SAFS Newsletter Masthead

From the Director

The Tie that Binds

In thinking about themes to cover in my message to all of you, the typical list of budgets, reorganization, and “best-in-the-world” statistics came to mind…but I’ve told this sort of news before. I took inspiration instead from the stories that were assembled for this newsletter. These stories tell of people tied to SAFS as students—current and past—in ways that endure for their entire careers and lives.

The people highlighted in this issue—covering the full spectrum from undergraduate to alumni—all tell their reasons for coming to SAFS for the best education, opportunity to be creative, and simple sense of adventure and discovery that are hallmarks of our School:

Allison Linnell is a senior who is about to begin her Capstone research, MacKenzie Gavery is finishing her MS, and Jonny Armstrong is mid-way through his PhD. Mariah Meek looks back 10 years to the value of her SAFS undergraduate education as she pursued and completed her PhD. And Martin Hall looks back 30 years to tell us that his SAFS education opened doors and gave him credibility world-wide. Martin also reminds us of the important contributions of legendary faculty such as Doug Chapman, Ken Chew, Ole Mathisen, and Warren Wooster, who were giants in their fields and established enduring programs of international stature.

Those telling their stories speak of the incredible opportunity and mentorship provided by our world-renowned faculty, past and present. All this reassures me that there is continuity of excellence that has persisted over 90 years of SAFS history. Great people founded SAFS, several generations have come since, and we are now hiring a new generation of faculty (see interview with Trevor Branch), who will be leaders and legends yet to come.

Why is there such a continuum of excellence in this School? Of the many reasons, a few stand out for me:

  1. We have evolved from a core of fisheries science to include a broader spectrum of aquatic environmental and conservation sciences, which keeps us relevant over generations.
  2. At any moment in history, our faculty have been able to spot and recruit stellar talent to compose each next generation of educators.
  3. We have always been and remain an applied educational institution that is rooted in basic sciences and that gives tremendous hands-on experience. As Mariah Meek notes, “Nothing else can get you fired up about aquatic ecology quite like being able to go out on a UW research boat…and get all covered in fish slime!”
  4. And Mariah’s expression captures the fourth reason—the passion of our alumni for the School and the education and opportunities that it has provided.

We feel sincere commitment from all of you to support us going forward as you have for decades past. And it’s not just in monetary giving that this support is gained. Two alumni, Bill Clark (PhD 1975) and Steve Hare (PhD 1996), teamed to teach an upper division stock assessment course for us this past spring, and Martin Hall was in residence the entire spring quarter to teach a popular fish bycatch course.

Over the years, teaching and student supervision have been major roles of many alumni who donate time to give seminars and short and formal courses, and who serve on hundreds of student research committees. In these roles, many alumni have “returned” to SAFS as affiliate faculty who are essential to our research and teaching missions.

And, of course, your financial support continues to be an essential element of our School’s health and our ability to recruit and fund top students from around the country. You will be pleased to know that the robust endowment base you have helped build provides revenues that comprise 20–25% of total graduate student funding most years. And the amount now used in support of undergraduates exceeds $50,000 per annum.

From all of us, the faculty, staff, and students, our heart-felt thanks for your support of and passion for the School.

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