A year after COVID-19 arrived, there are promising signs that we’ll be back on campus soon.
When our editorial team met in early December to plan this issue, we wondered: With new COVID-19 vaccines, would life return to normal after a particularly brutal year?
Right before we were sent home last year to work remotely as a way to protect ourselves from the novel coronavirus, our March 2020 issue of University of Washington Magazine came out. Looking back now, it is almost shocking how innocent that issue seems. The cover featured art professor emeritus and ceramics genius Patti Warashina, ’62, ’64, who was about to be honored by the Smithsonian Institution. This column paid tribute to our team’s visual experts, Art Director Ken Shafer and Digital Editor Quinn Russell Brown. Furthermore, the issue carried stories about the aftermath of Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption, the incredible impact the late Jim Ellis had on our lives, success stories of UW students who created startups, and the heartbreaking story of a student who barely escaped a deadly fire in Paris years ago and became an artist.
When life was “normal,” this magazine told a broad range of stories that captured the University’s impact on our lives and our communities. When things went haywire last year and “pandemic” became part of our daily lexicon, we did not have to look far to find new stories to tell. If you recall, the UW became the first university in the nation to switch to remote learning. UW Medicine and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation became national leaders as the prime sources for information about this scary disease. The community rallied to donate personal protective equipment to UW Medicine and money to help support students.
Now, the word “vaccine” has become one we use more often than ever. And while some things may never be quite the same again, we have a glimmer of hope that in the coming year, life might return to some kind of normal. Imagine visions of bustling fall-quarter campuses in Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma; students, faculty and staff lined up for Chinese food in the HUB; students playing their hearts out in the Music Building; and fans coming to watch a women’s volleyball game or a performance in Meany Hall … maybe that could be in our future. Wow, wouldn’t that feel good.