Science / Technology and Health

Reimagining STEM, Deepening Jesuit Education, Cultivating Inclusion

Written by Stephen Sundborg, S.J.

August 28, 2018

Rendering of the new Center for Science and Innovation building

Image credit: EYP/Mithun (rendering)

In a preview of the fall magazine, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., talks about the future of the university and the integral role the new Center for Science and Innovation will play in transforming STEM education.


Seattle University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.

We are building Seattle University’s future by reimagining STEM education for a technology-driven workplace, fulfilling our Jesuit educational mission in a world needing it more than ever and cultivating diversity and inclusion as central to sustaining academic and institutional excellence.

In just three years, we will open the doors to the Center for Science and Innovation. The state-of-the art center will allow College of Science and Engineering faculty to keep STEM graduates ahead of the curve and well prepared to enter the workforce. It will also create new opportunities for students across all majors to take courses in STEM fields such as programming, machine learning, analytics and design and get hands-on, collaborative project experience in maker spaces. I cannot think of a step that we have taken that will be bigger and more transformative for the university.

Nor can I think of an academic experience that is more essential for students today than Jesuit education. It is the cornerstone of and inspiration for our mission, one that is critical in a world defined by rapid technological advances, disruptive innovation, novel scientific discoveries, new and complex moral issues, changing demographics, globalization and climate change.

In deepening our commitment to Jesuit education, we are meeting students where they are—in a continuously changing and increasingly diverse world—and empowering them to shape the world for the betterment of all.

Our Catholic and Jesuit educational traditions are values-driven and rooted in the humanities and liberal arts, challenging and inspiring students to be creative problem solvers, critical thinkers and continual learners. Most importantly, Jesuit education calls students to reflect on the moral choices of the day and commit to lives serving others and the greater good. Fulfilling this educational mission is our most essential building block for the future.

It is a mission that can only be fully realized by placing diversity, inclusion and belonging at its center. If there is one lesson I have learned during my 21-year presidency, it is the importance of caring for each and every one of our students. We welcome and accept students from every walk of life for who they are and offer them our distinctive education so they may discover their deepest passion and become the person they seek to be in their own unique way.

We have led in a number of ways over the years, demonstrating how diversity and inclusion enrich the educational and campus experience for all students. While there is much important work that remains as we build for the future, we are renewing and deepening this commitment, which ultimately will be seen in our actions.

Reimagining STEM, fulfilling our Jesuit mission and realizing excellence through inclusion are three critical building blocks that give me hope and confidence for a promising future. They are made possible by our dedicated faculty and staff and the support of our many alumni, friends and partners for whom I am ever grateful.