Office of the President

Remarks to the Japan Huskies

In Japan, 120 alumni, parents, donors, partners and friends turned out at the Tokyo American Club for a Husky reception on April 15. The event was part of our weeklong goodwill visit to Taiwan and Japan. Below is the official transcript of his remarks from the event.


I want to tell you about a very long-lived and rewarding partnership between researchers at the University of Washington’s marine laboratory in Friday Harbor, Washington, and marine laboratories in Japan.

For decades, a fruitful exchange has occurred between Friday Harbor Laboratories and the Misaki Marine Laboratory, and the Sugishima Marine Laboratory at Nagoya University. This arrangement has recently been formalized as the Edward Sylvester Morse Institute through the dedication and philanthropy of faculty, individual donors, and the Mikimoto Pearl Company.

We are delighted to have among our guests two very important supporters of this effort, Professor Motonori Hoshi and Dr Makoto Omore (the latter received his Ph.D. from UW Oceanography). Thank you for all you have personally and professionally contributed to the ES Morse Institute.

This year, 2014 we are celebrating the UW Alumni Association’s 125th anniversary with Huskies here in Japan. In 1889, a small group of UW alumni organized themselves to better support the University. Ever since, alumni chapters have cropped up around the world. In fact, there are organized alumni chapters dotting 13 countries around the globe, from Peru to the United Arab Emirates. And the UWAA Japan is one of our strongest. Alumni in Japan have played a vital role in keeping their fellow Huskies connected, informed and involved with the University. I want to thank all of the gracious volunteers and alumni involved with the Japan Huskies, who make events like tonight, special and keep the Husky spirit strong across the Pacific.

Before I give you an update about some exciting things happening at UW, I’d like to share a few points of pride. National Taiwan University ranks us 1st in scientific research among American public universities. And we are the 13th best university in the world according to U.S. News & World Report. I’ve been in higher education for a while now, and I’ve learned that the best universities have the most engaged supporters. And as we can see by these rankings, the UW is among the best universities not only in the United States, but in the world.

You are a key reason for that success. In this room tonight there are business people, civic leaders, educators, artists, parents and alumni. And though we come from different backgrounds, our common bond is purple and gold; we are a community of people joined together by how deeply we care about the University of Washington.

When alumni, parents, donors and friends invest in the UW, more Huskies can focus their unbridled energy on their studies instead of worrying about making ends meet. In fact, in the last fiscal year alone, we were able to create 37 new undergraduate scholarships, 33 graduate fellowships and 59 funds that help our students.

It’s because of private philanthropy that our students, faculty and researchers are able to thrive and bring their innovations out of the classroom and into the real world. The UW produces good global citizens, and we graduate the thinkers, doers and innovators who are making our world a better place. And we are succeeding thanks to the support of our closest friends and alumni.

Last week we were in Taiwan to attend the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Asia Conference in Taipei. I was honored to give the AUTM Conference keynote address on innovation and entrepreneurism in higher education based on the UW’s long-standing success in commercialization.

In 2013, the UW had a banner year, placing us among the top five schools in the United States for startup formation by producing a record 17 new companies through our Center for Commercialization (C4C). The UW is first in the number of licenses issued as well as first in different types of licenses, such as biotech, metadata, etc. And we intend to top our record in the coming years, thanks to 80 robust projects in the startup pipeline through our C4C New Ventures Program.

Universities contribute to society in a number of ways. One of the most important contributions we can make is to transform our research into new products, treatments, cures, and devices, etc. that will have a positive impact. In order to do that, we have created an innovation ecosystem at the UW to provide space and systems to support faculty, researchers, students and entrepreneurs to have the best chance to succeed. And the results are extraordinary.

Job Creation

  • On average, 60 jobs created in new companies
  • Kaufmann Foundation study (Economic Impact Report 2010) – 80% new jobs were created by companies 5 years old or newer
  • Job opportunities for UW grads

Economy Boosts

  • Developing new companies in state/region and attracting investors from out of state increases tax base
  • Creating wealth, leading to more investment, commitment to state/region
  • Attracting / retaining faculty members
  • Translationally directed – ability to make an impact through teaching and basic research / and rewarded financially for entrepreneurialism (who could make more money in private industry) because they get best of both (academic research and commercial enterprise).

Global Collaboration

As a first-tier world university, it is incumbent upon us to be engaged with our international partners so that we can extend the extraordinary work of our faculty and students to places where it can do the most good. During our visit to Taiwan, we were guests of Taiwan’s Ministry of Education to tour National Taiwan University, National Chung Hsing University and National Chiao Tung University.

  • International education/research campus with promising Asian and European universities and potential private partners.
  • Exciting new ideas and plans for bringing the UW to the world and the world to the UW.
  • Opportunity to create on a larger scale

What’s Next?

  • UW is 2nd only to Microsoft in creating spin-offs in software
  • UW has life sciences and technology research pipelines for potential commercialization
  • Exciting opportunities for new innovation, commercialization, growth, etc.
  • Mutual benefits for local, regional, state, national governments.
  • Benefit to UW as well, but not exclusive
  • Collective interest in providing support for the best chance of positive outcomes

Many of our startups are based on UW research that is funded by private support. We are able to do this because of you. The UW is especially grateful for the support we receive from our alumni, family and friends. We can accomplish so much when we put our minds together toward common goals. Thank you for your gracious hospitality. It truly is great to be with you here in Tokyo.

Michael K. Young
UW President