Recap: An Evening with Father Sundborg

Father Sundborg has been the President of Seattle University since 1997. This evening marked the first time that he has officially met with the Student Development Program.

And what a splendid evening we had. Up in the lofty meeting rooms of Casey Commons, over 40 students, faculty, and staff gathered for an evening with Father Sundborg. SUSDA president Deanne Liu kicked off the event with a few announcements including the up coming video, and surprise! this very blog (HI EVERYBODY). Other events include a special Internship Info Session (more on that soon), and the up coming Internship Fair (February 2nd. More details to come on that soon as well). She introduced Dr. Jacob Diaz, the Vice President for Student Development, who in turn introduced Father Sundborg.

Father Sundborg delivered a charismatic address that was more personal than (at least I) expected. He spoke of singing your song, of not leaving any talent untapped, of living a full life, of connecting to the ‘it’ of your job while still remaining true to yourself. Father Sundborg said that at college, we are ostensibly here to provide academic enrichment for students, but making the connections between the ‘it’ of academics while students are still finding themselves is a difficult process. He implied that our position as Student Affairs Professionals is to assist students in their journey. However, he emphasized the most effective leaders, our more inspirational leaders, are those who are true to themselves, their values, their mission, while still performing their job. So once must know ourselves before we can be truly effective in our interactions with students.

Personally, I found this very relevant, because I believe I am still finding myself as a professional, which is also an extension of who I am as a person. I didn’t get to hear if others felt the same way. Hopefully we can get some feedback in the comments.

Dinner was served (salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, chicken, some breaded vegetarian thing that looked tasty but I didn’t have any of, bread, and chocolate mousse [I make a better mousse]), and the Foundations class left. There was a question and answer session where Father Sundborg made a Superbowl prediction (Steelers), and spoke more about the time when he was not “singing his own song.” His particular response emphasized that he didn’t feel that he was truly singing his song until he became the President of Seattle University, after six years of serving as a very effective Provincial of the Northwest Jesuits. When driving back from a two week stint in Spokane, he came across a river and five words popped into his head: you lack a meaningful why. Since that moment, he has sought his meaningful why, which led him to serve as our President.

Some wiseacre asked a prompt from the Lead 1 class about a personal mission statement and how that integrates with a professional mission statement, which elicited much laughter, and a befuddled response. He got the personal mission statement, but the professional mission statement he sourced out to Jacob Diaz.

Around 6:30, the Law class was forced to depart, which constituted the majority of the remaining audience. The evening ended, and we applauded Father Sundborg.

I think some folks were taking pictures, which I would be more than willing to post. Sorry to those who couldn’t make it, I think we should do this more often (once a year?)


About Brandon

Blogging about my steady diet of culture.

One thought on “Recap: An Evening with Father Sundborg

  1. Thank you, Brandon, for writing such a great description of the dinner with Father Steve! I couldn’t believe that he had never been invited to meet with SUSDA in his 14 years as the president, and I also think that this sort of event should become an annual occurence.

    I was very impressed by the honesty with which Father Steve talked about his own search for meaning and balance within a leadership role. I found his message of going to the grave with no talent untapped to be a relevant one for us as we try to define ourselves as individuals and as professionals. Clearly, the university is lucky to have such a thoughtful and compassionate leader.

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