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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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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.)

Read more…

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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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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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The Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961 – Fifty years later

Cal-Tech's Great Rose Bowl Hoax of 1961Fifty years ago, a group of pesky Cal-Tech students hijacked the University of Washington’s halftime “flip-card” stunt in a Rose Bowl prank for the ages.

The Los Angeles Times tells the story of Lyn Hardy, the ringleader behind one of the greatest college football stunts of all time. UW fans on one side of the stadium were given flip cards that were supposed to spell out “WASHINGTON” but instead read “CALTECH.” It’s a marvelous tale, and you can read the full story here.

Hardy, now 69, says he learned how the stunt worked from UW cheerleaders. Upon learning the Husky Marching Band and Cheer Squad were staying at Long Beach State dormitories, Hardy—a Cal-Tech junior at the time—posed as a reporter for the Dorsey High student newspaper and walked right in. When everyone left for dinner, Hardy and another of Cal-Tech’s legendary “Fiendish 14″ swiped a card-stunt instruction book and headed back to Pasadena, where they made some 2,400 copies.

Jack Briggs
, Washington’s 1961 student body president, said at the time that the prank was “not in the best of taste.” Fifty years later, though, it’s still a classic.

Of course, Washington beat top-ranked Minnesota that day 17-7.

Enjoy this week’s Dawg Treats:

  • UW alum Nick Handy is departing his post as Washington’s state elections director after leading widely praised reform efforts that have boosted voter turnout.
  • A study by UW researcher Daryl Haggard explores the future of the Milky Way’s central black hole.
  • UW students win $40,000 to help make water safe to drink.
  • Former UW President Mark Emmert, now the head of the NCAA, is profiled in this piece by the New York Times. The story focuses on overseeing integrity and the threat of income in college sports.

    Read more…

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A new year means new stories for UW alumni

For me, New Year’s Eve is a big disappointment. Unlike Thanksgiving—in which I expect a big meal and get more that I hoped for—expecations are rarely met on the last night of the calendar year. Hopes are high. The reality is a bit different.

The one thing New Year’s Eve has going for it, however, are the resolutions. I love New Year’s resolutions. Some people hate them, but I look at these as a chance to set goals and start fresh. For example, when I was 13 I wanted to play less video games. My resolution was to find other ways to be creative. Believe it or not, that’s how I started writing.

This year, one of my resolutions is to better connect this blog with the values we all share as UW supporters. That means telling more stories, meeting more graduates, and defining the value of a UW Alumni Association membership. And just like former Husky star Tim Lincecum on the cover of Sports Illustrated, we’re going to be all smiles in 2011.

Did you know there are more UWAA members than UW students? More than 50,000 alumni make this organization one of the nation’s biggest and best, and I’m committed to telling those stories in new and exciting ways. My goal is to show you the value of staying connected to the University of Washington. That’s my resolution, and I’m excited about the prospects.

Happy New Year, Huskies! Let’s make it a great one.

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Holiday video highlights UW students

For me, the University of Washington is more than a campus. It’s more than a degree and it goes deeper than a community. For me, the UW is a feeling. It’s something I know exists for the public good, and I believe it’s an institution worth supporting even in the darkest of hours. That’s not just a UW feeling, either. That’s higher education in our state, and it’s full of wonderful stories and people.

Students like Karen Craddick and Brent Leithauser are making the UW stronger. They received student advocacy awards from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores for their role in organizing the wildly successful Pharmacy Legislative Day in February. Faculty like Jim Kenagy, professor emeritus of biology and the Burke Museum’s curator of mammals, are using science to change the world. Kenagy’s team invoked the help of flesh-eating beatles to clean animal bones for important research. Alumni like Jean Hernandez, who was recently named president of Edmonds Community College, are using their UW education to make a difference.

The UW’s holiday video focuses on students and the impact our institution has on everyday lives. It’s a powerful tribute to the campus, community and feelings that make the UW such an amazing place.

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