Winter 2012

Alumni Newsletter - Winter 2012 

Message from the Dean

Dear Alumni and Friends, 

It is a great time to be a part of the College of Arts and Sciences, and I am happy and proud to share just a few of the biggest events of the fall.

The academic year started wonderfully for Arts and Sciences.  We welcomed more than 2500 students— including an undergraduate class with the largest number of declared Fine Arts majors ever and more than 450 students in our graduate programs. In fact, our M.A. in Criminal Justice program had a record number of acceptances, as did our Master in Fine Arts Leadership program; no surprise given their high quality. Also, our Criminal Justice department joined programs at only six other universities in the United States by receiving certification from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. 

I am very pleased to report that our first faculty-student research fellowships were overwhelmingly successful. I hope you can join us on February 6 to hear the results yourself.

During the Fall Quarter, our debate team continued to score high in individual and team competitions under the guidance of coach Sophia Sanders (class of 2011). Students performed with the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Guest speakers addressed topics ranging from violence in the name of religion to revolution and counterrevolution in the Middle East.

Arts and Sciences faculty members received national awards and recognition for books and articles this past quarter. Students exhibited their photography and video work from a Seattle University Youth Initiative project involving the local Somali community. Our choir released a special three-CD set of concerts in commemoration of Professor Joy Sherman’s 20th anniversary as choir director. And the list goes on and on.

You can keep up to date on all the exciting programs and events at the College of Arts and Sciences by joining our Facebook page, or by checking the events calendar on our web page. I encourage you to come to a lecture, concert, film, gallery opening, or discussion.

Take advantage of all that our academic community has to offer; I hope to see you on campus soon!
David V. Powers

Psychology and Science Improve Health and Wellness for Adults and Children

Hidden off campus near I-5 is one of the college’s best kept secrets: The Human Performance Lab.  
The Human Performance Lab is a high-tech paradise for people seeking to improve their health and their sport performance, regardless of their physical condition. Filled with computers, treadmills, and sports equipment, the lab is an important component of the Center for the Study of Sport and Exercise.

“How you move, how you feel, what motivates you—these are all important for long-term health,” said Dan Tripps, Director of the Center. “We see people who are at risk of heart disease and those who are top athletes. Their goals are the same: to live life to the fullest.”
Tripps combines scholarly research and teaching to strengthen the bridge between athletics and academics.
“Sport is one of the most significant cultural institutions in America today,” Tripps said. “We educate the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – within this context. We use a science-based curriculum that includes chemistry, nutrition, physiology, anatomy, biomechanics, and psychology to address the needs of average people as well as top performing athletes.”
At the Human Performance Lab, student interns work with doctors, physical therapists, and nutritionists to improve the health and physical capacity of patients. The approach is holistic: food is the essential fuel; biomechanics and physiology determine how you move; and motivation keeps you on target for optimum health.
“With the technology we have now, we can look at each individual to improve physical capacity, but we are also going to improve the enjoyment factor,” Tripps said. “We want to motivate people to keep exercising for the long-term.”
Tripps has been a leader in the field of sport science for more than 20 years. He has trained Olympic medalists and world-class swimmers and triathletes. He was President and Executive Director of the Olympic Scientific Congress held in conjunction with the 1984 Olympic Games and the U.S. representative to UNESCO's Sport For All project to bring sport science to the developing world.  He joined the Arts and Sciences faculty in 2006.
In addition to his teaching and research, Tripps is spearheading a program in the fight against juvenile obesity. He developed a pilot project that combines physical fitness, nutritional information, and lifestyle coaching.  Funded by United Health Foundation, the program is currently being tested in the Hall County School System in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tripps has teamed up with award-winning chef Ethan Stowell, Andrea Riggs, personal trainer for Hollywood celebrities, and Kathy Johnson Clarke, 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic gymnastic gold medalist to launch the pilot.

“The problem of childhood obesity has a solution,” he said. “With support from parents, school personnel, and the healthcare community, we can change dramatically the lifestyle and health of our children.”

