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Michelle Obama invites UW alum Zach Davis to sit with her at State of the Union address

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How’s this for a domino effect?

UW alum Zachary Davis and his business partner, Kendra Baker, opened The Penny Ice Creamery in the summer of 2010 after working alongside the local office of the Small Business Administration in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Thanks to the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (federal stimulus funding), which increased the guarantee of a small business loan from 75 to 90 percent, Zach and Kendra were able to get the funds they needed to open their dream, an ice cream shop “done right.”

The Penny Ice Creamery, which opened in August, has been so well received that it continues to grow. Zach and Kendra are working 90 hours a week and are still hiring additional help. After the creamery opened, Zach, Kendra and crew put together a thank-you video to the government using Zach’s iPhone and the iMovie software. They did it all on a Monday, the only day the creamery is closed.

Zach, who earned a B.A. in comparative religion from the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies in 2000, says the video “is our story,” and that “we wanted to show how the ARRA helped one small business.” The video (above) got 97,000 hits on YouTube and ultimately made its way to the White House. That led to a call from Vice President Joe Biden, who thanked Zach and Kendra for their video (below).

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That’s not the end of it, either.

On Jan. 18, Zach and Kendra received a call from Michelle Obama’s office, inviting he and Kendra to attend a reception and the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. They flew to the nation’s capital on a Monday, sat in the First Lady’s box on Tuesday, and returned home to Santa Cruz on Wednesday “to scoop ice cream.”

While in D.C., they met the president as well as the director of the Small Business Administration. “I don’t believe a lot of people understand how stimulus money is spent,” Zach says. “I don’t understand all of it. But in this case, the ARRA allowed us a loan guarantee we needed. We believe in our commitment to the banks that loaned us the money, and to the taxpayers that we won’t fail.”

Dr. Peter Rhee, also a UW alum, was invited to the State of the Union address by President Obama. Rhee is the surgeon who treated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and directed care for 10 other victims following the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson. Read our post on Dr. Rhee here.

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Husky Holiday Bowl Blog – Dawgs win 19-7!


Live from sunny San Diego, it’s the Husky Holiday Bowl show!

Well, at least it feels that way. Washington just scored a 19-7 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers and I have to admit… this is awesome! There’s nothing better if you’re a Husky football fan than winning a bowl game, and this was a stellar performance for our squad. Congratulations to coach Steve Sarkisian and his team. We love you guys and we are proud of you.

So proud to be a UW alum. Go Dawgs!

Game Day – Thursday, Dec. 30

Holiday Bowl, 10:14 p.m.
This game is in the book and the Washington Huskies have won the 2010 Holiday Bowl 19-7. One of the most impressive defensive performances in
Husky history, the Dawgs dominated Nebraska from start to finish and held one of the nation’s best offenses to just 7 points and 184 yards of total offense. This was some 1990-ish Husky defense. Big hits. Hard knocks. Everything you could ask for in a defensive effort. It was so exciting to be in the stadium for the game, and watching the team celebrate its victory afterwards was priceless. Steve Sarkisian truly has done wonders with this program, and that had to have been the best Gatorade bath he’s ever had. During the trophy presentation, he called us the “best fans in America.” I have to agree. Thanks to all of you for a great season. Go Dawgs, and let’s enjoy this victory!

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Huskies to play Nebraska in Holiday Bowl Dec. 30

Four weeks ago, the Husky football team was 3-6 and heading in the wrong direction. But the Dawgs beat UCLA, California and Washington State to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2002. Congratulations to Steve Sarkisian, Jake Locker and all the Husky fans who are celebrating today.

Washington (6-6) has been selected to play Nebraska (10-3) in the 2010 Holiday Bowl. The game is Dec. 30 in San Diego, and the UW Alumni Association will be there hosting its biggest Washington Warm Up in years. Stay tuned for more info and keep checking UWalum.com/cheer for the latest details.

The Huskies won the 103rd Apple Cup in dramatic fashion, scoring a 35-28 victory in Pullman on Jake Locker’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse with 44 seconds remaining. It was an amazing moment for Husky fans and a statement game for a UW program that has been through so much in recent years. The bowl berth is a huge step forward and we can’t wait to see you in San Diego.

GoHuskies.com has all the info on tickets and more. Of course, there will be plenty of Husky Football Viewing Parties all across the country.

