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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

Read more…

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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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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.

    Read more…

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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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UW alums open showroom for digital printing shop

UW shirts from Maverick Apparel PrintingA pair of UW alums have opened a downtown Seattle showroom for their custom printing business, Maverick Apparel Printing. Co-founders Mark Pattison and Greg Smith are committed to a fun, hip and “100% customer-centric” experience, and Maverick’s clients speak for themselves—Seattle Art Museum, Cherry Street Coffee and The Triple Door, to name a few.

Pattison played football for the UW and spent several seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders. He launched a few start-ups and still operates The Pattison Group located here in Seattle, a branded merchandising company, before partnering with Smith on the Maverick venture, which utilizes direct-to-garment digital technology.

Smith is the founder and CEO of Urban Visions, a sustainable real estate development company. He has moderated lectures for the University of Washington and holds a certificate in commercial real estate from the UW’s extension program. His work in sustainable living helped put Seattle on the list of top green cities in America.

Read more about the showroom on the Seattle Met blog.

Enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • A story in the Washington Post explains how colleges can identify depressed students and includes survey results from UW students.
  • The Wall Street Journal interviews UW alum Andrew Okpeaha MacLean about his coming-of-age drama “On the Ice,” which is playing at the Sundance Film Festival.
  • Two UW alums are developing a video game that challenges players to design new ways to fold RNA molecules. Dr. Rhiju Das, a physicist at Stanford, and Adrien Treuille, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon, met as postgraduate researchers at the UW, where they were on the team that created Foldit.
  • Get the CliffsNotes for the Cliff Mass Weather Blog.
  • Artist and UW alum David C. Kane was featured in the Artdish blog and highlights his show at Eidelauer Picture Club in Seattle.
  • UW Public Health Professor Michelle Williams won a presidential award for excellence in science mentoring, The White House announced recently. Williams established a program to train students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds for research and leadership careers in public health.

    Read more…

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords surgeon is a UW alum

UW alum Peter Rhee is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords surgeon

Dr. Peter Rhee, who holds a master’s of public health from the University of Washington, is a 24-year military surgeon who has treated hundreds of battlefield injuries during stints in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That experience, the Los Angeles Times reports, played a definitive role in his ability to treat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and direct care for 10 other victims following the horrific massacre Jan. 8 in Tucson that has since captivated our country. Last night, during the memorial service for the six killed and more than a dozen wounded, President Obama told the nation that Giffords “opened her eyes” for the first time, and doctors feel her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head, is a “miracle.”

Rhee is chief of trauma at University Medical Center in Tucson. He also spent five years as the director of the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he would sometimes treat 30 gunshot wounds a day. Rhee told the Los Angeles Times of his battlefield casualty care: “Did it prepare me? I would say of course it did. And that makes it so that when we have a mass casualty of 11 people here, it’s really not as bad as it can get.”

From all of us in the UW’s alumni community, thank you Doctor.

You make us proud.

Photo by AP.

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UW’s Nancy Pearl is 2011 Librarian of the Year

UW's Nancy Pearl is the 2011 Librarian of the YearUniversity of Washington iSchool faculty Nancy Pearl is the 2011 Librarian of the Year, a prestigious honor given out by Library Journal, which has tracked library activities for 133 years.

Pearl, who teaches at UW despite retiring from the library system in 2004, was honored Jan. 7 in San Diego at the midwinter conference of The American Library Association. Read the full story from the Seattle Times.

Winner of a Washington Humanities Award and the author of four books, including her latest “Book Lust To Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds and Dreamers,” Pearl previously served as executive director of the Seattle Public Library’s Washington Center for the Book, and founded the “If All Seattle Reads the Same Book” program.

She was also the model for an action figure put out by legendary Seattle retailer Archie McPhee. It looks just like her. Pearl also starred in the now-famous Lady Gaga spoof produced by UW Libraries. She makes a cameo at the 1:32 mark.

Congratulations, Nancy, on a job well done!

Now, on to this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • What if the Internet had a delete button, so a future boss or mother-in-law was never able to see that photo of you wearing a garbage-can hat on New Year’s Eve or read a teenage status update about illicit drug use? UW researcher Tadayoshi Kohno is working on a program to do just that.
  • Husky play-by-play announcer Bob Rondeau was named Washington state’s Sportscaster of the Year for the eighth time. Read a feature story on Rondeau from the Columns archives.
  • UW alum Assunta Ng, founder and publisher of the Seattle Chinese Post and Northwest Asian Weekly, is the 2011 recipient of the University of Washington’s Charles E. Odegaard Award. Ng has devoted her life to promoting and mentoring women and youth.

    Read more…

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