Tag Archives: seattle university

Capturing the Imagination

Hillary Award Picture

Fiesta de la Trashumancia by Hillary Sturgeon

“I enjoy photography” is a better sentence, but it gives the impression that I understand something about the art, which I don’t, so I simply say, “I like taking pictures.”  That I have a decent eye for a good shot (and Instagram filters) provides some nice gets from time to time, but that’s about all I’ve got.

My youngest daughter, on the other hand, has long been light years ahead of me and can now claim that she is an award-winning photographer.

This is the eleventh year that the College of Arts & Sciences at Seattle University has hosted a photography competition titled, “Imagining the World,” and tomorrow night when this year’s exhibition opens in Kinsey Gallery, Hillary’s photograph, Fiesta de la Trashumancia, will be featured as the first-place award winner in the Study Abroad category.  I am sad to be 2500 miles away from the awards event, but I look forward to seeing the exhibit during graduation weekend since it will be on display in the gallery throughout the summer.  Hillary’s photograph will also be the cover photo for the book that is produced each year featuring all of the award-winning photographs.  I might be a little proud.

I credit our friend, Cecily, with planting the original photography seed in Hillary’s heart during her teenage years and then Malibu High School’s photography department for helping develop her talent (alongside Cecily).  Following high school, Hillary spent an entire summer in college as a photography intern in Kenya and obviously did not waste the opportunity to capture incredible moments while studying abroad in Spain.  Recently, she returned from a service trip to Mexico with some extraordinary photographs, too.

Imagining the world?  Yes, indeed.  I imagine there is more to come.

Hillary has not become a photographer by trade—yet, at least—and considers it a hobby, but unlike her proud dad, she knows what she is doing.  I like taking pictures, but Hillary enjoys photography.

image in spanish department

On Display in the Spanish Department (Seattle University)


A Joyful Noise

seahawksA game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle should be on every NFL fan’s bucket list.  It is a beautiful stadium, sure, but it is the crowd that gathers there that makes it special.  The fans come decked out in the navy blues and neon greens that identify Seahawks gear, but they also come with knowledge of the game and prepared to deafen the opposition.

Most fans love offense, and Seahawk fans surely appreciate Russell Wilson and a good touchdown, but when their defense takes the field, the fans stand in unison and make themselves heard.  Every single time.  All game long.  It is crazy-making noise, at least for the visiting offense, but it is music to Seahawk ears.

The fans make an actual difference in the game using nothing more than their football knowledge and collective voice.  Because the visiting offense struggles to hear their quarterback’s voice, there are more “false start” penalties at CenturyLink Field than at any other NFL stadium.  This is intentional, of course, and if you don’t believe it, notice the thousands of fans sporting a Seahawk jersey with the number twelve and the name FAN across the back.  They know that they play an important role on the field as the proverbial twelfth member of their defensive team.

I have been a Dallas Cowboys fan for forty years and couldn’t be happier this season but was happy to join voices with my Seattle University daughter and Seahawk Nation to create the roar that drove the Carolina Panthers nutso last Sunday evening.  The temperature was in the upper 30s but the decibels were up so high that they pulled out the Richter scale.

How great would it be for your life to come with fans like that, people who respectfully cheer your successes but stand and scream Home Alone-style at those who try to defeat you?  Fans of you who wear your jersey and consider themselves on your team?

Good luck with that.

Instead of holding your breath for a stadium full of personal fanatics, might I suggest becoming that sort of devotee for others who need it?  And doesn’t everyone need it?

Seek Extraordinary

“If you aren’t living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” – Jim Whittaker

Reincarnation is a cool concept, but I can only locate the receipt for this one particular life so I would like to get some good use of it since it is all I’ve got and already pretty stained up and, presumably, nonreturnable.

It is not my style to tell people how to use theirs. I hate to appear presumptuous. Best I can tell, it is your prerogative to be extraordinary or ordinary or wasteful or a downright jerk with “your one wild and precious life” to borrow Mary Oliver’s poetic phrase. I can still make suggestions.

I suggest taking aim at extraordinary.

I live and work on a university campus. Admittedly, this particular campus is disgustingly awesome, but I think all college campuses are pretty fantastic because they are places where big dreamers and big ideas fall in love and produce miracles.

This is on my mind because we just returned from “Summer in Seattle” at Seattle University, a pre-orientation program for new freshmen and their families, including mine. In the closing session, a vice president shared the quote used as the epigraph for this little essay from an alum of Seattle U who also happened to be the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. It is a great bumper sticker quote that I loved at first, hated at second, didn’t know what to do with at third, but by the time it reached home I liked it pretty much a whole lot. Hence, my presumptuous suggestion for your life’s consideration:

You can’t be extraordinary playing it safe all the time.¹

I am a fan of safe. I’m a lawyer after all. But playing it safe is only useful if it keeps you safe for something, not just from something.

And I am not a fan of stereotypical thrill-seeking. Those thrills are cheap. But you should seek something that will ultimately be thrilling—just don’t settle for cheap.

I suggest that you seek an extraordinary life. But you get to choose. I hate to appear presumptuous.


¹ See the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25: 14-30).