I always find myself taking a deep breath as we come to Spring Quarter. It is partly the fresh spring air, but also preparation for our extraordinary season of events that showcase and celebrate the scholarship, talent and energy of Seattle U students, faculty and staff.
From speakers like former FBI Director James Comey (sorry, it’s sold out) to faculty presentations on a wide variety of topics, to student presentations in all disciplines, to arts performances and exhibitions, College of Arts and Sciences events include something for everyone. I hope you will join us.
As our next graduating class prepares for Commencement on June 17 and as I see the newest groups of accepted and prospective students visit the campus, I think more and more of the value of the humanities and liberal arts education in our current time. With increased financial pressures and concerns about how young people will find their way in the competitive professional landscape, I continue to see clear and strong evidence that we prepare our students for success.
The Seattle Times recently published an important op-ed written by my colleague, Dean Robert Stacey, University of Washington College of Arts & Sciences, which included employment rates for liberal arts graduates. Our graduates are experiencing similar employment rates as their peers at UW; College of Arts and Sciences’ six-month post-graduation placement rate for AY 15-16 graduates was 93% Of those:
Their experiences also demonstrate that employers value the abilities of thinking creatively and critically, writing and speaking well, and examining a situation from a variety of perspectives – all hallmarks of their liberal arts education.
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ study, “The State of the Humanities 2018,” based on U.S. census data and Gallup polling of workers nationwide, makes the case that humanities majors are doing well when it comes to pay, job satisfaction and career advancement.
Writing about a new Microsoft e-book, “The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and Its Role in Society,” Microsoft President Brad Smith and the company’s executive vice president of Microsoft Artificial Intelligence, Harry Shum said in a blog post,
“Skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology, and human-development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.”
As I have shared in many settings during the past few years, The American Association of Colleges and Universities’ 2014 survey specifically gauged employer interest in liberal education learning outcomes. Here are some of the findings:
It is important we continue to make this point right now, and make it loudly and publicly, because conventional wisdom can overwhelm facts and data. It is clear that employers do value what we provide, to the point of wanting more of it. We need to ensure that students, prospective students, parents, alumni, and all our communities and constituencies understand and help us share this critical story.
Thank you for being part of our community.
David V. Powers, PhD
Dr. Peter L. Lee, ’64, is one of Seattle University’s earliest international students from Hong Kong and for more than two decades, one of our most actively engaged international alumni. On May 4, Dr. Lee will receive the University Service Award at the 33rd Annual Alumni Awards. Tickets are available here.
On May 7, the Asian Studies Program and College of Arts & Sciences will present the second Peter L. Lee Endowed Lectureship in East Asian Culture and Civilization. This year, we welcome Professor Robin Yates, “Chinese Science, Medicine, and Technology: Some Recent Discoveries and New Trends in the Field,” who will speak from 5 to 6:20 p.m. in the LeRoux Room, with a pre-lecture reception at 4:30 p.m.
In a special added event, Professor Grace Fong will present “On My Birthday and When I am Sick: Women Reflecting on Aging in Qing Dynasty China,” also on May 7, from 9:20 to 10:45 a.m. in Casey Commons.
Free tickets for the lecture events are available online and reservations are recommended.
In 2015, Dr. Lee established the Peter L. Lee Endowed Lectureship in East Asian Culture and Civilization, which brings to campus prominent experts to explore the impact of East Asian thought and tradition on contemporary global issues. His gifts were inspired by an opportunity early in his career to work with the renowned scholar Dr. Joseph Needham at Cambridge University. It fostered a passion for the Needham scholarly legacy. Dr. Lee was instrumental in founding what is now the Joseph Needham Foundation for Science & Civilization and has been chairman since 2014.
“The Peter L. Lee Endowed Lectureship is designed to be interdisciplinary,” said Arts and Sciences Dean David Powers. “It allows us to engage our students with sociohistorical context and pressing issues related to East Asian studies, modern languages, international business, comparative religion, and many other areas.”
The inaugural lecture featured Professor Tobie Meyer-Fong, of Johns Hopkins University, with her talk entitled: “World of Pain and Wonder: Horizons of a 19th Century Chinese Traveler.”
