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Thoughts for today’s elementary-school shooting victims

Dear Members of the University Community:

The news today about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut is devastating and incomprehensible. Our hearts go out to all the families who lost loved ones in this horrible, tragic shooting. It is especially disturbing at this time of year when families gather to celebrate the joy in their lives. As our community disperses for the holidays, I know today’s events will weigh heavily on all of us, and I hope we will all take a moment to think of those who were killed today and the suffering of their families and friends.


Michael K. Young

Season’s Greetings from the University of Washington

Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:

We have so much to be grateful for at the University of Washington. We are all fortunate to be part of a community with the ability—and determination—to make a positive difference in our world, whether through teaching, research, artistic expression, collaboration, service or other means.

Reflecting on the past year, I’m proud of the UW’s outstanding work and achievements. And I’m also proud of the generous spirit that continues to characterize our university.

Our 2012 year-end video, which I invite you to view and share, celebrates that spirit.

Thank you for making a difference as part of our community. I wish you all the best this holiday season.

Warm regards,

Michael K. Young

The UW has some of the best staff in the world

At the UW, not all of the creative solutions to contemporary challenges come from our faculty. We also have some of the best staff in the world.

Recently, a good example of what our staff does came to my attention. Many schools have had agonizing struggles to decide which intramural locker rooms, male or female, are to be used by transgender students.Here, though, John Pariseau, our Director of Recreational Sports Programs, saw the question coming and worked out a thoughtful, innovative answer.  (Seattle Weekly blog)

First, John started by defining this not as a “problem” but as an opportunity to help make part of our community feel more comfortable.  Then, rather than forcing such students to make a difficult either/or decision, he pursued his idea for a “universal shower-dressing room” to be used by transgender students and others, giving them the privacy of traditional male and female facilities without unnecessary complications. John coordinated the planning for this locker room with the UW’s Q Center and now it is almost ready to open.

I love seeing this kind of flexible thinking and the application of both imagination and common sense. Thank you, John, for helping make the UW a better institution for our entire community.

Mike Young


Our way forward: Tomorrow’s University Today

Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:

Yesterday afternoon, many of you joined me at my annual address for a look at how we are working together as a university to address key 21st century challenges. Thank you for attending or watching on UWTV or online.

As I said in my remarks, everything you do here at the UW — whether you are a faculty or staff member or a student — has the potential to make a difference in people’s lives in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe. As a public university, we are committed to addressing the world’s most pressing challenges, as we have done throughout much of our 150-year history.

As we look to the future, I believe we can do even more. And that is what Tomorrow’s University Today, the initiative I introduced yesterday, is all about. The challenges we face in the world are large and complex and require multi-dimensional, integrative solutions. The UW, with our history of collaborative, multidisciplinary research, is poised to deliver them.

Tomorrow’s University Today is an effort to broaden and deepen our impact on societal issues in three key areas:

I encourage you to visit to learn more about Tomorrow’s University Today. You can also watch a number of videos showing some of the great work already under way in these critical areas.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about the many ways the UW can propel ideas from our classrooms and labs out into the community to continue creating positive change.


Michael K. Young's signature
Michael K. Young

You’re invited to attend the President’s Annual Address, Oct. 18

Join President Michael K. Young for a look at how we are building on our past to ensure an even more successful future.

  • Thursday, October 18, 2012
  • 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Doors open at 2:30 p.m.)
  • Meany Hall
  • Reservations are not required.

The event will be broadcast live on UWTV channel 27 and online at After the address, you are invited to a reception in the Meany Hall lobby.

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at least 10 days in advance at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax) or

The beginning of another exciting academic year

Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:

Welcome to those of you who are new to the University this fall, and welcome back to those who are returning for another academic year. I hope all of you have had productive and rewarding summers and are ready to continue the work that makes the University such a special place.

The start of a new academic year in many ways represents a fresh beginning. We have new classmates, new professors, new colleagues, and new subjects and ideas to engage and explore. We also have a number of new facilities opening this fall, including a newly renovated HUB, a new molecular engineering and sciences building, a new wing of the UW Medical Center, a new library addition in Tacoma, and two new student residence halls in Seattle’s west campus. These wonderful facilities will add immeasurably to the academic and student experiences at the University and provide much needed research, study, and living spaces for many years to come.

