Building for the Future

Laura Spitz, the new vice provost for Global Engagement and professor of law.

Building for the Future

Seattle University is welcoming a group of accomplished and visionary individuals to lead crucial departments across campus. With fresh perspectives and a passion for excellence, these leaders are poised to make a profound impact on enrollment strategies, campus spiritual life, financial stewardship and global engagement and outreach.

Read on to get to know these exceptional leaders who are driving positive change and shaping the way forward for the university. 

Vice Provost of Global Engagement Laura Spitz 

Seattle University's New Vice Provost aims to cultivate global engagement and inclusivity on campus and on an international scale.

By Tara Lee 

After living in different parts of the U.S. and the world, Laura Spitz, new vice provost for Global Engagement and professor of law, is happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest.

In her new role at Seattle University, Spitz is charged with leading the university’s global engagement efforts throughout the region and globally, as well as building and coordinating support for international students, faculty and staff here at home. 

Spitz received a bachelor’s degree from University of Toronto and went on to receive her JD from the University of British Columbia and her Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) from Cornell University, where she later served as vice provost and associate dean.  

Most recently she taught at the University of New Mexico School of Law and is a visiting professor at the Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University. 

In this Q&A, Spitz shares her priorities and vision for leading global engagement programs and initiatives:  

What drew you to Seattle University? 
Spitz: When I first visited, I spoke with President Peñalver and Provost Martin about their vision, I met with university colleagues and heard about their incredible work and the university’s priorities, mission, and values. Those values are resonant with my own. This is a global university in a global city. The potential for greater engagement is tremendous.

What are your immediate priorities in this role?
Spitz: Listening, assessing and mapping. I am learning what is already taking place in global engagement and where the gaps exist. I want to position the office as fundamentally service oriented. After that, I imagine we will begin to think strategically about how to better coordinate and showcase all of the good work we are already doing and build out systems for better supporting engagement efforts.

How do you define global engagement?
Spitz: We are all already globally connected and globally engaged, from the supply chains implicated by our consumer spending to the critical research contributions of our faculty, to the community service engagement of students here and abroad. As a Jesuit university in the heart of a vibrant city on the Pacific Rim, Seattle University has a crucial role to play in those connections for all its stakeholders—the region, the city, the community and its students, staff, faculty and alumni—and a responsibility to act with intention in fulfilling that role.

What is your vision for this work?
Spitz: I want to make meaningful global engagement accessible to everyone on the campus. For faculty and staff, I want to ensure we foster high-impact international research and collaborations by reducing the barriers that make that work difficult or impossible and developing better systems for supporting that work.

With respect to students, I believe all of them should have a meaningful global experience as part of their education here at Seattle University, whether that is studying abroad, service-learning or internships abroad, connecting with Indigenous Nations, engaging with migrant communities here in Washington state and so on.  

We are teaching and mentoring the next generation of global citizens. Of course, for our international students, we want to do our very best to support them in what we hope for them is a meaningful global experience here on campus.

What is your favorite part of living in Seattle?
Spitz: Of course, I love being close to family and friends in Canada. But mostly, I love the rich diversity of Seattle. This is a very diverse campus in the heart of a very diverse city—culturally, economically, geographically … the list goes on. If I was an international student, this is where I’d want to be.

Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Monica Ingram 

New Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Monica Ingram stresses importance of ensuring a diverse student body, especially in light of Supreme Court ruling.

By Tara Lee 

As new Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, Monica Ingram—whose been at Seattle University since July—says she is already inspired by the “energy and engagement” of the team of enrollment professionals “who are fueled by what they do.”

To this role Ingram brings more than 20 years of experience working in education. Prior to coming to SU she served as Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Cornell Law School and as Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at The University of Texas School of Law. Previously, she was also an attorney for K-12 public education.

Portrait of Monica IngramMonica Ingram

Ingram earned a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Grambling State University.  

In this Q&A she shares her priorities and vision for enrollment, her favorite part of living in Seattle and more.

What drew you to Seattle University?
Ingram: We have a great community of career admissions professionals here who are working to make Seattle University a top choice for students. There is a dynamism to those of us who work in admissions, and it is evident in the work happening here. There is a strong Enrollment team in place led by James Miller and Jordan Grant and some strong initiatives were started by my predecessor. I am pleased to be a part of that groundswell and to help shepherd the next phase.

Since I arrived, I have met individuals in the community who have a link to Seattle University. These people, from all walks of life, really focus on the importance of the education they or their loved ones and friends received. Hearing these stories affirm my decision to move across the country to work here.  

What are your immediate priorities in this role?
: I feel fortunate to have a very strong Admissions team who have been doing this work well for a long time. This allows me to be more outward facing and introduce myself to the greater community. I am focusing on introducing myself to members of the surrounding education community, fellow Jesuit college and university colleagues, and introducing myself to prospective students and their families from a variety of backgrounds.

These are times of big stakes in higher education, especially considering the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the consideration of race-based factors in admissions. SU must do all that it can to ensure an inclusive, ethnically, and culturally diverse student population as possible within the legal framework that has been presented to us. Our Enrollment Management team will have an ongoing role in that endeavor. 

I am pleased that for Fall quarter 2023, Seattle University will enroll one of our largest classes in recent years. That is a great place for me to start and build upon.

What is your vision for this work? 
: We must continue to demonstrate the value of a true Jesuit education. A rich academic experience affords our students the opportunity to better serve their interests and evolve and grow throughout their career.

