Interim UW President Phyllis Wise’s recent letter to the Washington State Legislature

Phyllis M. Wise, Interim President
February 23, 2011

The Honorable Ed Murray
The Honorable Rodney Tom
Washington State Senate

The Honorable Ross Hunter
The Honorable Larry Seaquist
Washington State House of Representatives

Dear Legislators:

Today’s University of Washington is the result of generations of strong partnerships and strategic public and private investments in higher education. In return, UW’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni have become critical to the economic strength and vitality of the state of Washington. We don’t just generate jobs and economic impact—we create opportunities and solve the world’s most complex problems.

We are your teachers, your doctors, your engineers, your accountants, and your neighbors. If you have ever had a family member saved from cancer, brushed your teeth with a Sonicare toothbrush, waved at your developing baby through an ultrasound, or taken in the beauty of the Washington State e Arboretum—you have been touched by the University of Washington. People benefit from the presence of the University of Washington in our community, whether they attend as students or not. That’s our job as your public University.

State funding keeps the University of Washington affordable and accessible to Washington state students. It a also leverages more than $9 billion in economic impact and generates 70,000 jobs to help secure our state’s economic future. Sure, the UW is a big place, but our budget is built on a foundation of state investment. State funding covers the costs for faculty who teach and mentor our students. State funding provides financial aid and access for students who otherwise couldn’t afford college. Federal research grants and revenue from football tickets do not pay for these things, and private support alone does not begin to meet these needs.

Below, at your request, the University of Washington has provided an outline of the anticipated impacts associated with proposed state budget reductions. Times are tough, but please know—without state funding and strategic solutions—everything is at risk. The opportunities. The economic impact. The future of our state.

The University of Washington and the state of Washington are at a critical point. We need to solve our toughest challenges now. Higher education is a part of the solution, but we can’t do it without you.

Thank you for your commitment to higher education. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Sincerely yours,

Phyllis M. Wise, Interim President