Athletics / People of SU

A Legacy for the Future

Written by Andrew Binion

October 19, 2023

An image of D'Vonne Pickett

The D’Vonne Pickett Jr. Endowment will ensure that Black- and minority-owned businesses will be supported by SU’s Project Center while ensuring Pickett’s legacy lives on.

To cement the legacy of D’Vonne Pickett Jr., ‘14, Seattle University has established an endowment in his name to ensure that future generations of Black- and minority-owned businesses benefit from the College of Science and Engineering’s Project Center.

In 2018, Pickett and his wife, KeAnna Rose Pickett founded The Postman in Seattle’s Central District, a mail business located in the heart of Seattle’s historical Black community.

Prior to starting businesses, Pickett, who majored in communications, played for the men’s basketball team as a guard and for the London Lightning professional team in Ontario, Canada.

At age 31, the father, son and brother—and a stalwart member of the community—was shot and killed Oct. 19, 2022, while locking up The Postman. His tragic death, called “senseless” by the Seattle Times in an editorial, shocked and devastated not only Pickett’s close-knit family and friends, but his entire community and the SU community as well.

For three years starting in 2020, The Postman partnered with the Project Center, which teams up business, government agencies and nonprofits with seniors majoring in STEM fields to focus on a project, giving students valuable on-the-job and real-world experience.

To fund the endowment, Seattle University set the goal of $100,000 and the Ellison Foundation has pledged to match donations up to $50,000.

The work enabled by the endowment is something KeAnna Rose Pickett says aligned with her late husband’s life goals.

“D’Vonne had this tidal wave effect on people, just how he lived his life and how that affected others,” she says. “That's what makes me feel good about this effort, that it gives people opportunities to live out those values that D’Vonne lived.”

Pickett’s roots in Seattle run deep, from his family to the broader community. Though he was focused on the future, he took care to respect the past. The Postman honors his great-grandfather, Jacques Chappell, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier in Seattle.

“He was everything to me, everything to his family, his kids and community,” Pickett’s mother Nicky Chappell says of her son. “He was definitely a pillar in our community.”

The idea of creating an enduring tribute to Pickett started with friends and fellow former SU men’s basketball players such as Fred Wilson, ’17, and Taylor Olson, ’10, and was further championed by Ryan Webb, ’09, community engagement officer for the Ellison Foundation.

Basketball alum and friend of Pickett outside of the Postman in the CD
D'Vonne's friend and SU men's basketball player (l-r) Taylor Olson, '10.

“The thing that touched me right away was the number of people who showed their support in the days and weeks after D’Vonne’s death, how many people respected and looked up to him outside of sports,” Olson says.

Rachael Brown, director of the Project Center, says that through the Dvonne Pickett Jr. Endowment, the Project Center will carry forth the Picketts’ legacy of forging profound connections and uplifting the community.

“By engaging with local Black- and minority-owned businesses, we are able to show our students the positive impact that diverse entrepreneurs have in business,” Brown says. “This commitment embodies D’vonne and KeAnna’s spirit of empowering youth to envision and achieve their greatest dreams.”

Donate to the D’Vonne Pickett Jr. Endowment here.