You helped make this the ‘year of higher education’

President Cauce with student Stacie Tao and Regent Joanne Harrell at the Husky 100 celebration. The event honored students who—through academic achievement and community engagement—are making the most of their time at the UW.

As a public university, the University of Washington is defined by our mission of service. That service takes many forms, including the education of more than 40,000 undergraduates and thousands of graduate students who are advancing discovery and receiving the training and credentials to become leaders in their fields. It encompasses research and innovation that is changing how we treat diseases, combat climate change and understand our world from the quark to the cosmos. It includes serving as Washington’s most comprehensive health-care provider. And all over the world, UW alumni are honoring that spirit of public service through your work and citizenship.

Our mission to serve the greater good is founded on the principle that public investment is required for public benefit. That investment has waned in the past decade, not only in Washington but across the nation. This year, however, our state Legislature approved a budget that reinvests in public higher education.

With this budget, Washington taxpayers are supporting greater educational equity and opportunity. The Legislature authorized full funding for the Washington College Grant (formerly the State Need Grant), keeping public higher education affordable and achievable for all students, regardless of family income. Our state also increased core funding for the UW, a big win for our students because it will help us recruit and retain talented faculty and staff to teach and mentor them. We’ll also be able to increase our capacity in some high-demand majors on all three campuses, including engineering and biomedical technology. The budget adds critical core funding to the UW’s hospitals and clinics, which provide millions in charity care each year and support for clinics in the School of Dentistry. And it provides foundational support for a new behavioral health teaching hospital, a bipartisan initiative led by Gov. Jay Inslee and our state Legislature that is critical to addressing the growing mental health needs in Washington.

The Legislature also dedicated a new revenue source to fund some of these investments by passing the Workforce Education Investment Act, which raises the state’s business and occupation tax on certain professional services and businesses. Some of Washington’s—and the world’s—largest employers, including Microsoft and Amazon, championed this legislation. These employers, like so many in our innovation-driven economy, benefit from thriving public colleges and universities whose graduates advance their businesses. It’s wonderful to see members of our business community support this vital pipeline of talent.

I am deeply grateful to everyone who supported this public investment, particularly through the UW Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy program, UW Impact. Its members, representing districts across the state of Washington, sent thousands of communications, met with their elected officials in Olympia and testified before the Legislature to advocate for renewed investment in the UW and higher education in Washington. To all who raised your voices: You made a difference. Your support benefits students across all of our campuses and contributes directly to the UW’s academic excellence and ability to have the greatest possible impact. In short—your voice matters.

Alumni and friends, your connections to the UW play a critical role in enabling your University to fulfill our public mission. We are grateful for your engagement, your support, your questions and, yes, your critiques. You demonstrate what’s possible for our students and communities when we come together in support of the things we care about. Thank you for caring about the UW and those we serve.


Ana Mari Cauce
President | Professor of Psychology