President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., laid out his vision for Seattle University in an address to key stakeholders on Tuesday, August 23. Approximately 250 trustees, regents, advisory board members, alumni and other university supporters gathered in Pigott Auditorium for Father Sundborg’s State of the University address, in which he outlined seven goals for the next seven years: • Strengthening academics so that SU is the first choice for more and more prospective students;
• Investing in undergraduate science learning and research, and building a new science facility;
• Capitalizing on the global emphasis of a Jesuit education;
• Moving forward with the Seattle University Youth Initiative;
• Deepening our identity as a Catholic and Jesuit university;
• Forming every student as a leader; and
• Achieving championship athletics at the highest level.
The president also identified four elements that are critical to realizing the seven goals: strengthening the university’s finances through budget efficiencies, philanthropy and new sources of revenue; conducting a successful capital campaign; expanding or developing new partnerships with organizations and companies in the fields of technology, biomedicine, sustainability and global health; and telling the SU story widely, consistently and positively. Read more.Casey Corr & Mike Thee Seattle University Marketing.
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Though Father Sundborg knows well that I would challenge the seventh of his goals, I felt that his vision was spot on. Items one through five on his agenda were critical to our success and growth as a University. A strong science education, a strong, inclusive Catholic character across the campus, and the emphasis on the Youth Initiative will serve us all well. My faculty colleagues will join me in supporting the number one ranking of academics, and my colleagues in History lead me in pushing for a global emphasis in our education and student development. A well thought out address--especially Father's recognition of the elements that will be critical to our success....And, to be true to the event, the Italian wine tasting afterwards on the Quad was a nice way to end the evening.
I applaud the University for these goals, and particularly its Youth Initiative. By lifting up the poor children in your neighborhood, you are making the best investment in our community. Not only will the children, their families and the business community benefit from this engagement, but the University will, as well.
May I suggest that Item # 5 (Deepening our identity as a Catholic and Jesuit university;) be made SU's #1 priority. I have great difficulty sometimes squaring some SU's programs and actions with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The term "Catholic Lite" may be funny to some, but to me it is a sell out of all that I thought a Jesuit education about.