On April 27 President Mark Emmert wrote to the campus community and dropped a bombshell:
“It is with very mixed emotions that I am writing to let you know that today I have accepted the presidency of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. When I came home to the University of Washington in 2004, I knew there was no other university that I would want to be president of, and that remains true today after the six wonderful years DeLaine and I have enjoyed serving our alma mater. I am proud of the work we have done together and absent this truly extraordinary opportunity would have been happy continuing as president for many years to come.
“The NCAA is one of the nation’s most influential collegiate organizations. Leading it offers a chance to shape the educational and athletic experiences of over 400,000 young people and to work with more than 1,200 universities, colleges and conferences to make intercollegiate sports a competitive, healthy, integral part of the growth and maturation of student-athletes. It also presents a new set of challenges for me. I am very excited about taking on these challenges and the opportunity to work with so many university and college presidents.
“To my fellow alumni and supporters of the University of Washington, I offer a special word of thanks and appreciation. It has been my honor to serve you. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together these past six years. Our university is a special place—by any measure one of the world’s leading research universities—because of all of you. I cannot thank you enough for your dedication, energy and enthusiasm. It is never a good time to leave one great job for another. I relish the challenges at the NCAA but will always love my time here. DeLaine and I always have been, and always will be, Huskies for life.”
Some campus reaction:
“Mark was an extraordinary leader who assembled a great leadership team that represents the university well in all respects. His leadership enhanced the reputation of the University of Washington. Even in difficult budgetary times, he never lost sight of the mission of a public research university: to provide the richest learning experience to students regardless of their ability to pay. He also devoted an immense amount of time helping to expand and deepen our research programs so that we can tackle the most complex problems of our time. Finally, he was an untiring advocate for the university and explained to everyone the importance of a public research university in the health of our region, our state, the nation and the world.
“We will all miss him, but wish him the very best as the President of the NCAA.”
Undergraduate Academic Affairs
“We will miss President Emmert. His tenure at the University of Washington has been substantive and visionary. Among his many accomplishments, Mark never failed to remind this community that the University of Washington is a world class institution and that our mission is anchored in a tradition of discovery, teaching and dissemination of knowledge and service. Among his many accomplishments will be that we are ever reminded that we are here to do some good in the world.”
“Reflecting on President Emmert’s time at the UW, his lasting legacy may well be the restoration of institutional integrity and a sense of community after a particularly tumultuous time. A gifted communicator, he strengthened engagement within the university and externally with alumni, friends, and diverse stakeholders. Drawing on his own life story, he was an eloquent advocate for the importance and value of the UW as a world-class public research university.”
Ana Mari Cauce
College of Arts & Sciences
“President Emmert will be deeply missed. He has a lovely way of being able to communicate to a very diverse group of people, whether it be faculty, undergraduates, parents, legislators, or donors. He took his job and the tremendous responsibilities that come with it very seriously, yet managed to maintain a sense of lightness and sense of humor. He focused on strengths not weaknesses, and always kept his eye out for opportunities.”
“Over the past six years President Mark Emmert has served with distinction as the leader of the University and its Faculty. During this time faculty leadership and President Emmert have participated frequently in discussions covering a broad spectrum of topics ranging from revamping the academic side of our athletic program to budgets and faculty salaries. These dialogues have led to substantive improvements in many areas of our academic program and policies.
“President Emmert can be proud of his tenure. His open and articulate piloting of the University through last year’s budget collapse was calming, thoughtful, and provided direction for the ship of state in very turgid waters. More broadly, UW and its community gratefully share the fruits of President Emmert’s success in maintaining or expanding student financial aid, promoting research, connecting to the public, and remarkable skills in fundraising.
“Throughout his tenure President Emmert has been a strong, insightful, and engaged leader of a very proud and complex university. We have admired President Emmert’s unceasing respect for his colleagues with an unrelenting commitment to and optimism for the future of the institution and our students. All of us view President Emmert’s departure with a mix of remorse, good will, and fondest wishes for his future success.”
Sheila Edwards Lange
Minority Affairs and Diversity
“During his six years at the University of Washington, President Emmert’s leadership helped to highlight the institution’s longstanding commitment to ensuring success for diverse students, faculty and staff. His dedication to diversity has enhanced the educational experience of all UW students by providing them with greater exposure to diverse cultures and viewpoints.
“President Emmert will be greatly missed, but we offer him our congratulations and wish him the very best in his new position.”