It is essential that we communicate to prospective students the value of an educational foundation that is embodied in serving and educating the whole person.

What is your favorite part of living in Seattle?
Ingram: I love that Seattle is sandwiched between several bodies of water and two mountain ranges. In Denver, there was one mountain. In Ithaca, there was one lake. In Seattle, I have so many choices. Seattle really has an abundance of riches. 


Director of Campus Ministry Luke Lavin 

Listening and learning will guide the work of new Campus Ministry leader.  

By Andrew Binion 

As the new Director of Campus Ministry, Luke Lavin comes to Seattle University from Gonzaga University, where he not only served as director of Campus Ministry, but is also a double alum steeped in Jesuit tradition, first as an undergraduate and then as a PhD student in its Leadership Studies program. In-between those degrees, he earned a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley in 2014.

At SU, Lavin will oversee a ministry department that is committed to assisting students as they explore their faith, regardless of if one is Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or spiritual but not religious. Even those who don’t define themselves within these categories are welcomed by Campus Ministry.

Portrait of new Campus Ministry director
Luke Lavin

In this Q&A, Lavin shares his priorities and vision for leading Campus Ministry.

What drew you to Seattle University?
Lavin: I have always admired the deep commitment SU has toward progressive and innovative ways of embodying its Jesuit, Catholic mission and I was honored to join such a fantastic Campus Ministry team.

What are your immediate priorities in this role?
Lavin: My priority is to listen and learn. I am a huge believer in the power of story and narrative and I am excited to listen to and understand the university’s story through students, staff and faculty. Listening is a spiritual practice and it can be very challenging. To truly listen requires me to suspend judgments and perceptions and allow the story of others to emerge freely. Listening is at the heart of Ignatian discernment and the gift of being “new” to be as attentive as possible to how the Spirit is at work here.

I look forward to investing time and energy to truly listen and learn about the community from those I encounter and to get to know the place, people and community.

What will be the biggest challenges?
Lavin: Scholars describe the pandemic as the great “accelerator” of existing and emerging societal tensions. Most pertinent to my work, this acceleration has profoundly changed how we relate spiritually to ourselves and one another. 

Spiritual work has always lived in the tension. Looking at prominent 20th-century spiritual leaders—the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., Dorothy Day—they highlighted how the Spirit worked “in and through” tensions (social, political, economic). The challenge becomes building relationships and community so we can trust and care for one another in times of uncertainty. The biggest challenge is recovering and establishing the trust necessary for all community members, especially those marginalized by unjust structures, to feel safe to bring their deepest, most spiritual selves.

What part of Campus Ministry do you find most rewarding? 
Lavin: Ministry is a sacred gift and a profound privilege. In this work, I have been gifted in rich relationships where colleagues, students and friends have been vulnerable with their lives, struggles and joys. In the depth of ministry, individuals explore their deepest loves and pains and I have been reminded of how vast and deep the transcendent force of the God I believe in truly is through such connections. The great reward of this work is depth of relationship and genuine community. 

One of your hobbies is collecting vinyl records. What is your most prized piece of vinyl in your collection?  
Lavin: An original pressing of the rap group De La Soul’s 1989 debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising. RIP to Plug 2! 


Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Chris Malins 

New VP and CFO brings experience and vision to finance. 

By Tina Potterf 

Seattle University’s new Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Chris Malins is known for the forward-thinking, solutions-oriented approach he brings to the world of finance.

Although Malins was selected for this role following a nationwide search, he has roots in the city and a connection with Seattle University.

Prior to joining SU officially in late August, Malins was Associate Vice President for Finance and University Treasurer at the University of Washington.

Malins has spoken fondly of his family’s link to SU as his father, Dr. Donald Malins, graduated in 1954. Dr. Malins enjoyed a successful career as an oceanographic researcher and in 1995 became a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

CFO portraitChris Malins

In this Q&A, Malins shares his perspectives and insights as he delves into his priorities as CFO and describes what a perfect day in Seattle looks like.

What drew you to Seattle University?
: SU is a world-class university right in the heart of my hometown. My father received a degree in Chemistry from SU and I have many friends and colleagues who have attended as well. I love the campus and am excited for a new challenge. 

What are your immediate priorities in this role?
: To understand how the business side of the university operates. I am incredibly fortunate to have skilled and experienced SU colleagues who can help me to get oriented.  

What do you see as the opportunities and the challenges in this work? 
: I think there are always opportunities to better support students and faculty. As administrators, I want to be sure that we have a service mindset. We also may have opportunities to use data in a way that helps us to better understand our university and make more informed decisions. My personal challenge is to be sure that I carry on the excellent work of my predecessors and to support the Finance and Facilities areas to become even better.  

What do you find most rewarding about being a Chief Financial Officer?  
: Ask me in six months! Seriously, I have worked in finance my whole career and have always gotten the most personal satisfaction by just sitting in a room with very smart people brainstorming a problem or developing an idea.

What does a great day in Seattle look like? 
Malins: Coffee with old friends at Grateful Bread Bakery, playing and listening to music, running Green Lake and having dinner with my wife and son. Just perfect.  

This is a longer version of a Q&A that originally appears in the fall edition of Seattle University Magazine. Want more stories like this? Check out the issue in its entirety.

Written by Andrew Binion, Tara Lee and Tina Potterf

Saturday, November 11, 2023