Think critically, not comfortably

Across the state and around the world, the nearly 400,000 alumni of the University of Washington represent a wide array of backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives. We at the UW Alumni Association value the richness of this diversity and are committed to listening to and respecting the voices that reflect these many views, philosophies, and tenets. Good ideas can come from anywhere and complex challenges require collaboration and compromise.

Recent local and national events are stimulating a great deal of conversation and debate. In and of itself, debate is a good thing. It’s a cornerstone of our democratic process, allowing for a thorough exploration of ideas and issues from different points of view. However, rational discourse is all too often replaced by rancor-filled rants. And that won’t get us anywhere.

No matter our political leanings, we are all susceptible to the trap of a polarized perspective. We may cocoon ourselves among those who think and act just like us. We may get our news from a single source that aligns with our beliefs. Or we may simply adopt the agenda of our chosen political party instead of investing time and energy into checking facts and studying the issues. To avoid these tendencies, we must think critically, not comfortably.

As UW alumni, we have a foundation for critical thinking. We have an underpinning of knowledge and curiosity that fosters evidence-based argument and intellectual rigor. And we have a passion for lifelong learning.

As in past turbulent times, the UWAA stands ready to bring our University’s resources to our alumni and friends. Recognizing the increased interest to learn and engage more, we have put together a web page to keep you informed of UW resources. Whether you attend public lectures featuring experts from campus and around the world, or use your UWAA membership library borrowing privileges to access a host of online journals, or connect directly with current students through one of UWAA’s many programs— the University remains an important part of your lives long after you have taken your last class.

We encourage you to continue your journey as a critical, independent thinker. Be informed. Be engaged. Be a champion for the thoughtful and tough-minded discourse our society needs now more than ever. Please visit to learn more.

Clyde D. Walker, ’77
President, UWAA Board of Trustees

Paul Rucker, ’95, ’02
Publisher, Columns
Executive Director, UWAA