Dr. Lee graduated from Seattle University with a degree in chemistry. In 1977, after five years as a research chemist at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, he accepted a dual technical and business development position at Coca-Cola Far East based in Hong Kong. Besides dealing with food and health-related government agencies in the region, he also served as the special assistant in China affairs to then Chairman J. Paul Austin. Owing to his persistence, Coca-Cola signed an agreement with the Chinese authorities in December 1978, becoming the first international company to re-enter China. The following year he was named the first president of Coca-Cola China and then senior vice president of Coca-Cola Pacific in 1985. Dr. Lee went on to hold senior management positions with several multinational companies in telecommunications, performance chemicals, pigments and packaging industries until his retirement in 2007.
In 1995, Dr. Lee became one of the first international alumni to make a gift to the university’s chemistry department to create scholarships. In 1996, he helped the university build the first accurate data base of Seattle University alumni in Hong Kong by singlehandedly calling each alum and then leading the Hong Kong alumni chapter for 17 years. Through his effort, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., became the first Seattle University president to visit Hong Kong and Dr. Lee provided the strategic guidance for four subsequent trips there.
During the first trip, the idea for an Asian Studies Program on campus evolved. As the university needed to raise $100,000, Dr. Lee made the lead contribution and secured the remaining funds from Hong Kong alumni.
Dr. Lee has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to his alma mater by connecting the university’s leaders with prominent Asian alumni. Consistently he finds ways to enhance relationships between the alumni and the university and makes significant contributions to advance East Asian studies at Seattle U. When asked why he stays involved, Dr. Lee says, “When you drink water, you must think about its source. When I looked back and saw what I got from Seattle U, I knew I had to give back. A good person should always remember the source of his success.”
Thank you to our colleagues in Alumni Engagement for the use of their writing in this article.
The College of Arts and Sciences is very proud that four more of the recipients recognized at this year’s Alumni Awards are connected to our college.
Jan Dwyer, '70 and her husband, Jim, '69, Alumni of the Year, will honored for their lifelong commitment and leadership to Seattle University and their influence on the university and the greater community.
Professor David Madsen, PhD, ’69, Distinguished Faculty Award, graduated from Seattle University and then joined the faculty in 1981 as an assistant professor. Associate professor in the history department since 1996, Madsen has directed the University Honors Program, moderates the Naef Scholars and has served as Grand Marshall for 18 years.
Shasti Conrad, ’07 Outstanding Recent Alumna, is a dynamic change maker whose work is guided by diversity and inclusion. She was a White House intern under President Barack Obama and then moved to a West Wing job with the senior advisor to the president. As a Princeton Graduate Fellow, she worked with The Malala Fund, traveling with Malala Yousafzai to the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. Conrad is the U.S. campaign manager for the 100 Million Campaign.
The 33rd Annual Alumni Awards will be held May 4. Tickets are available here
Seattle U Theatre welcomes Sojourn Theatre this quarter for a special, unique theatre experience, May 10 through 20. This is not a play; it is not a lecture; it is not an interactive workshop; it is not a physical theatre piece; it is not a public conversation.
Sojourn Theatre’s How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes (HTEP) is all of these things.
Most significantly, it’s an opportunity to challenge a different audience every show with the question: how do you attack the problem of poverty in America, with a lens specifically focused on your community.
“I cannot urge you strongly enough to go and participate in the discussion. You will learn things, you will share things, and you will find yourself moved to take action as you leave the theater.” Patrick Brassell, Broadway World.
The Seattle premiere of How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes (With 69 People You May or May Not Know) runs May 10 through 20 at the Lee Center for the Arts. Tickets are available online or at the Lee Center Box Office, 206.296.2244, Wednesday-Friday 1:30-6 p.m.
Seattle University students involved with the show participated in a Winter Quarter class, in which they conducted research, and experienced regular site visits/interaction with private and public organizations working on issues related to poverty. In addition, the students were trained in consensus-building.
“We are deeply excited about this opportunity for the university and our theater students to live our mission by creating live, compelling theater that leaves the audience better informed and empowered,” says Performing Arts and Arts Leadership Chair Ki Gottberg. “Their research and work conducted in class will be used as seeds for the generation of new locally specific content for this iteration of HTEP.”