Friday Night’s Husky Happy Hour in Spokane started our Apple Cup fun off right. We packed C.I. Shenanigans and sang Bow Down to Washington with the band as loud as we could. On game day, we rolled down to Pullman in style, with a host of lucky fans taking the Husky Express Bus to Martin Stadium and back. The pre-game Warm Up was awesome (as usual), with an estimated 300 fans enjoying good food, great spirits and all the purple and gold passion they could handle.

The Apple Cup was incredible. This Husky team is resilient. And now we are off to a bowl game. So proud to be a Husky. Go Dawgs!

Photo by Dean Rutz, Seattle Times.

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Apple Cup takes center stage – viewing party, anyone?

The Apple Cup. It’s the time of year when Huskies and Cougars just don’t mix. It’s the week for trash talk—when couples choose sides and office rivalries are born. It’s Washington vs. Washington State in the 103rd playing of the state’s premier rivalry.

Did we mention Martin Stadium in Pullman is named after a Husky?

If you’re not going to the game (it’s going to be cold over the there!) consider joining fellow Huskies for a viewing party near you. Hosted by UW Alumni Association volunteers nationwide, viewing parties are a great way to enjoy the game with those who share your passion for the purple and gold. In Phoenix, we’re meeting at the Firehouse Bar & Grill. In Atlanta, we’re at Central City Tavern. And in Cougar country (Spokane), we’re taking over C.I. Shenanigan’s.

See the complete list of viewing parties.

Believe it or not, we actually have a Cougar among us at the UW Alumni Association. I know! Names shall remain anonymous, but said individual once told me that he roots for the Huskies every day of the year except for one. And, honestly, I can respect that. Should be a fun game with a bowl game on the line for Washington.

Let me know if you need help promoting a viewing party in your area. I’ll post it on the UWAA’s social networking sites. Go Dawgs!

Photo by Rod Mar.

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Turkey travelers delight in trip with UW Alumni Tours

After every one of our UW Alumni Tours, we survey travelers and include a final question asking them “why” they travel with us. On occasion, the perfect quote reaffirms our own answers as to why we think UW alumni and friends choose our program over the multitude of travel options available today. 

I’d like to share with you a quote that came in today from a traveler just returning from our Turkey trip: 

Why Do You Travel with UW Alumni Tours?

It is simple: UW continues to attract us with affordable, interesting tours with extremely competent travel guides.  In fact, we rarely feel like we are “on a tour,” but being shown a country by a friend. We can ask anything, learn while doing, and feel like the guide really likes us too! What a combination! Travel with a personal touch, and all the difficulties of logistics taken care of….it’s a no brainer. 

And, here’s what she had to say about the travel group:

We were blessed with a wonderful diverse group of companions, any of which we would be happy to see on future trips!

This comes in from Connie Kinyon and Steve Torgesen, both graduates of the UW and regulars of our travel program. Connie has been on four trips and Steve three. Happy Halloween!

Best,

Pauline Ranieri
Director, UW Alumni Tours

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Browse member benefits on your mobile phone

Let’s say you need new luggage. There’s no doubt in your mind that ExOfficio is the place to get it. But you want to make sure there’s an ExOfficio discount for UW Alumni Association members. You’re not going to drive all the way to the store if there isn’t, but you’re not at your computer desk so you can’t be sure.

Oh, yes you can.

Simply head to UWalum.com/mobile on your smartphone for a quick look at all your benefits and services. Browse dozens of member perks and see what’s available to you while you’re away from your desk, standing in line at the coffee shop or sitting comfortably on your couch. In this case, just tap “Dawg Deals & Discounts” and scroll down to ExOfficio. Members save 20% off any regular price purchases. What a deal!

See our Membership page for more details, and bookmark UWalum.com/mobile.

Click the photo above to enlarge.

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Summer fun: Salmon BBQs in New York and D.C.

I recently spent a weekend on the East Coast attending a couple of Husky barbecues in New York and Washington, D.C. Both events were first-class, and I want to say thank you to our gracious hosts.

Lex and Diane Gamble have opened up their beautiful home in Chappaqua, N.Y., for an impressive 37 years. It was 1973 when they first decided to host a gathering for UW alumni on the East Coast. Gas was 40 cents a gallon back then, the Vietnam War was ending, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon was atop the music charts. Fifty people came to that first barbecue, and now it’s a summer tradition for Huskies living in the New York area.

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