Campus Community

Opening Doors

Written by Mike Thee

June 16, 2014

students reading at the fountain in the Quad

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Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign co-chair invites colleagues to contribute to SU and its students.

John Dougherty's job is to ask people for money so you'd forgive him if his pitch were to come off as a little canned. And yet when asked why he agreed to serve as co-chair of the 2014 Faculty and Staff Giving Campaign, Dougherty, right, turns introspective and speaks at length-and from the heart-about just how much Seattle University means to him. 

He talks about coming full circle-attending SU as a student, going out into the private sector for most of his professional career and then returning to his alma mater in 2007 as director of development for Athletics. 

For Dougherty, it's about reciprocation. His parents didn't have money to send him to college; he was only able to attend SU with the scholarship he received for serving as manager of both the basketball and baseball teams, a role that he likens to the modern-day assistant coach. 

"Father Lemieux and Eddie O'Brien gave me an opportunity to be in school here," Dougherty says of the former president and athletic director. The emotions well up when Dougherty talks about O'Brien, the SU legend who passed away in February. "It's just been very difficult because he was so unselfish and he gave so many people an opportunity." 

The same can be said for how Dougherty regards his educational experience at SU. "My education opened many doors for me. (Working here) is my way of giving back." 

Dougherty encourages all faculty and staff to consider supporting the university. "It's a great way to give back just a little. The amount doesn't really matter." 

Keisa Liu, senior advancement assistant of annual giving, echoes that. "Each gift also speaks in a clear voice to our student body that faculty and staff believe strongly in supporting students' education as part of their lifestyle as well as their careers," she says. "As a recent SU alum, I personally understand the financial burden of higher education, even with generous scholarships. Giving to the Faculty and Staff Campaign is my way of telling students I get that college is expensive these days but it is worth it and they are worth my investment." 

Liu and Dougherty are hoping to achieve 50 percent participation from faculty and staff before this year's campaign ends on June 30. Thirty-eight percent have given thus far. Last year an amazing 44 percent of SU's employees gave to the campaign. 

"SU makes a difference in all our lives. It's unspoken…a way of being," says Dougherty. "There's a human element that people bring to their jobs here every day."

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