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Archives: January, 2011


Michelle Obama invites UW alum Zach Davis to sit with her at State of the Union address

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How’s this for a domino effect?

UW alum Zachary Davis and his business partner, Kendra Baker, opened The Penny Ice Creamery in the summer of 2010 after working alongside the local office of the Small Business Administration in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Thanks to the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus funding), which increased the guarantee of a small business loan from 75 to 90 percent, Zach and Kendra were able to get the funds they needed to open their dream, an ice cream shop “done right.”

The Penny Ice Creamery, which opened in August, has been so well received that it continues to grow. Zach and Kendra are working 90 hours a week and are still hiring additional help. After the creamery opened, Zach, Kendra and crew put together a thank-you video to the government using Zach’s iPhone and the iMovie software. They did it all on a Monday, the only day the creamery is closed.

Zach, who earned a B.A. in comparative religion from the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies in 2000, says the video “is our story,” and that “we wanted to show how the ARRA helped one small business.” The video (above) got 97,000 hits on YouTube and ultimately made its way to the White House. That led to a call from Vice President Joe Biden, who thanked Zach and Kendra for their video (below).

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That’s not the end of it, either.

On Jan. 18, Zach and Kendra received a call from Michelle Obama’s office, inviting he and Kendra to attend a reception and the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. They flew to the nation’s capital on a Monday, sat in the First Lady’s box on Tuesday, and returned home to Santa Cruz on Wednesday “to scoop ice cream.”

While in D.C., they met the president as well as the director of the Small Business Administration. “I don’t believe a lot of people understand how stimulus money is spent,” Zach says. “I don’t understand all of it. But in this case, the ARRA allowed us a loan guarantee we needed. We believe in our commitment to the banks that loaned us the money, and to the taxpayers that we won’t fail.”

Dr. Peter Rhee, also a UW alum, was invited to the State of the Union address by President Obama. Rhee is the surgeon who treated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and directed care for 10 other victims following the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson. Read our post on Dr. Rhee here.

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Husky football in the Heart of Dixie

Jake Locker at the Senior Bowl.
Jake Locker and Mason Foster are in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Senior Bowl, a prestigious college football all-star game held in the Heart of Dixie (that’s Alabama) since 1951.

I used to live in Mobile and covered high school and college sports for the newspaper there, the Press-Register. I took the job straight out of college and spent three years living on the Gulf of Mexico in the Deep South, where football is king by a mile. I covered three Senior Bowls and met lots of future stars, including Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who was just out of Clemson at the time.

With our players in Mobile for the week, it reminded me of my favorite Husky football moment from down South. Here is a column I wrote for the paper in 2006 about the best day I ever wore purple:

In three years as a Baldwin County sports reporter, there’s only one story I regret not putting on paper. 

It’s the story of a Washington Husky all alone in the Heart of Dixie. It’s the tale of two heated rivals sharing Jell-O shots in a foreign land, all the while talking enough trash to fill a Rocky Top-sized garbage can.

Auburn-Washington State. Yes, the Cougars were coming to town.

Read more…

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UW alums open showroom for digital printing shop

UW shirts from Maverick Apparel PrintingA pair of UW alums have opened a downtown Seattle showroom for their custom printing business, Maverick Apparel Printing. Co-founders Mark Pattison and Greg Smith are committed to a fun, hip and “100% customer-centric” experience, and Maverick’s clients speak for themselves—Seattle Art Museum, Cherry Street Coffee and The Triple Door, to name a few.

Pattison played football for the UW and spent several seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders. He launched a few start-ups and still operates The Pattison Group located here in Seattle, a branded merchandising company, before partnering with Smith on the Maverick venture, which utilizes direct-to-garment digital technology.

Smith is the founder and CEO of Urban Visions, a sustainable real estate development company. He has moderated lectures for the University of Washington and holds a certificate in commercial real estate from the UW’s extension program. His work in sustainable living helped put Seattle on the list of top green cities in America.

Read more about the showroom on the Seattle Met blog.

Enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • A story in the Washington Post explains how colleges can identify depressed students and includes survey results from UW students.
  • The Wall Street Journal interviews UW alum Andrew Okpeaha MacLean about his coming-of-age drama “On the Ice,” which is playing at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Two UW alums are developing a video game that challenges players to design new ways to fold RNA molecules. Dr. Rhiju Das, a physicist at Stanford, and Adrien Treuille, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon, met as postgraduate researchers at the UW, where they were on the team that created Foldit.
  • Get the CliffsNotes for the Cliff Mass Weather Blog.
  • Artist and UW alum David C. Kane was featured in the Artdish blog and highlights his show at Eidelauer Picture Club in Seattle.
  • UW Public Health Professor Michelle Williams won a presidential award for excellence in science mentoring, The White House announced recently. Williams established a program to train students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds for research and leadership careers in public health.

    Read more…

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Robert Stacey’s History Lecture Series is a smash

2011 History Lecture Series - UW Alumni AssociationThe UW Alumni Association’s 36th annual History Lecture Series reached its midway point Jan. 18, and we are hearing glowing compliments both for the program and the professor, Dr. Robert Stacey, divisional dean of Arts and Humanities here at UW.

Recently, UW alum Don Harrison wrote a synopsis of the second lecture. It’s always great to hear from a UWAA member, and Don has graciously granted us permission to repost some thoughts from his blog, Confused Ideas From the Northwest Corner:

The child is father to the man, so the saying goes. In the same way, the medieval world gave birth to the modern world of today. To understand why we act the way we do, both as individuals and as nations, we often need to look back to our childhoods.