Sojourn Theatre’s How to End Poverty in 90 minutes (with 69 People You May or May Not Know) is a devised, community specific participatory theatre event that explores issues of poverty and democracy by allocating $1,000 from the box office at every performance to a local organization that fights poverty. The show is an experiment in dialogue, in collective decision-making, in shared responsibility, and in the potential for art to help us make our world a better place. Spectacularly eclectic in form, often delightful and occasionally uncomfortable, How to End Poverty engages audiences alongside community experts.
The audience decides where the money goes. The show’s plot is not a single story, but the journey of strangers (the audience) making a decision about how to best engage with a seemingly intractable and complex public issue.
The production, created after a year of research and community partner-building opened in May 2013 at Northwestern University. Since then, Sojourn has mounted productions in Baton Rouge (at LSU), Portland, Oregon (at regional theater Portland Playhouse), Big Sky, Montana (Warren Miller Performing Arts Center) among others.
As of January 2018, Sojourn and presenting partners have currently, re-purposed more than $70,000 from the arts economy towards the poverty reduction economy across six states where the show has been presented. HTEP is a developed manifestation of an aesthetic that blends adventurous theatricality with real time, task-based connective encounter amidst strangers.
Photo by Brud Giles. Actors perform in the Professional Premiere of Sojourn Theatre's "How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes" at Portland Playhouse.
Join us on Wednesday, May 2, at 5 p.m. in the Kinsey Gallery for our annual awards and exhibit opening.
This year’s award recipients:
James Alexander; Senior, Digital Design; Focused (Siena, Italy); Book Art in Siena
Kirk Nielsen; Graduate Student, Albers School of Business and Economics; First Light on the Lijiang (Guilin, Guangxi, China); China Study Tour
Aidan Avery; Senior, Philosophy; Observing Havana (Regla, Cuba); Clapp Scholarship Summer Study Abroad - Cuba
Ning Zhou; Graduate Student, Master of Arts Leadership; Space Needle with Chihuly Flowers (Chihuly Glass Museum, Seattle, WA); China
Crystal (Sujung) Choi; Graduate Student, MBA, Albers School of Business and Economics; Spencer Glacier 4 (Spencer Glacier, Alaska); Korea
Camilla Ljung; Junior, College of Nursing; Adopted RedHawks With a View (Dr. José Rizal Park, Seattle, WA); Sweden
Mary-Antoinette Smith, PhD; Associate Professor, English, Women and Gender Studies English; Wonder-Gazing While Wounded (The Tate Britain, London, England); The London and Edinburgh Eye: City Gazing and Detecting Social Justice Abroad in Britain
Our annual Imagining the World: Study Abroad and International Photography Competition highlights students’ participation in the global community. Through this contest, students capture more than a moment in their experience—they share with us a very personal window into a world. Students currently enrolled at Seattle University who have participated in a study abroad program while attending SU, current international students attending SU, and faculty leading study abroad are invited to submit photos that address the theme.
The evening begin with a reception at 5 p.m. and the awards presentation begins at 6 p.m. Light snacks and beverages will be served and the gallery will be open for viewing the winning photographs.
Are you an alum of the Seattle U Choirs?
You are invited to perform with the Choirs at the 2018 Choirs Reunion. The day includes a reception, rehearsal, and performance at the concert that evening. The concert marks the final performance under the direction of Dr. Joy Sherman, who retires this year.
Alumni may register here; you’ll find information about receiving the music.
Everyone is invited to attend the Spring Concerts, May 4 and 5.
Also, remember that May 4 through 6 is Alumni Weekend. Check out the full schedule.
Most prestigious Seattle University faculty award conferred upon Associate Professor of English
Anab Nur, Public Affairs major, one of two participating in intensive seven-week Junior Summer Institute
In print, on the air, at the podia
April 26, 4 p.m. Br. Antonio Sison, CPPS, shares his passionate and imaginative quest for recipes of grace in the integration of theology and intercultural cinema.
May 10, 6-8 p.m., Wyckoff Auditorium. "Changes in the Categories of Race, Class, and Gender: How Life has Outpaced Theory" by Naomi Zack, PhD, University of Oregon.
May 25. Co-sponsored by Global African Studies and the Department of Performing Arts & Arts Leadership.
June 1. Continuing Education Event, Criminal Justice Department.
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