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Lifted Up by the UW Community

Story by
Robert Stacey

Welcome to the spring 2012 edition of Perspectives newsletter. In this issue, you will find stories that reflect the dizzying variety of activities and achievements that make this College such a vibrant and exciting place, from races of mousetrap-powered cars in an industrial design course to the use of trained dogs in conservation biology research. As a faculty member and as a dean, I have found the rich variety of this College to be a constant source of inspiration.

Bob Stacey

Bob Stacey. Media credit: Jacob Lambert

What has stood out for me most strikingly, however, in the three months I have been serving as Interim Dean, is another quality of our College and of our University, no less remarkable than our richness and creativity, but perhaps more unexpected: the sense of community that characterizes and animates our institutional life.

“Community” can be a cliché, and I daresay that at some institutions it is no more than that—a stale word that does not speak to the heart or the soul of a place. But that is not my experience of what community means at the University of Washington. My wife, daughter, and I have learned a great deal about what it means to be embraced by a community of friends and colleagues over the past three months, as we have struggled to come to grips with the loss of our only son and brother, a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, who was killed in Afghanistan on January 31st. Eight hundred people attended his funeral at Meany Hall in February; in March, another 125 people came to his interment at Arlington National Cemetery. Hundreds of people wrote cards and sent gifts, and scores more have brought us meals and run errands for us. My colleagues in the Dean’s Office have borne additional responsibilities very generously, covering for my absences so effectively that hardly anyone noticed when I was gone.

And at every level, from President Young and Provost Cauce to the faculty, students, and staff of the College of Arts and Sciences, we have been supported with hugs and lifted up by kindness. The University of Washington is a large place, but over the last few months especially, it has felt to us like a small town.

From the three of us to all of you, please accept our most heartfelt thanks.

Robert Stacey
Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences