News and Events

Commencement Tool

Ask any dean about commencement and they will tell you that one of the most challenging aspects of the day is preparing for announcing all of the student names. “I used to write out each name phonetically and practice,” says Dean Michael Quinn, Seattle University College of Science and Engineering. “The last thing I wanted to do was mispronounce a student’s name in front of their friends and family.” Seattle University now has one person announcing all graduate names, but the challenges of proper pronunciation remain the same.

A Seattle University Project Center student team took this challenge and identified a novel engineering solution…let students record their own names, and as they walk across the stage to accept their diplomas, the recorded name is repeated into an earphone that the announcer wears. “Sound bites are recorded on the system we’ve created and each bite has a corresponding barcode,” explains senior electrical engineering student Gregory Ray. “As the graduate approaches the stage a barcode reader will scan the card and the program will send that corresponding sound bite to the announcer as a prompt on proper pronunciation of the name they are about to read,” continues Ray.

“Our goal is to get 20% of graduating seniors to come and record their names for graduation,” says senior electrical engineering student Ronny Hartanto. “Our last recording session is Tuesday, May 25th from 2-5pm in the International Student Center room P170,” says Hartanto.

The results of this project and over 20 others will be presented at the annual Projects Day on June 3, 2010 from 1-5pm in Sullivan Hall. This event is free of charge and open to everyone. Please visit for details.

The Project Center

The year-long senior design project through the SU Project Center strengthened the critical thinking skills I developed in classes to solve a real world problem. Constructing real-world deliverables helped to enhance my communications skills which are critical when pursuing a career in engineering.

- Chris Stoll, Civil and Environmental Engineering alumni, class of ‘08