Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Birthday UW!

One hundred and fifty years ago today , a young whipper-snapper bravely began teaching classes at the "Territorial University of Washington" in a rough and tumble mill town. According to the article I read this morning, Seattle was a shabby settlement where about 250 white folks lived in wood/mud shacks and spent their time gambling and boozing. When UW opened its doors, there were 2 distilleries, 11 drinking establishments, and one bawdry house (brothel) in the neighborhood. Ha! Seattle! Such promise. Such excitement! Clearly, this teacher had an inkling of all the possibilities that lay ahead. Microsoft and Boeing, send us your weary, innovative masses.

I am proud to say that my Alma Mater has come a long way. The first graduate was a woman, Clara McCarty, who went on to become the superintendent of Pierce County schools. Today the University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the west coast and receives more federal research funding than any other public university in the nation. It is routinely ranked among the top public research universities in the country and the top-25 list in the world. Happy Birthday to the Huskies! Glad to be part of the story.

By the way, one of the primary reasons I went to this school had NOTHING to do with its prestige or academic rigor. No. I thought it was pretty. It "felt collegiate." Have mercy. That was my reasoning as an 18 year old. Whatevs.

It IS pretty.