Celebrating Graduation with the Alfie Scholars 2017 Cohort

First row: Faiza Abaroone (Nursing), Tiffany Carpenter (International Studies), Mariajesus Elgueta (Nursing), Abdulqadir “Abdul” Diriye (Diagnostic Ultrasound – Cardiovascular), Second row: Angela Flores-Marcus (Electrical Engineering), Danielle Davis (Nursing), Angel Vuong (Diagnostic Ultrasound), Azrael Howell (Psychology), Soren Tran (Nursing) Top row: Jorge Lara Alvarado (Civil Engineering)

First row: Faiza Abaroone (Nursing), Tiffany Carpenter (International Studies), Mariajesus Elgueta (Nursing), Abdulqadir “Abdul” Diriye (Diagnostic Ultrasound – Cardiovascular), Second row: Angela Flores-Marcus (Electrical Engineering), Danielle Davis (Nursing), Angel Vuong (Diagnostic Ultrasound), Azrael Howell (Psychology), Soren Tran (Nursing) Top row: Jorge Lara Alvarado (Civil Engineering)

On Thursday, June 13, 2019, a group of 40 Alfie Scholars from all four cohorts, Alfie Team Members, families, and guests gathered to celebrate the graduating 2017 Cohort. Four members of this cohort are receiving their Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, two in Diagnostic Ultrasound, one in Civil Engineering, one in Electrical Engineering, one in International Studies, and one in Psychology. All are leading for civility in their communities and professions.

In attendance to celebrate were members from the first Alfies 2016 cohort: Nizama Djudrija (Criminal Justice), Pa Ousman Jobe (Finance), Julie Mariga (Nursing), Gabriel Narvaez (Sociology); members for the rising Alfie Senior 2018 Cohort: Chhavi Mehra (Journalism), Jasmina “Mina” Omerovic (Mechanical Engineering), Cesar Rios III (Nursing), Stephanie Sanchez (Nursing), Chloe Zabrek (Accounting),Yue Zhang (Accounting), members from the entering Alfie Junior 2019 Cohort: Haley Cummins (Communications), and Richard Pallangyo (Computer Science), and Alfie Team members Natalie Cisneros, Carol Cochran, Nathan Colaner, Genevieve Gieger, Paula Lustbader, Scott Petit, Jeff Philpott, and Brendan Taga.


Alfie Program Director Carol Cochran opened the program by addressing the cohort: “We are here to talk about the legacy that you have helped to create at Seattle University as an Alfie Scholar. You have helped to elevate the name Alfie. You have not only been Civility Leaders in and outside of the classroom, but also you have been leaders in your families and in your communities. Your hard work and dedication are not only changing your life but the course of many lives. You may have inspired someone you do not know to go after their dreams. It has been our privilege to accompany you on your path.”  She then had the cohort stand and said, “I want all of us to look at our honorees this evening. Study their faces, get to know their names. This evening will not be the last time you hear about them. These Scholars are the hope and the future of their communities, our city, our state, and at this very moment, the hope of our nation. These ladies and gentlemen are our Leaders of Civility. Our Agents of Change.”

Alfie Team Member Jeff Philpott thanked the cohort and said it has been a joy and privilege to work with the Scholars; their motivation, academic excellence, and their commitment to civility inspires everyone.

 “Tonight we celebrate the realization of mutual dreams,” said Alfie Founder and Executive Director Paula Lustbader. “Your dreams were to make a difference in your worlds by obtaining your bachelor's degree, to enter a profession, to change your family circumstances, to change your lives in some ways, and to change the communities in which you live and in which you work. Our dream was to cultivate leaders who are going to change the world by being civil, by creating opportunities to engage with other people in our collective and shared humanity to come up with solutions to these seemingly intractable challenges and problems that face our world and that face our country. And when we asked you to become leaders for civility, we had no idea what genies we let out of the bottle. Each of you have exceeded our dreams.”

