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Movie magic: UW alums make hit documentary

Graduate from college. Form a production company. Premiere films at some of the biggest festivals in the world. Sounds like a dream children have as they picture growing up, right? For Travis Senger, this dream is reality.

After graduating from the University of Washington in 2005 with a degree in creative writing and drama, Senger went on to direct films and produce them with fellow UW alum Michael J. Mouncer. Together, they founded Lincoln Leopard Films. Their most recent work is White Lines and the Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug, an award-winning documentary on the life and death of the famous Bronx DJ from the 1980s.

With a Short Film Competition Special Jury Award at the Seattle International Film Festival, a Special Jury Prize at South by Southwest (SXSW) and the win of Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival in Lower Manhattan, White Lines has definitely made an impact.

In addition to the White Lines documentary, Senger’s team has produced a Sesame Street look-alike music video and a Seattle-based sci-fi short film.

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The Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961 – Fifty years later

Cal-Tech's Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961Fifty years ago, a group of pesky Cal-Tech students hijacked the University of Washington’s halftime “flip-card” stunt in a Rose Bowl prank for the ages.

The Los Angeles Times tells the story of Lyn Hardy, the ringleader behind one of the greatest college football stunts of all time. UW fans on one side of the stadium were given flip cards that were supposed to spell out “WASHINGTON” but instead read “CALTECH.” It’s a marvelous tale, and you can read the full story here.

Hardy, now 69, says he learned how the stunt worked from UW cheerleaders. Upon learning the Husky Marching Band and Cheer Squad were staying at Long Beach State dormitories, Hardy—a Cal-Tech junior at the time—posed as a reporter for the Dorsey High student newspaper and walked right in. When everyone left for dinner, Hardy and another of Cal-Tech’s legendary “Fiendish 14″ swiped a card-stunt instruction book and headed back to Pasadena, where they made some 2,400 copies.

Jack Briggs
, Washington’s 1961 student body president, said at the time that the prank was “not in the best of taste.” Fifty years later, though, it’s still a classic.

Of course, Washington beat top-ranked Minnesota that day 17-7.

Enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • UW alum Nick Handy is departing his post as Washington’s state elections director after leading widely praised reform efforts that have boosted voter turnout.
  • A study by UW researcher Daryl Haggard explores the future of the Milky Way’s central black hole.
  • UW students win $40,000 to help make water safe to drink.
  • Former UW President Mark Emmert, now the head of the NCAA, is profiled in this piece by the New York Times. The story focuses on overseeing integrity and the threat of income in college sports.

    Read more…

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A new year means new stories for UW alumni

For me, New Year’s Eve is a big disappointment. Unlike Thanksgiving—in which I expect a big meal and get more that I hoped for—expecations are rarely met on the last night of the calendar year. Hopes are high. The reality is a bit different.

The one thing New Year’s Eve has going for it, however, are the resolutions. I love New Year’s resolutions. Some people hate them, but I look at these as a chance to set goals and start fresh. For example, when I was 13 I wanted to play less video games. My resolution was to find other ways to be creative. Believe it or not, that’s how I started writing.

This year, one of my resolutions is to better connect this blog with the values we all share as UW supporters. That means telling more stories, meeting more graduates, and defining the value of a UW Alumni Association membership. And just like former Husky star Tim Lincecum on the cover of Sports Illustrated, we’re going to be all smiles in 2011.

Did you know there are more UWAA members than UW students? More than 50,000 alumni make this organization one of the nation’s biggest and best, and I’m committed to telling those stories in new and exciting ways. My goal is to show you the value of staying connected to the University of Washington. That’s my resolution, and I’m excited about the prospects.

Happy New Year, Huskies! Let’s make it a great one.

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UW alum’s Community for Youth video highlights grads and students

 
UW alum and Information School Guest Faculty Greg Hay has released a short-documentary on Community for Youth, a local nonprofit that provides mentors for inner-city kids facing significant challenges. It’s an inspiring video and includes a few comments from former UW men’s basketball star Nate Robinson.

