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Our state’s citizens are our top priority

Sue Williams
Photo by LaVie Photography
For me, the best part of being President of the UW Alumni Association is meeting and interacting with so many bright, dedicated and energized students. To be around them, and hear their ideas and aspirations gives me renewed hope for the future and keeps me young at heart.

I am sure you are aware how selective the UW admissions process is, and that tuition is increasing. The fact is, despite the tuition increase, the UW remains a fantastic bargain compared to our peer institutions throughout the nation. Tuition dollars also allowed the UW to significantly increase financial aid by 45 percent.

This keeps the Husky Promise program alive and means that middle-class students whose families had previously earned too much to qualify for aid are now eligible for increased financial assistance.

And the UW continues to be committed to the citizens of our state. Currently, 80 percent of UW undergrads are Washington State residents and nearly 75 percent of UW alumni remain here after graduation. The UW is the third-largest employer in our state, and for every $1 the state invests in the UW, the UW returns more than $148 in tax revenue and $22 to the state’s economy. In 2009, the UW’s overall economic impact topped $9 billion.

We alumni have even more to be proud of. The UW ranks No. 10 nationally in Best Values in Public Colleges by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and the Sierra Club selected the UW as the most planet-friendly university in the nation.

While I am on the subject of school pride, I am also beaming about another wonderful celebration happening this year: the College of Arts & Sciences’ 150th Anniversary year! The arts have greatly influenced my family—four loyal generations of Huskies—who came here to study the fine arts, design, architecture, speech arts, journalism, education, drama and political science.

And we are doing something special with Columns this issue. Residents of Washington will receive a special insert that shows the direction in which the UW and the state must move to ensure that future generations of Washingtonians receive the quality education they deserve. I encourage you to read the insert and share it with your friends. For those of you who live out of state, you can read the insert online at

In honor of the 150th Anniversary, the UWAA is inviting alumni to make a gift to mark this historical event. All UWAA members who make a gift of $150 or more in addition to your member dues will receive an exclusive 150th anniversary membership card and a commemorative brass “W” that is a smaller version of the W sculpture that now stands at the main entrance to the UW. Show your love for the UW by making a gift today—go to

Thank you.

Sue Wilson Williams

Susan Wilson Williams, ’73
UWAA President, 2011-12

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