IN THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, DANIEL JAMES BROWN’S RIVETING account of the Husky crew’s quest for Olympic gold, he reports a phenomenon that has been resonating with sports teams as well as business organizations: “There is a thing that sometimes happens in rowing that is hard to achieve and hard to define. Many crews, even winning crews, never really find it. Others find it but can’t sustain it. It’s called ‘swing.’ It only happens when all eight oarsmen are rowing in such perfect unison that no single action by any one is out of sync with those of all the others…. Poetry, that’s what a good swing looks like.” Maybe our crew’s tradition of swing is contagious; I certainly see that kind of group poetry all around the UW and coursing through our history. It may account for our success across so many dimensions.
Of course, it all begins with the talent and drive of our faculty. Every day, on every continent, UW faculty members educate, serve and seek solutions to our world’s greatest challenges, often through harmonious collaborations that are the envy of other institutions.
We’re also fortunate that for more than a century the UW Alumni Association has brought extra strength and swing to our mission. By the time Washington became a state in 1889, a small group of alumni had already formed the UWAA to pull for the University they loved. Now, as the association celebrates its 125th anniversary, members number in the tens of thousands, with dozens of local chapters around the world. That is a lot of oars, all synchronized by the UWAA.
With the power of our faculty and the sustained help of our alumni, the UW has become one of the top research universities on earth, rising to the standard set decades ago by our crew. Our talent for swing keeps showing up in many different places around the University:
By combining their time, talent and treasure, our faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors are pulling in unison to build on the UW’s historical momentum and surpass the high expectations we and others set.
Thank you for being a part of our shared vision and commitment to the greater good. Swinging together, we are making a difference.
Michael K. Young, President