Lustbader explained that leaders for civility lead in existing formal leadership roles by creating new ones. Others lead informally wherever the opportunity arises to connect and engage in meaningful dialogue with others. She went on to give examples of the formal leadership roles members of this cohort assumed on campus including Student Body President, leaders in honor and professional societies, leaders in class. She then gave examples where they founded new organizations to serve unmet needs such as the Scarlet Group to advocate for undocumented students on campus, the Vegan Society, and the SU Social, Legal, and Moral Justice Group. And she gave examples where members of this cohort have led for civility in their daily lives by standing up to injustice with confidence and respect, by staying connected to their humanness and vulnerability, and by supporting each other, others in their communities, and strangers.


Lustbader called the cohort and team members to gather in a circle one last time to embrace and solidify the profound bond they now share. As they returned to their seats, they all hugged each other in emotional and cheerful and tearful embraces.


Once they returned to their seats, Lustbader thanked her father, Al Lustbader, for his vision and generosity in funding this program, Carol, the team members, the families, and all the Alfies. “And as you go forward, I hope that you remain committed to your quest, to remain civil, to be leaders formally and informally, to look for those opportunities to find those areas where we connect with our shared humanity to influence others towards a greater good. And I encourage you to stay protected when necessary but when possible to continue to lean into your own vulnerability. That's where you can find your greatest truth. And that's where lie the seeds of connection to others. And as you lean in, never forget that you are not alone. You’ve got this whole Alfie family. We’ve got your back; we’ve got you. Thank you for making my dreams come true.”

Cochran then called each member of the 2017 Cohort up, and Lustbader and Alumnus Pa Ousman Jobe placed their Alfie’s Stole around their shoulder.


After he thanked the children for sharing their Alfie Scholar parents with us while they worked toward their degree, Alfie Alumnus Gabriel Narvaez spoke directly to the graduating Scholars. Mix your academic expertise and credentials with “the life experiences you have, you are a powerful force to be reckoned with. You possess the resources and power that others seek, so be intentional with how you share your gifts…Think big, think long-term, and then go for it. And when you do go for it, know that the Alfie family is always here for you, that we are always here for each other.”

It was an evening full of emotion and a sense of accomplishment. The families and guests were full of joy and pride. The Alfie Team was beaming. And the Alfie Scholars glistened with tears on their cheeks, giggled with each other, and glowed.

Below is a slideshow of other images from the celebration. Simply click an image to move to the next one.

Congratulations to the inductees into the Seattle University chapter of Tau Sigma Honor Society

Congratulations to the inductees into the Seattle University chapter of Tau Sigma Honor Society

Congratulations to the recent inductees into the Gamma Mu Seattle University chapter of Tau Sigma, a national honor society that recognizes and promotes academic excellence and leadership in  transfer students. Students who earn a 3.5 GPA or higher in their first quarter after transferring are invited to join Tau Sigma. On February 27, 2019, a total of 77 students were welcomed into the Gamma Mu chapter. Among those inducted were seven of the ten 2018 Alfie Scholars cohort.

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How to Practice the 3 C’s (Consciousness, Creativity, and Community) of Civility Like an Alfie

How to Practice the 3 C’s (Consciousness, Creativity, and Community) of Civility Like an Alfie

We believe that true civility requires more than mere politeness; it calls upon us to respect others, to remain open-minded and curious, and to engage in honest and constructive discourse. Civility requires an integration of relational attitudes, behaviors, and skills. We believe that the foundation for civility is consciousness, creativity, and community (3 C’s).

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Seattle University Officially Launches the Alfie Scholars Program

Seattle University Officially Launches the Alfie Scholars Program

President Stephen Sundborg officially launched the Alfie Scholars Program at Seattle University on Wednesday, March 9, 2016. Over 50 representatives from Seattle University, local community colleges, and individuals from around Seattle gathered to celebrate the launch of the Alfie Scholars Program at Seattle University, an innovative academic support scholarship for transfer students. 

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Ready to Launch

New Alfie Scholars program will enroll transfer students, increase diversity and promote civility

Story by: Dean Forbes and Mike Thee
Published March 1, 2016 in Seattle University's The Commons

On March 9 the university will publicly launch a new scholarship program for community college transfer students. 

As announced by President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., in January, Alfie Scholars annually will admit 15 transfer students from diverse populations backed by a $10,000 annual scholarship for two years. The focus on developing leaders who foster civility in their professions and society makes this program stand out.  

