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Seattle University

All Things Jesuit

Nine Days of Grace: Novena 2017

February 28, 2017

Presenters: Pat Kelly, S.J., Lisa Dennison and Kent Hickey

Are you longing to restore your relationships with God and others, and renew hope? Come experience for yourself the surprising graces of “Building Bridges, Building Hope,” a unique nine-day Lenten retreat in the midst of daily life! Join for one, some or all of these nine days of Eucharistic liturgies, featuring meaningful and relevant reflections by three Ignatian-inspired presenters, your heartfelt prayers of petition and healing offered through the intercession of St. Francis Xavier, and beautiful musical prayer—all  surrounded by an inspiring community of faith-filled people. The novena takes place from Wednesday, March 8 through Thursday, March 16, as follows: 

Weekdays: 12:30 p.m., Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University; or 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Church

Saturday: 1 p.m., St. Joseph Church

Sunday: 1 p.m., Chapel of St. Ignatius

Marketing Jesuit Universities

February 24, 2017

How can a Jesuit university like Seattle U remain true to its identity when marketing itself without alienating non-Catholics? This was one of the questions taken up at a recent panel discussion on “The Jesuit Brand: Perspectives on the Marketing of Jesuit Universities.”

Teaming up to sponsor the Feb. 17 event, which attracted a full crowd in Casey Commons, were Albers Arrupe Alumni, Marketing Communications, the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, and the Center for Jesuit Education.

The discussion was led by Matt Issaac, associate professor of marketing, Francesca Lukjanowicz, director of university marketing, and Nicky Santos, S.J., a marketing professor from Marquette University. Jessica Ludescher Imanaka, associate professor of marketing and philosophy, served as moderator.

The topic generated a rich and spirited conversation. In fact, the panelists did not get very far into their presentation before numerous audience members were chiming in with questions or observations.

While some of the discussion touched on the differing perceptions many have of the words “Catholic” and “Jesuit,” most of the time was spent exploring how explicitly a university should be marketing itself as Jesuit.

Some believed Jesuit universities should be clear in identifying themselves as such. “The Jesuit brand has equity,” Father Santos, S.J., said, later adding, “(You should) be who you are.”

Others pointed out that a sizable swath of the general public, including prospective students, are not familiar with what it means to be Jesuit. In these instances, some asserted that marketing should be utilized as a tool to educate and raise awareness. Others countered that, given the reality of limited marketing funds, universities must stick to what resonates with the intended audience.

It was further pointed out that many of the elements that are part and parcel of a Jesuit education—such as social justice, educating the whole person and others—do resonate with prospective students and can be effective in marketing Seattle U in an authentic way.

And as a member of the audience noted, while many of SU’s students might not be all that familiar with the university’s Jesuit ethos when they enroll, many of them develop, in time, an enduring appreciation for the mission and identity of the school.

Clearly there was a lot of interest in the topic and passion for how the university should be presenting itself.

Ash Wednesday

February 21, 2017

Ash Wednesday is March 1. The distribution of ashes on campus will take place at Catholic Masses held at the Chapel of St. Ignatius at 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, alms giving, and repentance for Christians before the celebration of Easter. People receive ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a remembrance of our mortality and a sign of our desire for reconciliation.

Mission Examen Self Study

February 16, 2017

As part of the Examen process Seattle University has undertaken for the 2016-2017 academic year, Mission Examen Committee completed a Self Study with input from more than 400 members of the campus community. The study surfaced a number of strengths and challenges in how the university is living out its Jesuit Catholic educational mission:


  • Pervasive recognition and embrace of the university’s mission.

  • Integration of aspects of the Catholic, Jesuit character throughout the academic, cocurricular, and operational dimensions of the university.

  • A high level of service, social justice and global awareness among faculty, staff and students.

  • Collaboration among Jesuits and lay faculty and staff in providing programs to enhance awareness of and commitment to the university’s Catholic, Jesuit identity.

  • The university’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and institutional integrity.


  • Maintaining the university’s commitment to the Catholic, Jesuit character of the university during the next twenty-five years and beyond.

  • Increased intentionality in mission-focused hiring, promotion and development for faculty and staff, and clear communication of our Jesuit Catholic mission.

  • Polarization between the administration and some elements of the university community calls for increased efforts to build procedures of mutual listening, respect, and openness as we face together a challenging future in higher education. 
  • In this era of social change, the university must continue to build its capacity to engage with students, faculty and staff on timely issues of transparency and effectiveness.

