Seattle University Honors Alumnus Jim Whittaker


WHAT: Seattle University will honor Alumnus Jim Whittaker tomorrow night in the inaugural Red Tie Celebration. Whitaker, ’52, became a legend among mountaineers when he became the first American to summit Mt. Everest in May 1963. The university is proud to name him the event’s honoree and celebrate the recent 50th anniversary of his accomplishment.  

Whitaker came to SU on a basketball scholarship. Coach Al Brightman asked Whittaker to leave the team after he learned he spent too much off-time hiking and skiing, so Whittaker immersed himself in his academics and found mentors in professors and Jesuits on campus. “Every class opened a door to a whole new world of ideas,” Whittaker wrote his memoir, A Life on the Edge: Memoirs from Everest and Beyond. Whittaker said he chose biology as his major because he wanted to deepen his understanding of the natural world he loved so much.  

A visionary business and community leader, Whittaker was the first full-time employee of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), one of the nation’s largest outdoor retailers – retiring as its president and CEO after 25 years with the company.   

The Red Tie celebration’s auction will raise funds for the more than 300 student-athletes who consistently work hard on and off the field. The athletes are striving to not only be champions in the athletic world, but future leaders in the community.  

Tickets are sold out.   

WHEN: Saturday, May 18, 2013 
             7-9 p.m.  (Whittaker takes the stage just after start of program)

WHERE:  The Grand Hyatt 
                721 Pine St.  
                Seattle, WA 98101  

For more event information:  

For auction items: