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Arts Dawg preview: The timeliness and timelessness of Fifth of July

The cast of "Fifth of July." (Photo credit: Mike Hipple)

The cast of “Fifth of July.” (Photo credit: Mike Hipple)

When Fifth of July premiered in 1978, it was very much a play of its time. The two-act production followed three generations of the Talley family as they tried to make their way through the muck and mire of an America slowly recovering from the Vietnam War. Fifth of July tackled head-on the continuing debate about the Vietnam War, gay rights, women’s rights, and the ascension of the Baby Boomer generation—all issues, in other words, that still resonate today.

And that’s what first drew the eye of director Valerie Curtis-Newton, ’96. “It’s really another ripple in the current of history of those great social movements,” she said. Fans can learn more on Nov. 14, when Fifth of July will be part of the second Arts Dawg event this season. Curtis-Newton will give a talk about the play at the pre-show reception, which will include complimentary wine and appetizers.

Curtis-Newton said she will discuss the timelessness of Lanford Wilson’s production and its relevance to modern times, despite debuting nearly 40 years ago. Take the gay rights movement: One of the play’s main characters is a homosexual veteran. At the time, the character lived and served in the closet, and “Don’t ask, don’t tell” prohibited openly gay service members until 2011. “All of those movements are still alive now,” Curtis-Newton said. “We’ll recognize these people, and we’ll recognize how they interact with each other.”

If You Go—Walk-ups welcome!

What: Arts Dawg event in conjunction with “Fifth of July.” The event includes remarks from director Valerie Curtis-Newton, ’96, wine and light appetizers.

Where: Meany Hall for the Performing Arts, UW Seattle. The reception will be in the Meany Theater backstage, and the production will be in the Meany Studio Theater.

When: Thursday, Nov. 14; lobby doors and the reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10 for UWAA members

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UW Alumni in the News: July 2013

UW alumni were all over the news in July. So to help you keep up with what fellow Dawgs did last month, we’re rounding up a list of notable UW alum accomplishments. This list is by no means exhaustive; if we’re missing accomplishments or other cool alumni happenings, leave a comment!

Software developer stars in Nordstrom commercial

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Yaw Anokwa, M.S. ’07, Ph. D ’12, has spent the better part of five years developing software and technological tools for developing regions. The technology, called Open Data Kit, initially helped doctors and nurses collect patient data through tablets and smartphones. Open Data Kit is now also employed to help users around the world combat wildfires, monitor elections, and track climate change.

Anokwa, in late 2011, cofounded Nafundi with Carl Hartung, ’03, Ph D. ’12, to better support Open Data Kit users. In this commercial for Nordstrom’s Citizens of Humanity jeans, Anokwa explains Open Data Kit, Nafundi, and how he sees his unique role.

Tim Lincecum throws no-hitter

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Former UW pitcher Tim Lincecum, ’06, who became the first Husky ever selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft, threw his first career no-hitter on July 13, 2013 against the San Diego Padres.

The four-time N.L. All-Star racked up 13 strikeouts en route to the no-hitter, which was the 15th in San Francisco Giants franchise history. Read more about Lincecum’s accomplishment.

Long-time community leader dies

The UW community was saddened this month to learn that long-time Seattle community leader Kip Tokuda, ’69, M.S.W. ’73, had passed away. Tokuda had recently retired as the director of the Seattle Human Service Department’s Family and Youth Services Division. Read more about Tokuda’s community service and legacy.

Ph. D. student selected as new student regent

Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently selected Kiana Scott, M.P.A. ’12, to serve as the student regent on the University of Washington Board of Regents in 2013-14. In this new role, Scott hopes to improve communication between UW’s three campuses and university administration. Learn more about Scott and her appointment.

UW grads behind fund-it-yourself science

Founded by two UW grads, Microryza is changing how science gets funded, from teaching about bees to a campaign to bring a Triceratops skeleton to Seattle. About 80 projects have raised a combined $200,000 through the crowd-funding site, but researchers are getting more ambitious. Check it out at the Seattle Times.

