People of SU

Add Commencement Speaker to Former Seahawks’ Storied Career

April 18, 2023

A graphic for commencement featuring Doug Baldwin and Dr. Viet Nguyen.

Doug Baldwin Jr. will be speak at the undergraduate ceremony and Dr. Viet Thanh Nguyen at the graduate ceremony June 12 at Climate Pledge Arena.

Former Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin Jr. will serve as undergraduate commencement speaker at Seattle University commencement ceremonies at Climate Pledge Arena on June 12. University of Southern California Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen, PhD, will speak at the graduate ceremony and both will receive Honorary Doctorates.

“We are delighted by the opportunity to hear from and honor Doug Baldwin Jr. and Dr. Viet Thanh Nguyen, two individuals whose lives and work are perfectly aligned with Seattle University’s Jesuit mission and values,” says President Eduardo Peñalver. “I look forward to celebrating what will be a very special day for our graduates and their families.”

A graduate of Stanford University, Baldwin was a key contributor to the Seattle Seahawks after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2011, including their Super Bowl XLVIII victory and multiple playoff runs.

He is founder and CEO of Vault 89 Ventures, a Renton-based capital venture firm that invests in people and ideas that deconstruct barriers historically displacing many in our communities, and is CEO of Ventrk, a health-and-lifestyle-focused software company.

Extensively involved in the community, Baldwin serves on the board of directors for Valor Worldwide, which provides resources and services to the military community and is a member of the state’s Clemency and Pardons Board that reviews criminal cases and provides recommendation to Governor Inslee regarding potential parole status of eligible inmates. Among other honors, he has received the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service and the Paul G. Allen Humanitarian Award.

The speaker at the graduate ceremony, Dr. Nguyen, is an award-winning author and professor. He serves as the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and is a Professor of English, Comparative Literature and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. 

Dr. Nguyen's debut novel, The Sympathizer, exploring themes of caste, education, war, identity and loyalty, earned the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 2017, he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, also known as the “Genius Grant.” Additionally, he serves on the Board for the Pulitzer Prizes and International Rescue Committee, is actively involved in promoting arts and Vietnamese culture and the study of how cultures, people, capital and ideas flow between Asia, the Americas and the Pacific Islands.