Skip to main content
Seattle University


A Most Fitting Tribute

Written by Mike Thee
November 5, 2012

Anyone who's had the privilege of hearing his "Ignatius talk" knows that Pat O'Leary, S.J., shares a very real and mystical connection with the founder of the Jesuits. When Father O'Leary intones, "My name is Iñigo Lopez de Loyola…" and proceeds to speak as Ignatius in the first person, you can feel the Basque courtier-turned-saint right there in your midst.

O'Leary received the St. Ignatius Medal on Nov. 3 at the 29th Annual Gala. (The Gala raised more than $660,000 in scholarships for SU students, by the way.)

It is hard to imagine a more appropriate recipient of the Ignatius Medal, the university's highest honor, than O'Leary, SU's chaplain for faculty and staff. President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., who joined Betty Wood, chair of SU's board of trustees, in presenting the medal, said: "Of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in America, we at Seattle University are the only ones who can say they have St. Ignatius on their campus.

"Pat's legacy at Seattle University includes leadership with the Office of Jesuit Mission and Identity. He initiated the role of chaplain for faculty, staff and alumni. He's worked with many of us here tonight as a spiritual director, retreat leader and inspired guide for the Ignatian pilgrimages. Pat truly animates the spirit of our educational mission with our faculty and staff. And in so doing, the riches of Ignatian spirituality are alive on our campus and present for our students as they pursue their studies and launch lives of purpose and meaning."

Fr. O’Leary’s Response

You can read the full remarks Pat O'Leary, S.J., delivered after receiving the St. Ignatius Medal by CLICKING HERE.

Accepting the award before an adoring crowd, O'Leary said, "In such a gathering as this evening it is humbling and a bit embarrassing to be singled out. In all honesty, however, it is a delight as well, a delight to share this occasion with my family, a delight to know that this  award is not just for me but embraces, as well, my brother Jesuits and so many colleagues, partners and friends. What a privilege and joy it has been to be a part of Seattle University's commitment to form and inspire young people toward a more just, loving, and humane world."

Of his legendary Ignatius talk, the much-beloved O'Leary said, "Ignatius, who was so reluctant to tell the story himself, must shake his head at such audacity. Actually, I don't think he really minds, so I just keep doing it."