Community for Youth has a presence in three Seattle high schools—Rainier Beach, Cleveland and Chief Sealth—and celebrates its students that progress to the University of Washington. Recent Community for Youth and UW graduates include Biniyam Berhe and Vanny Chham (both UW ’07), while Samuel Martin, Marcell Buckner and Jonathan Amosa are current UW students pursuing degrees.

“Non-profits have been hit pretty hard in the past few years with the economic downturn and that includes Community for Youth,” Hay says. “I hope to raise awareness of this organization, as it has helped many troubled kids find success. My goal is to get 10,000 people to view the short-documentary before the end of January.”

Take a look, you’ll love it. And enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats: 

  • Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large writes about the late Sam Kelly’s new autobiography, written with UW history professor Quintard Taylor. Dr. Kelly was the UW’s first vice president for minority affairs.
  • A survey by UW Associate Professor of Social Work Taryn Lindhorst shows that women who have left their abusive husbands and fled with their children to the U.S., half the time our court system sends the children back, usually to their fathers.
  • UW alum Norm Rice was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Council for Community Solutions, which will look at the best ways citizens, nonprofits, businesses and government can work together to solve specific community needs.

    Read more…

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UW degrees made possible for working professionals

Thinking about going back to school while you work?

The University of Washington makes it possible for those wanting to complete the undergraduate degrees they started. UW Professional & Continuing Education is celebrating 20 years of the Evening Degree Program. More than 2,000 students have graduated from the program, and nearly half did so between the ages of 26 and 35. Some returned to school decades after starting and then suspending their studies.

And for professionals wondering how to fit grad school into their busy lives, the UW recently hosted a panel discussion featuring three professionals who earned graduate degrees while working full-time: Cyndy Clegg, assistant director of Ambulatory Pharmacy Services at Harborview Medical Center, earned an Executive Master of Health Administration in 2007; Jeremy Snook, senior business development & strategy manager for Microsoft Game Studios, completed a Master of Communication in Digital Media in 2009; and Kelli Bixby Bays, a construction project manager for REI, is a graduate of the Master of Science in Construction Management.

These alumni successfully went back to school while continunig to work their day jobs. That’s a hallmark of UW Professional & Continuing Education, which offers more than 125 certificate programs, dozens of graduate and undergraduate degrees and hundreds of courses—in the evening, on weekends and online. 

Here are 12 tips from those who survived the experience. Thrived in it, actually.

Alison Koop of PCE says, “What I found most inspiring: each grad rediscovered a hunger for learning. They called the experience ‘empowering.’ It was a very satisfying experience, returning to school as an adult. And to their surprise, they found their professional skills (giving presentations, writing business proposals, etc.) really put them ahead in school. So, yes, you can teach an old Dawg new tricks! Even while he keeps his day job.”

Here are this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • After jumping 375 percent over the last 20 years, a report by the UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations (IMHE) shows that global health funding slowed to just 6 percent.
  • From Time magazine, Dr. Wendy DeMartini of UW Medical Center reports that MRIs are an important tool in helping women detect more cases of breast cancer.
  • UW Provost Mary Lidstrom says more budget cuts are coming.
  • The UW’s Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) hosted a rapid response public conversation on the Wikileaks debate. This is being called a defining moment for the Internet. Read an extensive post on the subject by Adjunct Professor Ken Rufo.
  • Matthew Nienow, a 2010 UW graduate, was selected from over 1,000 applicants as one of this year’s Creative Writing Fellows from the National Endowment for the Arts. The prize is worth $25,000.

    Read more…

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UW Alumni Association members sell out opening night of Harry Potter

On Friday, Nov. 19, the UW Alumni Association hosted its second members-only night at the movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Earlier this year, we reserved the Pacific Science Center’s IMAX Theater for opening night of Alice in Wonderland 3-D. This time, it was all witchcraft and wizardry.

