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Briefings

Milestones

APPOINTMENTS

Gov. Christine Gregoire, ’69, ’71, named second-year law student Will Rasmussen, ’02, as the new UW student regent on May 17. He will serve a one-year term. During his undergraduate years, Rasmussen was vice-president of the ASUW and interned with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Merrill Lynch. After graduating in 2002 with a degree in business administration, the Portland native spent a year as a financial advisor at UBS Financial Service.

On July 13, Gov. Gregoire also named UW President Emeritus Lee Huntsman executive director of the state’s new Life Sciences Discovery Fund Authority, a $1-billion public-private partnership for scientific research and development. The fund will use $350 million in tobacco settlement funds to attract an additional $650 million in private capital. The money will help finance research in biomedical and other scientific fields within the state.

HONORS

The Heinz Family Foundation honored Forest Resources Professor Jerry Franklin with its 11th Annual Heinz Award for the Environment for his work in helping sustain our nation’s forests, particularly old growth. Franklin and the four other Heinz award-winners also received  $250,000 from the foundation.

On June 13, the White House named four UW faculty members winners of the 2005 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering. David S. Ginger, assistant professor of chemistry, studies bio-inspired assembly. William M. Grady, assistant professor of medical science and a member of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is an expert on colon cancer. Wei Li, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is creating polymer-based microstructures that will lead to new applications in fuel cells, biochemical sensors and controlled drug-delivery devices. Radha Poovendran, assistant professor of electrical engineering, works on applied cryptology and multi-sensor security.

The 2005 UW President’s Medals were awarded to two students at the June 11 commencement ceremonies. Silverdale native Elizabeth Erin Gray, ’05, won the honor for four-year undergraduates. She majored in cellular and molecular biology with minors in chemistry and public health and will pursue a master’s degree in pathology at the University of Cambridge in England. Imai Jen-La Plante, ’05, won the award for two-year transfer students. She majored in physics and will pursue a doctorate in the field at the University of Chicago.

On May 3, Medicine and Genome Sciences Professor Mary-Claire King received one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an American scientist when the National Academy of Sciences announced her election as a new member. King is a pioneer in understanding the genetic causes of breast and ovarian cancer, inherited deafness and systemic lupus erythematosus (see “Putting the Puzzle Together,” Sept. 1996).

The White House gave Computer Science and Engineering Professor Richard Ladner a 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in late May for his work helping blind students in computer science. Ladner’s award, which includes a $10,000 grant, is the second in a row for the College of Engineering.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting gave public broadcasting’s highest honor—the Edward R. Murrow Award—to KUOW General Manager Wayne Roth in May. Roth has played a critical role in helping National Public Radio move away from reliance on federal funding and helping stations get more choice in their program investments. He has been manager of the University-owned radio station since 1983.

An international panel of experts selected Genome Sciences Chair Robert Waterston as the recipient of the 2005 Peter Gruber Foundation Prize. This prize, which went to UW Professor Mary-Claire King last year, includes a $200,000 unrestricted cash award and is presented annually to a scientist who has contributed to advances in the field of genetics. Waterston was one of the key scientists to unlock the human genome (see “Prize Catch,” March 2003).

RANKINGS

UW Intercollegiate Athletics placed 14th in the final standings of the 2005 Sports Academy Directors’ Cup, which recognizes the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country. Of the 23 Husky varsity programs, 19 advanced to postseason play or were represented by individual competitors. Washington was one of seven schools from the Pac-10 to place in the top-25 of this year’s rankings. Stanford won the Directors’ Cup for the 11th consecutive year.

For the third consecutive year, the UW Medical Center ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the nation, retaining its ninth place standing according to U.S.News & World Report's 2005 guide to “America's Best Hospitals,” released in July. The rankings place UWMC in the top 1 percent of all hospitals in the country. In specialty rankings, 11 UW Medical Center programs are now ranked among the top 20 in the country. The rehabilitation program, which is based at both UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, is now ranked third in the nation. Geriatrics, also based at both hospitals, ranked 10th. UWMC ranked among the top 20 programs nationwide in orthopaedics (9); ear, nose and throat (10); hormonal disorders (10); respiratory disorders (11);  cancer (11); gynecology (16); digestive disorders (17); rheumatology (19); and kidney disease (20).