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Throwback Thursday: The Queen Visits Campus


Queen Elizabeth II is escorted into the Hec Ed pavilion by UW President William Gerberding on March 7, 1983. Photo by The Seattle Times

Thirty years ago last March, the UW hosted the final stop in Queen Elizabeth II’s historic West Coast tour. Crews worked through the night to transform the Hec Ed from a basketball arena (the Huskies faced off against UCLA less than two days before) into a flag-festooned, blossom-bedecked showcase fit for royalty. With security arrangements involving the Secret Service, the CIA and the UWPD (not to mention the queen’s personal security, which included divers to patrol the waters under Her Majesty’s royal yacht, parked in Elliott Bay), it was the most publicly visible and complex event to come to campus since President Kennedy’s visit for the UW centennial in 1962.

Everything went off without a hitch: The queen’s address included a humorous aside about an 1859 dust-up between the United States and England that was sparked by the shooting of a pig in the San Juan Islands, andGovernor John Spellman presented a gift. Hec Ed was put back together in time for the Huskies to take on WSU the following Friday. “We had a wonderful and enjoyable journey,” said the queen.

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Arts Dawg Preview: MFA + MDes 2013 Thesis Exhibition

A Henry patron takes in MFA candidate Carla Cummings' portraiture.

A patron takes in MFA candidate Carly Cummings’ portraiture.

“This is the fruitful season,” declares the catalog for the MFA + MDes 2013 Thesis Exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery. For the past two years, 12 artists and five designers—UW Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design candidates—have been honing their craft and deepening their understanding of the theory, methodology and practice that undergirds their work. The fruits of their labor are now on display, representing an exciting cross-section of the diversity of art being made through the UW.

On June 20, Arts Dawgs will get a taste of the best of the UW arts scene as they enjoy a special reception at the Henry, featuring wine and remarks from Chris Ozubko, Director of the School of Art, and Paul Rucker, ’95, ’02, UWAA Executive Director. The artists and designers will also be in attendance to talk about their work. Dana Van Nest, ’93, Henry Associate Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations, graciously agreed to show us around the exhibition and walk us through the production and setup.

The MFA candidates’ artistic works represent an exciting mix of styles and media. Outsized, boldly colored portraiture lines many of the walls, while intricate ceramics hold the floor. One installation features hand tools arranged like Egyptian hieroglyphics to celebrate (and possibly eulogize) manual labor. Another incorporates found objects and what looks like construction debris to build a whimsical, sand-castle-like edifice. The sheer variety of talent on display is here is breathtaking.

MDes Candidate Mike Fretto (in blue shirt) shares Design for Us, his project for developing a community advocacy design workshop.

MDes Candidate Mike Fretto shares Design for Us, his project for developing a community advocacy design workshop.

The MDes presentations incorporate a broad spectrum of concepts from all over the world of design. One project traced the development of a map of the rhythms and patterns of language. Another followed one candidate’s campaign to introduce young people to the power of design. Drawing from the toolbox of industrial design and his own experience as a shipbuilder, one candidate produced a wall-mounted folding desk that marvelously marries the useful and the beautiful. Van Nest warns me about touching the desk. “You’re going to want to,” she says. She’s right.

According to Van Nest, preparing for the show started several months ago, when the students were first introduced to the space they would be using; many of the pieces were custom-built to take advantage of the unique features of the gallery. Works climb the walls and snake through a previously-unnoticed interior window. In several instances, a piece will take up an entire small room, drawing viewers inside and surrounding them.

Much of the art is intended to challenge and provoke. We pass a family in one of the galleries, and Van Nest asks what they think of the exhibition. “I’m still making up my mind,” says the dad. Van Nest is fine with that. She feels the exhibition will be successful if patrons are still making up their minds about it the next day. Says Van Nest, “We want you to decide what a work is about.”

If You Go—Walk-ups welcome!

What: Arts Dawg event in conjunction with the MFA + MDes 2013 Thesis Exhibition. The event includes remarks from Paul Rucker, UWAA Executive Director, and Chris Ozubko, Director of the School of Art , a tour of the exhibition with the MFA and MDes candidates, wine, light appetizers and live music.

