SU Voice Alumni Blog

Exploring the Common Text: Tulalip from My Heart

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on September 5, 2018 at 2:09 PM PDT

Book Cover


Students preparing for their freshman year at Seattle University are tasked with reading a common text, which will be discussed with faculty and staff during Welcome Week and incorporated in programs throughout the year. The Common Text not only provides students the opportunity to practice active reading and exploring challenging and conflicting ideas, but introduces students to the Ignatian-inspired process of inquiry. This process emphasizes meaning-making, risk-taking and asking deep questions.

The Common Texts for the next two years were chosen by a committee of fifteen faculty, staff, and students selected from a list of finalists. The 2018-19 Common Text is Tulalip from My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community.

Presented in the author’s own voice, this memoir is immediately engaging as an act of storytelling. It is accessible and varied and offers distinct, specific history of the lives of native peoples here in the greater Seattle area.

As publisher University of Washington Press explains, “Written by a member of the Tulalip tribe and edited posthumously by the local community college writing instructor who collaborated on the project, Tulalip, from My Heart is . . . written in rich, voice-driven text and the traditional Tulalip storyteller narrative style, recounts the myriad problems that such tribes faced after resettlement. Born in 1904, Dover grew up hearing the elders of her tribe tell of the hardships involved in moving from their villages to the reservation on Tulalip Bay: inadequate supplies of food and water, harsh economic conditions, and religious persecution outlawing potlatch houses and other ceremonial practices.”

Members of our committee were excited about this text as a local oral history, as it is likely to engage a broad array of members of our community, as well as a range of ethical complexities related to ethnography, local history, issues of translation, etc. This book is an immersive experience in storytelling, and it is a beautiful example of qualitative research, an important example to incoming SU students. Moreover, it is well-timed to coincide with the opening of Vi Hilbert Hall in 2018, named for a Washington State National Treasure, Vi Hilbert, who devoted much of her life to preserving Native American Lushootseed (Puget Sound Salish) language, traditions and stories.


MiKe Mullen: Celebrating 30 Years at Seattle University

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, MBA, '18 on September 5, 2018 at 1:09 PM PDT

Mike Mullen, alum, showing the Redhawk sign with hands.

Mike Mullen, ’89, is the definition of a dedicated alumnus. Not only has he worked on campus for the last 20 years, but he is a frequent attendee to events, including cheering on our student athletes at their home games, and he recently joined his classmates Tina O’Brien and David Read to plan a 30th reunion celebration taking place next weekend on and around campus.

Mike is a member of a legacy family, his two older brothers attended Seattle University before him. Friends enrolled in Seattle University’s Honors Program encouraged him to apply, he did and spent the next two years in the Honors Program under the leadership of Fr. Dave Leigh. Mike went on to get degrees in literature and history.

As soon as he joined the Seattle U community, Mike was an active member. He was an OA advisor, participated in the first dance marathon on campus, was a work study student in facilities and nearly became class president, losing out by a few votes.

Mike attributes Seattle University with shaping him and teaching compassion for himself and others. “Seattle University taught me about all things Jesuit and what that meant when applied to my thinking and spirituality. I was profoundly influenced by Sister Helen Bendik O.P. from campus ministry. She became a dear friend, like a second mother. She and others helped soften my world view. I went from a world that seemed black and white and harsh and learned it was differing shades of gray and benevolent”.

Ten years after graduating from undergrad, Mike returned to attend grad school and work at Seattle University. Mike got a job in the facilities department reporting to his same boss from his undergraduate work study job. He now runs the Mechanical/Plumbing shop on campus. The opportunity to work on campus was a dream come true for Mike. It allowed him the opportunity to see old professors and build camaraderie with people who love the university as much as he does and who have dedicated their life to it.

When asked why he has chosen to stay so involved, Mike said it was his passion around the Mission of the university. He and Cal Ihler, from the facilities department, started Professionals without Borders to provide opportunities for staff to better live the Seattle University mission through international service trips to Zambia, Nicaragua and Belize. Mike has travelled with PWOB at least 15 times, traveling across South America and Africa to help with mechanical projects for orphanages and hospitals.

