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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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A history of UW logos – Which is your favorite?

University of Washington logos

For Huskies, the University of Washington means many things. To the majority of people outside the UW community, the school is an image—a purple block W.  

When people look at the logo, no matter where they are, they don’t just see the logo. They see their personal experiences with the university, and their impressions are based on media and other sources. They see the UW’s reputation.  

With its logo, mascot and color scheme, the UW has always tried to represent the students, the school and the ideals held here. The brand’s evolution has taken some unusual twists and turns but has endlessly inspired students and alumni alike. Let’s open the history books and look back at nearly a century of UW logos.  

First, some interesting notes:  

  • Until 1919, the UW did not have a mascot and used only the block W. But as other schools adopted mascots across the nation, Columns reported, student leaders realized that Washington needed an icon.
  • The nickname “Sun Dodgers” was used until the UW switched to Huskies in 1922. Wanting to move away from Sun Dodgers, university officials decided to go with Vikings but students immediately protested and the school settled on Huskies a few months later.
  • It wasn’t until 1984 that the UW agreed it needed a clear identity and moved to adopt a consistent logo and color scheme. Before that, more than 550 licensees were authorized to use either the block W or Husky logos, and the result was a mishmash of UW imagery.

    University of Washington logo 1919

    Sunny Boy statue at Husky Hall of Fame.

Our story begins with a drawing in the Sept. 1919 issue of the on-campus magazine, Sun Dodger, in which a staff artist depicted a fictional UW student named “Sunny Boy,” a smiling freshman wearing a huge bow tie and carrying an umbrella (right). Despite the initial protests of magazine staff, the name “Sun Dodgers” stuck with the local press and Sunny Boy grew in popularity. Eventually, students commissioned a 3-foot-tall wooden statue in his likeness and carried it to the away football games. See the video from the Husky Hall of Fame.

An article in the Washington Alumnus, which later became Columns magazine, noted the Husky is “a symbol of willingness, courage, endurance, strength and fight.” After settling on the new name, university officials were most excited to use a live dog as an on-the-field mascot, and felt the name Huskies “suggests the idea that Washington is the most northern American university on the Pacific Coast.” A nod to our neighbors to the north, eh?

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What should be the next UW president’s No. 1 priority?

From the September issue of Columns comes the popular Alumni Vote:

With Mark Emmert stepping down as UW president to head the NCAA, the university has formed a search committee to conduct a national search with the goal of having a new president in place for the 2011-2012 academic year.

What should be the next UW president’s No. 1 priority?

Visit the Alumni Vote to share your opinion, and check out these replies from your fellow Huskies:

  • Preserving tuition affordability is the top priority. The higher that public university tuition increases, the tighter the door to the middle class closes on a generation of young people. Husky Promise is a good start, but is not nearly enough.
  • We need the new president to make academics the priority. Obviously, the budget is constrained, but attracting the best professors and instructors means offering higher salaries. I agree with the above observer that a new stadium and an emphasis on sports is not in the best interest of this university. An academic university does not make the media as often as sports, but it does make a reputation in the right circles.
  • All professional salaries and staff salaries need to be revisited and most reduced, and examined from the standpoint of supply and demand. Then future raises should be based on fixed dollar amounts, not percentage raises which favor those with salaries at the upper half.

Photo by Ken Lambert, The Seattle Times

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Alumni Vote: Your favorite HUB memories

From the March issue of Columns magazine comes the latest Alumni Vote. Here are some highlights from your wonderful responses. Above is a rendering of the new HUB, scheduled to open in 2012.

The Husky Union Building (HUB) will close its doors July 1 to begin a two-year renovation. What’s your favorite HUB memory?

“I saw a sneak preview of American Pie with hundreds of other students in a sold-out show at the HUB movie theater. I must have missed half the lines in the movie because everyone was laughing so hard. It remains one of my best moviegoing experiences ever.”

“Coffee dates at the HUB—one of them became by husband!”

“The year was 1963—November. I had just stepped into the quad from a class when a man shouted ‘President Kennedy’s been shot.’ I immediately turned around to head for the HUB. Not many had heard the news so I hurried in and went downstairs to get a good place in front of the TV. I got there just in time to hear Walter Cronkite announce President Kennedy’s death. Of course, we students were very upset and classes were cancelled the next day.”

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