In 1895, the UW Board of Regents resolved that "each member of the Faculty endeavor to themselves perform some original work such as inventing, discovery or writing, in their respective departments." This book is the second volume in a series celebrating the 100th anniversary of that resolution, paying tribute to the achievements of UW faculty that have resulted from the Regents' call to action. The first volume, Pathbreakers, was published in 1996 and covers research advances in the sciences and engineering.
The vignettes in UW Showcase cover a dazzling array of topics and of eras in the University's development. Our goal in undertaking this project was to identify the showcase achievements of UW faculty in diverse fields of the arts and humanities, as well as professional schools such as law and architecture.
Research in the arts and humanities may take many forms, ranging from scholarly studies and writings in history or philosophy, for example, to pure artistic expressions and performance, as in the case of music, art, and dance. It is perhaps not surprising that the stories of these achievements, especially those in the creative and performing arts, are interwoven with the stories of the lives of these distinguished artists. We have attempted in this volume to explore the forces and events that have helped to shape their creative inspiration.
It is striking how much the work of the faculty has been coupled with the cultural life of the region, since the very earliest days of the University. For example, UW history professor Edmond S. Meany helped to bring the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition to the campus in 1909, which drew visitors from far and wide to Seattle. Previously, as State legislator in the early 1890s, Meany helped to secure the present site for the campus, including plans for what eventually evolved into the beautiful Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.
On another front, the founding of the UW Scandinavian department in 1909 resulted in large part from interactions of faculty and students with the vibrant Scandinavian community in Seattle. By the time the department celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1984, it ranked as the largest program of its kind in the U.S. and one of the top such programs in the world.
Beginning with the work of Glenn Hughes and the establishment of the famous Penthouse Theater in the 1930s, the efforts of faculty and alumni of the UW drama school have nourished the lively theater community throughout the Northwest region for over six decades.
These are but a few examples of the ninety vignettes you'll find within the pages of Showcase. We offer these vignettes as a tribute to the vision of the Board of Regents of 1895, and to the creative and energetic scholarship of generations of dedicated faculty and students at the University of Washington.
Richard L. McCormick