Pat and Mary Welch

Pat and Mary Welch share a firm belief that a Seattle U education changes lives.


His dad was a Seattle fireman and her dad was a policeman. He was a "townie" who lived at home while studying physics at Seattle U. She lived in the dorm and started out as a biology major, switched to English with a history minor, and added a master's degree in education. Today, Pat and Mary Welch are faithful supporters of student research in the College of Science and Engineering, and they have pledged their financial support for the new Center for Science and Innovation.

How did you reconnect with Seattle University?

PAT::: In about 2006, George Simmons, who was dean of Science and Engineering, called and said he wanted to get to know us. When I visited him on campus, I was impressed with what was going on in science and engineering.

MARY: We support the science and engineering summer research program. The students receive training that prepares them for graduate school or their careers.

PAT: When Mike Quinn became dean, he invited us to become more involved. We admire Mike and the department chairs. Both of us are on Mike's Leadership Council, and Mary serves on the Seattle University Board of Regents.

What impresses you most about the college?

MARY: When we attend the summer research open house or engineering Projects Day, we are very gratified to see what the students are able to do working with professors one-on-one in a lab, learning that maybe they can change the world.

PAT: We attended a retreat of the department chairs, many of whom are women. We talked with them and learned about their backgrounds and their commitment to the College of Science and Engineering.

MARY: I love the fact that there are so many young women students and women faculty members in the college. When I was a student here, there were very few women students in science and engineering and even fewer women faculty members to serve as role models. I might have stayed in science if someone had said, "You can do this."

PAT:: I believe that science and engineering education is a tremendous building block. The mathematical and logical training is invaluable. Even if they decide not to pursue a career in science or engineering, this training will be useful. That, coupled with a Jesuit educational background, is very positive.

What inspired your gift for the Center for Science and Innovation?

PAT:: We know we have been fortunate. Our children have their educations and careers. We support Catholic education and programs supporting the Catholic social mission. This is a good time for us to contribute to the capital campaign.

MARY: Thinking that we may have helped make a difference years from now because of the start that a student received at Seattle U is very powerful. It has been wonderful to receive letters from the students attesting to the importance of the summer research program.

PAT:: I hope we have made a difference for a few students. When we donate, we trust that it is going to be well spent. I think life is a challenge. Education is a challenge. Career choices are a challenge. If we have helped the students somewhere along the line, that's great.