From The President Print

Our Next 100 Years

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President Mark A. Emmert, '75.
Keeping a publication in print for 100 years takes hard work and dedication on the part of many people. I want to send my deepest thanks to everyone who has played a role in getting our alumni magazine to this remarkable milestone. No matter where I moved during the years before I came home to the UW, Columns always kept me connected to my alma mater.

Marking a centennial anniversary naturally stirs up feelings of nostalgia. It’s fun to look back over the people, moments and events that have shaped our university over the past 100 years. It’s also hard to resist the urge to look forward. What are the stories of tomorrow? What do the next 100 years hold for the University of Washington?

I don’t have a crystal ball, so it’s not possible to predict the exact number of UW faculty who will win Nobel Prizes, or the number of our students who will become Rhodes Scholars, or even the number of Pac-10 and national championships the Husky football team will win over the next 100 years. But there are some things that I know beyond a doubt will be in the future for the University of Washington.

Not surprisingly, much of what we can expect in the next century involves change. The past century’s countless amazing discoveries and advances have created a fast-paced, highly interconnected world. The next century will show that we have seen only the tip of the iceberg. What happens in one remote corner of the world will impact people around the globe. Technological and medical breakthroughs and transformations will occur faster and faster, generating mountains of information and questions that will require integrating contributions from multiple disciplines and cultures to gain understanding and find answers.

So what exactly does this mean for future generations at the University?

For future UW students, it means that they can expect more interdisciplinarity in their course work and in their majors. They will have more opportunities to study abroad than today’s students, and they will be more likely to share their classrooms with people from around the world. Their classrooms will be radically different in many other ways as well, as new technologies will revolutionize how instruction is delivered and how we communicate. And when they graduate, they will find that the UW brand name carries even more weight and global respect.

Just as they do today, future UW faculty and researchers will take on the most challenging problems of their time. However, the scope and complexity of those problems will be unprecedented. Think about some of the issues we are already seeing: global warming, delivery of health care and services around the world, intellectual property rights for technology, rapidly rising demand for energy, and the globalization of financial systems. These are issues that defy borders, national and disciplinary. Dealing with them will require new ways of thinking and new collaborations. With the strong legacy of collegiality and innovation provided by previous generations of UW faculty, students and staff, future UW researchers will be uniquely positioned to take on these huge challenges.

On the medical frontier, our doctors will employ utterly new ways of understanding the human body to predict health-care issues and maintain good health. The past century’s work on the human genome will find its fruition in new diagnostics, drugs, cures, and methods of treatment and prevention. New biomedical devices will allow us to overcome diseases. And you can expect to find the UW’s doctors and health-care professionals at the forefront of it all, providing top-quality health care to people from our region and beyond.

In the midst of all these changes and advancements, however, some things will stay the same. First and foremost, the UW’s core values will not be forgotten. Excellence and inclusiveness will still be the hallmarks of a UW education. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to serving all of our state’s citizens. Our campuses will continue to be home for the free flow and exchange of ideas. Discovery and innovation will still be at the heart of our university. And I’m sure that Columns—in whatever format magazines are published in 100 years—will be there to keep Husky alumni in touch with it all.

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MARK EMMERT, '75, President