3:09 PM PDT

A photo of three women wearing graduation robesWhat first brought me to Seattle was its essence of possibility. Having spent almost my entire life in Boise, Idaho, I was ready for a new experience and perspective. When I visited Seattle U, I knew it was the place for me. It was a cozy oasis in the middle of a bustling and exciting city. I felt at home. That magical feeling I felt as an SU student still stays with me to this day.

I majored in Cultural Anthropology and the course of study, skills and worldview my professors instilled in me have greatly influenced how I would like to contribute to the world. I am currently pursuing this goal by integrating employee engagement initiatives and professional development support at my current workplace with the hopes that I can help provide an empathetic and empowering professional environment for all.

Recent world events have prompted me to reflect. Hopefully enough that would even make St. Ignatius proud. The theme that keeps surfacing is the importance of connection. One of the many reasons I stay connected to SU is the immense pride I feel to be a graduate and a member of a community that is making incredible strides in innovation, justice and education. However, for the past six months, connection has felt more imperative than ever, while also more elusive. For this reason, I could not be more excited for SU’s Virtual Homecoming and the alumni reunions this year. During my time as a student, Homecoming week was one of my favorites because it evoked a sense of camaraderie and connection to the university community. Not to mention, it gave me a great excuse to wear all of the SU red I had in my closet!

Now, as a recent graduate, I am most looking forward to the graduates of the last decade (GOLD) reunion. I’m excited to catch up with friends and colleagues and connect with other alumni to hear about their stories and experiences. Having graduated only a little over two years ago, I am still struggling to “figure it all out,” but having the GOLD community to glean wisdom and learn from is inspiring and comforting. As this this year’s reunion will be virtual, it will also provide a unique opportunity for more alumni to be introduced to each other, with many being able to participate from all corners of the world. It will be the ultimate celebration!

I can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday, November 14 from 2-4 p.m. Go Redhawks!

Graduates of the Last Decade Reunion

Fall Competitive Athletics on Hold

Posted by The Seattle University Athletics Department on September 2, 2020 at 3:09 PM PDT

A photo of three male basketball athletes on campus wearing masks and forming their hands into the Redhakw symbolDue to the ongoing health risks associated with COVID-19, the Western Athletic Conference announced the suspension all fall championship and non-championship athletics competition through the end of the calendar year. 

The fall conference championship sports affected are men's and women's cross country, volleyball and men's and women's soccer. Contingent on the NCAA fall championships being moved to the spring and if feasible, the WAC will conduct the respective sports during the same time frame. 

The decision also affects the non-championship portion of the schedule for men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, baseball and softball with January 1, 2021 set as the earliest opportunity for competition in these sports. For the Redhawks, women's rowing will also follow the January 1 guideline. 

Men's and women's basketball and men's and women's swimming and diving competition will be postponed through the end of October pending WAC discussion on winter athletics competition.

Adapted practice and training opportunities, as well as other support services, will continue for all sports within the health and safety guidelines set forth by the state and university.

“It is very disappointing to have the fall season suspended,” said Bailey Hall, a junior on the women’s soccer team. “We had an amazing season last year and I know my teammates and I were excited to carry that energy into this season. However, my teammates and I have been taking this time to work even harder so when it's time to play, we will be ready to compete. I am staying positive and trying to focus on coming back to help my team win another WAC Championship when tournament time arrives.”

“With fall season being suspended, I personally have taken this as a positive opportunity to develop as a soccer player but also to value life a little more and grow as a person,” said Jesse Ortiz, a sophomore on the men’s soccer team. “It is definitely a very difficult time not just for my family but for the whole SU community. As much as I would have loved to play this fall, I strongly agree with our medical team and the WAC that it isn’t the best option for our safety and the safety of our peers. I’m really looking forward to getting back with the team and continue to develop as a soccer player while also finding ways to help out the community during these difficult times. I want to thank our alumni and people who support and love our school. I am really looking forward to representing Seattle U these upcoming seasons.”

While traditional competition schedules will not fill the calendar this fall, Seattle U Athletics will offer a variety of unique content to keep audiences connected and involved. Feature interview series with current student athletes and alumni, intra-team competitions, social media games and much more will be slated on and the Redhawks’ social media channels in the coming months.

Redhawk Night In on September 16

The Business of Making an Impact

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on September 2, 2020 at 3:09 PM PDT

A portrait of Elly Hein Trinh holding a white fluffy dogWhether cultivating her expanding career in sustainability by examining food waste, fair labor practices, shortening supply chain in her own ice cream parlor or as an energy auditor for Puget Sound Energy, Elly Hien Trinh, ‘13 is in the business of making the world a better place for future generations. 

