UW Alumni Association—Past, Present and Future
The UW Alumni Association has progressed through numerous changes and challenges since 1889, the year Washington became a state and a small group of UW graduates formed an association to unite alumni and support the University of Washington.
Under the direction of R. Bronsdon "Curly" Harris, who served as director of graduate relations and executive secretary of the alumni association from 1936 to 1964, the UWAA incorporated as a social-educational, non-profit organization. During that time, a member benefits program was established, awards programs were created, reunions and homecoming activities were added and active alumni political lobbying supported the University's interests.
To help finance its growing role in support of the University, the alumni association began aggressive member recruitment programs in the mid-1980s when membership totaled less than 30,000. Today, nearly a third of the school's living graduates—more than 55,000—are members, making the UWAA one of the largest alumni associations in the nation.
The UW Alumni Association continues to serve the University of Washington through programs similar to those established decades ago, but the magnitude of these programs has increased substantially. In response to the need for more activities and services, the alumni association staff has more than doubled since 1987 to approximately 35 full-time employees led by Executive Director Paul Rucker, '95, '02.
The UWAA encourages volunteer participation and has more than four dozen geographic chapters located across the country and the globe, as well as over a dozen partner clubs serving alumni from UW schools, colleges and departments on campus. The association also sends Columns magazine, the UW's award-winning alumni publication, to more than 250,000 households four times a year and publishes dozens of other communications pieces targeted to a wide variety of constituent audiences. The UWAA is organized as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
UW graduates and friends, as they have for more than a century, remain committed to helping the University maintain its standard of excellence through the efforts orchestrated by the University of Washington Alumni Association.