Bob Edie, who was the UW director of government relations from 1986 to 1995 and vice president for university relations from 1996 to 1999, has received the Robert G. Waldo Award for outstanding service to public higher education in Washington.
The award was presented Tuesday, Feb. 15, by former governor Booth Gardner at the annual Higher Education Day luncheon in Olympia.
Edie, who stepped down in 2004 as Western Washington University’s (WWU) vice president of external affairs due to personal health issues, has more than 28 years of experience in state government and higher education.
“Bob is an innovative thinker who always has the big picture in view and who selflessly has provided many excellent ideas that have found their way into public policy across sectors, disciplines and political persuasion,” said Terry Teale, executive director of the Council of Presidents, this week.
Karen Morse, president of WWU, said, “Bob Edie not only earned respect from legislators on both sides of the aisle, but he is also held in high esteem throughout the higher education community.”
Congressman Jim McDermott said of Edie, “Knowing Bob and his contribution to the UW from the inside, I cannot think of anyone who has done more. It’s about time Bob is recognized for all he has done for higher education.”
Edie received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1969. He returned to his native Minnesota for a master’s degree in public affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota, then came to Washington in 1975. He was a research analyst for the Washington Senate’s Labor Committee (1975-81), senior research analyst for the Senate Democratic Caucus (1981-82) and senior staff coordinator for the Senate Ways and Means Committee (1983-85).
Edie was the UW’s lead representative in Olympia for 10 years. Highlights of this period include:
- faculty salary increases of 17.6 percent in the 1987-89 biennium and 12.1 percent in 1989-91;
- enactment of legislation leading to the development of UW campuses in Tacoma and Bothell;
- passage of innovative legislation allowing the UW and its largest classified staff union to “opt out” of the state civil service system; and
- enactment of legislation creating the Distinguished Professorship and Graduate Fellowship programs, providing state matching funds for private contributions.
“I consider one of my most important accomplishments during those years to be a marked improvement in communicating the needs of the University to elected officials and the broader public,” Edie said of his time at the UW.
As vice president at the UW, Edie worked to increase understanding and support for the University with internal and external constituencies.
Edie moved to the state Office of Financial Management as senior budget advisory in 1999 and later that year became the governor’s director of legislative affairs. Edie joined WWU as vice president in 2000.
At WWU, he was responsible for legislative relations and university communications, including media relations. He also was a member of Bellingham’s Waterfront Futures Group, a citizen task force that is developing a vision for Bellingham’s waterfront.
The Robert G. Waldo award, created in 1998, honors individuals who have made lasting contributions to public higher education in Washington. Robert G. “Bob” Waldo worked at the UW from 1946 to 1984, serving as director of government relations from 1974 to 1984. After leaving the UW he became executive director of the Council of Presidents, where he was responsible for developing common public policy positions and goals for the state’s six public four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institutions.