Commencement gives students the celebration they deserve

For the past two years, our graduates have left the University without much fanfare. Zoom events—thanks to the pandemic—supplanted the real-life celebrations that often come with cards and cakes and photos of the new graduates in their caps and gowns.

But this year, the UW’s newest class of alumni will have their day. And so will those from the two years prior. With double graduation events for each campus, the Husky alumni will have real pomp-and-circumstance occasions, just like their predecessors have had for the past 145 years.

For graduates from the main campus, two ceremonies will honor the past three graduating years. On June 11, the class of 2022 will be feted in Husky Stadium. Then on June 12, more than 4,000 graduates from the classes of 2021 and 2020 will return to walk in person. UW Tacoma will hold two ceremonies at the Washington State Fair Grandstands on June 13. And on June 15, UW Bothell will hold a final pair of ceremonies at Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle.

These students have faced some of the most unusual and challenging higher-education experiences in history. More than ever, they deserve to be celebrated.

Also, we should recognize their mentors and teachers, who themselves sacrificed and stretched to deliver the best possible educational experiences.

In this issue, we offer a tribute to our teachers of the year—faculty from all levels and disciplines who are the newest recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award. Six are recognized for their mastery of their subjects and for inspiring and mentoring their students. But awards could well go to all of the UW faculty, many of whom gave so much time and effort to reach and support their students, our new alumni, over the past three years.