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Seattle University


Upping the Ante

Written by Mike Thee
October 4, 2010

With an already strong tradition of forming leaders for a just and humane world, Seattle University is taking its commitment to that ideal a step further with the newly remodeled and renamed James C. Pigott Pavilion for Leadership.

The remodel and renaming of the building was made possible by the PACCAR Foundation and PACCAR Chairman and CEO Mark Pigott in tribute to Jim Pigott’s humanitarian and university leadership. At last week’s dedication, the Pigott Pavilion for Leadership pavilion was blessed along with the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons by Archbishop Alexander Brunett. The three buildings, Father Sundborg remarked, “work together in the transformation of our students.”

Sari Graven, director of program and resource development in Facilities, who oversaw the construction aspects of the $1.5 million remodel, calls it “a jewel box of a project.” She describes some of the enhancements: new gathering spaces in the lobby, including a conference room and an area that resembles a living room; two mentoring “cubes,” which flank the main entrance and open out onto patio areas; new glass walls that connect the lobby with Career Services on one side and New Student and Family Programs and Commuter and Transfer Student Services on the other; skylights that provide greater natural light; an expanded terrace on the pavilion’s south side; and a new elevator that will soon be completed on the inside of the building.

The pavilion’s new features allow the university to be more intentional about forming leaders, says Michelle Etchart, director of Leadership Development, who spearheaded the programmatic development of the remodel. She says the pavilion provides new spaces for students to process what they are experiencing so they can “find their callings and discover how the talents, skills and unique gifts they’ve been given can be put toward the greatest needs of the world.” As one example, she says the pavilion can help students see and talk about their service learning experiences “as a skill set when they are applying for a job.”

The living room-type area is designed as a place for students, faculty and staff “to gather formally and informally with a focus on leadership and discernment,” says Michele Murray, associate vice president for Student Development. “That space,” she continues “will be utilized purposefully by the departments that inhabit the pavilion. Programs could be anything from a movie series, to a discussion group and a book club. And student clubs will be able to reserve the space for their meetings, too.”

The mentoring cubes near the entrance will bolster SU’s career services by providing space for students to meet with mentors or interview for jobs or internships, Murray says.

Etchart speaks enthusiastically about the pavilion’s Hall of Leaders, a gallery of large, framed photos featuring leaders who, she says, were selected by a student committee. Some have SU ties, others do not; all are intended to inspire students to “see leadership in lots of different contexts and see themselves as people who can effect change.”

Murray echoes that, describing the Hall of Leaders as “highlighting ordinary people who let their better angels shine and did extraordinary things with their circumstances. The idea for people who take in the displays is to ask themselves, ‘What are my circumstances calling me to and what are my gifts and talents, how am I being called to be a leader in this world?’”

At last week’s dedication ceremony Sundborg called James C. Pigott Pavilion for Leadership’s namesake  “a man who has provided great leadership both at Seattle University and in many other ways, particularly in gaining property rights for poor people throughout the world,” referring to Pigott’s leadership of the Rural Development Institute. Pigott received an honorary doctorate from SU in 2009, in recognition of his efforts with the institute and service to SU as chair of the university’s first-ever capital campaign and board of trustees.