Fall 2019 Newsletter

Message from the Director

Benjamin Howe


Dear friends of the Matteo Ricci Institute,Image of Ben Howe

We hope that this newsletter finds you well. As you can imagine, our faculty and students have been extremely busy, both here in Seattle and abroad.

Over the summer, Dr. Becky McNamara and I stepped into interim leadership roles, as the Institute said goodbye to its previous director, Dr. Paulette Kidder, now Interim Dean of the College of Education. We thank Dr. Kidder for her thoughtful leadership and wish her the best in her new position. 

At the start of the year, we welcomed a new cohort of first-year students, while the sophomores began their second year in our new curriculum focused on peace and justice studies. The Institute continued to collaborate with other departments in the College of Arts & Sciences, and, as you can see below, we will be cohosting a number of events during the winter. Finally, we also began several projects dedicated to strengthening the Institute’s ties to local Catholic high schools, which we look forward to sharing with you later in the year. 

Happy Holidays,

Benjamin Howe, Interim Director

Student Spotlight

Mt. Baker Hub Alliance

Milo Hart

Headshot of student, Milo HartFor the past year, I have been interning at Mt. Baker Hub Alliance, a local non-profit that focuses on small-business outreach, educational events, and community advocacy. During my time, I have helped with community clean ups and networked with similar organizations, but my main role has been to interview neighborhood businesses about their history and struggles. Interning for the Hub has given me the opportunity to get involved in the off-campus community and a new appreciation for the important role that business plays in community development.

Internship in Cape Town, South Africa

Siena Miller

I am a senior pursuing a double degree in Public Affairs and Humanities for Leadership.  This past summer, I spent ten weeks interning in Cape Town, South Africa for an NGO that monitors the national legislature. During a typical week, I attended committee meetings, tracked attendance, recorded the meeting's audio, took notes, and then later wrote a report that was published online.Student Sienna Miller standing next to a statue of Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, South Africa

No matter where you look in the world, issues of xenophobia, economic injustice, racial equity, and gender equality grace the political stage. South African political leaders are discussing the same issues that American policy makers are looking to change. Social justice and struggle are more universal than I thought. People deserve power and have the right to be represented, heard, and understood.

I hope to craft a meaningful career in public administration and public service. My time in Cape Town will help me to think not only about who I want to be and what I want to do, but also how social justice can influence change on a policy level.

Ethics Bowl Wins Regionals

For the past three years, the Matteo Ricci Institute has sponsored Seattle University’s Ethics Bowl team, coached by Benjamin Howe. Students who compete spend months studying real-world public policy controversies and ethical debates and then use political and moral philosophy to answer questions about them in front of a panel of judges.

This year, due to increased student interest, Seattle University was able to field two teams for the Northwest Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, held at Pacific Lutheran University on November 16th. Both teams did phenomenally, winning first and third place after beating Washington State University, Whitman College, Gonzaga University, University of Oregon, and last year's national champion, Whitworth University. The cases at Regionals covered a broad range of topics, from student loan forgiveness to the regulation of online hate speech and the use of open source software in medical devices. 

For the third year in a row, Seattle University’s success at Regionals earned them a bid to the national competition, which will take place at the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics in Atlanta, on February 22nd and 23rd.Image of Seattle University's ethics bowl team members

Pictured above (left to right): Adina Van Etten, Anthony Verdugo, Tatianah Summers, Andru Zodrow, Benjamin Howe (coach), Samantha Fisher, Serena Oduro, Sofia McMillan, Marie-Therese Chahrouri

Faculty Spotlight

Banner for the

In mid-November, Institute faculty, Audrey Hudgins, Becky McNamara, and Maria Tedesco, attended the American Association of Colleges and Universities Institute on Civic Prompts in the Major at Loyola University Chicago. Small teams from 15 colleges and universities came together to develop innovative ways to embed civic learning in undergraduate curricula. During the winter, all of the Institute's faculty plan to take advantage of these professors' expertise, as we look for new ways to incorporate civic engagement into our coursework. 

The Institute would also like to thank the Center for Community Engagement for their generous support in these endeavors.

2019-2020 Bill and Paula Clapp Humanitarian Scholarship

Congratulations to Allie Macdonald (Humanities and Psychology major) for winning the Clapp Humanitarian Scholarship, which is awarded to sophomores who have demonstrated a personal commitment to leadership in humanitarian service. 

Upcoming Events

“Conservative US Women’s Organizing: Anti-Suffrage and Beyond”

Presentation by Julia Bowes

Co-sponsored by Women and Gender Studies, History, and the Matteo Ricci Institute.

January 13, 2020

Dr. Julia Bowes is a historian of gender, politics, and the modern United States. She recently received her PhD in history from Rutgers University. In 2017-2018, she was a Jefferson Scholars National Fellow at the University of Virginia, and previously held a doctoral fellowship in women's studies from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. At Hong Kong University, she offers courses on the history of the American family, U.S. social movements and politics, and gender and sexuality.

"Danish Open Prisons: Humane Incarceration?"

Presentation by Mary Weir, Prison Education Program Manager 

Co-sponsored by the Matteo Ricci Institute and the department of Criminal Justice. 

January 14, 2020, Casey Commons, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm  

In this talk, Mary Weir draws on three months of ethnographic fieldwork in the women’s unit of a Danish open prison. Grounded by empirical data, she considers how the least eligibility principle, penal welfare, and risk management strategies have influenced Danish open prisons and the lives of incarcerated women. She asks what this discussion can illuminate about the purpose of punishment more broadly and our own prison system in the United States.

“History of Suffrage Organizing in the United States”

Presentation by Emily Lieb

Co-sponsored by Women and Gender Studies, History, and the Matteo Ricci Institute.

February 2020

Dr. Lieb, a professor in the Matteo Ricci Institute, is a historian of 20th-century American cities. Her current research focuses on segregation, housing markets, and neighborhood change in Baltimore since the Progressive Era. Her teaching interests also include the histories of American civil-rights movements, public policy, and architecture and the built environment. She has an AB from Brown University and a PhD in U.S. History from Columbia University. 

We love hearing from our alumni!

We invite you to share any updates or accomplishments through our Stay Connected form.