College of Arts and Sciences
Center for the Study of Sport and Exercise

Relationship to SU Mission

  • The Center for the Study of Sport & Exercise is intimately connected to the mission of Seattle University as it advances Seattle University's mission of "educating the whole person" and "empowering leaders for a just and humane world."

    Sport and education: Development of the whole person  

    A Jesuit Catholic university strives to educate men and women for service to others. The education it offers is holistic. It seeks to develop a critical mind, a caring heart, and a searching spirit. It attends not only to the acquisition of knowledge and skills, but also to their application to the causes of social justice and service to others. It nurtures the human quest for meaning and purpose, informed by reflection and faith. The programs of The Center for the Study of Sport & Exercise promote independent critical thinkers informed by a humanities foundation willing to address current troubling issues in sport including racial and gender discrimination, player and spectator violence, indifference to sportsmanship, a growing culture of personal aggrandizement, and misuse of urban and wilderness environments. In these and other ways, this program furthers the Jesuit tradition of ethical leadership formation.

    Sport in society: Imperatives for leadership  

    The institution of sport – athletic competition – is an integral part of American society and academe. Sport is a microcosm of life. Societal issues of race, gender, class, wealth, politics, justice, substance abuse, and ethics are all mirrored in athletics. Arguably, sport is larger than life. It is pervasive in contemporary culture and economy. Millions of people of all ages are involved as participants and/or spectators. Millions of dollars fuel the sport enterprise. The New York Times devotes more daily pages to sport than to art, education, books, and theater combined. If there is a "popular religion" that is universal in America today, it is probably competitive sports.

    Competition is the essence of athletics. Competition also permeates much of American life. The goal of competition is to win. Athletics can be entertainment-centered: winning is everything. Or, athletics can also be participant-centered: the development of the whole person is everything, including the development of the passion to excel in athletics.

    Athletics can promote leadership development – the development of moral attributes and qualities of character – that can contribute to holistic education. Competitive athletics teaches how to win (with magnanimity), how to lose (with grace), and how to play the game (by teamwork, discipline, striving to excel, composure, ethics, etc.) These are also qualities that apply to the game of life. These are values that are fostered in educating men and women for others.

    The Center for the Study of Sport & Exercise includes programs and courses on leadership development through sports that together with other leadership activities offered throughout the campus, provide a foundation for broader and interdisciplinary efforts to create a curriculum on leadership