  • A recurring challenge heard in the input sessions of fall 2016 is the strain put on university life, student access and program support by limited financial resources.

Visit Examen for the full text of the Self Study and other materials on the process.

Perspectives on the Marketing of Jesuit Universities

February 1, 2017

You are invited to a panel discussion on "The Jesuit Brand: Perspectives on the Marketing of Jesuit Universities" from noon to 1:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, in Casey Commons.

The discussion will feature Director of University Marketing at SU Francesca Lukjanowicz and marketing professors Nicky Santos, S.J. (Marquette University) and Mathew Isaac (Albers School of Business and Economics). 

Panelists will explore: 

  • Various approaches that Jesuit universities take in marketing and branding themselves
  • How a Jesuit university can remain true to its identity when marketing itself without alienating non-Catholics
  • Potential strategies for a Jesuit university to authentically and appropriately communicate different aspects of its identity when interacting with disparate audiences (e.g., alumni, students, staff, donors, faculty, community partners, employers, parents) 

Cosponsored by Albers Arrupe Alumni, Center for Jesuit Education, Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, and Marketing Communications. Lunch will be served. To RSVP, contact

In Solidarity

January 30, 2017

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., released a statement over the weekend on the Trump Administration’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigration. 

Father Sundborg wrote, in part: "The university strongly opposes the discriminatory and misguided executive order issued by the Trump administration on non-U.S. citizens from select countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen). We stand in full solidarity with our international students as well as faculty and staff who may be affected." 

Father Steve’s statement was highlighted by the Ignatian Solidarity Network

To view statements on the order by other Jesuit colleges and universities, visit AJCU.

Supporting undocumented students

November 30, 2016

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., joined with the leaders of the other 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States in signing a statement in support of undocumented students.

The presidents pledged to continue working to: "protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented students on our campuses; promote retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA); support and stand with our students, faculty and staff regardless of their faith traditions; (and) preserve the religious freedoms on which our nation was founded."

The statement followed a letter President Sundborg, S.J., wrote to the campus community on Nov. 21, in which he affirmed that "As a Jesuit Catholic university, we are deeply committed to the dignity and equality of every individual, to the common good and to developing leaders for a just and humane world. We also recognize how central a safe, inclusive and welcoming community is to educational excellence and the success of students. And we are deeply committed to fostering respectful and constructive dialogue, which is essential to a thriving institution of higher learning and the welfare of all students, faculty and staff."

Long a supporter of undocumented students, Father Sundborg wrote an op-ed, "Our DREAM Students," which appeared in the LA Times in November 2010.

Father Kolvenbach, 29th Superior General of the Jesuits, dies

November 29, 2016

Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., who served as superior general of the Society of Jesus from 1983 to 2008, died in Beirut, Lebanon, on Nov. 26, four days before his 88th birthday. 

Born in Druten, Netherlands, Father Kolvenbach, entered the Society of Jesus in 1948. He served as a professor of linguistics and Armenian language and literature at St. Joseph’s University in Beirut before taking on a number of leadership roles within the society. In 1974 he was named vice-provincial of the Near East, which includes Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. In 1981 he was called to Rome as rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He was elected the 29th superior general of the Jesuits in September 1983. 

Pope Francis shared the following in a message to current Superior General Arturo Sosa, S.J.: “With memory of Fr. Kolvenbach’s total fidelity to Christ and his Gospel, together with his generous commitment to exercise his particular office for the good of the Church, I offer prayers of suffrage by invoking the Divine Mercy for the eternal rest of his soul.” 

“Fr. Kolvenbach is best remembered by Seattle University for his articulation of the mission of Jesuit universities and for his encouragement that we form students in ‘a well-educated solidarity’ with others through contact as much as by concept,” said President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. 

Father Kolvenbach visited Seattle University in 1993. A service-learning community established in his name is available to sophomores, juniors and seniors. 

You can read more about Fr. Kolvenbach at and America magazine.

(Pictured l. to r. in 1993: SU President William Sullivan, S.J.; trustee Genevieve Albers; and Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach)

Seattle U at 125

November 1, 2016

As part of the university’s yearlong celebration of its 125th anniversary, Tom Lucas, S.J., university professor of Art and Art History and rector of the Arrupe Jesuit Community presented a fast-moving and visually engaging trek through the university’s history on Oct. 25.

