Message from the President as We Begin Spring Quarter

April 3, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I hope this finds you well. Wherever you may be as we are set to begin the Spring Quarter at Seattle University, the first priority is for you to take care of yourself, your families and your loved ones.

It remains critical at this time that we follow public health directives, practice social distancing and adhere to stay home orders. We each must do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, support those most at risk, our frontline health care and emergency personnel and all workers in the many critical positions who are helping us through this unprecedented and challenging time, including members of our own community needing to continue working on campus.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought extraordinary disruption to our lives, our homes, our work and our university. It is a crisis unlike we have ever faced in our lifetimes. As challenging as the past several weeks have been, I continue to be uplifted by the spirit of compassion that is so evident in our community through the many ways in which we are supporting, reaching out to and caring for one another.

To our students, I want to welcome you back. None of us imagined we would find ourselves in this situation when the year began. And yet, what an important time to be in college engaging with your professors and classmates to better understand in a global way how we are all interconnected confronting issues of health, science, business, morality and ethics, government, criminal justice, law, education, faith and spirituality and more. Our Jesuit education is about engaging with the world in which we live and finding solutions to the big issues of our time with a deeply embedded commitment to service and justice.

This is a moment you will always remember. You have the opportunity to make this the best learning experience of your college years by approaching it with the openness, inquisitiveness and curiosity I know resides within each of you. Your professors, in collaboration with staff, have gone to special lengths in a short amount of time to ensure your courses are engaging, of the highest quality and tailored to your needs.

We also recognize the additional support you may need and questions you will have. I believe most of you know well by now that our faculty are about more than teaching and staff about more than your student experience. They are interested and care about you. If you are in need of help in your classes or otherwise, please be sure to reach out to them. We have also launched a new one-stop Student Support Center for you to get help and answers to your questions in a quick, responsive and timely manner.

To our faculty and staff, I could not be more grateful for your dedication, hard work and commitment to serving our students during this unusual and challenging time. You have adapted with creativity and imagination to deliver our distinctive education in new ways with the same care, quality and personalization that sets us apart from other institutions.

The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are affecting our workforce, economy and ways of operating significantly and deeply. Higher education institutions, including Seattle U, are facing unexpected losses as we transition to distance learning. We are in a new reality that has been thrust upon us with little warning and called us to adapt with a great sense of urgency and deliberation.

There are more difficult decisions in front of us, both in the near term and over the coming months. Our commitment is to engage with you and keep you informed as we move forward to the best of our ability. I appreciate the ways in which leaders across the university are both working together and communicating with all parts of the university more than ever. 

In the days, weeks and months ahead, I’d ask that we continue to be patient with and understanding of one another. Our values and educational mission will guide our decisions and work. Many in our community are understandably struggling to find their way into and through this present reality. Let us all please check in and look after each other.

I intend to communicate with you regularly during the spring term. My hope is that you stay connected with one another and to our university as we move forward together, bound by a Jesuit educational mission that the world needs even more in times like this. Thank you and blessings upon you in your studies, teaching and work on behalf of Seattle University and upon your families and friends.


Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.