Students in particular I hope will also notice some new resources devoted to their instructional programs. Thanks to many in our University and alumni community and beyond, the state Legislature passed a supplemental budget in the spring that halted the erosion of the University’s state appropriation. This meant that we could begin the arduous task of restoring some of the resources that we had lost in previous years. We increased faculty and teaching assistant positions to add more sections of critical courses students need to progress in a timely way through their programs. We also were able to shore up advising positions so that students can better access the guidance they need as they navigate their way through their academic programs. And we were able to provide additional financial aid funding so that students could better afford the increased tuition that resulted from the past several years’ cuts in our state budget. Virtually all of the new expenditures were targeted to enhance our students’ learning experience.

Students will also see this fall an increased use of technology in their courses. More faculty are experimenting with ways to incorporate the use of new technologies in their classrooms to intensify the learning experience and broaden their ability to interact with students in even more meaningful ways. In some cases, students will be asked to do more advance work online before coming to class, all in an effort to make better use of class time and squeeze even more learning into the course. We expect these innovations to continue as we become more adept at exploring ways to take advantage of the rapid changes in technology.

There is much to look forward to this year and much to accomplish. I intend to describe some of what I hope we can accomplish as an institution at my annual address to the University community on Thursday, October 18, at 3 p.m. in Meany Hall. I hope you will be able to join me. In the meantime, explore and enjoy this exceptional university.


Michael K. Young's signature
Michael K. Young

Looking back and moving forward

Dear Members of the University Community:

As we enter the final week of spring quarter, it is hard to believe my first year at the University is nearly over. I look forward to congratulating this year’s graduates at my first UW commencement ceremonies. The year has moved very fast, and much has happened. We have many things to celebrate, from two Rhodes Scholars to our newest MacArthur Fellow to our three new inductees to the National Academy of Sciences, and so much more. In this regard, it has been a typically exceptional year. But there have also been immense challenges, most notably our budgetary struggles and our rapidly increasing tuition levels. For me, it has also been a year of successive epiphanies, as I discovered remarkable students and awe-inspiring faculty. The people I have met have been overwhelming in their accomplishments and success, and the programs to which I have been introduced have been among the most vibrant and creative I have encountered anywhere.

A few weeks ago, Provost Cauce wrote to you about our efforts to stabilize our budget in this coming fiscal year 2012–13. With a slowly recovering economy, the Legislature seems prepared to stop the slide in state support for higher education and to support greater operational flexibility. Meanwhile, we have used the recession to re-evaluate our own administrative costs, encourage greater efficiency, and implement a budget system that is transparent and encourages accountability. All of these factors should help us slow significantly the rise in cost of tuition and begin to make strategic reinvestment in the quality of our educational mission.

We hope this is the beginning of another era of vibrancy and dynamism at the UW when we can put behind us the herculean effort to hold our university together and make it through the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath. It may be too soon to pronounce with certainty that the worst is over, but I believe it is. We now need to turn our focus to the future.

Our people are the University’s most precious resource. The University has one of the most outstanding faculties in the world, as evidenced by our prominence in international rankings of world universities, as well as by our remarkable record of success in competing for research funding. For those who are relatively new to the UW, it is worth pointing out again that every year since 1974, the University of Washington has been the top public university in America in competing for federal funds for research. Among all universities—public and private—we have been in the top five every year since 1969 and in recent years have been second only to Johns Hopkins. This is a remarkable record of success, and it helps shape the research-intensive environment in which our students learn. It is also from my perspective the single most telling fact about the quality of this faculty and our support staff. We must do all we can to ensure that this quality remains among the best anywhere in the world, and that will require retaining and attracting talent and ensuring our people are fairly compensated for the extraordinary work they do. I want to assure the entire community this is my absolute top priority going forward as we plan for the 2013–15 biennium.

