Summer 2021

Message from the Dean

David V. Powers, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, SeattleDear Friends,

I hope that our summer newsletter finds you and yours well and ready to enjoy the coming months.

The 2020-21 academic year is finally at a close and I am looking forward to Fall Quarter with great hope and anticipation. Freshman enrollment is close to our record high and may get there. If our current plans stay on track and everyone gets a vaccination who can possibly do so, we will be able to welcome about 90% of our classes back into classrooms on campus. You can keep up to date on Seattle University’s reopening plans here.

Many thanks to Father Stephen Sundborg, SJ, for his 24 years of service as President. The University and the College have grown dramatically under his leadership, increasingly engaging the mission he led Seattle U in defining when he first arrived. While we were unable to gather in person to celebrate and thank him, we have had numerous virtual opportunities to hear from him – and reflect on his many contributions – in the past few months, including:

We will see Fr. Steve in a final transition moment as we officially welcome new President Eduardo M. Peñalver, JD. He is on campus and working hard already but look for information soon about Inauguration activities in late September. Get to know more about him here.

I also extend my deepest gratitude to our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. You have all worked incredibly hard to find success and support each other during extraordinary circumstances.

We celebrate some of our students’ success in this newsletter, sharing some of their virtual collections of work and events.

Our faculty and staff never wavered in their dedication to ensure our students received the best possible educational experience. You will read about this year’s All College Awards and how many of them found ways to deliver their expertise through online events.

Our alumni stepped forward too, participating in the President’s Challenge, Our Mission for Moment. You also helped us make this year’s Seattle U Gives our most successful yet, where we received 159 gifts totaling more than $25,000. Your contributions across the Campaign for the Uncommon Good helped the College go far beyond its initial capital campaign goal of $6.5M to reach $9.846M by the end of the campaign on June 30. Thank you so much for your support! I also want to thank our alumni and friends who serve on the Dean’s Leadership Council for their continuing work on the campaign and all aspects of the College’s endeavors.

The College of Arts & Sciences community is coming through the struggles of the pandemic with a positive momentum that is a credit to all of you. Thank you everyone, I look forward to moving into the future together.

David V. Powers, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume 5

Image of the cover of the journal with a photo of treesThe fifth volume of the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal (SUURJ) is now available online. SUURJ highlights the research achievements of Seattle University undergraduate students through a peer-reviewed online publication. It also provides an editorial apprenticeship experience for students through a credit-bearing program that trains students to share stewardship of the journal. Research includes any original quantitative or qualitative work that a student has conducted during their academic studies. This includes theoretical works, policy analyses, research-based editorial pieces, Core writing, and other modes.

This year’s student editors include Tori Almond, McCalee Cain, Braden Dose, Jollan Franco, Alia Fukumoto, Isabelle Halaka, Enya Harris, Katie Howard, Emma Hyman, Cole Janssen, Mary Namutebi, Lucas Neumeyer, Grace Nikunen, Anna Petgrave, Christopher Stevens, and Lexi Ziegler.

SUURJ, Volume 5 includes:

Seattle U Choirs: Virtual Performances

Under the direction of Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom, Director of Choral & Vocal Activities and Dr. Lee Peterson, Assistant Director, and with the support of producer Stephen O'Bent, Seattle U Choirs shone in their virtual performances.

The choirs return to in-person performances this fall. Alumni and community members are invited to join the University Singers (no audition required.) Learn more here.

Paul Simon's America. Singers contributed their voices and favorite photographs.

We Remember Them by Susan LaBarr.

The Star Spangled Banner performed by Sierra Noble for the SU 2021 Commencement Ceremony.

How Can I Keep From Singing by Greg Gilpin, performed for Commencement by nine graduating choir members.

The Seattle University Choirs are led by Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom, Director of Choral & Vocal Activities, and Dr. Lee Peterson, Assistant Director. America is a joint production of Seattle University Choirs and DigiPen Institute of Technology Vocal Ensemble, Stephen O’Bent, Assistant Professor and Conductor of Choirs. Arranged and produced by Stephen O’Bent. We Remember Them, audio and video production by Stephen O'Bent, Laura Oiumette, guest pianist.

 Return to Table of Contents

Art, Art History and Design: 2021 Online Exhibitions

A mosaic of all design students in class of 2021 2021 Design Exhibition

The 2021 senior cohort’s exhibition is meant to showcase their shared creativity and diversity as a part of a larger design collective. A zip file is an interface used to compress a collection of files or works from an individual or group into a single location. symbolizes that despite being “zipped up” due to COVID, we are individual minds, a part of a whole, similar to how individual files are a part of a zip folder. Zip files, compact in nature, are easy to share digitally and can contain far more than what is initially apparent. Through their culminating Senior Synthesis Course, the designers have worked to express and create unique designs into this online exhibition.

BFA Photography Exhibition: Class of 2021

black and white seascape

Image of bus at nightThe projects created by Haley Dow and Gordon Wong in this exhibition were developed during the past academic year.

We are proud of the excellent photographic artworks completed by our graduating BFA seniors, and we admire their resilience in light of this year’s extraordinary challenges.


Advanced Studio Exhibition Spring 2021

Textile artwork by Ava StroupJunior and Senior Advanced Studio Students exhibit work created specifically for this exhibition during the Winter Quarter. A spasm of creation, a dance of emancipation, a ripe melon sticky with possibilities, a mindscape, an inward exploration, defying the viewer, and inverting the notion of public display.

 Return to Table of Contents

ARTS at SU: New Campus Art Walk

Illustration of art walk mapAs we are able to return to campus over the summer and into the fall, we invite SU community members and visitors to reacquaint themselves with our beautiful grounds through this new project.

