April 3, 2007

Tragedy from Abroad

By Office of the President

As my plane landed in Hyderabad, my phone rang. Before we had finished taxiing to the gate, I heard the shocking news from Gould Hall. I was stunned.

Whenever I travel, especially abroad, I have in the very back of my mind a nagging sense that some emergency could occur, some political flare-up, some personnel issue or some such thing. Never have I imagined the horror of Monday.

I spent the night—Seattle’s day—on the phone and on email tracking events and responses, frustrated by my inability to do more. But as all unfolded, I realized how well our people—our community—were handling matters. With each conversation I heard the compassion and professionalism of everyone.  It is in a crisis that we see our true sense of community. From all I can glean from this distance the UW community is rallying around those in need.

In the coming days and weeks, we will have time to assess what more we can do for our people, but for this moment from a very long distance, I am glad we have a university of so many strong, compassionate professionals and friends.

My thoughts are with Rebecca Griego and her loved ones, and I am very anxious to fly out this evening.

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