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Seattle University (SU) is a Jesuit Catholic university located on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Wash. SU is the largest independent university in the Northwest with 7,500 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools, and is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. U.S. News & World Report, in its "Best Colleges 2010," ranked Seattle University 7th out of schools in the West that offer a full range of master's and undergraduate programs. SU recently completed the largest capital campaign in the university's history, raising almost $169 million and surpassing the original campaign goal by almost $20 million. The campaign has resulted in new scholarships for students, academic programs and professorships, a fitness complex, an arts center and more, all strengthening the university’s mission of empowering leaders for a just and humane world. The centerpiece of the capital projects is the $56 million Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, scheduled for completion fall 2010. The success of the campaign will significantly contribute to the university’s transformation in the coming years. As noted by university President Stephen V Sundborg, the campaign marks the beginning in the next chapter of a university on the rise.


In 1891, Fathers Victor Garrand, S.J., and Adrian Sweere, S.J., took over a small parish near downtown Seattle at Broadway and Madison. At first, the school was named after the surrounding Immaculate Conception parish and did not offer higher education. In 1898, the school was named Seattle College after both the city and Chief Seattle, and it granted its first bachelor's degrees 11 years later. Initially, the school served as both a high school and college. From 1919 to 1931, the college moved to Interlaken Blvd, but in 1931 it returned to Capitol Hill permanently. In 1931, Seattle College became the first Jesuit university in the country to admit female students.

In 1948, Seattle College changed its name to Seattle University under Father Albert A. Lemieux, S.J. In 1993, the Seattle University School of Law was established through purchase of the Law School from the University of Puget Soundmarker in Tacoma, Washingtonmarker. In 1999 the School of Law moved to the Seattle campus.


Interior, Chapel of St. Ignatius, Seattle University
The Seattle University campus is 48 acres and is located on Capitol Hill, near downtown Seattle, Wash. The SU campus has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability through pesticide-free grounds, a food waste compost facility, recycling program and energy conservation program.

The most well-known building on campus is the Chapel of St. Ignatius, designed by New Yorkmarker architect Steven Holl, born in Bremerton, Washingtonmarker: the 1997 building won a national Honor Award from the American Institute of Architectsmarker in 1998.

The university is increasingly attracting and retaining a diverse student population. Almost half of the overall student body represent diverse groups, in 2008 the makeup of the university was:52% Caucasian19% Asian/Pacific Islander8% Latino/Hispanic5% African American1% Native American8% International Students

The campus includes numerous works by well-known artists (including the Centennial Fountain by Seattle artist George Tsutakawa—recipient of an honorary doctorate from Seattle U.—and a large glass sculpture in the PACCAR Atrium of Piggot Hall by Tacoma, Washingtonmarker artist Dale Chihuly, as well as works by Chuck Close, Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, William Morris and David Mach) and several architecturally notable buildings.

They have also been well known for the Orientation program that is used to welcome new students at the beginning of every school year.


Seattle University offers 61 bachelor's degree programs, 31 graduate degree programs and 27 certificate programs, plus a law school and a doctoral program in education. The university consists of eight colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Albers School of Business and Economics, the College of Education, the School of Law, Matteo Ricci College, the College of Nursing, the College of Science and Engineering, and the School of Theology and Ministry. A Seattle University education is estimated to cost $150,000, although much of this is covered by financial aid.

Service-learning and social justice are important components of the educational experience at Seattle University, which strives to "empower leaders for a just and humane world." Each year students, faculty and staff commit hundreds of hours to service projects and community outreach through the Center for Service and Community Engagement.

Albers School of Business and Economics

Albers School of Business and Economics has a reputation as one of the premier business schools in the Northwest. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs are consistently ranked among the best in the country. The 2009 U.S. News & World Report ranking of undergraduate business programs puts Albers in the top 30% of AACSB accredited schools and one of the top 50 private business schools in the U.S. Albers’s part-time MBA program has been recognized as one of the top 30 in the nation, according to the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report’s “America's Best Graduate Schools 2009.” The Executive Leadership Program was ranked by CRO Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine among the top 10 executive training programs in corporate responsibility. In addition, the Albers EDGE program (Education for Global Executives) was honored in 2008 as the only academic institution to receive the President’s "E" Award, which recognizes persons, firms, or organizations that contribute significantly in the effort to increase United States exports.

