Celebrating the most diverse generation yet

Rickey Hall, UW Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity

Welcome to the fall 2021 issue of Viewpoint. The University of Washington has returned to in-person instruction and most students, faculty, and staff have returned after 18 months away due to the pandemic. The campus has awakened, teeming with life and full of excitement for the academic year ahead. We are welcoming to campus a wonderfully diverse student body, many of whom are part of the Generation Z. They are considered to be a values-driven group more concerned about issues like climate change, social justice, and diversity, equity and inclusion than generations before them.

Inside these pages are snapshots of what it is to be Gen Z students and alumni, expressed in their own incredible voices. You’ll also find profiles of leaders, artists and change-makers both inside and outside of academics. For each profile in this issue, there are hundreds of other worthy advocates and activists, accomplished individuals who were not featured. Many have both found and created their own communities at the UW and beyond. Many are also working to create a university that is responsive to current and future students. This issue also recognizes the legacy of Rachel Suggs Pitts, a trailblazer who changed the fields of health care and nursing for Black women and others who studied nursing behind her.

I close by recognizing a significant milestone. This year, the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Kelly ECC is the nation’s largest stand-alone cultural center on a college campus and is considered by many to be a leader in creating justice- and student-centered spaces where students and their intersectional identities are affirmed. Please mark your calendars for March 3 so you can attend the Kelly ECC’s 50th Anniversary Grand Celebration and participate in the dedication of a new permanent display honoring the legacy of a man I call the “great visionary,” Dr. Samuel E. Kelly. We’ll celebrate the past while challenging ourselves to evolve and meet the needs of future generations of students.