The Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PHD, and Steve Seline, JD’79.
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Kathleen Seline had a near-30-year career at Creighton — working in the Heider College of Business, the School of Dentistry and, eventually, as the assistant vice president for Health Sciences.
She passed away nearly 30 years ago, and people are still asking Steve Seline, JD’79, the question, “Aren’t you Kay Seline’s boy?”
He heard this question quite a bit upon winning the Alumni Merit Award for the School of Law earlier this year. No matter what Seline has done — which includes helping run the company that produced one of the most profitable movies of all time (more on that in a minute) — no matter what he has yet to do, Creighton will always know him as “Kay’s boy.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he says. “I’m proud of that fact. She was very special. And she loved Creighton.”
Through his mother, Seline found himself a firmly entrenched member of the Creighton family long before he enrolled in his first law school course.
(The Selines continue to be a Creighton family. Steve’s wife, Sue Baggarly-Seline, BA’82, is an alum. Their son, Tom Seline, is now studying journalism at Creighton.)
Seline said his time in the law school amounted to three of the best years of his life — and three years that influenced his life in ways he never could have foreseen.
“I got my first job because of Creighton Law School, I got my second job because of Creighton Law School, I got my third job because of Creighton Law School,” he says.
Fresh out of Creighton, Seline joined the firm Kutak Rock, where he spent the next 19 years, most of them as partner. Since 2007, he’s been president of Walnut Private Equity Partners, and, more recently, he became the owner of several radio stations in the Omaha area. In between, he had an unlikely stint in the movie industry.
For the better part of the ’00s, Seline was vice chairman of the indie film studio Gold Circle Films, founded by Norman Waitt Jr., co-founder of Gateway Computers.
“Some of our movies were horrendously bad,” Seline says. “The company was losing money. I wanted to kill it. But then the amazing phenomenon happened.”
Gold Circle produced a little movie set around a Greek American family that went on to become the biggest romcom of all time. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” cost $5 million to make and grossed $370 million.
And Kay Seline’s boy? He had a little something to do with it.
(For his part, Seline said he can take very little credit, if any, for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” He had authority over budget, but not the film’s script nor editing.)
Throughout his detour to Hollywood and beyond, Seline has continued his commitment to community service. He’s served as chairman of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army, and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. He’s also served his alma mater, as a member of the Creighton School of Law Alumni Advisory Board and its Executive Committee.
“Steve’s parents would have been so proud of him for his level of service,” says Rich Anderl, JD’78, Seline’s buddy from law school and, before that, Benson High. “His parents ingrained that sense of service in him from the start.”
And Creighton sharpened it.
Over the years, Seline has set about giving back to the University, supporting the law school, dental school and athletics programs. His family has established the Kathleen D. Seline Endowed Book Fund, the Kay Seline Memorial Garden and, in the School of Dentistry, the Kathleen D. Seline Clinic Classroom.
Steve Seline doesn’t care if people know his name. But he’ll do what he can to make sure they remember his mother’s.