UW Today

September 14, 2011

A Husky anniversary: A yearlong party to celebrate the UW at 150

Governor Christine Gregoire and UW President Michael Young cut the cake at a kickoff celebration of the 150th anniversary.

Governor Christine Gregoire and UW President Michael Young cut the cake at a kickoff celebration of the 150th anniversary.Ron Wurzer

The University of Washingtons 150th anniversary celebration has officially begun — and its a party thats going to last all year long.

The 2011-12 school year marks a century and a half since the UW opened its doors in downtown Seattle as the Territorial University of Washington. The UW sesquicentennial was kicked off in high style at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The Fairmont Olympic is not only at the site of the original university, its also where President John Kennedy stayed when he visited the UW in 1961.

There, UW President Michael Young joined Gov. Christine Gregoire, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and other University and community leaders to cut a beautiful cake. And of course, the Husky Marching Band also made a showstopping appearance.

The celebration will continue with “W Day” on Friday, Nov. 4, the actual day that the UW opened its doors in 1861. On W Day, Huskies and friends worldwide will dress in purple and raise a toast to celebrate the UW and its rich history.

A close-up of that delectable cake.

A close-up of that delectable cake.Ron Wurzer

KJR 950 will broadcast live from the campus, where Husky athletes will be passing out purple t-shirts. The UWs Facebook page (132,267 “likes” and counting) will host faculty, staff and Husky alums posting memories and good wishes. And some  Seattle-area businesses will offer discounts to anyone wearing purple.

There also will be a four-day campuswide festival April 18-21, 2012 called Husky Fest. The festival, centered in a large tented pavilion on Red Square, will showcase some of the great stuff happening here in the home of the Huskies with daytime and weekend programs.

In the meantime, the celebration will continue online at a new website — www.uw.edu/150 — which notes significant events in the Universitys history but also is a place for people to write about important events in their own lives that involved the UW.

Corporate sponsors of the 150th anniversary celebration include Microsoft and T-Mobile. The Fairmont Olympic is a sponsor of the Sept. 13 event.