The UW Alumni Association’s annual History Lecture Series is entitled “Medieval Origins of the Modern Western World.” As a one-time medieval history major myself, I showed up for the sold-out series expecting a rather superficial summation of the more exciting events of the period, a number of anecdotes that might appeal to the average guy who’s been out of school for a while. I was pleasantly surprised.

The series contains just four lectures. I regret having missed the first one, entitled “The Oddity of the Modern West,” while I was in California. This week’s lecture discussed the origins of one such “oddity”: “The Separation of Religion from Politics.” Dr. Stacey’s lecture was one of the best I’ve heard in the years I’ve attended these lectures at the UW. It was well delivered, highly organized, and crammed with information. … As an undergraduate, I took a very good course in political theory, a course that covered these same topics; Dr. Stacey’s single lecture pretty much summed up all the understanding (and more) that I took away from that undergrad class after the finals were over.

So props to the alumni association and to Dr. Stacey. I look forward eagerly to the two remaining lectures, “Limited Government” and “Love and Marriage.”

You can read Don’s full post on his blog.

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Remembering the first game at Husky Stadium in 1920

Cars surround Husky Stadium on the day of its opening in 1920.

As a six-year-old boy, Burr Odell cheered on the Husky football team in its first-ever game at Husky Stadium—a 28-7 loss to Dartmouth in 1920. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as Odell went on to cheer for the Huskies for another 90 years until his passing in December 2010.

Odell’s family believes he could have been the last living person to attend the Dartmouth game in 1920. He followed the UW all his life and talked about that game right up to the end, they said. All told, Odell attended roughly 330 Husky football games, including six Rose Bowls in Pasadena.

Above, cars surround Husky Stadium on the day of its opening in 1920.

Odell and his father went to the Dartmouth game in support of the visitors, not the Huskies. Together, they walked across the temporary “pontoon” bridge that was later replaced by the Montlake Bridge, to the brand new Husky football stadium. It was familiar territory for Odell’s father, whose construction company had poured the concrete on the sides of the Montlake Cut a few years earlier.

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A history of UW logos – Which is your favorite?

University of Washington logos

For Huskies, the University of Washington means many things. To the majority of people outside the UW community, the school is an image—a purple block W.  

When people look at the logo, no matter where they are, they don’t just see the logo. They see their personal experiences with the university, and their impressions are based on media and other sources. They see the UW’s reputation.  

With its logo, mascot and color scheme, the UW has always tried to represent the students, the school and the ideals held here. The brand’s evolution has taken some unusual twists and turns but has endlessly inspired students and alumni alike. Let’s open the history books and look back at nearly a century of UW logos.  

First, some interesting notes:  

  • Until 1919, the UW did not have a mascot and used only the block W. But as other schools adopted mascots across the nation, Columns reported, student leaders realized that Washington needed an icon.
  • The nickname “Sun Dodgers” was used until the UW switched to Huskies in 1922. Wanting to move away from Sun Dodgers, university officials decided to go with Vikings but students immediately protested and the school settled on Huskies a few months later.
  • It wasn’t until 1984 that the UW agreed it needed a clear identity and moved to adopt a consistent logo and color scheme. Before that, more than 550 licensees were authorized to use either the block W or Husky logos, and the result was a mishmash of UW imagery.

    University of Washington logo 1919

    Sunny Boy statue at Husky Hall of Fame.

Our story begins with a drawing in the Sept. 1919 issue of the on-campus magazine, Sun Dodger, in which a staff artist depicted a fictional UW student named “Sunny Boy,” a smiling freshman wearing a huge bow tie and carrying an umbrella (right). Despite the initial protests of magazine staff, the name “Sun Dodgers” stuck with the local press and Sunny Boy grew in popularity. Eventually, students commissioned a 3-foot-tall wooden statue in his likeness and carried it to the away football games. See the video from the Husky Hall of Fame.

An article in the Washington Alumnus, which later became Columns magazine, noted the Husky is “a symbol of willingness, courage, endurance, strength and fight.” After settling on the new name, university officials were most excited to use a live dog as an on-the-field mascot, and felt the name Huskies “suggests the idea that Washington is the most northern American university on the Pacific Coast.” A nod to our neighbors to the north, eh?

Read more…

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords surgeon is a UW alum

UW alum Peter Rhee is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords surgeon

Dr. Peter Rhee, who holds a master’s of public health from the University of Washington, is a 24-year military surgeon who has treated hundreds of battlefield injuries during stints in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That experience, the Los Angeles Times reports, played a definitive role in his ability to treat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and direct care for 10 other victims following the horrific massacre Jan. 8 in Tucson that has since captivated our country. Last night, during the memorial service for the six killed and more than a dozen wounded, President Obama told the nation that Giffords “opened her eyes” for the first time, and doctors feel her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head, is a “miracle.”

Rhee is chief of trauma at University Medical Center in Tucson. He also spent five years as the director of the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he would sometimes treat 30 gunshot wounds a day. Rhee told the Los Angeles Times of his battlefield casualty care: “Did it prepare me? I would say of course it did. And that makes it so that when we have a mass casualty of 11 people here, it’s really not as bad as it can get.”

From all of us in the UW’s alumni community, thank you Doctor.

You make us proud.

Photo by AP.

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UW 360: Law students exonerate innocent people

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This is an amazing story of redemption and hope.

In 1997, University of Washington Professor Jackie McMurtrie started the Innocence Project Northwest at the UW School of Law. Since then, her team of students has helped exonerate 15 wrongfully convicted people. One of them was released on Christmas Eve 2008 and spent the holidays with his family rather than in a jail cell.

UW 360 explores the Innocence Project Northwest in this stirring video. For more on McMurtrie and the Innocence Project, read this Q&A from Columns magazine.

Also in January’s edition of UW 360:

By the way, this is Blog Down to Washington’s 100th post. Thanks for reading!

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