10-year pins, blue ribbons and Oscars

Everyone has a favorite award. It might be the Oscar handed out to Hollywood’s rising stars, or the Heisman Trophy to a hero of the gridiron. Most of us take note the Nobels and Pulitzers, the Grammys and the MVPs. And back in the closet with our yearbooks might be a faded high school letter or a once-blue ribbon, our personal, cherished award.

On campus we have a different set of “Oscars.” They do not honor a one­time performance in the world of make-believe, but rather the day-to0day achievements of teachers, public servants and distinguished alumni. Trying to distill their accomplishments into five or six paragraphs is as hard as choosing a one-minute film clip to represent a Best Picture nominee. Nevertheless, pages 18-23 hold the equivalent of a movie theater’s coming attractions—short snippets on these amazing 1990 award winners.

Speaking of awards, last summer the regents of the University surprised President Gerberding with a modest honor, the UW’s 10-Year Pin, which goes to any employee who has served the University for a decade. It was a moment the regents took out of their meeting to praise Gerberding, but it was also a moment that is rare at most American universities. Currently the average term of a U.S. college president is less than five years—about the same as that of a football coach. The turnover is so high because there is often turmoil at the top of these institutions. Gerberding has been able to survive and this institution to prosper. For a look back at the decade of the 1980s, and a peek into the future, we invited former Seattle Times Executive Editor James B. King to interview President Gerberding. King, a 1948 UW graduate, has received many honors himself, including the 1984 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Communications. Excerpts from that interview begin on page 10.

Plenty of awards will be handed out on campus this summer, when Husky Stadium and Hec Edmundson Pavilion serve as two of the sites for the 1990 Goodwill Games. A glimpse at the behind-the-scenes preparations is in this issue, as are articles on the value of self-help books and on new research into links between heredity and environmental risks. As always, there is a sampling of campus and alumni news plus many thoughtful letters. The March article on student protest prompted many to write us, proving that 20 years later, the issues of the Vietnam War era have yet to be resolved.

While not in the same league as the Oscars, we must also inform our readers of yet another award, this time given to the alumni magazine you hold in your hands. Columns won a 1990 gold award in a regional competition sponsored by CASE, a college public relations association. We competed against similar magazines in five states and three Canadian provinces. While we are proud of this honor, we depend on your support and input to make sure there will be other awards in this magazine’s future.