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Seattle University


Educated for Others

Written by Mike Thee
January 25, 2012

At this year’s New Student Convocation, Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., posed a provocative question: “For whom will you get your college education?”

As further proof that its graduates are using their education for the benefit of others, Seattle University has jumped 15 spots on the Peace Corps’ 2012 rankings of top-producing colleges and universities. Ranked number 23 last year list, the university enters the top 10 at number eight this year, making it the highest ranking in SU history.

“Among the dozen universities placing on the Peace Corps Top Colleges list this year, Seattle U moved up more spots than any other university by far,” the Peace Corps wrote.

“We are very proud of our students who live their commitment to social justice through work with the Peace Corps,” said Associate Provost for Global Engagement Victoria Jones. “Entering into collaborative work and respectful dialogue is a path to personal learning and positive transformation we enthusiastically support.”

Appropriately enough, the good news arrived during International Education Week as the university celebrated its engagement of the world.

There are currently 21 SU alumni in the Peace Corps, and 342 have served since the agency was founded in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. 

Ryan Arbow (second from right in the above photo), ’09, is presently serving as a health and community development volunteer in Rwanda. He says his decision to join the Peace Corps was largely influenced by an experience he had in Tanzania through SU’s International Development Internship Program, directed by Janet Quillian. “(The internship) gave me that idea that in order to make a difference you need to be fully immersed in the culture, ideas and development of a community,” said Arbow.

Chris Miller, ’08, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guyana from 2009 to 2011, has similarly credited SU with influencing his decision to serve. In a special contribution to The Commons last year, he said: “(T)here is no doubt in my mind that my education at Seattle University played a significant role by not only teaching me about injustices in world, but also showing me that the most effective way to positively impact society is through advocating and helping those who lack a voice. Whether I was in the classroom or involved in other activities in Guyana, Seattle University created and fostered in me an awareness of the world and how I could critically engage with it.”  

Seattle University was ranked in the small colleges and universities category—schools with undergraduate enrollments of less than 5,000 students.