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UW Tacoma website | Calendar

July 2009

Students at Spirit Lake
Students at Spirit Lake

Students study Spirit Lake

Three UW Tacoma students and two Bellarmine High School honor students, under the guidance of environmental science Associate Professor Jim Gawel, are conducting research at Spirit Lake, at the base of Mt. St. Helens.
Individual students will be responsible for their own project designs, logistics and the dissemination of their results, and will actively engage in collaboration with other scientists working at the mountain. Students will co-author research publications stemming from their work and possibly present their research at regional or national conferences.
The students’ research may help in studying the impact of urban life on the water quality of other Washington lakes, such as Wapato, American, Spanaway and Steilacoom.

Commencement 2009: In case you missed it

2009 CommencementThis year’s Commencement ceremonies, held June 12 at the Tacoma Dome, marked several milestones for UW Tacoma. An estimated 977 graduates participated, including:

  • the first students to complete degrees in the Computer Engineering and Software program
  • two students who entered as part of the first group of core freshmen
  • the first student member of the Board of Regents from UW Tacoma, Jean-Paul Willynck

Gov. Chris Gregoire, who signed the legislation in 2005 making UW Tacoma a four-year university, delivered the Commencement address.

Campus photographer Jill Danseco captured the festivities in this slide show.

Award-winning nurse believes in the Golden Rule

Jan Runbeck
Jan Runbeck

Jan Runbeck ’06 is the sort of person who gets things done for other people. She was one of the country’s first nurse practitioners, taking the load off doctors’ shoulders and providing better service to patients with minor illnesses. She has generously volunteered her time and knowledge to help Cuban refugees and underserved populations. And this summer she is starting a health-care clinic in a Tacoma food bank.

In recognition of her achievements, UW Tacoma presented Runbeck with the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award, given annually to outstanding UW Tacoma alumni who inspire students or have made significant contributions in their careers and community service.

Runbeck said her motivation for serving others comes down to her gratitude for the good fortune she has enjoyed and a desire to treat others in the same way she would want to be treated.   

Paint the Park Purple

Paint the Park Purple

UW fans donned their purple and gold gear for a special night at the Tacoma Rainiers’ Cheney Stadium in June. The minor league Rainiers wore special-edition purple jerseys emblazoned with the UW Tacoma logo on the sleeve, which were auctioned off during the game. The highest-selling jersey was worn by #10 right-fielder Mike Morse, and fetched $450. Overall, the event netted almost $8,000 for student scholarships.

Although the fans had a great time, the hometown team, unfortunately, lost to the Reno Aces that night. But just wait till next year!

Here are some of the highlights, captured in photos.

Science labs getting much-needed makeovers

Students in science labRenovation began this summer to add more science lab capacity on campus. What was a storage room on the first floor of the Science Building is being transformed into a new physics and geology lab. On the second floor, a classroom is being made over into a geology lab. And an organic chemistry lab is taking the place of the old geology lab on the third floor. During construction, a temporary lab/classroom will be available on the first floor. All three labs will be ready in time for the beginning of winter quarter in January. The project is funded by the state Legislature’s capital fund.

Advisory Board helps students
with financial need

Students studyingThe cost of tuition, books, mandatory fees and personal expenses for one undergraduate UW Tacoma student for one year totals more than $10,000, not counting living expenses. With the stock market underperforming, UW Tacoma’s scholarship endowment funds have declined — just when enrollment applications are at an all-time high. Like many universities across the U.S., the university is seeing big increases in the number of people who want to earn a degree.

UW Tacoma’s Advisory Board is stepping in to help with a fundraising campaign among its own members. The “Compact for Student Success” will help put scholarship funds — not into an endowment — but directly into the hands of academically meritorious students who need financial assistance.

“These gifts will be used over the next five years to help some of the brightest and most committed students in the South Sound realize their dream of achieving a college degree,” says Advisory Board Chair, Ray Tennison. 

UW Tacoma in the news

Wapato Lake watershed research
Tacoma Weekly

2009 Nursing Camp
The News Tribune
UW Tacoma news

Alum hired for YMCA capital campaign
Kitsap Business Journal

Research projects get grants
Tacoma Daily Index

Student lands techy internship
Kitsap Sun

Olympic College may get UW Tacoma nursing master’s degree
Kitsap Sun


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