Plenty of reasons for bragging rights

Up here in the “ivy tower,” it is somewhat unseemly to brag about your accomplishments too much. But when you work at one of the great public universities in the U.S., sometimes you just can’t help yourself.

With four Nobel Prize winners on our faculty, the No. 1 ranking among public universities receiving federal research dollars, and one of the top 15 undergraduate programs among public universities (according to U.S. News and World Report), there is a lot to be proud of.

The rave notices just continue to pour into our mailbox. In this issue, we note the ranking of the UW Medical Center as one of the best hospitals in the nation and the election of two more faculty to the National Academy of Sciences. With 30 faculty in this prestigious organization, the UW has more members than any other institution west of the Mississippi and north of San Francisco.

Even Columns has received its share of honors recently. The magazine won a Silver Medal for Periodical Staff Writing in a competition conducted by our national professional organization, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

CASE’s 2001 Circle of Excellence competition attracted entries from 660 universities, colleges and independent schools throughout North America. Judges in the periodical writing category considered five staff-written articles from a single university publication. In this year’s competition, only magazine staffs from Harvard and the University of Missouri scored higher.

The award recognizes three writers: Associate Editor Jon Marmor, UW News and Information Writer Steven Goldsmith and my own work. You might want to look at your back issues and reread the award-winning articles: “Face to Face” and “Wonder Woman,” June 2000; “Fatal Choices,” September 2000; “A Civil Action,” December 2000; and “Down for the Count,” March 2001.

The CASE announcement came at the same time the Western Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists gave Columns four awards, including two first-place honors. In the society’s 2001 Excellence in Journalism Competition (magazines category), Associate Editor Jon Marmor won a First Place Award in General News Reporting for “Fatal Choices” and free-lancer Brad Broberg won a First Place Award in Social Issues Reporting for “Bones of Contention,” December 2000.

The Columns honors are gratifying, but I have to confess we have an unfair advantage. You can’t help but do well when you write about one of the best universities in the nation. And that’s one fact that we’ll continue to brag about.