Once again, we sold out the opening night showing at Pacific Science Center in just a few hours. Members and their guests were treated to the 7:30 p.m. show that kicks off the 7-part story’s dramatic conclusion. The film puts Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort on a collision course that will end next summer with Part 2.

This is the kind of membership experience the UW Alumni Association is proud to bring its members, and it’s just one example of the kind of exclusive events and benefits you can enjoy as a UWAA member. See why 50,000 other Huskies are enjoying membership and tell us why you love the UW.

Stay tuned for all the latest member deals, and enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • From the Wall Street Journal, more and more youngsters are getting braces, but UW Professor of Orthodontics Gregory King says it’s no more effective to do it early than later.
  • UW students: Next president should raise money, keep tuition low.
  • The UW Board of Regents approved a $250 million renovation to Husky Stadium. The project will begin Nov. 7, 2011 and the Huskies will play at Qwest Field in 2012 and return to Husky Stadium in 2013.
  • The Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University is hosting a major 45-year retrospective exhibition of works by Seattle painter Francis Celentano, a professor emeritus from the UW who explores issues of color, shape, form and structure in abstract, geometric works. 
  • UW Alumni Association President Colleen Fukui-Sketchley and Past-President Eddie Pasatiempo are featured in this Department of Communication story about confronting the UW’s budget.

Read more…

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Passport to Picasso sells out Seattle Art Museum

On Sunday, Nov. 14, the UW College of Arts & Sciences hosted Passport to Picasso, an exclusive showing of the Seattle Art Museum’s amazing new Picasso exhibit. I attended this event with my family and was moved by the paintings, sculptures, photography and imagination of the 20th century’s most iconic and influential artist.

I’d never been to the SAM before, so I was looking forward to it for several reasons. How often do you get to experience an exhibit like this in a community setting? The entire allottment of 1,200 tickets sold out and the museum was bustling with UW alumni and friends, but it never felt crowded. Drinks and cookies were served, and we had an hour to explore the rest of the museum before punching our passport to Picasso.

The exhibit featured hundreds of pieces from Picasso’s personal collection. It spanned eight decades of Picasso’s extraordinary life, highlighting a variety of mediums and the Cubist movement he helped create. It was a remarkable collection and worth every second of my time. Events like this make our community proud. Kudos to Arts & Sciences, the UW Alumni Association and Seattle Art Museum for a stellar partnership.

On to this week’s Dawg Treats:

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Columns archives: Honoring our veterans

A very special thank you to all of the men and women who have served our country with honors. Today is Veterans Day, and I am reminded of the poem “Freedom is not Free” by Ashley Persyn:

There is a price we pay for freedom
For it is not truly free
But rather paid for by the contributions of veterans
To buy our liberty.

The photo above is of Blake Miller. It is one of the most famous pictures from the Iraq War and was taken by 1982 UW alum Luis Sinco. Watch this video from the Los Angeles Times on what came to be known as the “The Marlboro Marine.”

I ran a quick search of UWalum.com for “veterans” and am excited to share a few stories from our Columns archives. Thank you, veterans.

  • Healing wounds, March 2008: A UW alum tells his tale from the Vietnam War. He served as a dentist with a mobile construction battalion attached to the 3rd Marine Division. He says, “My dental training did not necessarily prepare me for treating the wounded in a helicopter; but you did what you could and quickly learned.”
  • Pappy Boyington—Our Black Sheep Hero, Dec. 1998: There aren’t many UW alums who win the Medal of Honor, write a best-selling book and have Robert Conrad portray them in a TV series. But that’s World War II Fighter Pilot Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a 1934 engineering graduate who shot down 28 enemy planes as a Marine pilot.
  • The Caretaker, Dec. 2009: Days after 24-year-old Army Lt. Robert Leisy wrote a letter home to his parents, he used his body to shield his fellow soldiers from a North Vietnamese grenade. They survived. Leisy did not. A look at the UW alum who made the ultimate sacrifice—in his own words.

Read more…

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