Where: Henry Art Gallery, 15th Avenue NE and 41st Street, Seattle (view map)

When: Thursday, June 20, 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

Cost: $8 at the door (Free for Henry members)

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In the Spotlight: Dr. Jill Purdy

Dr. Jill Purdy

Dr. Jill Purdy

Dr. Jill Purdy didn’t expect a steady stream of temp gigs to pave the way for a career spent studying – and teaching about – businesses and organizations. But, as she spent time in various administrative and secretarial jobs throughout high school and college, she found herself fascinated by the collage of workplace cultures she encountered. “It was like being an anthropologist discovering a new society,” she said.

Spurred in part by those experiences, Purdy earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Pennsylvania State University in 1994 and joined the University of Washington Tacoma’s Milgard School of Business that same year. Purdy, an associate professor of management, researches and teaches about organization theory, negotiation, conflict resolution and more.

When Purdy started at UWT, she couldn’t have imagined the sea changes that would shake the business world and provide steady streams of real-world lessons to share in the classroom. At the time, Enron wasn’t yet a household name or symbol of corporate greed; sustainability wasn’t a strategy for attracting new customers; and a widespread recession hadn’t yet shaken the foundations of the global economy. “We’ve had a little bit of culture change of what we expect and what we want from businesses,” she said. “There’s a different level of accountability, and I think people are paying a little more attention to it.”

Purdy chalks a lot of that change up to the Internet; consumers no longer have to rely on journalists for breaking news about companies, she said. Instead, social media and easily accessible public records made it easy for consumers to see if companies are faithfully representing their brands and living up to their mission. She points to the Red Cross as a prime example; in the days and weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the organization came under fire when it was discovered that donations didn’t always go toward those impacted by the storm. “I don’t think anybody would have been aware of that 25 years ago or paid much attention to it,” Purdy said. “The tools you use to pay attention are different now.”

She also looks at Seattle-based companies who think differently about philanthropy, environmental causes and social responsibility in an era when so much information is readily accessible. She praises Starbucks for ensuring that coffee growers in Costa Rica aren’t being exploited and that the coffee supply chains are being ethically sourced. “It’s become an expectation of doing business at that high level,” Purdy said. “People care about it; investors care about it; and it’s expected. It’s simply a norm.”

Purdy draws on these case studies for classroom lessons on management, board governance, and more. Many of these lessons resonate with students, she said, because they’ve grown up with the changes and have seen them develop first-hand. She also tries to tailor her lessons for students who might not start their own company or enter the business world. “You never know what you’re going to be doing, so you should be teaching things that apply in a lot of circumstances,” Purdy said. Her negotiation and conflict resolution class has helped students foster better personal relationships – even with in-laws, she said.

Outside of the classroom, Purdy is currently studying and researching benefit corporations, which promote positive environmental and ethical practices. The companies, Purdy explains, aren’t necessarily driven by high profits, but rather by the chance to help the environment, ensure the business is being run in an ethical way, and easily share that information with consumers. “It’s like being on the ground floor of a big social change and watching as it unfolds, as opposed to watching it in history,” Purdy said.

And, whether in the classroom or while studying a new generation of social entrepreneurship, Purdy finds herself curious by the same questions she asked as a temp: “Why is it things work out one way here, but they work differently at a different place?” she wonders. “We’re learning so much and getting so much information, we’ll have to see where it takes us.”

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Get a taste of Asia in Red Square at the UW Night Market


A traditional night market in Keelung, Taiwan. Photo from “Beef No Guy.”

Night markets are a staple of Taiwanese culture. Popping up as the sun goes down, night markets provide cheap eats, consumer goods and entertainment late into the night all over Taiwan and further abroad. Usually held outdoors, night markets frequently take over busy daytime thoroughfares.

Since 2001, the Taiwanese Student Association has been bringing this slice of Taiwanese culture to campus for one night each year. The TSA’s UW Night Market has grown every year, beginning in the HUB ballroom, then moving to the HUB lawn and then to Red Square. Last year’s market drew over 5,000 attendees to partake in Taiwanese snacks, watch bands and traditional performers, and to play games of chance and skill. People come in from all over the region to attend. Some even drive down from Vancouver, B.C.!