It’s Mike’s passion for Seattle University and the great relationships he built here that inspired him to join classmates Tina O’Brien and David Read to plan a 30th Reunion for the classes of 1988 and 1989 this Friday, September 14th through Sunday, September 16th. Reunion attendees will have a full weekend to reconnect with friends and rediscover Seattle University. Jesuits and professors the class will recognize have also been invited.

On why his classmates should attend their reunion, Mike smiled and said, “People should come because they will be so surprised and happy to see the real formative changes here at SU and I (and Dave and Tina) will be so happy to show them. It’s the same campus – just better. I miss these folks. I would love to introduce them to our alumni bar, the Chieftain, which we never had while we were students and show them how vibrant the campus (and community) is. It’s exciting to see SU assume its role asSeattle’s University.”

To learn more about the 30th reunion celebration and secure tickets visit the alumni website.

Your Alumni Benefits

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 5, 2018 at 10:06 AM PDT

Your degree is not the only benefit to being an alum of Seattle University. The Seattle University Alumni Association provides support and growth opportunities at every stage of your life and a broad array of benefits is one way we do that.


Career Services Advising appointments

You have unlimited access to advising appointments up to one year after graduation. Learn more.

Career Workshops
Tools for Transition: Alumni Career Workshops are offered throughout the year to help you look for a job or change your career.

Build your network by connecting with 8,300 alumni professionals on our LinkedIn alumni group.

Smiling woman at Reunion


Alumni Chapters and Affinity Groups
Chapters and affinity groups are a great way for you to meet other alumni and stay connected. Designed to bring together alumni based on geographic regions, shared experiences, interests and identities, you'll enjoy social, professional, service and other opportunities of interest as part of a group. You can learn more about our chapters here.


Whether you are looking to purchase your own insurance for the first time or you are just looking for the best deal, we have options for you.

Auto, Home and Rental
Seattle University alumni could receive a special discount on GEICO auto insurance. Visit or call 1-800-368-2734 to find out how much you could save today! (Be sure to mention your affiliation with Seattle University to be eligible for the special savings.)

Medical, Life, Disability Insurance and More
Our partner, Alumni Insurance Program, provides comprehensive insurance offerings at money-saving group rates for medical, group term life insurance, disability, long term care and travel insurance.


Students participating in a fitness class.

Fitness Center Membership
Base Rate: $399 annually / $35 monthly

As an alum of Seattle University, you have the opportunity to use the facilities at the Eisiminger Fitness Center and take fitness classes with an alumni gym membership.

Learn more.

Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing network, has partnered with Seattle University to offer you an exclusive discount. Join today and pay only $15 (Compared to $70)

Legal Services
As alumni of Seattle University, you are entitled to a no cost, one-hour attorney consultation for advice on family law issues with Goldberg Jones.


Seattle U License Plates
Show your pride and support student scholarships with a Seattle U license plate. Get yours now!


Become a life-long learner with our alumni audit program. As alumni, you are able to audit undergraduate courses for a nominal fee ($35 or $55 per course).

Want more details about any of the benefits you’ve read about here? Visit our website.

Welcome Class of 2018

Posted by Damian Peterson ‘09 on June 5, 2018 at 10:06 AM PDT


To the graduating class of 2018,

As president of the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Alumni Council, let me be the first to congratulate you. You are nearly there! In just a little over a week, you’ll have had your last coffee in Pigott, sauntered across the Quad and stepped into a much bigger world. However, as you may have already noticed, this is just the beginning. You will have new opportunities, failures, shifting opinions about the world around you, and relationships that will shape who you are and what you are to become. I remember graduating as a young, ambitious theater major thinking, “Well, I guess I just do this now? But what is this?” It is both a daunting and thrilling feeling, and I can’t help but be excited for you all. It is up to you to divine the journey. If there is one thing that eight years of Jesuit education has imprinted in me, it’s that the best tools that we have are the community we create and the discernment we practice.