Alfie Scholars is dedicated to making the dream of attaining a bachelor's degree a reality for transfer students from two-year colleges, to increasing diversity on campus and in the workforce and to promoting leadership to foster civility in society. The program will be available to students who want to transfer to SU beginning with the start of the 2016-17 academic year. (Recipients would still need to go through SU's regular admissions application process.) 

The program provides the following:

  • A $10,000 annual scholarship.
  • Academic support programming that prepares students for the increased academic rigor of a four-year university.
  • Opportunities to create mutually reinforcing relationships.
  • A customized curriculum to develop leadership skills.
  • Preparation to become leaders who foster civility in their professions and society.

With a $500,000 annual budget, the scholarship program is funded by Alife's Fund and headed by Seattle University School of Law Professor Emerita Paula Lustbader. Students will begin the year in August by taking one of the university-required core courses, which will give them a an opportunity to adjust to the academic rigor, to lighten their course load during the academic year, and to form a sense of community on campus and within their cohort.

In 2008, Paula's father, Alfred Lustbader, founded Robert's Fund, named for his brother, to foster civility in the legal profession. In 2014, he founded Alfie's Fund to provide support to help change a life. The Alfie Scholars program is the fund's first initiative. 

The Lustbaders chose to benefit transfer students because they are, in Paula's words, an untapped resource of students who have ideas, energy and perspectives who don't have as much access to four-year colleges using the normal channels of admissions and financial aid programs that are available to non-transfer students. 

Paula, herself once a community college transfer student, retired from SU in 2015.  She now runs both foundations. 

"This an underserved population-there's not a lot of support available for transfer students," she says. And by support, she means financial and otherwise. A number of support services and academic enrichment programs will be available to the recipients, including a full-time director, Carol Cochran, who will ensure students get the resources they need to succeed and earn their degrees. 

A big part of the program's effectiveness is expected to derive from the cohort model. As Lustbader explains, transfer students come into an environment in which relationships among traditional students who entered as freshmen are already established and transfers can easily feel like outsiders. Alfie Scholars will be connected to each other through a variety of activities. "We want to help them realize that they're here for a mission that's bigger than them," says Lustbader. 

Civility is another major thrust of the Alfie Scholars program. Lustbader explains, "Much more can happen constructively-for our relationships, for our productivity, for our environment-if we can all be mutually respectful, considerate and treat people as we would like to be treated. We as a society need to embrace our differences and embrace our shared humanity." 

"Communication is a big part of this. We're not advocating for not having different opinions or disagreements; on the contrary, we should robustly be saying, 'I don't understand your perspective because my truth is this, so educate me.' What I want to do is. We hope to help engender a curiosity about other perspectives so we can respectfully discuss issues, increase our understanding, and create best solutions." 

How then to foster that kind of commitment to civility among the Alfie Scholars? 

"Some of it comes from modeling and educating skills to increase emotional intelligence and effective communication…to cultivate an enhanced awareness of the variety of ways each of our behaviors and words impact others." 

Alfie Scholars will also take a course developed specifically for the cohort on leadership and civility. "Our goal is that they will be ambassadors for civility while they're at the university, as well as when they enter their chosen field." 

The Alfie Scholars program follows in the footsteps of a program that Lustbader co-founded in the law school in 1987 called the Academic Resource Center, the law school's access admissions program. That program's mission-to increase diversity in the profession-annually accepted 30 students who showed promise but whose backgrounds predicted them not to be successful. Upon admission to the law school, those students received academic support and were part of a learning cohort that embraced the school's mission. Students in the highly regarded program have excelled, with many of them going on to distinguished careers and serving their communities. 

Lustbader is a recognized leader in opening new avenues of access to underrepresented students. She was given the Association of American Law Schools Section on Academic Support Award for Excellence in Legal Education. The Washington State Bar Association recognized her outstanding contributions by naming her co-recipient of the organization's Award for Excellence in Diversity (2006). In 2010, she received the Loren Miller Bar Association President's Award for her role in increasing the diversity in the legal profession.