Father Stephen Sundborg honored at 81st First Citizen Award banquet

“This is probably the biggest day in my 22 years at Seattle U, in terms of what this means to me,” said Father Stephen V. Sundborg, president of Seattle University and this year’s recipient of the Seattle-King County First Citizen Award.

There was palpable delight among the 300 banquet guests who gathered to honor “Father Steve” and his legacy of service and leadership at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle. Emcee Bob Ratliffe, immediate past chair of the Seattle University Board of Trustees, said, “[Father Steve] is a man of great depth, great faith and what seems like a bottomless well of compassion and warmth. So many in this room are blessed to call Steve their friend.”

Now in his 22nd year as president, Father Steve is known as a tireless advocate for marginalized residents and for nurturing the Jesuit university’s high rankings “for academic rigor, sustainability, community service and social justice.” He plans to retire at the conclusion of his current five-year term as president.

In addition to his responsibilities as Seattle University president, Father Steve is involved with numerous professional, charitable, cause-related, and civic organizations, including United Way of King County, the Independent Colleges of Washington, the Seattle Nativity School and Lakeside School.

Tributes to Father Steve were made by Mark Pigott, executive chairman of PACCAR and 2018 recipient of the First Citizen Award; Dorothy Bullitt, lawyer, executive, author and civic leader who received the Award in 2000 along with her family; and Jim Sinegal, co-founder and former CEO of Costco Wholesale and long-time supporter of Seattle University.

Seattle King County REALTORS® has been presenting the Seattle-King County First Citizen Award to a King County resident who has provided outstanding public service and leadership to the region every year since 1939. First Citizens are recognized for their unselfish commitment to civic causes, such as humanitarian organizations, charitable and educational institutions, art groups, the environment and other worthwhile causes.

Thank you to our partners John L. Scott Real Estate and Windermere Real Estate for helping us honor Father Steve and his contributions to the community. Thanks also to our sponsors Costco Wholesale, Seattle University, the John and Ginny Meisenbach Foundation and Skanska for making this event possible.

Read the article on the award from Seattle U student newspaper The Spectator.