Seattle University's Albers School of Business and Economics, started in 1945, was named after the Albers family. George and Eva Albers were generous donors to the university. Their daughter, Genevieve Albers, attended SU and continued the family's legacy of generosity to the school; she also sponsored a business forum, established an eponymous professorship, and donated funds to create scholarships. In 1967, the business school added an MBA program, which is now the largest nationally accredited, evening program for working professionals in the Pacific Northwest. Both the Leadership Executive MBA Program and the part-time MBA Program are recognized among the Top 25 in their categories by "U.S. News & World Report's 2010 America's Best Graduate Schools." US News also ranks the Albers School among the top 10% of undergraduate business schools nationwide. The Albers School is accredited with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business AACSB.

College of Arts and Sciences

The Seattle University College of Arts and Sciences inmarker Seattlemarker, Washingtonmarker is the oldest undergraduate and graduate college affiliated with Seattle University, the Northwest's largest independent university. The College offers 33 undergraduate majors, 33 undergraduate minors, 7 graduate degrees, and 1 post-graduate certificate. In the College of Arts and Sciences, Seattle University's graduate program in psychology is notable as one of the few schools in the country to focus on existential phenomenology as a therapeutic method.

Matteo Ricci College

The Matteo Ricci College was founded in 1973 and named after Italian Jesuit missionary, Matteo Ricci. The program allows high school students from Seattle Preparatory School and other area high schools to graduate with a bachelor's degree in humanities or teaching after as little as three years in high school and three years in college.

School of Law

The Seattle University School of Law is the largest and most diverse in the Pacific Northwest. It is also one of three law schools in Washington state, the other two being the University of Washington School of Law and Gonzaga University School of Law. The School of Law was founded in 1972 as part of the University of Puget Soundmarker (UPS) in Tacoma, Wash.marker In 1993, the University of Puget Sound and Seattle University agreed on a transfer of the law school to Seattle University; in August 1994 the transfer was completed, and the school physically moved to the Seattle University campus in 1999. The 2009 US News and World Report Law School rankings list the School of Law in the top 100 Law Schools in the nation. The school of law is home to the number one Legal Writing program in the nation.

College of Nursing

Seattle University's College of Nursing will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2010. It is housed in the completely renovated Garrand building, the site of the original Seattle College and the oldest building on campus. The 19,000 square foot "state of the art" Clinical Performance Lab is located in the James Tower a few blocks away from the main campus. Undergraduate and Graduate students use this lab to practice skills necessary for clinical nursing.The BSN program attracts students who begin as Freshmen as well as transfer students from community colleges and those with degrees from other universities. The MSN program welcomes registered nurses with Bachelor's degrees. The Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion program (MSN)offers an accelerated program for those with a Bachelors degree in another field.Specialties available in the MSN program are Family Nurse Practitioner, Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Community/Public Health Nursing.

College of Education

Founded in 1935, the College of Education has a long and distinguished history of preparing ethical and reflective professionals. Programs offered include a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Masters in Adult Education and Training, Counseling, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Administration, Literacy for Special Needs, Master in Teaching, Master in Teaching with Special Education Endorsement, Special Education, Student Development Administration, and Teaching English to Students of Other Languages. Educational specialist degree programs include Educational Administration – Principal Preparation, School Psychology, and Special Education and Certificate programs offered include Superintendent, Principal, and Professional Development.

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education and the National Association of School Psychologists and approved by the National Association of School Psychologists.

College of Science & Engineering

The College of Science and Engineering focuses on basic sciences, mathematics and their applications. Students can major in basic science disciplines, computer science or one of the engineering departments - civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, or computer and electrical engineering. Students may also obtain an interdisciplinary general science degree, or prepare for graduate work in the health professions.

School of Theology & Ministry

The School of Theology and Ministry is an ecumenical program with relationships with 10 Protestant denominations and the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle. It is committed to social justice and addressing the needs of an increasingly multicultural church. The school offers a number of master's degrees and certificates, including a Master of Divinity.

Community Investment

Investing and partnering with the community are part of the Jesuit Catholic mission of education for service and social justice. More than 3,000 students—three out of every four—take part in at least one for-credit “service learning” class by the time they graduate; nearly 45 percent participate in a service-learning class in any given year. This translates to 185,000 hours, the equivalent of more than 80 full-time workers or $6 million. By comparison, on a national level only about one-third of college students volunteer, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service.

The number of service learning courses at SU has nearly doubled since 2004. One-third of service-learning students continue their community work even after their class has ended and they've earned a grade. Many students continue serving after graduation through an SU program called Magis:Alumni Committed for Mission. In the past two years, nearly 100 alumni have participated in Magis efforts such as the Alumni Mexico Mission Trek and the annual Serve Seattle project. And in each of the past three years, at least a dozen graduates have gone into full-time service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, the Peace Corps and Teach for America.

Because SU is part of Seattle's urban hub, students have easy access to a number of areas that offer a wide variety of service learning opportunities, including the Central District, the International District and Pioneer Square.