The Campus Art Walk offers the opportunity to experience campus in a whole new way. You follow a course that leads you to sites where you can scan the Art Walk QR code with your mobile device to access a selection of works created during the pandemic by students from Theatre, Music, Film, Visual Art and Creative Writing programs.

The walk guides you from the Lee Miley Rain Garden on a looped tour through campus via the Quad, Lemieux Library, the Student Center, and ending at the Reflection Pool. Follow the map that we have created or choose a site you love and stay as long as you like: it is your art walk to curate and experience in whatever way you choose.

The Campus Art Walk originated in Performing Arts and Arts Leadership as the brainchild of music faculty, Tess Altiveros, who curated and helped produce it.  It took many, many hours of work and coordination across multiple disciplines and university offices to put this ambitious project together.  Thank you to our amazing student artists; to the Performing Arts and Arts Leadership faculty; to our colleagues in Art, Art History & Design, English - Creative Writing and Film Studies; to University Admissions and Marketing and Communications for partnering with us; to design student, Marguerite Pilon (’21), for the graphics and the map; and to Em Olson, the Operations Manager for PAAL and AAHD who designed and built the webpages.

Return to Table of Contents

More Arts and Sciences Student Achievments

A variety of student projects are availble to read and experience online, an unexpected positive consequence of working remotely. We hope enjoy their work.

Communications and Media Spring Projects Fair

Student work from four classes: CMME 4010 Research Projects, CMME 4000 Client Project, Internships, and Capstone Projects.

History Department Undergraduate Honors Theses

  • Richard Merrell, “Making and Breaking Kings: Generational Kingship and the Masculinities of the Last Plantagenet Kings of England,1308–1399”
  • Mary Sweeney, “Social Scripts and Emotional Communities Revealed in the Paston Letters”

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Undergraduate Honors Theses

  • Natalie Rahn, “Funding Abortion as Facilitating It: The Complicity Argument in Religious Right Legal Efforts to Control Reproductive Choice in the United States”
  • Ariana Siddiqui-Dennis, “Pushing Against Patriarchy: Indonesian Muslim Women Using Islam as a Form of Resistance”


Fragments is Seattle University’s annual multi-disciplinary literature and visual art magazine. Established in 1958, Fragments is committed to annually publishing the best literature and visual art the Seattle University community has to offer.

BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) Research Initiative

The Arts Ecosystem Research Project (AERP) is an ongoing initiative to research and document the Seattle region’s arts and culture sector since the 1962 World’s Fair, created by the SU Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership Program and Lemieux Library.

In 2021, a research team consisting of students and alumni, led by Claudia Bach and Felipe Anaya, and supported by 4Culture, undertook an AERP BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) Research Initiative. The student team included Elisabeth Astwood, Alumni Research Fellow, MFA ’18; Stefanie Fatooh, Research Fellow, MFA ’22; Ellen McGivern, Researcher, MFA ’19; Kati Simek, Research Practicum, MFA ’22; and Cay Lane Wren, Researcher, MFA ’21.

The foundational work done in 2020, as well as input from the AERP advisors, helped the team identify BIPOC leaders who have been instrumental in the Seattle region. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, the research team was able to design and conduct a qualitative survey to investigate entities and events in communities of color, followed by an optional facilitated Zoom conversation. The BIPOC Research Initiative resulted in more than 25 new entries to the Timeline and new materials for the AERP archives including the stories shared in the Zoom event. Additional research efforts in 2021 include the addition of more than a dozen new case studies, ongoing additions to the Timeline, and the linking of entries within the Timeline to demonstrate the interconnected nature of the arts ecosystem.

Visit the AERP website to see these examples and more.

Return to Table of Contents

Generosity of College of Arts and Sciences Alumni, Friends, and Community Partners Exceeds $9.8 Million

Supports Critical Scholarships, Faculty Research and Key Facilities.

Seattle University sent Father Stephen Sundborg off to an especially happy retirement having completed the record-breaking fundraising campaign totaling more than $303 million as of June 30, 2021. The key pillars of this comprehensive university-wide campaign included the newly named Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation, sustaining and elevating Seattle U’s Mission and Programs, and ever-important scholarship funds to improve educational access and retention of SU students.

In the College of Arts and Sciences we are humbled and proud to share our gratitude for the 2,167 donors who gave more than $9.846 million to promote student success, support faculty research and provide for college programs and facilities. Highlights of alumni and friends’ generosity to the college include creating 13 new endowed scholarships,  which will provide access for students with financial need from diverse backgrounds in perpetuity. Guided by the interests of our donors, scholarships will assist students studying the arts, Theatre, Criminal Justice, English, University Honors, Social Work, Nonprofit Leadership, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Among the stories about the campaign's impact are those of two College of Arts and Sciences students

The Indigenous Peoples Institute is another program that emerged from a few founding donors and continues to expand its community of support for Native student success. Gifts to the Campaign for the Uncommon Good helped create a dedicated space for IPI in Xavier 160 on campus, establish an IPI Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Pat Twohy, SJ IPI Endowment to ensure opportunities to support Native students, both financially and culturally, and programs to engage the campus in learning around Indigenous issues will be sustained at the university.

Additional donor support for facilities and the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fund enabled the university to purchase needed pianos, further important work with Pathways to Professional Formation, and launch the Kinesiology Mobile Lab that is ready to take students out into the community starting this fall.

Learn more about the impact the Campaign for the Uncommon Good is having at Seattle University.

Arts and Sciences Community News