Office of the President

November 23, 2020

Looking ahead to what we can accomplish together

Ana Mari Cauce

As we enter a holiday season like no other, I want to thank you all for your hard work, commitment to each other, and the many sacrifices you have made and continue to make to keep our community safe and healthy. These holidays will be different, but by following the guidance from our public health experts to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we can work together to truly bring this pandemic to an end.

Our nation has concluded a divisive and emotional election. Whatever your perspective on the outcomes, I hope you will take a moment to appreciate the importance and sanctity of our democratic process. There was a historic turnout among voters, including young voters, and I’m proud that so many UW students were among them.

Congratulations to UW alumnus Jay Inslee, ’73, on his third term as governor, and to all our newly elected and re-elected public officials here in Washington state. We thank them for their public service. As our representatives during this difficult time, they have their work cut out for them, and the University of Washington stands ready to work with them and their staffs in service of the people and communities of Washington.

Congratulations as well to President-elect Joe Biden and to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who is breaking barriers for us all as the first woman and first Black and Indian American to hold one of the country’s highest elected positions. The tasks ahead of them — and us — are monumental. I hope we can pursue collaboration and progress on issues that affect higher education and us all — climate change, racial violence and inequity, immigration and human rights, and access to high-quality affordable education.

We must also work together to advance research and discovery, and to ensure our institutions are welcoming places for all students and scholars who wish to learn and contribute to knowledge that benefits all of us.

And of course, we must contain and end the threat of COVID-19. There are promising developments on the vaccine front, developments that give us hope and lift our spirits. And in keeping with what we learned during our recent symposium with Johns Hopkins University, the enormous tasks of ensuring that effective vaccines are equitably and broadly developed and distributed will again require the very best of us. We must plan and work together with patience and determination as we look to this light on the horizon.

Across our University, talented students and graduates, brilliant and dedicated researchers, faculty and staff, and heroic health-care providers and essential workers are honoring our great public mission. Across the nation, I hope all people of goodwill come together to meet the undeniable challenges that we face and that we can and must overcome.

Happy holidays and warm wishes in this season of gratitude.