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Let’s Celebrate!

Written by Mike Thee

September 14, 2016

looking upwards at the entrance to the Administration building and colorful fall trees

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University marks important milestone; yearlong slate of festivities planned

You may have heard the rumblings or seen the clues-it's Seattle University's 125th anniversary. Which means it's time for us to celebrate. 

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., got the ball rolling with the speech he shared at last night's State of the University event with trustees, regents and other close friends of the university. Father Sundborg said the anniversary provides an opportunity to "harvest the hope from our history at this 125th year juncture to see what it points to for the next 25 years." And word has it that the 125th will factor prominently in the talk he gives at tomorrow's President's Welcome for faculty and staff (9-11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 16, in Connolly Complex).

Anything and everything you need to know about the anniversary can be found on a special microsite, which just went live this week. 

And as the celebration really heats up, here are five things to watch for-and ways for you to get involved: 

All about Impact: The 125th is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the transformative power of a Seattle University education. "Dare Forth," a key theme for the anniversary, recalls the timeless words of the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius, "To go forth and set the world on fire." The year ahead is a time for us to raise awareness of SU, elevate its reputation and put a spotlight on the real-world impact of our faculty, students and alumni. The occasion also calls us to envision how our Jesuit education and values will further enrich our city and world as we dare forth into the next 125 years.

The Kick-off: The yearlong festivities officially begin with SU's annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, which will be held 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Immaculate Conception Church (820 18th Ave.). As always, all are welcome at the Mass, which is an opportunity to ask for God's blessings on this very special upcoming academic year. Whether you go to the Mass or not, you won't want to miss the very special event to follow at 11:30 a.m. on the Union Green-a barbecue with entertainment featuring The Flavr Blue, which, of course, is led by SU's own and 2016 Outstanding Young Alumna Hollis Wong-Wear, '09. So please come on out and help merrily mark this momentous milestone. (Check out the event flyer here.)

Kareem Abdul-JabbarFull Slate of Festivities: The Mass of the Holy Spirit and barbecue are just the beginning. The 2016-2017 academic year will feature several events, such as the 125th  Speaker Series, which last week featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, right. (The Hall of Fame basketball player, renowned author and social justice advocate spoke to a sold-out Connolly Complex North Court. Click here for the full slideshow.) Among others, upcoming events include special 125th celebrations of Homecoming in February and Alumni Awards and Grand Reunion Weekend in May. Check out the full calendar at125th and, most importantly, take part in the events and festivities!   

"Public Displays of Anniversary": On campus and off, you've likely seen a variety of celebratory signage to mark SU's 125th, whether it be the First Hill Streetcars wrapped in regalia or wallscapes on a number of buildings (Bellarmine, the Broadway Parking Garage and the storage building at Madison and 12th). And there's more on the way. Keep an eye out-you just might find the 125th where you least expect it.

Get a Clue and Tell Your Story: In the coming weeks, Seattle U-themed questions and answers-or should we say answers and questions?-will be featured between segments of "Jeopardy," in the feature "Clue 4 You." The university is also partnering with KOMO to showcase the people who make SU all that it is. KOMO will air 25 videos highlighting SU's "higher powered" academics, culture, alumni and impact. The videos will also be featured on a KOMO-sponsored website. Similarly, the 125th microsite and SU Magazine will highlight the people and programs of SU on an ongoing basis, with new stories and other content added throughout the year. So keep checking back to see what's new. Those who are social media savvy are encouraged to use the hashtag #SU125 to share stories about the experiences and people who inspire pride and shape Seattle University's past, present and future.

If you have any questions about SU's 125th anniversary, please contact Kaily Serralta in Marketing Communications at

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