Skip to content

As the academic year ends, we remain a community with a shared mission

As our academic year draws to a close, our community is preparing to come together in honor of so many incredible achievements. Our graduating students – with their families and friends – will celebrate the completion of the degrees they’ve worked so hard to earn in Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma. And this Thursday, June 6, we will gather to recognize our Awards of Excellence recipients – staff, faculty, students and alumni selected for their exceptional impact in service of our public mission. I hope you will join us at Meany Hall for the ceremony and reception – it’s a yearly reminder of the astounding depth and breadth of public service and teaching excellence produced by our University.

These events – and many other culminating rituals that happen across our campuses each spring – are both a means of celebrating the end of another year and a chance to be in community with the people who have shared all the highs and lows, the frustrations and the moments of grace. In what has been a challenging and sometimes divisive period for our University and the world beyond it, I am grateful for the chance to reaffirm the values that we share and renew our common commitment to creating a University, and world, in which all are safe, welcomed and able to reach our full potential.

Despite the challenges, this has also been a year of outstanding achievements and major milestones.  We saw Daniel James Brown’s inspiring book about the 1936 UW crew team, “The Boys in the Boat,” brought to life on the big screen, and experienced our community rallying to help us preserve and restore the iconic ASUW Shell House where the story began. We watched this year’s men’s crew team sweep the IRA National Championship and saw our football team dominate the Pac-12 before vying for the National Championship, a fitting farewell as we transition to the Big Ten Conference this summer. In partnership with the public sector, we opened the Center for Behavioral Health and Learning, which will help address shortages of behavioral health care services and providers and be a transformative model for mental health care in our region. And we launched groundbreaking international partnerships in cutting edge technologies that will not only contribute to innovation and prosperity but will put our graduates at the forefront of these emerging fields.

Every day, our institution provides access to education, expands the world’s knowledge, provides healing and caring for patients, engages with the communities we serve, and enables our huge, complex, enduring organization to function so that this work can continue for generations. With the conclusion of this academic year, it’s a great moment to reflect on the sheer scale of what we accomplish together, and an opportunity for me to say how grateful I am for this incredible community and the impact that you make. The world needs it.

Commencement is a beginning not an end, and I know many of us view summer as a time to focus even more intently on the work, projects, and passions that animate us. But I hope you will take some moments to experience joy and restoration, and I look forward to our continued work together.