We also need to resume making strategic investments in programs and developing new capabilities to engage the world’s biggest, most complex challenges. Many of these opportunities invite broad interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches—exactly what this university is exceptional at. We must redeploy resources and restore our capacity to respond to opportunities and keep this university moving forward in expanding knowledge and solving problems. And as we do so, we must always—always—strive for only the very highest quality. This is what makes us distinctive, and we must not let the difficulties of the recent past blur our focus on quality. Quality will be the first thing we invest in and the thing we will not sacrifice. This is the value that has guided and sustained the University of Washington for a century and a half, and it will continue to be the true north on our compass for the future.

Finally, we must maintain our deep commitment to access and opportunity for our students. We are rightly proud of having one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation. This diversity undergirds our excellence and ensures the high quality of what we do. The fact that thirty percent of our freshmen this year were the first in their families to go to college reflects our values to make higher education accessible to anyone capable of doing the work, regardless of economic circumstance or cultural heritage. More than a fourth of our freshmen from Washington are Pell Grant–eligible Husky Promise students who pay no tuition. This year, we were also able to provide additional grant aid to some 2,000 lower middle–income students. For all of our students, we need to get back to more modest and predictable increases in tuition. We must also creatively and aggressively develop ways to ensure that financial aid is available in some useful form to everyone who needs it. Keeping this university accessible to all is part of our DNA and lies at the heart of our being a great public university. We remain firmly committed to that mission.

It has been an eventful year, one I hope represents a transition point from the constraints of the past few years to a more expansive and innovative future, a future I very much look forward to sharing with you.

Have a great summer—whether you have a long break or not—and see you back here in the fall.

With best regards and much thanks for all you do to make this such an extraordinary university.


Michael K Young signature
Michael K. Young

Sad events this week

Dear Members of the University Community:As many of you already know, Tuesday morning, a student was found dead outside McMahon Hall. The King County Medical Examiner has determined that his death was suicide. We are all deeply saddened by his loss, and our hearts go out to his family and friends in this time of inescapable sorrow. It is hard — impossible perhaps — to imagine his pain and that of his family, and as result, it is hard to know where to look for solace. It is a terribly sad loss, and a time for members of our UW community to come together and support each other.

Over the past few days, staff from the Office of Student Life, including psychologists, counselors and police, were at McMahon Hall providing assistance and support to students. They will continue to do so for as long as is necessary. During this difficult period, we want to remind you of the different services and resources available to the UW community, including professional counseling services for students, faculty and staff, including:

  • The Counseling Center, staffed by psychologists and mental health counselors, provides brief, confidential counseling and crisis intervention services to currently-enrolled UW students. For more information call 206-543-1240 or visit
  • Hall Health Mental Health offers individual and group therapy, crisis counseling, medication evaluation and management services to students, faculty, staff and alumni of UW. For more information call 206-543-5030 or visit
  • Health and Wellness provides consultation, assessment and intervention services designed to assist students in times of need.  Health and Wellness works with students, faculty and staff in difficult situations to provide a safe and supportive response when multiple services are necessary. For more information call 206-543-6085, email or visit
  • UW CareLink provides confidential in-person assessment and short-term counseling for faculty and staff by local professionals for any issue that causes concern. For more information call 1-866-598-3978.

A number of off-campus services are also available in our community and may be found at

The tragic events of yesterday have also been distressing for many of us. I am deeply grateful for our police and their significant behind-the-scenes efforts to ensure the safety of the university community during that period. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of that unimaginable attack as well.

Please take advantage of these resources if you are in need of assistance.  And encourage your friends and acquaintances to take advantage of these services if you think they would benefit. This has been particularly stressful time in our community. Please take good care of yourself and each other.


President Michael Young's Signature Eric Godfrey signature
Michael K. Young Eric Godfrey
President Vice President & Vice Provost for Student Life

President Young attends Bothell groundbreaking

President Young at Bothell groundbreaking

President Young joined UW Bothell students, faculty, staff and friends Friday for the groundbreaking for a Science and Academic Building, which will be known as UWB 3.

The 74,000-square-foot building will house 11 science labs, several classrooms, gathering space and a 200-person lecture hall. This space translates into the ability to serve an additional 1,000 students each year. It is the first building to be constructed on the UW Bothell campus in 10 years.