A friend once told me, “We have choices to make and that will be the greatest challenge and most significant gift set before us.” What choices will you make? How will you make a difference? I graduated less than 10 years ago and still, I can’t imagine what it is like to be thrust into such a competitive, and culturally divisive environment for the first time, or for some, again. At SU, we are prepared to receive this as a call to action, to live our best life and make the change we seek in the world. But for now, let’s forget about the metaphors, the sage advice, the open questions. You’ve heard this all before. It is going to be a fun run—that I can promise you. And you won’t be running alone. Your fellow graduates and alumni share this common thread, and are here to help you along the way.

Volunteering with the Seattle U Alumni Association and serving as president of the young alumni community, I have had the pleasure to work with a range of diverse and compelling people. Most of these alumni I never knew during my time at SU. Yet, I have gained peers, friends and even a job because of this network. I have come to see that we are all cut from the same cloth, sharing a willingness to empathize, to learn, to question, and to grow. That age old Jesuit phrase of cultivating the “whole person” truly is the greatest gift we receive with this education. I invite you to build upon the community you’ve created here at Seattle U by joining the young alumni community, also known as Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD), at social events, career programming and service and other opportunities. You will meet new people, learn and broaden your perspectives. From there, trust your instincts and the choices you make. That will take you where you didn’t know you needed to be.
The best of luck, class of 2018, and welcome to the Seattle University Alumni Association!

Damian Peterson ‘09
President, GOLD Alumni Council

Damian Peterson headshot

While the young alumni community is a fun and active group, it’s not the only alumni community you can join. We have a vibrant chapter and affinity group program that connects alumni regionally, and through shared interests, experiences and identities. African American Alumni, Women of SU, International Alumni, Bay Area Alumni Chapter and the Hawaii Alumni Chapter are just a few of the groups you can connect with.

Projects Day

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on May 2, 2018 at 1:05 PM PDT

Student Leaders of Tomorrow Solving Problems Today

Seattle University’s location in the heart of a booming city provides the unique opportunity to partner with leading businesses on real-world projects for engineering and computer science students. As they learn from these companies and their employees, our students prepare for successful careers after graduation.

One example of such a partnership is through the Seattle University College of Science and Engineering Project Center. Small teams of engineering and computer science students are partnered with industry sponsors and mentored by Seattle University faculty to provide solutions to real-world problems. Over the course of the academic year, student teams are responsible for almost everything expected from a professional consultant, including project management, budgeting and scheduling. The students collectively work 1000 hours to design and deliver their prototype, software application or proof of concept. Projects Day, coming up next month, is the culminating event of this year-long experience for the students. At this event, student teams present their work to the public, their sponsors and fellow classmates.

We spoke with Chris Payne, a 2000 mechanical engineering graduate and director of Boeing’s Airplane Systems Team, to learn what it means to sponsor a project and why he’s stayed involved with Seattle University. Projects Day is nothing new for Chris, who has been a member of the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board since 2008. He has attended and participated in Projects Day for many years.


Chris Payne in a Boeing Airplane Cockpit

(Chris Payne and his team aboard a Boeing aircraft.)

“Before I was on the board I would come out to Project Day to see the projects. It’s a fun opportunity to meet the students, ask them questions about their work and hand out business cards.”

As a project sponsor, Chris assigns a manager from his team to act as a liaison between Boeing and the Seattle University students on the project. Chris works with that manager to ensure the team gets the support they need and to ensure that he stays informed on the direction the project is headed.

The project Chris is sponsoring this year is focused on improving the windshield wiper motor for commercial airplanes. A great opportunity for students, if they develop a viable option is will be put into production.  “It’s a great opportunity to get the students involved. They’ve come out here to tour the airplane and learn about the issues we are up against.” Chris went on to explain that while a windshield wiper motor may not seem exciting, they are unreliable and when not working properly, damage a plane’s windshield, resulting in costly repairs and delays.

“I value working with the Project Center and the students because of the opportunity to shape the learning of the students who are about to enter the workforce, and help them connect the dots between their education and a real-world problem,” Chris says.