“Seattle University has made a bigger impact on me than I could have imagined. SU’s influence can be seen in all aspects of my career,” said Trinh. What started as a theory learned in Professor April Atwood’s consumer behavior and sustainable marketing class has become the guiding principle and professional mission for Trinh. “After graduation, I continued learning about sustainable businesses and spent the next five years applying that knowledge everywhere I could, including in my restaurant business. But I kept thinking, ‘How do I make more people care? How do we solve this problem?’”

These foundational questions led Trinh to work for Cascadia Consulting Group and Eco Consulting groups that help to create sustainable communities. Like many others throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Trinh had to leave her job conducting field work due to health concerns. While this transition has been challenging, she has found support in the Seattle University alumni community that is helping to drive her forward into her next endeavor.

Connect with other alumni at upcoming professional development opportunities: 
Career Conversations 9/16 -  
Tools for Transition (Online Series) 10/6, 8, 13, 15 -  

Trinh attended several Seattle University Alumni Association professional development workshops, including Career Conversations. “Everyone that attends those events really care. The reason that I keep coming back is that Paula cares and encourages everyone else to care as well. We are lifting each other up and tapping into everyone’s resources,” said Trinh. The intimate and interactive nature of the workshops has encouraged Trinh to try new professional tips and tactics that helped her during this transition. “Every single week since I started my transition, I have made a point to meet with two new industry professionals. Previously, despite having a business degree, I found it difficult to network. But now, not really. I am excited! Every single time I meet someone, I am learning something.”

With all alumni programming going virtual in the fall, Trinh admitted that she is really enjoying the virtual environment and having the ability to connect with a broader range of alumni. “I really like the online events because it opens up the opportunity for a more diverse audience,” said Trinh.

Connect with other alumni at upcoming professional development opportunities: 

Serve Our Community

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on August 5, 2020 at 6:08 PM PDT

A JV Encorps Volunteer talking to a male in an artroomThe Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JVE), a program of Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest, engages people 50+ in a rewarding experience of service, community engagement and spiritual formation. They are now offering new ways for members (JVEs) to serve from home during this time of increased need for those who are marginalized. 

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety is vital. JVEs meet online each month, creating a safe, physically-distant but close-knit spiritual community. "JVE is such a creative and supportive community for lifelong learning and deep encouragement to live out one's faith and values in concrete service.  A rare gift," said Deborah Easter, '78.

JVE participants volunteer for 5-10 hours weekly over 10 months in a community agency or group with an environmental or social justice mission. Participants engage in monthly JV EnCorps community meetings and retreats and explore ways to sustain individual prayer, meditation and/or reflection practices[SS4] .

JV Encorps members serve in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver and Spokane, Washington as well as in Portland and Bend, Oregon.

Priority application deadline: August 31st.

For more information visit:

2020 Alumni Events Update

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on August 5, 2020 at 6:08 PM PDT

Seattle University is working to ensure that students, faculty, staff and alumni are cared for in all dimensions of their SU experience. Our plans prioritize the health and safety of everyone in our campus community. Together, we will move forward with a special emphasis on caring for one another.

As a result, the Seattle University Alumni Association and University Advancement will not be hosting any in-person events for the remainder of 2020. However, just because we aren't meeting in person doesn't mean we won't be able to connect!

We are working on a robust schedule of virtual programming where you will have opportunities to connect with fellow alumni, learn something new and reconnect with some of your favorite professors. Visit our events page to see current and upcoming online offerings.

In the meantime, here are some ways you can stay engaged with Seattle University right now.


Fall 2020 Reopening

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on August 5, 2020 at 6:08 PM PDT

A screenshot of a zoom classroomIn March 2020, Seattle University was among the first universities to begin remote instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were initially plans to broadly reopen campus in the fall, the unexpected evolution of coronavirus in Washington State continues to change plans.

Provost Shane Martin, PhD is working with university leadership, faculty and staff to create a safe and healthy student experience. “As we consider reopening, first and foremost for Seattle University is the health and safety of our community – our students, our faculty, staff, and alumni,” says Provost Martin. “That is always going to be the bottom line in making decisions.”

In Seattle U’s current reopening model, residence halls will be single -occupancy, masks will be required indoors and all classrooms and public spaces will be de-densified to ensure six feet of social distancing. In addition, every student who returns to campus will be required to complete a nasopharyngeal PCR test within ten days of arrival. For detailed information about safety measures and enhanced cleaning procedures, visit the COVID-19 website.

For fall, 80-90% of courses will be entirely online and 10-20% of courses will offer a mixture of virtual and in-person coursework. Hybrid classes will include laboratory- , clinical- and performance-based courses. All students, regardless of their degree field, will have the option to study 100% remotely. “The notion of choice is important,” says Provost Martin. “We don’t want to force anyone to return to campus. We’re in an alignment process of trying to adjust faculty desires for mode of instructions with the courses we’re offering and with what students are looking for.”