The school system’s nursing and certificated staff will play major roles in implementing the project with Minnesota-based United Health Care’ Optimum Health division. Initiatives for children, parents, and school personnel include developing a sustainable garden at the school and a virtual challenge walk around Georgia (using pedometers). The United Health Foundation is supporting the program with technology and funding to develop the pilot.  If the program is received well, it will be repeated nationwide in 2012. 

Alumni Profile: Mary Frances Dondelinger, ’92

Mary Frances Dondelinger had a successful career as a landscape artist. Seeking deeper meaning, she now combines her talent with her interest in history, theology, and the humanities to create iconographic pieces on display throughout the United States.

Dondelinger came to Seattle University knowing that she wanted to paint.  The North California native used oil pastels to create urban landscapes, and in her spare time, she rallied support to establish the University’s Patricia Wismer Women’s Center. She established the center as a place for art and curated exhibits with major artists during its very first year.

After graduation with a degree in visual arts, Dondelinger began her career as an artist. Today, her paintings hang in hospitals, government buildings, and corporate offices. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and exhibited at the Florence Biennale in Italy. It was during one her frequent visits to a monastery in central Idaho that she decided to study iconography.

“I had been going on silent retreats for several years,” she said, “and one time, I approached a nun who did iconography. It took a year to get approval to study with her, and I began my studies in Idaho.”

Dondelinger went on to study with Italian master iconographer Gianluca Busi and soon received commissions from individuals who have a spiritual or historical interest in icons. She handles all the work herself, including preparing the panels, applying the gold, varnishing, and doing the punch work on the finished piece. Depending on the size, a panel can take more than a month to complete.

“I only work on one piece at a time,” she said. “Because of the sacred nature of each piece, I have to be totally engaged with the icon. I get immersed in the subject, meditate on the divinity in the image, and determine the most appropriate materials to use.”

“You’ll see that most iconographers do not sign their work,” she added. “Our work is about the subject, the sacred, and spirituality. It’s my job to tell a story through the image, through art. It’s not about the artist.”

Dondelinger, who ran a gallery in Ellensburg for several years, now spends most of her time in Arizona and New Mexico. She returns to the Northwest periodically to conduct iconography workshops.  On a recent trip to Seattle, she held a three-day class with a small group that included a teacher, artist, administrator, and retired Byzantine Catholic.

“People from all walks of life, many who are not religious, are attracted to the sacred presence in icons,” she said. “I know that when I’m creating an icon, I’m more patient and thoughtful and a much better person.”

Recent Alumni Profile: Tina Leung, ‘08

Whether planning an event for thousands of gaming fans in Indianapolis, organizing an English language summer camp for kids in Japan, or conducting a healthy food campaign in King County, no task seems too big for Tina Leung.
Thanks to a Gates scholarship, Leung came to Seattle University primarily because of its small classes. Taking Professor Jeff Philpott’s communication class was eye-opening.
“He was so passionate about what he was teaching, and I wanted to be just as passionate about what I was doing,” Leung said from her office in Seattle’s International District.  She decided to major in communication and upon graduation joined Gen Con to help manage its annual gaming convention.
Gen Con brings together more than 100,000 people during a four-day gaming convention that runs around the clock. Leung lined up presenters, coordinated with multiple hotels and the Indianapolis convention center, and organized tournaments and events for the participants. The size and scope of the convention were overwhelming. Although exhausted at the end, she realized she had passed the test.
Not sure of her next career steps, Leung decided to teach English in Japan for a year. She worked in special education programs with adults and children, some who were blind or deaf, in Oita, a small city. Each day she was in a different school with students of varying abilities. She put in long hours developing exciting and age-appropriate activities for her students. Towards the end of her stay, she joined with other teachers of English to hold an English summer camp for high school students. Drama, dance, sport, and art were all part of the program.
“Working in Japan and with people with disabilities gave me a new perspective,” she said. “My creativity was constantly tested, and I gained confidence. I also realized how much I missed my own Chinese culture.”
After returning to Seattle, Leung took an unpaid internship with T.D. Wang Advertising Group, which specializes in multicultural marketing. Hired on full-time after two months, she moved well beyond event planning. Leung has conducted marketing campaigns for cultural communities throughout the United States, developed a TV commercial and appeared in it with her mother, and promoted events through social media.

