Office of the President

June 14, 2017

A message to alumni: Proud of our community of shared values

Ana Mari Cauce

2017 UW graduate mortarboardAs we conclude another successful academic year, some 15,000 or so new graduates will go forth from the University of Washington and begin to carve their post-college paths. Among them are visionaries who dream of interplanetary travel and asteroid-mining, newly minted Ph.D.s with expertise in everything from classics to bioengineering, and Washington students who were the first in their families to enroll in college and will leave the UW with a diploma and untold opportunities. Each graduate’s story is unique and powerful.

As I imagine them radiating outward from our campuses, diploma in hand, I think about how lucky they are to be entering a new community — our alumni community — the hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who have made similar journeys. Like this year’s recipient of the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus award, Mayor Norman Rice ’72, ’74, and the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award, General Peter Chiarelli, ’80, each of you has carved out your own path. In doing so, you’ve paved the way for many of our new graduates, lifting them up, sharing the lessons you’ve learned and creating opportunities for the next generation. As the Class of 2017 joins the fold, I know they will pay it forward by offering a hand up to the graduating classes that follow in their wake.

The UW’s alumni community of 480,000 transcends generations and geographical boundaries. You’re in every conceivable field of work, in hundreds of countries, in families of every description and configuration. Among you are entrepreneurs, scientists, performing artists, educators, volunteers and public servants. Differences abound within our community, but we also share core values — a commitment to service, a belief in access and opportunity, the drive to make a positive difference — that unite us.

Your commitment to those values has never been more evident than during our Be Boundless campaign, the most ambitious philanthropic effort in our University’s history. The campaign recently crossed the $4 billion threshold toward our $5 billion goal. As alumni, you have been passionate in your support for bringing our shared values to life. This year alone, more than 48,000 of you have supported student scholarships and groundbreaking research and given back in countless ways large and small. We will put your support to work in ways that will continue to make you proud of this institution. Your engagement in your communities and your support of the UW, including through membership in the UW Alumni Association, are an essential part of making all of these achievements possible.

Please join me in congratulating the Class of 2017 as they join your ranks. You’ve set the bar for achievement very high, and it will be a thrill to watch them meet the challenge.