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Seattle University


Beyond Expectations

Written by Mike Thee
May 21, 2013

Kent Koth and Greg Sempadian (l. to r.) will join Jeanette Rodriguez in receiving special honors at the 2013 Faculty and Staff Appreciation Party on Friday, May 31. Koth has been selected for the 2013 Staff Leadership Award, while Sempadian is the 2013 Lee Thurber Award recipient. As previously announced, Jeanette Rodriguez, professor of theology and religious studies, is the 2013 James B. McGoldrick Fellow.

Koth is director of the Center for Service and Community Engagement and the Seattle University Youth Initiative. A collaboration with the community to improve educational opportunities for the youth of our neighborhood, the Youth Initiative was recognized this year with the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll with Distinction after being honored last year with the Presidential Award. This is the first year Koth was eligible to receive the Staff Leadership Award, as he transitioned from faculty to staff in July 2012.

“Kent Koth exemplifies the values of Seattle University through both his amazing accomplishments and through the way he achieves them,” said Victoria Jones, associate provost for global engagement. “The growth of the CSCE and SUYI and the accolades they have received show SU at its finest--engaging staff, faculty and students in applied academic excellence and in solidarity with our local community. And Kent has reached this success through gentle persistence, open collaboration and mutual respect for all participants.”

Let’s celebrate!

SU’s Faculty and Staff Appreciation Celebration takes place noon-3 p.m. on in the Connolly Center, North Court. All faculty and staff are invited and encouraged to attend! All offices are authorized to close at noon to allow employees to attend the party. As an additional expression of thanks, staff employees can begin their weekends at the close of the event. Staff employees who choose not to attend the event are expected to work until 3 p.m. Members of the university community who are retiring, receiving special awards and emeritus/a status, or who have completed 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 years of service during calendar year 2013 will be recognized. Retiring faculty and staff include the following.

Faculty Emeriti: Sandra Brandt, Library; David Engdahl, Law; John Eshelman, Albers; Margaret Hudson, Science & Engineering; Marianne LaBarre, Theology & Ministry; Raven Lidman, Law; Diane Lockwood, Albers; Madeline Lovell, Arts & Sciences; James Sawyer, Arts & Sciences; Bradley Scharf, College of Arts & Sciences; and Carol Weaver, Education.

Honored Retirees: James Adolphson, Finance & Business Affairs; Carol Brown, Campus Housing Custodial; Mary Carpenter, Albers; Jane Grossman, Law; and Susan Hogan, Theology & Ministry.

Retirees: Diane Luwe, Science & Engineering; and Gail Yates, University Advancement.

An appreciative Koth said, “A big thank you to the many faculty, staff and community members who have served as my mentors, friends and colleagues. This work is bigger than any one of us; we are part of a movement to foster transformative education on campus and in the wider community.”

Sempadian is events and administrative coordinator in the Department of Athletics. His duties include organizing events and providing administrative support for the staff, coaches and student-athletes. He is the first staff person in Athletics to receive either the Thurber Award or the Staff Leadership Award.

Highly regarded by his colleagues, Sempadian is known for his deep and unwavering commitment to SU’s student-athletes.


“Greg has been with me about 18 years now and his dedication to the welfare of our student-athletes is amazing,” said Bill Hogan, director of athletics. “His support goes way beyond what anyone would expect and we are very proud of his accomplishments.”

“I couldn’t have been more proud, honored, and blessed when Father Steve attended our last staff meeting and surprised me by announcing that I was the recipient of the Lee Thurber Award,” said Sempadian. “The number one priority throughout my career in college athletics has been to follow the mission and values of my Jesuit education; make a positive impact and support the student-athletes, coaches and everyone that I work with. I am very thankful to everyone who nominated me and am truly humbled to be the recipient of this very prestigious award.”

More Kudos

Here are some more glowing words that nominators shared on Koth and Sempadian.

On Koth:

“Kent is generous of his time and is an eager partner in work that forwards the mission of the institution.  I would personally agree to work on any committee or taskforce that Kent chaired because I know he would have the backing of his colleagues in his approach.  He would bring just the right level of guidance to a process that would be highly collaborative and complete.  Few have this package of skills and influence and vision for the mission and it is why I ask that you publicly recognize Kent for this staff award.”

“Kent shows empathy and genuine respect for others in all of his interactions and through this approach he has inspired and led his capable staff through the development and implementation the Youth Initiative, which involved university donors, faculty, students and staff as well as community members and community partner agencies.”

On Sempadian:

“Greg not only embodies the mission, vision, and values of Seattle University on an individual basis, he’s also set up a way for our student-athletes to explore this by starting the Athlete Fellowship this year.  The Athlete Fellowship is a way for student-athletes to explore their faith together and learn from one another in a way that the typical student-athlete may not be able due to their busy schedules.”

Greg is) 100 percent committed to Seattle U Athletics and the University community as a whole and will help anyone anytime if they have a question he can answer or a job that needs to be done that he can perform.  And if he doesn’t know, he’ll find you someone who does!  If you don’t know these things about Greg already, you haven’t been paying attention or you simply haven’t had the privilege of meeting him yet…and if not, head down to the Connolly Center.  His energy and positivity are infectious!”

“Greg always seems to know which team is where and where he needs to be… or wants to be.  There aren’t ‘Gregs’ in every program.”

“I think of Greg as not just the glue of the Athletics Dept., but the super glue. He not only makes everything work, you can depend upon him to make it work…He loves the values of the institution and Greg is a man of values who never asks for an ounce of recognition. You can always expect to get a warm, friendly smile from Greg, and maybe even a hug. I have never seen him flustered. He just loves what he does.”

“I have seen first-hand the detail and caring he puts into the events he supports, making them successful for the students he cares about--he attends games, posts results and shows his support for students on a consistent basis.”