Now an account executive, Leung engages with local Somali, Asian, and Latino grocers for her latest project, Healthy Foods Here.  Healthy Foods Here, which is funded by Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, educates communities about healthy food options.
Outside of work, Leung returns to the community as a volunteer with the Junior League of Seattle. She also serves on the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council.
“It’s not just working in the community in my professional life but giving back,” she said. “It’s not just doing a task well but being a well-rounded person. Those are just some of the fundamentals I learned at SU.”

Student Profile: Stefan Wanigatunga, ’13

You can see his documentaries on You Tube and him working with elementary students near campus. For Film Studies major Stefan Wanigatunga, the College of Arts and Sciences has brought together his passion for photography, music, film, and community service.

Stefan Wanigatunga almost didn’t come to Seattle University.

“I was wait-listed and had thought about doing service work in Africa,” he said recently. “When I finally made it here, I knew it was where I was supposed to be.”

Wanigatunga grew up in Alaska and first became interested in film in high school. During a media production class, he realized that film was the perfect vehicle for his interest in music, painting, writing, and photography.

At SU, he wrote, directed, and created the music for “The Perfect Flick,” shown during the campus Moviefest in the fall of his sophomore year. That spring, he worked with Fine Arts Professor Claire Garoutte on a documentary about literature circles conducted by SU students at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. In the summer, he went to Paris with Film Studies Professor Edwin Weihe and SU students to produce a documentary focused on finding art in everyday life. Now a junior, Wanigatunga is back at Bailey Gatzert directing a weekly after-school film studies program called "Young Visions." Students in the 5th grade, many who come from immigrant and refugee families, work with SU students from the Film Studies program.

“Target provided funding for the Mac Lab and the SU Youth Initiative helped out with cameras and equipment,” Wanigatunga said. “We offer guidance on how to put together a film – writing, directing, camera angles. It’s fun and creative for them and for us.”

When not making films, Wanigatunga is fully engaged on campus, playing sacred music at The Well on campus and taking guitar and voice lessons in addition to his studies.

Advancement Update: Foundation and Private Funding Support Academic Excellence Outside the Classroom

From David Chow, Academic Development Officer

Dean Powers believes that a critically important part of the college experience takes place when students work directly with faculty. To support academic excellence at our college, the dean piloted a summer faculty-student research fellowships program last year. Using funds from the Dean’s annual appeal, students received a dean's stipend and worked directly with faculty on scholarly projects in Environmental Studies, Criminal Justice, and History.

The outcome of this pilot program is the main agenda at a breakfast meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, February 6. I invite you to join Dean Powers, Vice President for University Planning and Vice Provost Robert Dullea, and members of the Dean’s Leadership Council to hear directly from the students and professors about how these fellowships provide meaningful academic opportunities for our students outside of the classroom. Please RSVP to David Chow if you can attend the Dean’s Leadership Council meeting on February 6 in the Student Center.

We are also extremely pleased to announce that Wells Fargo has awarded $100,000 to the Environmental Studies Program for an innovative urban agriculture project. Working with the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, the Environmental Studies Program is developing a farm site on an unused parcel of the wastewater treatment site in Renton, WA. Produce from the farm will support local food banks.

The Environmental Studies Program, chaired by Professor Gordon Miller, began partnering with King County on this demonstration project in the fall of 2010. Aside from its emphasis on producing local organic food, the program focuses on using resources recovered from the wastewater treatment process, specifically biosolids compost and reclaimed water, for sustainable agriculture. With the benefit of the Wells Fargo grant, the project will be able to expand its educational, environmental, and community benefits.

Your continued support for the College of Arts and Sciences will allow us to expand programs that provide meaningful learning opportunities beyond the classroom.  Please consider a gift this year to the Dean’s Annual Fund.  Thank you.