Seattle University is a private, Jesuit university located on the southern end of Broadway between Pill Hill and Seattle's Capitol Hill district. It is a small to medium-sized school, with about 3500 undergraduate residents and 1000 graduate students. Tuition for full-time undergraduates was $17,810 for the 2001-2002 school year. It places an emphasis on the liberal arts, but also features fine programs (I'm sure) in business, science, and computer science. It recently aquired a fairly decent law school, headed by Dean James Bond. Other programs of note are the nationally-recognized nursing school and creative writing program.

Seatle University began in 1891 as a tiny teaching outfit in downtown Seattle called the "Parish and School of the Immaculate Conception." It was staffed by two pioneering Jesuit priests, Father Victor Garrand and Father Adrian Sweere, and two nuns who served as full time teachers. In 1898, the school experienced its first significant growth and changed its name to the slightly less scary "Seattle College." The institution has grown over the decades from a single room to occupy an area about the size of two city blocks. Some significant dates in its development are 1909, when the first bachelors degree were awarded and 1933 when it became the first Jesuit university to enroll women. Enough of this history lecture! On to...

The Jesuit Thing

As a non-Catholic student, I can pretty much vouch for the toleration and open-mindedness of SU, given it's association with the so-called "Jesuit Tradition" of education, which the PR guys outline in the following manner:

Firsthand Experience

Pretty uplifting, eh? Well wipe the tears from your eye because here come the cold, hard facts:
The Administration has a strong presence on campus, despite the size of the school. One can make changes, but conservatism fairly pools in the cobblestone pathways. It's sometimes difficult to feel like a person with a transcendent destiny when angry Chinese maintenance men accuse you of smuggling arms at 8:00 AM, and you receive harassing phone calls from the grumpy head of security for weeks afterward, but that's a story for another node.

On the other hand, there is a lot of loose money in the pockets of these Jesuits, and if you know how to work the system, it's available for your own private enjoyment. For instance, a friend and I have developed a plan to get curtains that feature sexual positions for the dorm showers...nefarious, no?

As far as people go, like most places, SU has your good people and your bad people. Actually, I have only met one or two people I actually couldn't stand, compared to my sad high school experience where I only found one or two people that I could stand. Diversity is upheld, and there is a significant number of students with various religions, nationalities, and sexual orientations

SU has a fitness center with a full compliment of racquetball and tennis courts, a weight room, and a pool as well as other facilities I have yet to explore. It also as a baseball diamond and a soccer field within a five minute walk from the dorms. These happen to also be the popular place to smoke out. With the possible exception of our soccer team, varsity sports are weak. However, intramural activities are strong!

That reminds me. There is no sex. No conspicuous sex anyway. Well, come on! They're Catholic after all, and this Catholicism manifests itself in the cohabitation rules. Simply put, there is none. If you are caught in a room of a member of the opposite sex after 1:00 AM, you will be fined. This rule is broken all the time. Still, it helps keep things low key and civilized. "Sexile" is lesser known phenomena here than at a couple of cities of sin I might mention. Ahem.

Finally, a word about the faculty. Average faculty-to-student ratio is 1:4, and most classes contain about 5-6 students. Core classes have more, generally 25-30. I am a sophomore, and the vast majority of my professors have been great, but I am in the honors program, which I am told makes a difference. Speaking of which, if you are considering enrolling, I highly recommend the honors program, if just because otherwise, you will not get what you pay for. It is a rigorous course of study, but if you did fairly well in high school and are a strong reader, you will manage. More information about this program is available on the website.

The Specifics

Seattle University
900 Broadway, Seattle WA 98122
(206) 296-6000

Undergraduate profile. Figures are from fall 2001.

  • Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,313
  • Average class size: 20
  • Student/faculty ratio: 12:1
  • Full-time students: 92%
  • Men: 39
  • Women: 61
  • 49 states and 69 nations represented
  • 63% from Washington State
  • 9% International
  • 4% African American
  • 1% Native American
  • 6% Latino/Hispanic
  • 21% Asian/Pacific Islander
  • 51% Caucasian
  • 2% Multicultural
  • 6% Unknown
Fall 2001 Freshman Class:
  • 643 students
  • High School GPA
    • median 3.54
    • middle 50%: 3.22 - 3.83
    • average: 3.50
  • SAT middle 50% (verbal): 510 - 630
  • SAT middle 50% (math): 510 - 610
  • ACT middle 50%: 22-28

My own arduous experience

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