Office of the President

June 13, 2019

Congratulations and thank you for a year of excellence

Ana Mari Cauce

As we wrap up another academic year at the University of Washington, we have much to celebrate. I am deeply grateful to be marking this milestone with all of you – students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors who make up our diverse and vibrant community.

This afternoon, at our annual Awards of Excellence ceremony, we will recognize some of those community members for their truly outstanding service and impact. As wonderful as this celebration is, it only scratches the surface of the excellence that inhabits every corner of the UW. Last month, we learned that 16 UW students and alumni were awarded prestigious Fulbright Scholarships to study and teach abroad and this fall, we will welcome 16 first-year Presidential Scholars, Washington students who show exceptional promise and leadership. Our faculty are continually expanding knowledge and creating impact in countless respects. From our oceans to space travel, from our history to where we are headed, discovery is constantly unfolding here.

This has also been a year of statewide collaborations and impact felt far beyond our three campuses. In Southeast Seattle, we opened the Othello-UW Commons, a multifunctional space for collaboration between the UW and community members. In Bellevue, we wrapped up another successful Livable City Year partnership and continued growth for GIX. We got a chance to say a big “thank you” to the wonderful people and first responders of Grant County who helped our marching band after the Thanksgiving bus crash. And we worked with our partners at WSU and all of Washington’s public two and four year colleges and universities to spread the word that a college degree is achievable and affordable for every motivated Washington student, including the nearly 10,000 UW students who benefit from the Husky Promise each year.

In just a few days, we will hold commencement exercises, conferring more than 11,500 bachelor’s degrees – including more than 2,700 to students who are the first in their family to earn four year degrees – and more than 6,100 graduate and professional degrees across our three campuses. Each of these diplomas represents a tremendous accomplishment, achieved through hard work, passion, grit and commitment.

Thanks to the incredible support and advocacy of our government relations staff, UW Impact, students, faculty, staff, our industry partners and our state legislators, Washington has made a significant reinvestment in public higher education. Not only will this help remove some of the financial barriers for Washington students seeking higher education, but the investments in our core academic mission and the fields with the highest demand, in combination with the success of our philanthropic campaign Be Boundless, will help to ensure that future students will have the same outstanding opportunities that enabled this year’s graduating class to accomplish so much.

To all of our graduates, we are proud to claim you as alumni of this great public university. Please know that your connection to the UW won’t end when you walk across the stage or hold your diploma in your hand. As the marked increase in graduating seniors who are joining the UW Alumni Association suggests, more and more of our graduates are looking for ways to stay connected to the life of the University, and you are permanently welcome in this special and global community.

To everyone who made this year so successful, and who makes this University a powerhouse of impact and excellence every single day, I thank you. I can’t wait to begin our next chapter together.