Chris encourages fellow alumni to attend Projects Day saying, “You have to come meet the students and see their capabilities and skills and the passion that the students have developed. You’ll also see what these students are going to bring to industry. They aren’t just solving a paper exercise. They have tackled real-world problems and have been thoughtful about how to bring them to market.”

Interested to see how Chris’s team tackled the problem of the windshield wiper motor? Come see for yourself during Projects Day on June 8th.

 Register here

Contemplative Leaders in Action 2018

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on May 1, 2018 at 2:05 PM PDT

Contemplative Leaders in Action (CLA) in Seattle

Are you in your 20's or 30's and searching for a community of peers who are striving to be purposeful leaders grounded in faith?

Contemplative Leaders in Action (CLA) is a two-year faith formation and leadership development program for young adults (20's and 30's) rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. While the program nurtures individual growth, it also strives to develop a cohort of leaders who can bring the dynamics of faith and justice to lead their families, co-workers and communities.

Application deadline: May 14th. Visit to learn more and access an application. You can also learn more about the Seattle regional program via

Questions? Email Regional Coordinator Maria L. Ochoa at

Follow CLA-Seattle on Facebook

Co-sponsored by the Ignatian Spirituality Center and Contemplative Leaders in Action Seattle

Advocating for Social Justice

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on May 1, 2018 at 12:05 PM PDT

In honor of our law students who will be graduating next weekend, May 12, we wanted to highlight the amazing work our law alumni do in the community and welcome the law class of 2018 to the Seattle University Alumni Association. One such outstanding alum is, Fe Lopez, JD, '06

Fe Lopez Coral Dress

The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Fé Lopez grew-up in Eastern Washington witnessing the discrimination endured by her American-born parents. Their agricultural worker status and Spanish accents drew racial epithets and humiliations.

“What you see happen to your family impacts you,” she says. “It inspired me to become a lawyer and fight for social justice.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in social sciences with a minor in criminal justice, Lopez began researching law schools. She learned about the Seattle University School of Law Academic Resource Center (ARC), which administers the Access Admission Program, and decided to apply.

“As an undergrad, I was once told by an academic counselor that law school isn’t for ‘people like me.’ I was devastated, but it only intensified my determination to succeed. Seattle U’s Access Admission Program is for passionate, driven people who lack opportunity. By providing access, ARC is helping to diversify the legal community.”

The Access Admission Program recognizes promising law school applicants from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented communities who don’t meet the traditional statistical requirements for regular admission (LSAT score and undergraduate GPA). ARC supports these students throughout their law school experience, offering the guidance and academic skill instruction to help them find success in school, the bar exam and their legal careers.

Lopez was accepted to six of the 10 law schools she applied to, including Seattle University as an Access Admission scholar.

Throughout law school, Lopez’ passion for social justice continued to grow and the professional connections she made began to open doors. She became involved with the Student Bar Association, rising to the position of president in her 3L year—the first Latina to hold that office. Lopez also volunteered with several social justice-inspired organizations.

Her involvement in the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington (LBAW) began while she was a student and continued after graduation. As LBAW president, she and other minority bar and community leaders advocated for greater police accountability. In 2014, Lopez was appointed by Mayor Ed Murray to the position of executive director of the Seattle Community Police Commission (CPC), a position she holds today. The CPC directly engages with community members who are negatively and disproportionately impacted by policing. Additionally, the commission advocates for systemic change to the Seattle Police Department’s policies and practices to help build trust and strengthen community-police relations.


Exploring Women's Empowerment As Part of the #MeToo Movement

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on April 30, 2018 at 4:04 PM PDT

The Women of SU Alumni Chapter is known by many alumnae for their popular Connection Café series. The series covers topics ranging from professional development to issues of concern for Seattle University’s community of women.

The group’s next Connection Café on May 10 is focused on women’s empowerment and the #MeToo movement, featuring a storyslam format. We spoke to Keisha Jackson, ‘14, the Women of SU’s education chair, to learn more about this timely topic.