This year’s night market, sponsored in part by the UWAA, promises to be the biggest one yet. I had a chat with Ted Chen, one of the student organizers, and he enthused about the menu (“Over 100 items from 13 vendors!”), the entertainment (two UW alumni, known as “The Fung Brothers,” will share the stage with Filipino-American music phenom Joseph Vincent as special guests), and the games (“You can actually win these!”). The food is a particular point of pride for Chen, who pointed out the traditional night market staples—popcorn chicken, bubble tea and stinky tofu—that will be on offer, as well as harder-to-find Taiwanese specialties like Hakka cuisine, baked pastries and Taiwanese sausages.

The UW Night Market is open to the public. It starts at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 and will close around 10:30. Campus parking is free after noon on Saturdays. The UWAA is proud to be supporting a vibrant campus life; why don’t you stop by and check it out?

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Arts Dawg Preview: “Once Upon a Time 6x in the West”

Once Upon a Time 6x in the West

“Indian” (Ben Phillips) offers Lil (Sylvia Kowalski) medicine in UW Drama’s Once Upon A Time 6X In The West at the Jones Playhouse Theatre. (UW Daily—Photo by Andrew Tat)

Have you ever wondered what Star Wars would have been like if Martin Scorsese had directed it?  How about Nora Ephron? Once Upon a Time 6x in the West will take you on a similar journey, following a single story through the styles of six iconic visionaries of avant-garde theater.

Once Upon a Time 6x follows the story of Lil, an orphan girl coming of age in the Wild West. Coming at the story from wildly different perspectives, from the stripped down austerity of Peter Brook to the madcap mashups of the Gob Squad, will provide unique insights into the art of storytelling.

Read a review from the UW Daily.

Director Jeffrey Fracé shares insights into his production, and describes the various theatrical styles you’ll see in Once Upon a Time 6x in the West, in an interview with Professor Odai Johnson:

If You Go

What: Once Upon a Time 6x in the West, the latest production from UW Drama. UWAA members can sign up through the Arts Dawg program, which includes a pre-show reception with free wine and appetizers, as well as an exclusive talk with director Jeffrey Fracé.

Where: Jones Playhouse Theatre, 4045 University Way NE. Arts Dawg reception on April 25 in Parrington Hall, UW Campus

When: April 19-28. Arts Dawg performance April 25, 2013. Performance begins at 7:30; reception begins at 6:30

Cost: Regular $18; UWAA members $13 when purchasing online in advance. Prices go up $2 at the door.

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Throwback Thursday: The Quad

We here in the UW Alumni Association are hopping aboard the “Throwback Thursday” bandwagon by sharing photos from the University of Washington’s storied history. We could think of no better way to launch this series on our blog than with photos of the Quad and those beautiful cherry blossoms.

The Yoshino cherry trees, which blossom for a week or two every March, symbolize the end of winter, the onset of spring, and countless photo opportunities in the Quad. But it wasn’t always that way.

Here, for example, was the Quad in 1942. Notice anything missing?

The Quad (circa 1942)

The Quad (circa 1942)

Until the early 1960s, the Quad was an open, treeless yard that bore little resemblance to the iconic gathering space of today. The brick paths were almost replaced with asphalt in 1963, but the plan was abandoned in the wake of pressure from student groups.

The Quad as we know it today first took shape in 1964, when UW President Charles Odegaard arranged for the 31 cherry trees to be transplanted from the arboretum to keep them from being bulldozed as part of the State Route 520 construction project. They found a home in the Quad because there was nowhere else to put them, but the trees quickly became a cherished part of campus lore.

Yoshino cherry trees live for 60-100 years; as they grow old and die, the trees are replaced with younger trees grown at a nursery near Mount Vernon.

Walk through the Quad this week or next — when the blossoms are near full bloom — and you’ll see a stunning display of pink clouds delicate petals. But don’t take our word for it; see for yourself in this photo, which was taken in 2013 near the location of the photo above:

The Quad in 2013 (Photo by Greg Flanders)

The Quad in 2013 (Photo by Greg Flanders)

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