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Archives: February, 2011


Huskies atwitter over new UW debit card from BECU

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The University of Washington and UW Alumni Association are proud to announce a new partnership with BECU, a business that shares our values and understands our mission. BECU’s new Husky debit card is pretty spiffy and the video promoting it has garnered lots of attention so far.

Detlef Schrempf, Kenny G, Nate Robinson, Rick Steves and Bill Gates Sr., all singing “Bow Down to Washington” … what’s not to love?!

Here is just a sample of what our friends and followers are saying on Twitter:

We’re loving this BECU commercial. Bow Down to Washington! #UW http://ow.ly/3X8MA

UW Husky greats team with @BECU to sing fight song, promote new debit card: Yes, that’s UW Husky Richard Karn of Home Improvement fame!

Love it! Must order it now! Go UW Alums! – Husky Legends Sing UW Fight Song In New BECU Ad http://t.co/SLRT7Ns

I’m taking my talents (and by talents I mean money) to @BECU. How cool is this @UWAlum debit card? http://bit.ly/hXLsea.

Bow Down To Washington With BECU! Go Huskies! #UW #gohuskies #becu http://www.becu.org/uw-debit-card.aspx

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UW alum Ken Hughes and the JaK’s Grill community

UW alumni Ken Hughes of JaK's Grill (Harley Soltes)The story of JaK’s Grill is the story of community.

Ken Hughes and his business partner, John, both UW alums and the principal owners of the popular JaK’s Grill family, started the restaurant in 1996 in the Admiral District of West Seattle. They were hands-on from the beginning, bringing in their own equipment and building their own stuff, including the wood benches that are now a staple of the JaK’s experience.

Today, there are three JaK’s Grills: the original in West Seattle—albeit in a new location down the street—and two additional spots in Issaquah and Laurelhurst. Opening in Laurelhurst, with its close proximity to the UW campus, was like coming home for Ken and John. “It’s a nice place to celebrate a victory,” Ken says. “We’ve had some bad years recently, but I see a lot of Cougars buying after the Apple Cup.”

The two Huskies, both economics majors at the UW, wanted to excel at customer service and aimed to become “the Nordstrom of neighborhood steakhouses.” Ken is proud of the restaurant’s local roots and the fact it supports roughly 100 employees who work in the JaK’s community.

“It feels good giving people a place to work, especially at the UW,” he says. “We see a lot of really good young people working their way through college.”

Last year, the JaK’s team opened the Sunset Alehouse in Issaquah that is Husky-themed. It’s not your traditional bar, but a hybrid with “a little pub feel, a little alehouse feel.” So far, the restaurant has given the loyal JaK’s following a place to enjoy in addition to their favorite Grill.

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Two UW alums elected to National Academy of Engineering

UW alum Frank Robinson elected to engineering academyTwo UW alums, Frank Robinson and Hank Levy, have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the most prestigious honors an engineer can receive.

Robinson, a 1957 UW alum and lifetime member of the UW Alumni Association, is retired president and chairman of Robinson Helicopter Co. He was elected for the “conception, design, and manufacture of low-noise, low life-cycle cost, and high-reliability helicopters.” A former engineer for Bell and Hughes and a few other multimillion-dollar helicopter makers, Robinson wanted to create a reliable “personal” helicopter that was affordable for flight schools, small business and thrill seekers. In 1973, he founded Robinson Helicopter in his living room and today outsells all North American manufacturers put together. Robinson was named one of the 26 most fascinating entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine in 2005.

Levy, a 1987 UW alum, teaches at UW and is the Wissner-Slivka Endowed Chair in Computer Science and Engineering.  He was elected for “contributions to design, implementation, and evaluation of operating systems, distributed systems, and processor architectures.” Levy is the author of two books and over 100 papers on computer systems design, and in 2006 co-founded of Skytap, a Seattle cloud-computing company. He also co-founded Performant, a Java performance company acquired by Mercury in 2003.

Here are this week’s Dawg Treats:

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New – Watch videos on the Columns website

Seattle Camera Club photo by Frank Asakichi Kunishige Betti, ca. 1924. Like Columns magazine? Like UWTV? How about the Seattle Camera Club story that ran in Columns in December and on UW 360 this month?

Then, we hope you’ll love this: Readers can now enjoy our Camera Club story, then watch UW 360′s fantastic episode on the club, all from the Columns website. Click here to watch the video and see the new feature!

This is just another look at how we storytellers are beginning to work together across the UW campus. I’m excited to see how this evolves.

Until then, check out the entire UW 360 February episode :

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Alumni groups in Egypt are back home safely

Tahir Square, Cairo - Photo by University of Washington

Tahir Square in Cairo, taken from Susan's hotel room. Look closely and you can see a group of protesters.

