Honoring alumni

How UW’s “push-up guy” became a Golden Graduate

Every time the Husky football team scores a touchdown at home, you can find Bert Pound, ’37, on the sidelines or in the stands with the Alumni Band.

Doing one-armed push-ups. At age 99.

That’s what we call dedication to the Husky spirit. On April 10, we’ll honor Bert and celebrate a group that embodies what it means to be a Husky—with our first-ever Golden Graduates Brunch. All alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago are invited to this event, taking place at Kane Hall during Parent & Family Weekend.

Bert Pound: Bleeding purple and gold

In 2014, Bert told KIRO 7, “For those who are lucky enough to reach the age of 98, I think you should just follow your heart and do what you want to do.”

For Bert, following his heart has been all about the Huskies. That’s why we’ll honor him on April 10 with the inaugural Golden Graduates Distinguished Alumnus Award, created to recognize an alum with a “lifetime of sustained engagement with the University.”

Bert’s bond with the UW has taken shape through the power of music. He was a percussionist in the 1936 Band, marching in the 1937 Rose Bowl under Husky Marching Band’s full-time director, Walter Welke. In the late 70s, he heard the Alumni Band playing in the end zone not long after it was formed, and he knew he just had to join.

“He went crazy,” said his wife LaVerne to The Seattle Times. ” ‘Oh, that’s what I gotta do.’ “

Ever since then, Bert’s dedication to the Alumni Band has been unparalleled. Along with being a member, he’s been the band’s mascot, cheerleader, benefactor and historian. He’s served on the Husky Marching Band Alumni Association board and was co-editor in chief of the Band’s 75th Anniversary History Book in 2004. In 2010, Bert established an operational endowment for the Husky Band Drumline. On October 29, 2011, the band presented him with a plaque and instituted a scholarship bearing his name.

And then there are the push-ups. First, he started with two-armed push-ups, and then switched to one-armed push-ups after he saw a Husky cheerleader complete the feat in the 1980s. Since 1980, he’s done push-ups each time the Huskies scored: one for each point, plus one more for good measure. If the Huskies are playing an away game, he doesn’t want to let his team down—he does them in his living room.

For any given game, depending on how the Dawgs are performing that day, he’ll do 100 or more push-ups. In 2011, it was estimated that he had done at least 15,000 push-ups in support of Husky football over his lifetime.

Crystal Eney, ’99, who was a clarinet player with the band, told The Seattle Times, “Bert lives life to the fullest. He symbolizes all the good things about the Husky band—never-ending enthusiasm. He bleeds purple and gold.”

Celebrating our most distinguished group of alumni

Living life to the fullest, never-ending enthusiasm, bleeding purple and gold—these qualities aren’t exclusive to Bert Pound. They are shared by many of our Golden Graduates.

The UW Alumni Association is hosting the Golden Graduates Brunch and, in addition to honoring Bert, will be welcoming those who graduated in 1966 into the inaugural Golden Graduates class. Beginning a tradition that it hopes to continue for years to come, we will give alumni joining us for the event a special gift—a pin with an intertwined U and W that echoes an architectural feature of iconic Denny Hall.

Brunch attendees will also get an insider’s peek into the Husky Band with Dr. Brad McDavid, Director of Athletic Bands and 2016 inductee into the Washington Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. Joining him will be Paul Rucker, Executive Director of the UW Alumni Association and enthusiastic supporter of the event.  As he shared, “UWAA is truly honored to celebrate this special group—the lifetime of engagement and support these Golden Graduates have given to the University is inspiring.  I can’t wait to share their stories. I just hope no one asks me to do a one-armed push-up.”