Dear Alumni and Friends of Undergraduate Academic Affairs,
We recently celebrated the University of Washington’s 138th Commencement Ceremony. Each year, graduation is an opportunity for me to reflect on the early accomplishments of our newest alumni and anticipate their future contributions to the world. University of Washington undergraduates are getting involved on campus and beyond in record numbers. Their deep dives into research questions, community-based service, leadership, and scholarship create legacies on campus and imprint the power of engagement on their hearts.
They are evidence that how we do our work and how we live our lives matters. By choosing to bring their academic work beyond the classroom and into labs and the community, these new graduates took the kind of intellectual risks we asked of them several years ago at Freshman Convocation.
The students you’ll read about in this issue of Undergraduate Academic Affairs’ alumni e-newsletter are all risk-takers in the best sense. They’ve pursued their interests on campus, in the city, and across the world. They’ve realized an expanded worldview and see themselves as global citizens.
Learning to say “hello” in the language of their study abroad host country has meaning for these students. Compassion flows from their service to others. Undergraduates tutoring in preschool and elementary school settings know that their work involves more than reading to kids. It’s understanding the lives of these children, the context of their families, and the language they speak.
I’m inspired when I hear about the academic challenges our graduates have had—both the success and failures. It’s an absolute marvel to hear a student tell his story of failing his first class ever and then realize triumph when he’s come to a place of mastery born out of that very failure. What important experiences to have as undergraduates. When we do our work well, students discover their strengths and passions in a supportive but challenging environment.
Each year at commencement, I see the sea of caps and gowns. Unified in the academic regalia yet distinct in the way they adorn themselves. Individuals who came here with unique stories now exiting the University with a more solid foundation ready to make their own broader contribution to our world. I couldn’t be more proud of our students or our University at this time.
Vice Provost & Dean
Undergraduate Academic Affairs