I admit it: I am not the first one to adopt new things. I told a friend that CDs were just another fad, so he should hold on to his LPs. I still shoot pictures on film. I do not have a smartphone. And only last week did I learn what a hashtag was. (Don’t ask me to explain it to you; I forgot.)
But that doesn’t mean I am not impressed by innovation. I am. While I may not be the first to switch over to the new way of doing things, I’m always in awe of people who can envision newer, snazzier, faster, cheaper ways of making life better. I remember a taco shop in my home town. It went belly up, then became a sandwich shop, a teriyaki joint, a Middle Eastern restaurant, a Thai place, a pizza-by-the-slice stand, a Chinese takeout joint, a burger stand, a tofu vegetarian shop, a soul food joint. I don’t know what it is now. Despite the dizzying turnover, I always regarded that place with admiration. Why? Someone always came along believing they had what it took to make the place a success—whether it was a new coat of paint, trying to hawk the sandwiches grandma used to make, or having the staff don wild uniforms.
You have to be bold to be an innovator. You have to have confidence. You have to take a chance. And who better to face that head-on than the thousands of students who will be marching into Husky Stadium on June 14 for Commencement. They will venture into the world armed with a world-class education, a nurturing, entrepreneurial spirit that has mushroomed in this wet corner of the country, and the steadfast support of parents, families, friends, faculty and staff who nudged, cajoled and embraced them to the finish line.
Innovation is what a university like the UW is all about. From inventions that simplify our lives to new ways of thinking about age-old issues, the UW incubates the spirit of looking forward and taking chances that could lead to the cure for cancer or the end of those annoying traffic jams. We come away from our time here ready for the challenge.
P.S. I can’t lie. The food at that joint/shop/stand was never very good. But I will be the first in line when it opens in its newest reincarnation.