President Michael Young, UW Football Coach Steve Sarkisian and popular UW Professor David Domke took the stage at the UW Alumni Association Member Celebration to thank UWAA members for their century-plus support of the University and higher ed.
Held in an enormous pavilion on Red Square, stuffed with art by UW students, three stages, a jazz combo, and buffet tables groaning under piles of delicious food, the UWAA Member Celebration hosted over 300 alumni and friends for an evening of music, conversation and fun.
Taking a break from the music (provided by a trio from the UW School of Music) President Young briefly traced the evolution of the UWAA from its earliest days in 1889—when there were 60 living UW alumni—to today’s 55,000-member community, united by a love of the University. He shared that the UW deans’ consensus that the mission of the UW was to “optimize human potential,” and his opinion that a strong University relies on a strong alumni association.
Coach Sarkisian took the stage next and shared his thoughts on the upcoming season at Century Link Field. Coach Sark described the challenging season ahead, with four opponents who finished in the top 25 in 2011, and the steps the team is taking to meet that challenge. He noted that UWAA members are among the University’s most fervent supporters of athletics, with one in three season ticket holders being members.
Finally, David Domke, professor of communication (and chair of the Department of Communication) spoke of the power of higher education to transform lives and the need for supporters of the UW to be vocal in their support of the University.
Then it was back to music and conversation as members and UWAA staff mingled, shared experience, and enjoyed this celebration of membership.
Here’s what some attendees had to say about their experiences at the Member Celebration:
This was my first event and my expectations were exceeded! The whole event was a class act. My husband and I also met two other couples and exchanged emails. We have already been in touch to plan a tailgate get-together at a Husky game in the fall!
I thought it was great and really enjoyed [it]. Since I’m not that into Husky sports, I didn’t think hearing the coach would be that interesting but he was great and inspiring–made me want to attend a game.
After the celebration, a free concert for the general public took over the pavilion, and members, friends, walk-ins, and community members were treated to top offerings from the UW School of Music’s nationally-acclaimed jazz program. Professors Cuong Vu and Marc Seales brought ensembles and shook the tent well into the evening hours.