Dear Alumni,

When protests broke out in Cairo last week, UW Alumni Tours had two groups in Egypt. It’s been an exciting week, and I thought you might like to hear that Susan Cathcart, our assistant director of UW Alumni Tours, and the two alumni groups are now back in Seattle or wherever their homes are. I welcomed Susan’s group back at the airport on Friday, Feb. 4, with a purple UW banner. As you can imagine, they were all relieved to be home. Susan, especially, is exhausted but in good spirits!

Many of the travelers took the time to tell me how much they appreciated Susan’s hard work and advised me that due to her presence and how well the tour operator handled the situation in Egypt, they felt like they were well taken care of. A KIRO 7 news team just happened to be waiting for this same flight because they were planning to interview a  local peace activist returning from Egypt. The reporter couldn’t help notice my purple banner, and as soon as they heard about the groups they wanted to interview some of the travelers. They ended up interviewing two travelers as well as Susan.

On another note, I had sent an email to retired UW Professor Jere Bacharach who lives in Egypt six months out of the year. He accompanied a UW group to Egypt last year and also spoke to Susan’s group while they were in Cairo this past week. Once Internet access in Egypt was back up he was able to respond to my email, along with sending along a longer email he sent out to his family and friends about his experiences during the uprising.

You can read Professor Bacharach’s email here. There is also a blog being written by Political Science Professor Ellis Goldberg, who is in Cairo right now.

Check back next week when we hope to have photos and stories collected from our travelers.

Pauline Ranieri,
Director, UW Alumni Tours

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UW’s workplace giving campaign raises $2 million

George Washington statue at the University of Washington
Every year, the state of Washington’s Combined Fund Drive raises millions of dollars for local charities, and the University of Washington plays a major role in that effort.

Our annual workplace giving campaign, the Combined Fund Drive ended Dec. 10 and UW faculty and staff raised a record-breaking $2,044,404. I was lucky enough to serve as a campaign coordinator for the UW Alumni Association and University Advancement. This was an honor indeed, and I am proud of what we accomplished.

Peter Kelley, assistant editor of UW Today, caught up with Campaign Manager Kerri Everly and penned a nice story on this year’s wrap-up. Everly said the UW’s fundraising represents 36 percent of the total raised throughout the state. Northwest Harvest was the top charity to support for UW employees, while the UW Foundation and University Food Bank were also popular gifts. All told, there were more than 2,800 charities to choose from, and many rely on the Combined Fund Drive to support their annual budgets.

“It was a tough year this year but people are really still supporting their beloved charities,” Everly told UW Today. “That makes it even more special, that the UW community stepped up in that way.”

Read the full story here, and make quick work of this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • Nathaniel Greenberg, a doctoral candidate at the UW who is studying in Egypt, offers his views of the uprising from his Cairo neighborhood. A great read from The Common Language Project as published in the Seattle Times.
  • The UW is partnering with Intel and the U.S. military to help scientists experiment with designs for faster, more energy-efficient optoelectronic chips that compute using both electrical impulses and photons of light. Sounds impressive.
  • A study by the UW, University of British Columbia and University of Wisconsin looked at more than 1,600 college students and discovered that many depressed students are being missed. According to researchers, one out of every four students who visits a university health center has the signs of depression.
  • The Dream Project, founded at the UW to help low-income and first-generation students get to college, was awarded a $972,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Alumni vote on top reasons to love the UW

Red Square at University of Washington
Last week, we asked UW Alumni Association staff and friends on Facebook to help us out with a membership project.

We’re on the way to 60,000 members—a new record for our organization—and we’re focused on telling the stories of why alumni, friends and fans love the UW.

Here’s what everyone decided upon, in no particular order. There were about 15 choices, and this is the top six including a write-in vote for “beautiful campus,” which I can’t believe we left off the list in the first place. Kudos to you guys for adding what is obviously a top reason to love the University of Washington. Your favorite reasons to love the UW are:

  • You went there.
  • Husky football, basketball and other sports.
  • UW drives 70,000 jobs in Washington and is the third largest employer in the state behind Boeing and Microsoft.
  • The UW is researching the critical issues of our time. Kidney dialysis, color TV and the Hepatitis B vaccine are all products of UW research.
  • UW educates nearly 100,000 people and UW Medicine treats more than 1.4 million patients each year.
  • Is there a more beautiful campus in the United States?

And here are a few more write-in votes:

I picked up valuable life skills beyond the classroom.

Where would you be without it?

The BEAUTIFUL campus!!! (And a super cute mascot.)

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