December 2008 -

Letters to the Editor

December 2008

Students First?
In the September issue, I came across UW President Mark A. Emmert's comment on raising $2.68 billion during Campaign UW["An Enormous Vote of Confidence"]. As a current student, I couldn't help but wonder where all of this money goes. Emmert writes that "Because of the support given to initiatives such as Students First, more students will have access not only to a college education, but to the excellence that distinguishes a University of Washington education." This is great news for the students who qualify for such initiatives, but what of students such as myself just trying to get by on federal loans? We received a 7 percent increase in tuition for this upcoming year, thanks to the UW Board of Regents. So I pose this question—how much debt should my classmates and I be saddled with once we graduate? How much is OK, Mr. Emmert?

Shane Peterson, Graduate Student in Rehabilitation Medicine

Mark A. Emmert Replies:
Though tuition at the UW is comparatively low—about 20 percent lower than tuition at our peer universities—we are committed to reducing the fi nancial burden on students and families. The UW gives out almost $180 million in financial aid annually. We also launched the Husky Promise, which covers tuition for about 5,600 undergraduates each year. Of the $2.68 billion raised during Campaign UW, 99 percent is designated for specific purposes by the donors, such as an engineering scholarship or a history professorship. But the campaign did help keep costs affordable for students. One of its primary goals was increasing scholarship support. To that end, our supporters created 684 new scholarship and fellowship endowments, 228 of them through Students First. These awards are funded in perpetuity, ensuring that UW students will benefit from this support for years to come.

Read President Emmert's full response.

Kids Like Me
I felt deeply nostalgic, touched and inspired by "Kids Like Us," Eric McHenry's profile of Beverly Cleary [Sept. 2008]. I recall reading every Cleary book I could get my hands on as a kid in Lakewood. The books brought me comfort then, and I can't wait to read them to my daughter—to introduce her to the characters I considered to be my friends. But as an added bonus, the story brought me great inspiration. Since I was a kid reading about Ramona I've thought that one day I'd like to write stories and create characters who would live and breathe in imperfect lives the way Cleary's did; while I'm now happily employed as a writer and associate editor for a publication, I can't help but feel motivated back in the direction my heart first went over 30 years ago.

Jessica Corey-Butler, ’06

Super Markets
Thank you for the article about Chris Curtis and her work with the Neighborhood Farmers Markets ["Market Share," Sept. 2008]. I've often thought I'd like to know more about Chris as I've watched her interacting with shoppers and vendors at the University District Market. I feel grateful to her for these market mornings. They remind me of childhood trips with my mother to select live chickens and fresh produce, hearing foreign languages, bargaining among the stalls, and then going home on the streetcar, careful not to hold the bag too tightly and kill the chicken. Curtis' gift is not just the memories, or the neighborhood commons, but allowing me to support the people who produce our foods and, in the process, be enriched at many levels.

Helen Palisin, '68, '77

Barking Up the Wrong Tree
You state that there is a "big maple tree" on the corner of 19th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 47th Street ["Traditions: The Shoe Tree," Sept. 2008]. But the picture I am looking at is clearly a picture of a sycamore. The bark is the giveaway.

James Joel Sitterly, '95
Norwalk, Ohio

Lost Soles
Here's an alternative to your p. 63 photo of all the wasted shoes in the tree: There are people in the world who would literally kill for those shoes.

Glenn Showalter
Mercer Island


Letters to the editor are encouraged. Brief letters are more likely to be published; longer letters may be edited. Please include a daytime phone number.

Editor, Columns Magazine
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