Dear Seattle University Community,
My greetings to each of you as we head into the homestretch of the 2018-2019 academic year here at Seattle University.
Our School of Law has already celebrated its Commencement and the other members of the Class of 2019 will follow suit when we hold our undergraduate and graduate ceremonies on June 16. It promises to be a wonderful day made all the more special by our honorary doctorate recipients: Sister Helen Prejean, author of the book Dead Man Walking; James Martin, S.J., a nationally acclaimed author and speaker; and José Alberto “Chepe” Idiaquez, S.J., president of the Universidad Centroamericana, our sister Jesuit university in Managua, which continues to deal with violence arising from a crackdown by the Nicaraguan government that began last spring. Sister Prejean, Father Martin and Father Chepe are paragons of justice. It will be a great blessing to have them with us for Commencement.
Over the past several weeks we have welcomed to campus a number of visitors who have helped us envision how we might grow and advance in our mission and together confront the problems and injustices of our day. At our annual Mission Day in April, we were pleased to welcome Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University professor and leading national voice on racial justice, who delivered a stirring talk and call to action. We were enriched and enlightened by a diversity of viewpoints shared by local and national thought leaders, journalists and policy makers at the second annual Crosscut Festival we hosted in early May. A few weeks later Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy visited campus for a conversation with students. We were inspired by Father Greg Boyle, S.J., whose work with former gang members in Los Angeles is changing and saving many lives. We have been wrapping up the year with many other inspiring events including Red Talks, the Alumni Awards, our faculty and staff appreciation celebration, the Emeriti lunch, Projects Day and the groundbreaking for the Center for Science and Innovation, our largest project ever. And we look forward to the numerous graduation celebrations ahead of Commencement.
I hope you will also keep in mind our undocumented students and alumni and consider a request to show your support for them by contacting your representative and senators in Congress to urge passage of the Dream Act. These students and alumni are valued members of our university community and one of the best ways we can support them is to make our collective voices heard in our nation’s capital. As I write, the U.S. House is preparing to vote on the Dream Act as early as tomorrow and the Senate has introduced similar legislation with bipartisan support. Members need to hear from as many of us as possible. You can quickly send a message to your representative by visiting the President’s Alliance on Immigration and Higher Education toolkit. There can be no more delay in doing what is right and recognizing our common humanity by protecting and supporting Dreamers.
For me, the end of the academic year is a time for reflection and gratitude. I’m appreciative of the work now being done to ensure that our university’s impact is even greater in the years to come. With our strategic planning process well underway, I am particularly thankful to the many colleagues who are engaging with this important work as co-creators of Seattle University’s future. We have new online programs launching at the Albers School of Business and Economics and the School of Law. And we are making strides in becoming a more inclusive academic community, ensuring the success of our students in all phases of their SU experience and finding new ways to live out our mission as a Jesuit Catholic university.
We have much to be grateful for at Seattle University. Our students continue to amaze me for their passion and purpose, our faculty and staff for their commitment to making our university all that it is, our alumni for modeling a Seattle U education at its best and our friends for accompanying us on our journey forward. As we conclude a very busy and productive academic year, my thanks and my prayers are with you all.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.