Keisha, also a commissioner with the Seattle Women’s Commission, saw the Women of SU platform as an opportunity for partnership. The Seattle Women’s Commission had expressed a desire to host an event in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, taking place in April.

“The Women of SU event seemed like the perfect combination, to be able to utilize the networks of the City of Seattle and to reach a broader audience with our Women of SU programming.” Because the Connection Café takes place near the end of the academic year, the Women of SU are also inviting senior women to attend. “The seniors will be there and this topic is very relevant to them and all women given the political and social climate,” Keisha said, adding that women are invited to bring their children to this event if the topic is one want they want to explore with their children.

The event will kick off with the evening’s confirmed speakers, including Jaqueline Garcia, the founder of Mujer Al Volante and Circulo De Mama Seattle, Heidi Happonen, a PR industry leader, Sarah Toce, principal owner and Editor-in-Chief of The Seattle Lesbian, Katrina M. Sanford, PsyD, Co-chair of the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, LaTanya Horace, founder of The Silent Task Force, and Seattle University senior, Haleema Bharoocha, '18, Director of the Gender Justice Center at Seattle U.

"I am honored and humbled to offer my insight and experience toward this worthwhile event,” event speaker Sarah Toce shared, adding, "When I ruminate over the kind of world I want to one day leave my daughter, that propels me to work harder building bridges in order to connect communities. Sharing our stories as women is not always an easy task, but it's a mandatory one should we desire to see change in our lifetime. I am proud to be in the company of such esteemed women - and I look forward to seeing everyone."

Haleema Bharoocha shared that she is excited for the opportunity to speak at this event and hopes to see a strong turnout from a diverse audience, including those who don’t normally get involved, saying that, “Stories are a form of information sharing that my ancestors used to pass down important information and convey feelings. Even more, stories make people feel something. They call people to action. Sharing my story is incredibly important since Muslim women of color are so often left out of the conversation. I hope that by sharing my story, I inspire others to share theirs. Bringing marginalized perspectives to the mainstream conversation and let others who cannot speak know that they are not alone.”

Following the confirmed speakers, the evening will transition into an open mic. “Women will have 5-7 minutes to share a personal story or a story of the work they do. The story can be in whatever format women feel called to express themselves in. It’s freeform,” Keisha said, adding that everyone is welcome, even if they wish to listen and not share their stories. “If you choose to show up, no one is going to insist you speak on your life experience. You can just listen and experience the stories being told.”
You can reserve your spot at the Women’s Empowerment Connection Café below.

Seattle Women’s Empowerment Story Slam: #TimesUp
Presented in partnership with the City of Seattle Women’s Commission
Thursday, May 10, 2018
6:30– 8:30 p.m.
Seattle University Student Center 160, LeRoux Room
Get Tickets

From Sullivan Scholar to Alumni Award Recipient

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on April 5, 2018 at 2:04 PM PDT

Hopefully by now you’ve heard about this year’s Alumni Award recipients include Shasti Conrad, ’07, our Outstanding Recent Alumna Award winner.  Shasti Conrad, ’07, is a rising star who leads with compassion and honesty. Recognized as a dynamic change maker, Shasti’s work is guided by diversity and inclusion.  

Outstanding Recent Alumna Award: Shasti Conrad, '07

A sociology and international studies major while at Seattle University, Shasti cites both the Sullivan Scholars and Honors programs as the highlight of her years at Seattle U.

Following graduation, she became a field organizer for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, and with support from another Sullivan Scholar, Alyson Palmer ‘06, Shasti joined President Obama’s first class of White House interns. She parlayed that internship to a full-time role in the West Wing with longtime Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president, eventually overseeing a policy portfolio that included youth violence in the United States.

“Recognizing, creating and valuing meaningful communities has proven a valuable lesson, one I learned during my time at Seattle U,” Shasti says. “I brought that with me to the White House and take it with me wherever I go.”

Following the 2012 presidential campaign, Shasti went to Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School to earn her master’s in public affair and co-chaired the Students and Alumni of Color network. She also oversaw an annual conference on race relations. As a Princeton Graduate Fellow, she seized an opportunity to work with The Malala Fund, eventually travelling with Malala Yousafzai and her family to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, an experience she calls “transformative.”

