Seattle University was founded by Father Victor Garrand and Father Adrian Sweere in 1891, and over the years, it has served as both a high school and college. In 1893, construction started on the First Hill campus, and the school moved there in 1898 and changed its name to Seattle College, at which point the high school became a separate institution now known as Seattle Preparatory School. The college awarded its first bachelor's degrees in 1909, and in 1931, Seattle College became the first Jesuit university in the country to admit female students.
The Jesuits had planned to move the college to what is now Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood, but by 1940 they decided against the move. Seattle College stayed where it was and changed its name to Seattle University in 1948.
Most campus buildings are located in a series of 12 or so square blocks bounded by East Jefferson Street (S.), East Union Street (N.), Broadway (W.), and 12th Avenue (E.). Championship field is across 12th Avenue, however, as is the Swedish Medical Center and James Tower.
The campus is also home to numerous works by well-known artists. The Centennial Fountain was designed by Seattle artist George Tsutakawa, recipient of an honorary doctorate from Seattle University. The large glass sculpture in the PACCAR Atrium of Piggot Hall is by Washington artist Dale Chihuly, and there are other works on campus by Chuck Close, Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, William Morris and David Mach. One of the most famous buildings on campus is the Chapel of St. Ignatius, designed by New York architect Steven Holl, who was born in Bremerton, Washington. This 1997 building won a national Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1998.
Seattle University is located on First Hill, just north of downtown.
The hill is named for being the first hill one encounters traveling east from downtown Seattle toward Lake Washington. The first official courthouse was built on First Hill in 1889-1890, in the decade that the neighborhood became popular for wealthier Seattle residents. The steep climb to the courthouse from downtown legal offices caused so many complaints that Seattle lawyers nicknamed the area "Profanity Hill."
The hill is also called "Pill Hill" because it is home to three major health care facilities (Harborview Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center/First Hill, Virginia Mason Medical Center), as well as the Puget Sound Blood Center.
In addition to Seattle University, two private schools—Northwest School and Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences—and the Catholic O'Dea High School are located on the hill. There are also several churches that have become city landmarks: Trinity Episcopal Parish Church, St. James Cathedral, and Seattle First Baptist Church.
First Hill's major streets include Madison, James, Cherry, and Jefferson Streets and Yesler Way (east- and west-bound) and 9th, Boren, 12th, and 14th Avenues and Broadway (north- and south-bound).
Seattle University’s motto is “Connecting the mind to what matters.” There is a special emphasis on religion and community service as part of education. The mission statement reads, “Seattle University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”
Each year, Seattle University faculty and staff are invited to attend Mission Day, a collaborative discussion of the Seattle University mission.
The school sports teams are the Redhawks.
Seattle University’s colors are scarlet and white.
An unofficial tradition is Senior Streak, wherein a couple dozen seniors streak and dance around the Quad.
Elgin Baylor - NBA Hall of Famer and general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers; 2006 NBA Executive of the Year.
Major General Peter W. Chiarelli (1972) - Director of Operations, U.S. Army; Commander of forces in Iraq
William P. Foley, II (1970, M.B.A.) - Chairman and CEO, Fidelity National Financial
Carolyn Kelly (M.B.A.) - President and COO, The Seattle Times
Frank Murkowski (1955) - Former Governor of Alaska and former U.S. Senator from Alaska
John D. Spellman (1949) - Former Governor of Washington
Jim Whittaker (1952) - First American to summit Mount Everest in 1963
The university's sports teams are known as the Redhawks and are currently transitioning from Division II back to Division I after 28 years. This process of integration is expected to take four years.
Between 1953 and 1969, the Seattle University basketball team, then known as the Chieftains, reached the NCAA Division I Tournament 11 times. The 1958 team advanced to the NCAA championship game, though they lost to Kentucky 84-72.
The men's soccer team won the NCAA Division II Championship in 2004, and the university's swim program has produced a number of All-Americans. Seattle University was also a member of the Division I West Coast Conference (WCC) -- at that time the West Coast Athletic Conference -- from 1971 to 1980.
Currently, the men's basketball team play their home games at KeyArena, on the grounds of the Seattle Center.
Seattle University also offers more than 30 intramural sports, as well as a variety of club sports including Crew, Golf, Equestrian, Gymnastics, Marksmanship, Baseball, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Rugby, Cheer, Skiing, Tennis, and Cycling.
St. Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus--the Jesuits, as they are commonly called--more than 450 years ago. Seattle University is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the United States and more than 100 around the world.
In 1931, Seattle College became the first Jesuit university in the country to admit female students.
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.
Service-learning and social justice are an important part of the Seattle University mission, and each year students and staff commit hundreds of hours to service projects through the Center for Service and Community Engagement.
At Seattle University, all freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus unless married, over 21 years of age, or commuting from their parent or legal guardian's home.
Dorms include Bellarmine Hall, in the center of campus; Campion Hall, on the south side of campus; Chardin Hall, a new residence next to Campion Hall, and Xavier Global House, on the north end of campus.
There are also the Murphy apartments, on the south side of campus. These are only available to upper-class students.