Posted by Logan Reilly on Feb 21, 2024
Rotarians gathered on February 21st to hear University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce speak on the problems facing the higher education, Washingtonians, and the World as a whole and what UW has done and continues to do to address these. Cauce shared how UW is working directly to address challenges while also setting up a foundation to address these problems together as a city and an academic community.
Highlighting the connection between UW the community at large Cauce provided examples of students, faculty, and community members working to build upon the idea of a “University FOR Washington; and not just of Washington.” Cauce highlighted this point by sharing the story of the 1930s UW rowing team that served as the inspiration for the book and film, The Boys in the Boat. After qualifying for the 1936 Olympics the team was not able to afford the costs to travel to the games and the Seattle Times organized a donation campaign to send the team to the Olympic. A team that came together as one and was then aided by the community that similarly came together as one to send the team to the Olympics. Additionally, Cauce shared how recently UW quarterback Michael Penix Jr. demonstrated the idea of coming together as one during the 2023 football season. Cauce shared how at the December 2023 Heisman Trophy ceremony Penix Jr. displayed the interior of his jacket which was emblazoned with the names of his football teammates, further demonstrating the idea of a team coming together.
Serving as the 33rd President of the University of Washington since 2015 and having been involved in the higher education world for several decades Cauce has seen how UW has impacted the lives of undergraduates, local community members, and the world overall. Specifically, in 2016 UW began a Population Health Model, that while at first was not appreciated, later grew to have a key role in research of community spread, prevention, and treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic. This program not only assisted UW students and Seattle residents but the World with benefits gained from this program. While noting that the University has realized tremendous benefits from the work of students, researchers, and professors Cauce shared the University’s desire to be known as a school where students get the best bang for their buck while UW is committed in investing in making higher education more affordable and accessible.
UW has worked to make itself one of the most affordable public schools in the nation while expanding access to communities in Washington. Cauce shared how 70% of UW graduates left school with no student loans while the remaining 30% had under $20,000 in student loans. Additionally, UW continues to build up their campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell to open up more opportunities for local residents to advance their academic pursuits. Cauce shared how UW aims to provide the tools, partnerships, and opportunities to make a real difference in the World. “Problems are not solved by one group but through collaborative efforts across many groups,” Cauce shared. Cauce closed out the speech by reiterating UW’s commitment to being a partner for making the world a better place by identifying the challenges that we face and collaborating with the community to solve those.
The meeting closed out with announcements for upcoming events and key dates. The deadline to vote on the SRSF Community Impact Grant is Friday February 23rd. The deadline to sign up for the WPGA volunteer opportunity is February 26th with half of the spots still remaining for Rotary members to fill. On February 29th, the Rotary Day at UW Foster School of Business will be occurring at 12:15pm at the Founders Hall, Peek Forum (5th Floor) at the UW Foster School of Business. The next Rotary meeting will occur at the Westin on March 6th and will feature Joni Balter discussing the threats to local journalism.
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