The economic impact of SU in the Seattle area in 2008 was $580.4 million. This figure is drawn from the total spending by the university, its students and visitors.

Environmental Sustainability

Among Seattle University's many environmental undertakings, there are projects ranging from composting initiatives to water conservation. There are also solar panels on buildings, and a central recycling yard with an extensive recycling program. The university has been composting since 1995, and in 2003 it built the first composting facility in the state on an urban campus.

SU received the Sustainability Innovator Award in 2007 from the Sustainable Endowments Institute for SU’s pre-consumer food waste composting program and the Green Washington Award in 2008 from Washington CEO Magazine for SU's sustainable landscape practices and pre-consumer food waste composting program. The Princeton Review's 2009 Green Rating gave the school a 97 out of a possible 99.

SU's move to a pesticide-free campus began in the early 1980s when Ciscoe Morris, now a local gardening celebrity, was head of the SU Grounds Department in the 1980s. He put a halt to chemical spraying and in its place released more than 20,000 beneficial insects called lacewings to eat the aphids that had infested trees on campus. It worked and that led to a whole host of pesticide-free gardening practices. Cisco began a transformation that has made the university a model for ecological gardening.

Mission Statement

Seattle University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.


The vision of Seattle University is to be the premier independent university of the Northwest in academic quality, Jesuit Catholic inspiration, and service to society.


Care: We put the good of students first.Academic Excellence: We value excellence in learning with great teachers who are active scholars.Diversity: We celebrate educational excellence achieved through diversity.Faith: We treasure our Jesuit Catholic ethos and the enrichment from many faiths of our university community.Justice: We foster concern for justice and the competence to promote it.Leaderships: We seek to develop responsible leaders committed to the common good.


Between 1950 and 1971, Seattle University competed as a Division I independent school. In the 1950s, the basketball team was a powerhouse with brothers Johnny and Eddie O’Brien, who led Seattle University as the only team in history to defeat the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. In 1958, future NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor paced a men’s basketball team that advanced to the Final Four and defeated top-ranked Kansas State University before losing to the University of Kentucky. Seattle University was also a leader in the area of racial diversity, with an integrated squad known as “the United Nations team.”

The success of men’s basketball, in addition to men’s golf and baseball, continued into to the 1960s with outstanding names like Eddie Miles, Clint Richardson, and Tom Workman, all of whom went on to successful careers in the NBA. The 1966 baskeball squad led Texas Western University to its only defeat in an otherwise stellar championship season celebrated in the film “Glory Road.” In the course of the ‘60s, Seattle University produced more NBA players than any other school.

During that time women’s tennis star Janet Hopps was the first female to be the top-ranked player for both the men and women nationally. In women’s golf, Pat Lesser was twice named to the Curtis Cup in the mid-1950’s and was later inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame.

Before 1980, more than 25 SU baseball players went on to play professionally in both the major and minor leagues. Men’s golf and a Tom Gorman led tennis team were also very strong national programs. Gorman went on to lead the US Davis Cup team to unprecedented success as he captained a record 18 match wins and one Davis Cup title (1972) as a player and two more Davis Cup championships as a coach (1990 and 1992).

SU joined the West Coast Conference in 1971. In 1980, SU left the West Coast Conference and Division I membership and entered the NAIA, where it remained for nearly 20 years. In the late 1990s, President Fr. Sundborg started restoring the university’s NCAA membership. The athletic program moved into Division II in the fall of 2002.

Currently, the school is reclassifying from Division II to Division I. This integration process will take five years and should be complete in 2012-2013. In 2009, the university hired men's basketball coaches Cameron Dollar, former assistant at University of Washington, and women's coach Joan Bonvicini, former University of Arizona coach and one of the winningest women's college basketball coaches. Seattle University would like to re-join the West Coast Conference, which is made up of other small, private, religiously affiliated institutions.

In 1938 the mascot switched from the Maroons to the Chieftains, and in 2000 the university transitioned its mascot to the Redhawks.

Notable alumni


  7. John Pastier, Seattle University's Chapel of St. Ignatius, Essay 2931, January 6, 2001. Accessed online 28 February 2007.
  8. Campus scene (Centennial Fountain), captioned image on the Seattle U. web site. Accessed online 28 February 2007.
  9. Mayumi Tsutakawa, Tsutakawa, George (1910-1997), Essay 3088, April 19, 2001. Accessed online 28 February 2007.
  10. Tina Potterf, Home Is Where the Art Is, Seattle University Magazine article reproduced on the Seattle University web site. Accessed online 28 February 2007.
  11. King 5 News, King 5 News]. Accessed online 11 June 2007.

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