Taking Pride in Seattle U
Posted by Amanda Kelly on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 9:43 AM PDT
President's Remarks, 2012 Alumni Awards
Good evening. Indeed this is a very good evening! I think this may be my favorite night of the whole year. It is my 15th consecutive Alumni Awards evening, and a time also for me to personally honor our President's Club members and our Legacy Society members who have informed us that they are remembering Seattle U in their wills and estates.
What makes this such a personal evening for me is that it is a chance to take pride in our university, to share this pride with you, and to thank you. I think I experience the pride most deeply, but you - all of you - are the ones who help make it happen and should share in the pride and the thanks with me.
- When I listen to the 100-student strong S.U. Choir my heart is overwhelmed with pride.
- When I walk through that fantastic new library at any time of day or night and see how the students in droves have made it their home and love it, I am moved within by pride and gratitude. (I always cut through there if I need a pick-me-up!)
- When I learn of how 120 students now serve at Bailey-Gatzert School, 70 at Washington Middle and 40 at Garfield as just one part of our fantastic new but permanent Youth Initiative I can't help but feel how fully we are making our mission real in the lives of the kids of our neighborhood.
- When I stand next to Dr. Vicky Minderhout, Professor of Chemistry, as she is named the 2011 Professor of the Year for the State of Washington, I touch into the incredible power of our faculty and see why our students so love them.
- When I'm there in the 6th row of Key Arena and watch-amid all the lights and whistles and bells and dancing-our team play so hard and fast in going on a streak of wins, or enjoy the roar of the crowd on Championship Field as our Women's Soccer Team knocks off another top-notch program, I'm thrilled that we are now back in the big game.
- I have the habit of walking around campus early at dawn on a weekend morning and looking over our territory (excuse me if sometimes I think of it as "my territory"), so I have this deep satisfaction to see the new William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center; Championship Field, the best soccer stadium around; the Intramural Field under construction; the recent Law Annex; the Admissions and Alumni building; the Lee Center for Fine Arts; the Chapel now 15 years new; Sullivan Hall of the Law School; the Student Center; glorious malls, quadrangles, plazas, fountains, sculptures, art, the best gardens any campus anywhere has-wow; what a deep sense of thrill, consolation, and gratitude comes!
- Or when I get into discussions with students as they wrestle with religion, service, gender identity, vocation, I just find them so good that my heart almost breaks.
- Or when I rush from work to join in prayer and Mass with a community of 25 Jesuits committed to our mission and to ministry among our people and alumni, I am deeply consoled.
- Or to be at the Career Expo Fair with 72 companies seeking our graduates for jobs or our students for interns, I know we've got it right.
- Or just on a daily basis my privilege to share the leadership of Seattle U. with the best Executive Team and Deans any university could hope to have, I know we are in the best hands and that they are not just mine.
- And then, of course, there was the big news that out of 800 schools we were listed first in receiving the 2012 President's Award for Community Service. You can imagine the pride and joy in that!
I say all of this because I want you to know that it is because of you alumni, President's Club generous donors, and Legacy Society members who so believe in Seattle U's mission and students that you will have us share in your life's earnings-it is because of you that the university is more than thriving. I want you to take full pride in it. It's as much the legacy of all of you as it is of me and the faculty and the staff and administration, and trustees, and the current students.
So thanks to all of you. Take pride in your university, enjoy it, speak of it in your homes, with your friends, in your work. And don't we all know, every one of us, that what we take pride in could not be if it were not for God's blessing on our endeavors, God's Spirit with us, God inspiring generous and talented and dedicated people to make us be what God wants us to be. I don't believe this is just the sentiment of a priest, but is the conviction of all of you. Let's not fail to give thanks to God and to give God the glory.
Isn't it also true that it's not the campus, or the national awards, or the new facilities, or the teams and choir and research, or the new programs and the Core Curriculum, or even the current wonderful undergraduate, graduate, and law students who are the proof of us fulfilling our mission. It is our alumni. As I say every year, "Only the alumni of Seattle U can tell us whether we are fulfilling our mission." They tell us by their lives, their service, their making a difference in the lives of others. We are always about the future, the future lives of our students engaged in the communities and peoples of our world. On a night like this in the Alumni Awards the future we seek becomes present, what we always hope will be becomes now. We honor six individuals who either as alumni or as persons who teach and inspire others at Seattle U most embody and prove the fulfillment of our mission. What an outstanding six we honor and award this year, amazing the variety of kinds of things they do, who they are, what their passions are.
Join with me as you take pride in Seattle U, and as you give thanks to God, in experiencing our Jesuit Catholic educational mission fulfilled in our presence in the six persons we honor and thank. May this be the best night of the year for all of us who love and serve this university.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.
President, Seattle University