Campus Community / People of SU

Congrats to the Class of 2023!

June 15, 2023

A student celebrating with raised peace signs

Image credit: Yosef Kalinko

It was a weekend of celebration and exhilaration for Seattle University’s graduates. 

Redhawks, you did it! A big congratulations to our 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students who represent the Class of 2023 and were celebrated at Seattle University’s Commencement ceremonies, June 12 at Climate Pledge Arena. Former Seahawks Doug Baldwin Jr. was the keynote speaker at the undergraduate ceremony and USC Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen, PhD, at the graduate ceremony, with each receiving an Honorary Doctorate.

"Graduating college is no small feat even in the best of times. Despite the challenges, here you are today and I congratulate you,” President Eduardo Peñalver said at the undergraduate ceremony. “We were 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.”

Doug Baldwin Jr speaking at UG ceremony
Doug Baldwin Jr. addressing the audience at the undergraduate ceremony.

In his remarks to the undergraduates, Baldwin said: 

“In a world of instant gratification, graduating from college is anything but.” And, “This world needs you. Please don’t take that for granted.”

He also shared the three principles he lives by—be honest, be curious, be forgiving. “All of that is really just love.”

photo of president and doug baldwin
Doug Baldwin Jr. receiving his Honorary Doctorate with Board of Trustees Chair Pat Callans (l-r) and President Eduardo Peñalver.

A photo featuring Viet Thanh
Graduate ceremony keynote speaker USC Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen.

In addition to the Commencement ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate students, they were preceded during Commencement weekend with smaller graduation celebrations organized by different colleges and schools as well as campus clubs, along with the Baccalaureate Mass at Seattle’s St. James Cathedral. 

Interior shot of the St. James Cathedral for grad mass

In his remarks during Baccalaureate Mass, President Peñalver spoke about the university’s diversity and inclusion and the value of a Jesuit education.

“Graduates, as you celebrate your successful completion of your courses of study and as you reflect on your time at Seattle University, I hope you also take time to reflect on and celebrate the distinctive academic community you have been a part of for these past few years—a university unlike any other—a Jesuit and Catholic university unlike any other.

“I hope that as you continue in your lifelong pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, your appreciation and affection for Seattle University will continue to bring you back, time and again, to our campus—your intellectual and spiritual home—for renewal and encouragement.”

Here’s more related to this year’s commencement:

  • Read President Eduardo Peñalver’s full remarks on diversity at Seattle University, delivered at the Baccalaureate Mass.
  • Media coverage of the undergraduate ceremony and what speaker Doug Baldwin Jr. said to graduates.
  • The final installments in the Graduate Spotlight series—in The Newsroom—featuring Abigail Berhane, who plans to work for an NGO with a focus on resettling immigrants, and Gary Tou, who created a new platform aimed at youth engagement to mentoring kids on the ins-and-outs of programming and coding.
  • And here are more scenes from Commencement:

Student graduating with fun glasses on

students waiting to go on stage

A photo of a UG graduate happy after getting degree.

A group of four students with degrees backstage.

a photo of a student and their family from the UG ceremony

Graduates outside of Climate Pledge Arena holding balloons

A commencement picture with graduate inside photo booth

A photo on stage with the student speaker and Shane Martin
Provost Shane P. Martin with undergraduate student speaker Supreet Kaur Sandhu (Computer Science).

Two students posting at ISC graduation ceremony
From the International Student Center graduation celebration.

Student on stage with degree and shaking President's hand.

A student with degree in hand happy dancing

Student with parents on graduation day.

Graduate students posing together

Women at graduate commencement

A close up of the mortar board

A photo featuring Dean Dillard
Dean Cynthia Dillard, PhD (far right) and recent graduates at the College of Education commencement celebration.

Two students at Lavender Celebration
The Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted the annual Lavender Celebration for graduating LGBTQIA+ students.

UG ceremony crowd shot