2022 Commencement Honorary Doctorate Recipients and Speakers

April 25, 2022

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff, 

I look forward to celebrating Seattle University’s Class of 2022, first with our law graduates on May 14 at McCaw Hall and then with our undergraduates and graduates on June 12 at Climate Pledge Arena. Today, I am pleased to share with you the honorary doctorate recipients and speakers at our undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies. 

Sharice Davids, who represents the state of Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, will receive an honorary doctorate and speak at our undergraduate ceremony. A member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Representative Davids is one of the first two Native American women to serve in the U.S. Congress. She was a first-generation college student who put herself through the University of Missouri-Kansas City and then law school at Cornell University. Representative Davids is a nationally recognized expert on economic and community development in Native communities. In Congress she has worked to eliminate the influence of special interests and to make health care more accessible and affordable. We look forward to honoring her as a champion for equity, justice, community development and education. 

At our graduate commencement, we will have the opportunity to celebrate two brothers and extraordinary Jesuits as we award honorary doctorates to Edward Reese, S.J., and Thomas Reese, S.J. 

Father Edward Reese has devoted his life to Jesuit education. He was educated at Gonzaga University, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and Fordham University. Father Reese has worked at and led numerous Jesuit institutions and currently serves as president of St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco. He was instrumental in establishing two middle schools that provide tuition-free education for students from underserved populations—Loyola Academy in the Phoenix area and the Fr. Sauer Academy, which is located on the St. Ignatius College Preparatory campus. Fr. Reese has also contributed to the betterment of the broader community by serving as chaplain to the San Jose Police Department and on the boards of Boys Hope Girls Hope of Phoenix and the Phoenix Community Alliance. He has also served as a trustee for Gonzaga University. 

Father Thomas Reese is a renowned journalist and scholar. He was educated at St. Louis University, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a PhD in political science. He is a senior analyst at the Religious News Service, a former columnist with National Catholic Reporter and a former editor-in-chief for the Jesuit magazine America. In articles, books and other written works, Father Reese has published extensively on politics, economics, religion and the Catholic Church. He has served as a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, an independent, Jesuit-sponsored research institute and as visiting scholar at Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. A champion for religious freedom, Father Reese was appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2014 and later elected as its chair. Father Reese will deliver remarks at our graduate commencement ceremony. 

Representative Davids and Fathers Edward and Thomas Reese represent the very best of our university and Jesuit educational mission. I look forward to welcoming and honoring these outstanding individuals and know they will make commencement an even more special and memorable day for our graduates, their families and all of us who are part of the SU community. 


Eduardo M. Peñalver