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Ten Reasons to Appreciate SU

Written by Mike Thee
November 8, 2011

UPDATE, Nov. 21, 2011: The Commons asked what you're grateful for at Seattle University. Check out what some of our readers had to say and keep sending your responses to The Commons.

Le Xuan Hy, associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences: 

“#1, 2 and 3 for me would be Fr. Pat O'Leary, followed closely by Fr. Sundborg and Fr. Ely. Though small in number, they influence my life immensely. Fr. Pat lives and demonstrates an inspiring Jesuit spirituality. Fr. Steve leads with convictions. Fr. Ely eloquently articulates a Catholicism that is in dialogue with all to serve all.” 

Pat Whitney, administrative coordinator, College of Science and Engineering: 

"Our faculty and staff. These are the people who, in daily contact with students and non-students alike, model the mission of the university for others. I have often been amazed at the compassion and sensitivity shown by this community of professionals in care for each other and the students. They create the environment they hope students will carry into the world at large." 

John Bean, professor of English, Arts and Sciences: 

"This may sound weird, but I'm thankful for all the departments and majors who are using our assessment mandate to strengthen our academic programs and document with evidence of student work that our academic programs are "strong and getting stronger every day." (Reason #1 for thankfulness: Our academic programs). Not many people know, for example, of the scholarship of teaching and learning currently emerging from chemistry, economics/finance, English, psychology, social work, and many other departments and majors. Thanks too to the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the Writing Center and the wonderful reference librarians who provide the infrastructure that promotes transformative assessment." 

Susan Espanol, senior administrative assistant, Department of Diagnostic Ultrasound, Science and Engineering: 

"Our faculty and especially the staff. The staff members that go out of their way to assist a student, instead of passing them on to the next person with the same challenge. A staff member that is committed to finding the correct information and helping the whole student." 

Nov. 9, 2011 

In this season of Thanksgiving, The Commons has come up with 10 things to be grateful for. It’s an incomplete list, and that’s by design. We hope that you will send in a reason (or more) why you appreciate Seattle University. In the meantime, here’s a few to get you started. 

1. Our academic programs. They're at the heart of what we all do, of course, and there’s lots to be thankful for these days. From the five new academic programs that were launched this year, to the record 54 active research grants and projects underway, to the new Core Curriculum—these and other recent developments remind us that academics at SU are strong and getting stronger by the day. 

2. A stunningly beautiful campus. While SU’s campus shines in all seasons (and even in the rain), its beauty is perhaps no more transcendent than in autumn…further proof that Mother Nature and our grounds department make a phenomenal team.  

3.  A growing art collection.  Our campus is abundantly blessed with beauty of the human-made kind, too, and that includes the most recent additions of the cross in the library and learning commons, and the artwork on the Admissions and Alumni Building. 

4. Our veterans.  This month, we give thanks to the men and women in the armed forces, and particularly those among our faculty and staff colleagues and students who have served or continue to serve our country. There’s no room for personal politics when it comes to thanking our veterans for their selflessness and sacrifice. 

5. Our benefactors. SU’s supporters have been very generous to SU in recent weeks. In September, the Costco Breakfast raised a record $3.15 million in scholarship support for students from underrepresented backgrounds, and last month’s Gala brought in another $760,000 for scholarships.   

6. The William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center. Speaking of our supporters, a big shout-out goes to Bill Eisiminger, the SU graduate and regent without whom our new Fitness Center could not have been built. At the center’s October dedication, Eisiminger, right, joked that it was a great day for SU but a bad day for his wallet. His loss is our gain. We are grateful. 

7. Our Jesuit Catholic ethos.  This fall has provided many reminders of how much the Jesuits at SU mean to us. In September, we celebrated the jubilee anniversaries of Fathers O’Leary, Sundborg, Howell and Anderson. Our Jesuit identity is just as evident in the university’s stepped-up efforts to reach out to the neighborhood through the Youth Initiative, to engage the world, to invest in the excellence of faculty and staff and to lessen the carbon footprint we leave on the planet. 

8.  Redhawk pride.  In a fall season that has seen head women’s soccer coach Julie Woodward earn her 200th career victory and senior golfer Caitlin McCleary rank 15th in the nation, SU athletics have provided much to celebrate. And the excitement is sure to continue into the winter and beyond as the university prepares to enter the Western Athletic Conference next year. In the classroom, our student-athletes are performing just as admirably, posting an average GPA of 3.18. 

9.  Guest writers.  As a not-so-thinly-veiled invitation, we are grateful for the faculty and staff members who take the time to write for The Commons. That includes our faithful book reviewer Rob Deltete (Philosophy), and most recently, Katherine Hedland Hansen (Law School), Jason Behenna (Athletics), Doug Duncan (Office of University Counsel) and Janice Murphy (Grounds). We’re also grateful for all the great photos our colleagues send in for SU Snapshot (including the wonderful shot above provided by Mark Schoen of the Controller's Office). Keep all the great pictures and words coming!

10. Our students.  No list of thanksgiving would be complete without mentioning the 7,755 reasons for which we come to work every day. Here’s to the students of SU, whose commitment to building a more just and humane world quite often leaves us in awe. 

So, what did we leave out? Send it to The Commons.