2014 University Service Award

Kip Toner ‘66



Kip Toner, having served as a member of the University’s Board of Regents for 23 years, is being recognized for his Outstanding Service to the University.  A loyal Seattle University supporter, Kip has helped tremendously in the University’s fundraising efforts, working to build the Law School’s Endowment Fund and the Albers School’s Jerry Lavelle Scholarship Fund.  “My Seattle University education has meant a great deal to me in my life,” he said.  “I want to invite as many people as I can to engage with Seattle University.”

While a student at Seattle University, Kip was a member of the Student Senate for two years and served for two additional years as student body treasurer.  After graduation, Kip worked at Seattle University as Financial Aid Director under then president William J. Sullivan, S.J.  Under Kip’s direction, the University was able to realize a $300,000 increase in federal financial aid dollars, a significant amount at that time.  He then became the Business Manager overseeing service operations including facilities, security services, the book store, the print shop, the mail room, and much more. Kip treasures this time working with Fr. Sullivan. Kip took the opportunity to combine Fr. Sullivan’s renowned business skills with the Jesuit tradition of dedication to service to begin his professional auctioneering career.   

In 1971 he began studying the principles and methodology of commercial auctioneering. Kip sought to maximize development opportunities for the non-profit sector by applying the best practices of commercial auctioneering to benefit auctions.  This technique proved so successful that Kip formed his own firm in 1991.  Kip Toner Benefits Auctions, based here in Seattle, now operates from Washington DC to Hawaii and has provided auctioneering and consulting services to as many as 150 non-profit organizations in a year.

Kip has contributed both his time and talent over 50 years to Seattle University. In addition to his own professional endeavors on behalf of the Gala, Kip was a University Regent.  After 23 years of service that included two years as Board chair, he is now a Seattle University Regent Emeritus. Last spring, Kip was very proud to be the auctioneer at the first Red Tie Celebration held for Seattle University Athletics.  Having always been involved with the University, his commitment has grown alongside his career.

While a student at Seattle University, the bonds formed and loyalty inspired, are now demonstrated by Kip’s ongoing friendship with fellow Regent William F. Eisiminger, ’67 who suffered a major stroke five years ago.  Bill and Kip were students together at Seattle Prep and Seattle University.  Kip and their classmates have dedicated themselves to aid in Bill’s recovery and ensuring his place in the Seattle University family they all adore. Kip has sent many emails and telephone calls as he tirelessly arranges friends to transport Bill to many Seattle University events including meetings, basketball games and the Gala.  Kip’s infections admiration for Seattle University is said to have been instrumental in encouraging and supporting Bill as he considered his gift resulting in the new William F. Eisiminger Fitness Center.  According to Kip, “Seattle University is, in reality, Bill’s family.  And as his family, we gather around him.”

Throughout his long years of service to the University, Kip has embodied the true Jesuit spirit.  He has modeled those exceptional values through his unfailing loyalty and commitment to others.  We are honored to recognize him for his outstanding contributions to his Seattle University family.