Father Stephen V. Sundborg of the Society of Jesus retired in June 2021 after serving 24 years as the 21st president of Seattle University.
During his presidency, Fr. Sundborg enhanced academic excellence and developed resources to support a growing student population. Under his leadership, Seattle University built a new Student Center, a new Law School, residential housing, the School of Theology and Ministry, a Center for the Performing Arts, a Library and Learning Commons, a Fitness Center and the new Jim and Janet Center for Science and Innovation.
Strongly committed to educating the whole person, forming excellent and principled professionals and empowering leaders for a just and humane world, Father Sundborg actively supported programs that encouraged students, faculty and staff to make a difference, whether in the local community or in developing countries. Such a commitment led to Seattle University’s decision to host a homeless encampment during February 2005—an unprecedented move by a university—and to initiate its nationally recognized Youth Initiative in the Central District. During his presidency, Fr. Sundborg bestowed honorary degrees on such prominent social justice leaders as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Corazon Aquino.
In addition to his responsibilities as Seattle University president, Father Sundborg served on the Board of United Way of King County, the Independent Colleges of Washington, the Seattle Nativity School and Fulcrum Foundation, and as a trustee of Lakeside School and the University of San Francisco.
A native of Alaska, whose father was an author of the Alaska State Constitution, President Sundborg was ordained a priest in Seattle in 1974 and completed his doctoral studies in spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1982. He taught theology at Seattle University from 1982 to 1990 and served as provincial of the Northwest Jesuits 1990‑1996.
In June 2021, Seattle University’s Board of Trustees named Father Sundborg president emeritus.