Upon her graduation in 2015, Shasti joined a creative social impact agency focused on social justice campaigns, including Art for Amnesty, the Environmental Defense Fund and the United Nations.

Returning home to Washington, Shasti joined the national advance team for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Following the 2016 election, she answered a call from friends and colleagues to run for office herself, a longshot bid for Washington State’s 37th Legislative District Senate seat. A late entry to the race and the youngest, she surprised many by joining the top three vote getters. Seattle U alumna Rebecca Saldana, ’99, won the seat. Local leaders and media took note of this “national leader now home to serve the community she loves.”

Since then, Shasti has kept busy with community efforts, such as her elected position as State Committeewoman to the Washington State Democratic Party for the 37th Legislative District. She is also supporting the work of another Nobel Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, as the U.S. campaign manager for the 100 Million Campaign, which aims to be the largest youth mobilization in history to end child labor and trafficking.

Committed to Seattle University, Shasti has been a mentor to other Sullivan Scholars, students and alumni, served as alumni representative for the India Initiative and partnered with Professor Jodi O’Brien, PhD, on a diversity and inclusion project for the University of Memphis.

“Shasti is dedicated to helping other people and correcting the systems that disenfranchise,” says DJ Weidner, ’07, a fellow Sullivan Scholar. “She is an advocate, leader and a perfect example of a person dedicated to others, fighting for a just and humane world.”

Shasti’s ability to bring people together doesn’t stop with her career. Shasti is spearheading the Sullivan Scholar’s reunion taking place on May 5 during Reunion Weekend.  All Sullivan Scholars old and new are invited back to campus to share their favorite memories of the program, connect with their classmates and current students and discover how the program has continued to grow. You can learn more about the Sullivan Scholar Reunion here.

We hope you’ll also join us to celebrate Shasti at the Alumni Awards on May 4 at the Seattle Four Seasons Hotel.

National Poetry Month

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on April 5, 2018 at 2:04 PM PDT

Fr. Steve Hands Crossed


Each summer we showcase Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg, S.J.’ s reading list and it’s always a big hit. As a university president, it should come as no surprise that Fr. Steve is an avid reader, but did you know he is also a poetry aficionado? In honor of National Poetry Month, we spoke to Fr. Steve about his passion for poetry and got the inside scoop on his favorite poems and those poets he thinks you should discover.


Q: Fr. Steve, what are your five favorite books of poetry?

A: Collected Poems by Philip Larkin

  • The Stream and the Sapphire by Denise Levertov
  • Still Life in Milford by Thomas Lynch
  • Collected Poems 1945 – 1990 by R. S. Thomas
  • The Grace of Necessity by Samuel Green

Q: What is your favorite poem?

A: “A Night in Ireland” by Anne Porter in Living Things

Q: What makes that your favorite poem?

A: It is a condensed story of great depth, beautifully expressing experience, dream, youth, and faith.  It has a wonder quatrain:

“He said You’ve come too soon

Go back into the towns

Live there as love’s apprentice

And God will give you his kingdom”

I can’t beat that for expressing the very purpose of my life in a simple, profound way!

Q: What is it that you enjoy about reading poetry?

A: Reading poetry for fifteen minutes each day is for me like prayer.  Poetry takes me below the surface, quotidian, experience of life into its more interior, intimate, holy depths.  I think of poetry as going beneath the soil of life to the tender roots of what is emerging in my life, the more nuanced, personal sources of life.  This is a holy place in which to dwell.  In my experience, there is nothing like poetry, when consistently read, for allowing access to this sacred depth.  Reading poetry every day teaches a person how to read poetry; it explains itself when faithfully practiced.

Q: Who is a poet you think is under the radar that you’d like other people to know about?

A: Mary Stewart Hammond, especially her Entering History.  I discovered her poetry from a display of multiple copies of this book in a New York City bookstore, bought it out of curiosity, and found a treasure.  I would read anything she wrote.