The quality of mission-driven, holistic learning remains a top priority at Seattle U. SU’s spring quarter student satisfaction surveys scored significantly higher than the institutional average for previous in-person quarters. Faculty and staff consistently pursued innovation in order to create a robust, highly engaging distance learning environment.

“We will build on the success of our spring quarter,” says Provost Martin. Faculty are currently engaging in professional development workshops to increase and strengthen skills for virtual and hybrid learning. With access to new creative teaching methods, platforms and technologies, students will have an improved and enriched experience in the fall quarter.

“I’m confident that by our actions, we are meeting our students where they are,” says Provost Martin. “We are offering a high-quality, impactful education that’s just as strong as anything we’ve ever offered and will help form the next generation of leaders.”


Connected by Community

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on August 5, 2020 at 5:08 PM PDT

Profile photo of SetarehWhen Setareh Mahmoodi, ’11 was searching for a law school, she was looking for a personalized law program that provided hands-on experience through a social justice lens. When she was accepted and enrolled in Seattle University Law School, it not only met but exceeded her expectations. It instilled in her the importance of community, relationships, social justice and leadership. These guiding principles continue to drive her as she uses her law practice to help her clients be proactive about their future.

Established in 2015, Mahmoodi’s private practice focuses on a holistic approach to law as she helps her clients through some of the toughest events in their lives. “Despite the fact that some of what I do is transactional law, I personally decided not to take a transactional approach with my clients and instead build long lasting relationships with them. I wanted a relationship-based client experience and practice, and to get to know my clients’ stories, to understand and help them,” said Mahmoodi. This unique perspective was fostered through the education and leadership skills she received from the SU School of Law.

Mahmoodi is a powerful advocate for justice and deeply values nurturing and giving back to her community. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, she has continued to volunteer and provide pro bono legal services for the King County Bar Association, Neighborhood Legal Clinics and volunteer legal services by helping individuals experiencing debt issues. “We all have had to make adjustments. This has been a thought-provoking time, and I am trying to offer support and assistance where I can,” she said.

Giving back and building community also includes being an active alumna within the Seattle University Alumni Association. She is a co-leader of the Business Owners Alliance, a group of alumni business owners.  Having a community where people can bounce ideas off of and learn best practices and continue to educate themselves motivates Mahmoodi and provides value to members. Mahmoodi is looking forward to connecting and learning with alumni, staff and student business owners at future online and in-person events.

As she reflects on her motivation for staying connected to Seattle U throughout the years and especially during these turbulent moments in society, Mahmoodi focuses on the value of deepening connections she began during her time as a student. “I enjoyed the fact that a lot of the alumni were so open and willing to help when I was a student at SU. They were so gracious with their time and this is a way that I can give back to SU and the community at large,” said Mahmoodi.

“More than ever, it’s important to take advantage of the community that you built and rely on for support, brainstorming, networking or just making new connections. As soon as you say ‘I’m an SU alum’ [to someone], they are immediately willing to talk or help. It’s almost like, you’re instantly friends!”

Connect with the Business Owners Alliance and register for Beyond the Nest: Redhawk Business Owners Alliance’s upcoming September event. Make new alumni connections today!

Launch Your Career with Redhawk Landing

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on June 4, 2020 at 9:06 AM PDT

Career mentorship can be pivotal in helping recent graduates launch their careers. The new Seattle University Redhawk Landing (RHL) platform connects our newest alumni—the Class of 2020—with more experienced alumni, helping to build mentorship relationships.  

Redhawk Landing is valuable to the Class of 2020 in a number of ways: 

  • Connect with global network of Redhawk alumni
  • Find both short- and long-term mentors 
  • Seek professional advice from diverse industry professionals 
  • Keep the peer connections you currently have and want to maintain 
  • Join affinity groups based on interests, geographic areas, involvement at Seattle U and more 

With RHL, both mentors and mentees indicate the type of mentoring relationship they are interested in—from a short phone call to a longer-term engagement—and their specific interest areas to advance their professional journey. RHL suggests alumni to contact based on the answers and participants can search the full directory. 

"As a recent graduate, I wish I had some type of program like this when I was in school to be able to reach out and build a network with  alumni to be able to get mentorship. I think this is going to be a good thing for students," said R.J. Realubit , ’17.

Engaging on Redhawk Landing can be as easy as connecting over coffee, answering a few questions over email or video chatting. Mentees gain fresh perspective, answers to questions, specific advice based on their needs and connections to help them grow in their career.

Building community and supporting each other is more important now than than ever. Register now and find your mentor.