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Almost Oscar

Bob Nelson
It was 10 years between the time Bob Nelson penned the script for Nebraska (starring fellow Oscar nominee Bruce Dern) and its 2014 nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. After an awards season publicity blitz that had him hopping from one interview to the next, Nelson, ’80, eventually departed Hollywood with both an Independent Spirit Award and a newfound circle of A-list screenwriters. Save fellow scribe Woody Allen, that is. “He never showed. Maybe it was something I said,” deadpans Nelson. Beloved by Seattleites for his decade starring on local TV’s Almost Live, Nelson now has six screenplays in various stages of production, including one with actor Joel McHale, ’95, ’00. With a decade of studio experience under his belt, he can finally share his secret to Hollywood success: “My strategy is to keep my head down and keep working.”—Kelly Huffman

Dramatic Exit

Sarah Nash Gates
Sarah Nash Gates has had a career full of drama. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Gates retires in June after 20 years as executive director of the School of Drama, where she oversaw renovations of the Jones Playhouse and Hutchinson Hall, established a volunteer board, encouraged collaboration among UW arts units, and witnessed emerging talent through more than 180 drama school productions. Through it all, Gates has remained a leader in costume design, designing for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Opera, 5th Avenue Theatre, and others. Gates believes that a drama degree provides invaluable training for any future career. “The world of drama,” she says, “is all about collaboration and being imaginative.” Read an extended interview with Gates.—Nancy Joseph

UW Tacoma has appointed Kenyon Chan as its interim chancellor. Chan, who served as chancellor at UW Bothell from 2007 until his retirement in 2013, replaces Debra Friedman, ’79, ’83, who died Jan. 26 from lung cancer.

The family of Gordon Hirabayashi, ’46, ’49, ’52, donated his 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom to the UW at a February ceremony on the UW Seattle campus. The collection of Hirabayashi’s journals, recordings, legal papers and photos is housed at the UW Libraries.

The devastating mudslide in Snohomish County that killed 43 people March 22 is being investigated by a national team co-led by Joseph Wartman, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. UW geomorphologist David Montgomery is also a member of the team.

The 2014 Charles E. Odegaard Award was presented to Denny Hurtado, former chair of the Skokomish Tribe and retired director of Indian Education for the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The award honors individuals whose leadership in the community exemplifies the former UW president’s work on behalf of diversity.

UW programs in medicine, education, law, business and engineering were ranked among the top 26 in the country, according to the latest rankings issued by U.S. News & World Report. The UW School of Medicine rated No. 1 overall for primary care and No. 10 in research. Other medicine rankings: No. 1 in family medicine and rural medicine; fourth in AIDS education; fifth in pediatrics; seventh in geriatrics and internal medicine; and tied for ninth in drug and alcohol abuse. The College of Education was ranked No. 7; its special education program ranked seventh; secondary education was ninth.

Herb Bridge, ’47, received the 2014 Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Hong Kong Association of Washington Foundation. Bridge was the first recipient of the UW’s Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award.

Two alumni of the College of Education were honored recently. Noah Zeichner, ’04, was named World Educator of the Year by the World Affairs Council. He teaches at Seattle’s Sealth High School. Keisha Scarlett, ’08, principal at South Shore PK-8 School, was named Washington State 2014 Middle Level Principal of the Year.

UW Bothell unveiled its $68 million Discovery Hall on March 19. It will serve as home to the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The Classics Department received the first Award in Professional Equity from the Women’s Classical Caucus.

Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Handel, Tchaikovsky, Wagner and other legendary composers are among 720 rare classical music scores, mostly first editions and first printings, donated to the UW Music Library. Appraised at approximately $1.3 million, the donation comes from the estate of William Crawford III, a New York arts manager and lifelong music collector.

The UW’s chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science was named the Distinguished Chapter of the Year for 2013.

Matthew Bush, assistant professor of chemistry, has been selected as a Sloan Research Fellow for 2014. He leads a lab that develops mass spectrometry-based technologies to study the structures, assembly and dynamics of protein complexes.

The UW tied for second among large universities (schools with more than 15,000 undergraduates) in the number of Peace Corps volunteers, with 85 undergraduate alumni currently serving around the world. The UW also tied for second in the number of graduate alumni volunteers, with 20.

The UW is the seventh best public university in America, according to the latest QS World University Rankings for 2013-2014, which were released in late February. Overall, the UW was ranked the 23rd best university in the U.S.

Landing distribution deals at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival were Lynn Shelton, ’87, for her newest movie, Laggies, which stars Keira Knightley; and Craig Johnson, ’98, for his newest movie, The Skeleton Twins, which starts Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. The film will be released theatrically this summer.

Beginning in fall 2014, people interested in social sciences, who have already earned approximately two years of college credit or an associate degree, will be able to finish their bachelor’s degree online through a new completion program.

Washington became the first state to require suicide prevention training for doctors and nurses after Gov. Jay Inslee, ’73, signed bill HS 2315 in March. The UW-based organization Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention, led by Social Work Professor Jennifer Stuber, pushed for the bill’s passage.

Joel McHale, ’95, ’00, was the headliner at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in May.

HSNewsBeat is a website spotlighting news from UW Medicine and Health Sciences for everyone. The site aims to raise awareness of UW’s impact on health research, care and education.

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