Once referred to as “The PowerPoint Ninja,” Father Lucas did not disappoint the crowd that packed into to Wyckoff Auditorium. Covering 125 years in 45 minutes—which, he joked, “comes out to about two and a half years a minute—Lucas called the stroll through SU’s history a “complicated journey.”

Picking up with the Jesuits’ first arrival in the Pacific Northwest, Father Lucas continued with the founding of the school that would come to be called Seattle University. He chronicled the institution’s ensuing ups and downs and brushes with death, highlighting the faculty, staff, benefactors and friends whose grit and determination secured SU’s place as a premier Jesuit institution in Seattle. “This is a scrappy place,” Father Lucas remarked.

He ended his presentation by outlining a few challenges facing the Seattle University of today, one of which he said, was “staying true to our rich tradition of Jesuit humanism while at the same time embracing the…changing world that we live in.” 

For more information on SU’s 125th celebration, click here.

(Photograph by Chuck Kuo)

One step closer

October 24, 2016

Ryan Rallanka, S.J., a 2006 graduate of Seattle University, was ordained to the diaconate on Sunday, Oct. 22. Celebrating the Mass, which took place at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Calif., was the Most Reverend Michael C. Barber, S.J., bishop of Oakland. 

For a Jesuit in formation, ordination to the diaconate is the last step before priestly ordination in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). 

Double majoring in English and sociology at Seattle U, Rallanka received the 2006 Mission Award for Outstanding Leadership in Faith. During his time as an SU student he also received a fellowship from Humanity in Action, an international educational organization. 

Rallanka (pictured here during his ordination) joined the Society of Jesus in August 2006 and entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Portland, Ore. After two years as a novice and taking his First Vows in 2008, Rallanka was sent to Fordham University in New York, where he obtained a Master's in Philosophical Resources in 2011. 

Following his time at Fordham, he returned to Portland his Regency assignment where he taught theology for three years to freshman students at Jesuit High School. In addition to teaching, Rallanka was also a director of SEEL (Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life) at St. Ignatius Parish. 

Rallanka is currently a student at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood in June 2017. As part of his training, he currently visits San Quentin Prison weekly and helps with the music at the Sunday Liturgies.

"I look back on my time at Seattle University quite fondly," says Rallanka. "Academically, I feel that SU trained me very well in the art of academic writing and critical thinking as a graduate of the Honors Program. This training has been invaluable in my studies as a Jesuit in the areas of philosophy and theology. 

"Spiritually, SU is really where I began to develop my adult faith. I was heavily involved with not only the University Choirs but also with the Liturgical Choir as well. I regularly sang at the 9pm student Masses on Sundays ever since I was a freshman and very much appreciated the faith community that I prayed with regularly. I was also regularly involved with Campus Ministry, having attended and helped lead retreats such as Search. I also was involved with service trips, such as a Campus Ministry-sponsored immersion trip to the Philippines and local trips to Yakima for Habitat for Humanity.  

"I am especially grateful to the Jesuits on campus who were also instrumental in my discernment to enter the Society. Specifically, at the time, Fr. Mike Bayard and Fr. Jack Bentz were my spiritual directors who really helped me in my process to become a Jesuit."

Let the murmuring begin!

October 10, 2016

Oct. 10, 2016

As previously reported, the Society of Jesus' General Congregation 36 is underway, with Jesuit delegates from around the world now meeting in Rome to elect their next superior general (and attend to other important matters). Today, the delegates begin a centuries-old practice called murmuratio. Latin for "murmuring," murmuratio is a four-day series of one-on-one conversations intended to prepare them for the election scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14.

The website Jesuits explains murmuratio as such:

"In the Jesuit Constitutions, St. Ignatius, the Jesuits' first superior general, instructed his men to use the period of four days to 'seek enlightenment from those able to give good information' about 'who from the whole Society could be most suitable' for the office of superior general."

Visit GC36 for the latest updates from the congregation.

125 Years of Jesuit Education

October 10, 2016

An article, "Seattle University Celebrates 125 Years of Jesuit Education," is featured in Northwest Catholic. Tracing the roots of "a humble parish school that one day would become Seattle University," the article also takes a glimpse at what's in store for our institution. Visit Northwest Catholic to read the full piece.