Volunteer leaders Dick and Chris DiCerchio have been involved with the university for more than 20 years
Dick and Chris DiCerchio's youngest daughter, Dana, now a Seattle University student studying fine arts, was an infant when the couple became acquainted with Seattle University. In the 20-something years since, the two have become among the university's most active, treasured volunteers and benefactors.
Not surprisingly, both are playing a central role in the Campaign for Seattle University. Dick, senior executive vice president for Costco, is a member of the Campaign Steering Committee and chair of the Albers School of Business and Economics campaign. Chris is an unofficial ambassador who recently hosted an appreciation dinner at the couple's home for 18 campaign volunteers.
"At the end of the day," he added, "the most important reason for being involved with The Campaign for Seattle University is our students—past, present, and future."
Dick DiCerchio's involvement in the life of the university "moved from professional to more personal" when he was asked to serve on the Albers School Advisory Board, a group he later chaired.
"I was introduced to Seattle U back in the 1980s when Costco was just getting started and we were looking to seed our company with talent," Dick said. "The first graduates we hired were terrific—they're executives with our company today—and we've continued to reach out to Seattle University for bright, hard-working, principled employees."
The DiCerchios took on their biggest shared volunteer role in 2002, when they agreed to chair the university's annual scholarship fundraising Gala. Within two years the Gala was attracting 1,000 people—nearly double the number of guests in previous years.
Volunteerism and philanthropy are at the heart of Dick and Chris DiCerchios' work. Issues involving the health and well-being of young people are especially important to them.
"When we look at giving to charity, a practice we strongly believe in, it's usually child-centered," said Chris, a mother of four and grandmother of five. "We are especially concerned about helping children who can't afford to go to college without some help. Seattle University reaches out to those students. I love the fact that Seattle U has such a diverse student body."
In recent years, Dick's fundraising focus has gone beyond scholarships as he leads the campaign to raise $5 million for Albers. Key components of that effort include a $3 million goal to endow the Entrepreneurship Center, $1 million in endowment to create the Center for Business Ethics, $500,000 for graduate scholarships, and $500,000 to endow the David Tinius Professorship in Accounting.
"It's a privilege to be involved in this far-reaching fundraising effort," Dick said. "The business school is simply outstanding. Under the leadership of Dean Joe Phillips, it has grown and flourished as never before, winning national awards and graduating exceptional students in record numbers."
Donor support for the business school has been excellent to date, he added, "and promises to get even better as we go public with the campaign and tell our story to a larger group of folks." While he gears his committee up for the final 15 months of the capital campaign, For the Difference We Make, this parent, donor, volunteer and unabashed fan of Seattle University has a few words to share with graduates, parents and friends:
"To alumni, I say come back to campus. See how it has grown and what a spectacular university it has become. Get involved in the school at one of the most exciting times in its history.
"To parents, friends and would-be friends, I say Seattle University is serving this community and this region as never before. It deserves our support.
"All of us should be proud that this fine university is a part of who we are and what makes living here such a privilege."
From the Spring 2008 issue of the Campaign Newsletter